What exactly makes an album objectively “important”? How many copies it sold? How many people it influenced? If it was created by David Bowie?
According to the US Library of Congress, an album is important if it’s “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” and also if it’s at least 10 years old. This is how they landed upon Metallica’s thrash metal magnum opus Master of Puppets as a gift they would like to officially safeguard for future generations, by storing best quality originals. I’m not entirely sure how they will preserve it, but I like to imagine a USB of mp3s will be kept in a gold plated refrigerator, protected by laser beam mounted sharks, with attempted theft punishable by death.
A statement from the library said that Metallica’s iconic 1986 album “shows the group moving away from its thrash metal history and reputation and exploring new ideas.” It also explained how “thrash, a reaction against the pop metal of the early 1980s, aimed to renew metal by emphasizing speed and aggression”, and acknowledged that Master of Puppets aimed to “break free of thrash orthodoxy”.
Master of Puppets is, incidentally, the first metal album to be historical preserved by the US Government-run library’s National Recording Registry, and the album will join 450 other recordings in total, including Gloria Gaynor’s disco classic “I Will Survive”, John Coltrane’s 1964 album A Love Supreme, The Supremes’ single “Where Did Our Love Go” and Billy Joel’s 1973 track “Piano Man”.
Listen to the whole face-melting creation below: