Top 10 Jason Newsted Metallica Songs
Our list of the Top 10 Jason Newsted Metallica Songs reveals just how much he contributed during his 15 years with the group. “How can we miss you if you won’t go away?” is a question posed all too often in this era of never-retiring rockers. But, in the case of Newsted, his 2001 departure from the group has not only proven the validity of the above question, but also the proverb, “absence makes the heart grown fonder.” So, it’s because we love and miss the guy -- even while fully endorsing current bassist Robert Trujillo -- that we bring you these Top 10 Jason Newsted Metallica Songs.
One of Jason Newsted’s biggest contributions to Metallica’s first post-Cliff Burton studio album, the notoriously bass-deprived ‘… And Justice for All,’ involved an instance of musical house-cleaning named ‘To Live is to Die,’ which saw the new recruit playing assorted bass parts left unfinished by his great predecessor, then sculpted into this ultra-heavy, tear-jerking mega-tribute.
Luckily, Newsted’s four-string talents steadily gained more of a presence after the arrival of producer Bob Rock, as the next entry in our list of Top 10 Jason Newsted Metallica Songs duly shows. Specifically, we’re talking about ‘Reload’'s underrated and bottom-heavy ‘Devil’s Dance,’ which clearly owes its massive groove to Jason’s bubbling bass line.
Jason Newsted’s nimble fretboard finger-work clearly helped land him the Metallica gig in the first place, and these skills were put on immediate display throughout 1987’s refreshingly under-produced, in-your-face ‘$5.98 EP.’ Especially on this ever-popular cover of Budgie’s ‘Crash Course in Brain Surgery,’ where Newsted confidently introduces the song’s signature riff.
Chief among its many unexpected sonic developments, Metallica’s self-titled fifth record, aka ‘The Black Album,’ replaced the unforgiving precision required of their trademarked progressive thrashing with the much more natural groove and feel of classic rock. The change essentially liberated Jason Newsted from simply mimicking guitar parts, allowing him to find ways to shine on standout songs like this entry on our list Top 10 Jason Newsted Metallica Songs.
Newsted’s prominent showing on the aforementioned EP led many to question the wisdom (or lack thereof) behind his virtual invisibility on the ensuing ‘…And Justice for All’ — an album that revealed Metallica’s views on production that would lead to fatal consequences on ‘St. Anger.’ And yet, not even burying Jason in the mix could disguise the steel-tipped boot-wearing walking bass line brought to the devastating ‘Harvester of Sorrow.’
The next tune in our list of Top 10 Jason Newsted Metallica Songs was one of just three co-writes he contributed to the band: a fact that beggars comprehension, given the wealth of incredible tunes Newsted penned for his previous band, Flotsam and Jetsam. At any rate, the haunting ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ proved to be a highlight of the rather underwhelming ‘Reload’ album.
We said it before and we’ll say it again: Jason Newsted had a friend in Bob Rock, because the former’s four-string absolutely rules this deliberate monster from the 'Black Album.' Heck, if not for ol’ Bob reminding them that the bass guitar still existed in Cliff Burton’s absence, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich would have probably hired a tuba player to hammer out the ominous bass line so crucial to ‘The God that Failed.’
‘The Outlaw Torn’ may be the only ‘Load’ offering to make our list of the Top 10 Jason Newsted Metallica Songs, but it’s a 10-minute doozy, complete with a dominant bass presence until the instrument rises to prominence for a long spell halfway through. Additionally, one can hear frequent shards of squalling bass distortion (reminiscent of Burton’s pioneering efforts) sprinkled here and there, to great effect, throughout the epic number.
An auspicious start to Jason’s creative partnership with Metallica, ‘…And Justice for All’’s rousing opening anthem, ‘Blackened,’ was cowritten by Hetfield, Ulrich and Newsted, and thus appeared to promise frequent future songwriting credits for the new bass player. Alas, that proved not to be the case, but even if he’d never penned another note for the band, Newsted’s value would have been secured by this single, amazing song. If only we actually could hear him in the final mix.
But Newsted did, of course, pen a few more songs in collaboration with the almost-impenetrable Hetfield/Ulrich coalition, and the 'Black Album’'s semi-final offering, ‘My Friend of Misery,’ feels like a perfect capper to our list of Top 10 Jason Newsted Metallica Songs. After all, not only is it a great song, but one clearly built around Newsted’s distinctive bass line, which, thanks to the oversight of Bob Rock, can be heard loud and clear, leaving no doubt as to its being the song’s driving force. Yes, Jason Newsted’s tenure with Metallica would unfortunately end amid much misery, but at least during the span of this prophetic song, misery never sounded so sweet.