What do Miley Cyrus, Elton John and Metallica have in common? To be honest, we’re not entirely sure… but it seems the first two are doing something that involves the latter. Both Wrecking Ball singer Miley and veteran piano-botherer Elton have hinted recently that they have worked on a cover of a Metallica song. But what exactly is it for? We looked at the possibilities…
It’s a ‘Miley Cyrus covers Metallica’ album
Miley Cyrus is a not-so-secret rocker. Don’t believe us? Check out her stellar covers of Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt, Temple Of The Dog’s Say Hello 2 Heaven and – oh yes – Metallica’s Black Album classic Nothing Else Matters.
Even so, when Miley revealed at the end of 2020 that she had been “working on a Metallica cover album”, we were surprised – though the fact her current producer is Andrew Watt, who worked with Ozzy Osbourne on last year’s Ordinary Man makes sense. She subsequently revealed that she has covered Nothing Else Matters – and that the new version features Elton, pianist Yo-Yo Ma and Red Hot Chilli Peppers drummer Chad Smith.
Exactly what her version of Nothing Else Matters is for, or even what she means by “Metallica cover album”, isn‘t entirely clear. It would seem to suggest that it’s a Miley Cyrus album full of Metallica songs. Or it could be this next one…
It’s an all-star Metallica covers album
Elton himself recently confirmed that he has “just done something with Metallica, during this lockdown period” – while he didn’t say exactly what, our money is on the Nothing Else Matters cover. But could that be part of a bigger project?
2021 marks Metallica’s 40th anniversary, and they aren’t the kind of band to pass up a big anniversary. As things stand it’s unlikely they will be able to head out and play shows like they did for their 30th anniversary, so a big studio celebration of their work featuring big-name artists from across the pop, rock and metal spectrum – including Miley and Elton plus other Friends Of Metallica such as Lady Gaga and Phoebe Bridgers – covering a bunch of Metalli-classics would be the perfect way to mark the big 4-0.
It’s a 30th anniversary Black Album covers album
2021 marks 30 years since Metallica went stratospheric on the Black Album and crossed firmly into the mainstream. It’s hard to imagine Elton, Miley etc. belting out Battery or The Call of Ktulu, but by entirely focusing on their most commercial album the band could take advantage of their friendships with outside artists to rework their biggest hit from end to end and storm the gates of pop culture again.
It’s a bunch of Metallica songs re-imagined
Where Miley Cyrus had called the project a “Metallica cover record’, Elton John attributed it as something he was doing “with” Metallica. Rather than just a straight covers record, maybe we’ll get an S&M style reimagining where the band team up with other musicians to reinterpret their own songs. They already released an acoustic reinterpretation of Blackened back in May 2020, so perhaps it’s all just been a dress rehearsal for a massive reworking of key classics.
It’s Lulu 2
Ten years on from their controversial collaboration with Lou Reed on Lulu, could Metallica be working on a brand new collaborative album with Miley and/or Elton? Cyrus’s claim that the record is a covers one certainly puts this in the ‘unlikely’ pile, but it also seems slightly reductive to pull in big-name guests just to cover older material.
It’s a brand new Metallica studio album
Metallica have apparently been working on new material for a while, albeit at glacial progress. Maybe they’ve decided to deviate from their usual insular, tight-knit songwriting process and bring in a bunch of famous friends – let’s not forget that Elton appeared on Ozzy’s Ordinary Man album. Granted, Metallica have rarely featured guests on their albums – Lou Reed and Marianna Faithfull (who guested on The Memory Remains from Reload) aside – but then if there’s one thing Metallica do well, it’s confounding what people expect from them.
It’s the soundtrack to a new Metallica documentary
When it was released back in 2004, Some Kind of Monster raised the bar on what a rock documentary could be – and the critical acclaim far outweighed the pain of making/watching it. At the end of 2020 Lars told Rolling Stone he had spent a lot of the year watching documentaries so perhaps it’s time to revisit the format with a few famous friends, a la the Foo Fighters’ all-star Sound City project.
It‘s Metallica: The Musical!
Lars and co valiantly tried to reinvent the concert movie with the epic Through The Never, so why not turn their attention to the stage? After all, Elton has previous form with this kind of thing – see his involvement with The Lion King and Billy Elliott. Sure, it’s a long shot, but someone should check Dave Mustaine’s availability – every musical needs a good villain…