With Metallica's "Master Of Puppets" jumping off the charts everywhere (and being rocked out to by the band themselves), thanks in no small part to this month's season finale of Stranger Things, fans are buzzing about the collaboration and how it came together. Now, we know the scoop, thanks to a new post by Stefan Chirazi on Metallica's So What? blog.
As it turns out, Stranger Things creators The Duffer Brothers included "Master of Puppets" in the script during the writing process, says Hannah Davis. Davis is the Director of Creative Sync Licensing at QPrime Management (also Metallica's longtime management team) who discussed the potential first with Stranger Things music supervisor Nora Felder, who among her many credits include film and television that also made effective use of popular music, including the 1995 film Tank Girl, the popular TV series Californication, and vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows.
"The song was scripted in by The Duffer Brothers, so it was in their mind from the very beginning," Davis recalls. "Nora reached out to me in November 2020. They were shooting bits and pieces when they could because, of course, it was the pandemic. Nora ran me through the scene and explained the character of Eddie Munson to me.
"Because he was a new character, there wasn’t a real reference for how much of a ‘fan’ he was, so Nora explained he was a metalhead and that the fans would love him. She detailed how it started with him playing the riff on guitar, a visual instrumental, and then Metallica’s recording would come in. We didn’t know the total scope in terms of how long it would play or how exactly the song would be used. For example: would it play through or stop/start? But everyone was so excited that it was a quick ‘yes.’”
Elsewhere in the post, Chirazi posits rather wisely that, "There is no doubt that the explosive re-emergence of “Master of Puppets” via Stranger Things, much like Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” earlier in the season, is proof-positive that synching of this nature is creating ‘new’ pieces of art in its own right."
To that point, Hannah Davis concurs. "Sync has a unique power. I sometimes think, as a viewer, you might have an emotional connection with a song because it is such an inspiring or emotive piece of music. When that song is paired with a scene where you are also invested in the plotline or the characters, it melds those two feelings together to create an even larger bond. And that, essentially, makes a new piece of art which brings new fans into the fold and energizes established fans too."