James Hetfield and the News: The Crazy Musical Mashup I Didn't Know I Needed Right Now

Metallica's James Hetfield, from the mashup "Hip to be Sandman." Image from the video.

Back in my Hot Air days we’d call this a “palate cleanser.”

What happens when you take an iconic pop hit from the 80s by one of the more wholesome bands of the time and mash it up with an iconic metal hit from one of the towering metal bands of the 90s?


Nothing good should come from this. It should surely be an unholy, hideous beast slouching its way toward Babylon. It should be something we agree to look away from and never speak of again as long we all shall live. We would turn the page and let it fade to black until not even the memory remains.

Well, you may want a new drug, because I give you James Hetfield and the News, mashing up Huey Lewis and the News’ “Hip to be Square” (1986) with Metallica’s 1991 hit “Enter Sandman.” They’re walking on a thin line.

This ought to be the worst thing you ever hear. Even in 2021, which is already worse than 2020. It should hit you like a hammer.

So why does it work so shockingly well? I have no idea, maybe I’ve been locked down and stressed out too long. That’s very possible. And to be fair, I like both original songs though they’re never in the same workout playlist.

Because they have so little in common that nothing else matters.

But watch the video. If you’re anything like me, Hetfield’s little “heh-heh” grunts will knock you flat.

Even the video works. The editing is beyond the amateur mashup realm. I laughed out loud at the firework “Boom!”

This should. Not. Work. Huey Lewis was the happy pop guy who powered the lead track from Back to the Future. Back when movies typically had a made-for-radio soundtrack. Metallica is none of that. “Hip to be Square” was Huey’s nod to the buttoned-up and health-conscious culture during the Reagan years (those were really good years). “Enter Sandman” is as close as Metallica ever got to pop, but it’s still dark and menacing and all about nightmares. Hetfield shouldn’t be caught within a mile of any swingin’ brass section. But he is here, and he seems fine with it. I do feel a little bad for Huey, though, as he only really turns up for the “Hip there and everywhere” dance at the end. Huey is yesterday’s news here.


Bill McClintock, who I don’t know, is the master of puppets who produced this little gem, this oasis in a desert of cancel culture and political leaders, disposable heroes, and media monkeys weaponizing insults trying to make us engage in their asinine civil war.

We don’t want that. We want to live our lives and be left alone to see what the weird world of musical mashups coughs up next.

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