Friday, 11 September 2009

"Back to the front!"

I've blogged before about musical inspiration, but I'm getting more specific now. I'm a huge fan of Metallica for many reasons, and one of them is the lyrics. James Hetfield is a brilliant songwriter and really explores all aspects of the human mind and society. I thought I'd share a few lyrics with you and maybe there'll spark some ideas - I know they have for me!

DISPOSABLE HEROES is about war - simple as that. It discusses the people who fight in them, really exploring those who join the army and their place in society. I love the way the music represents the theme of the song - the fast guitars clearly imitates gunfire on the battlefield. If you ask me, this song should be compulsory listening for anyone thinking of signing up:

Twenty one, only son
but he served us well.
Bred to kill, not to care
Do just as we say.
Finished here, greetings Death
He's yours to take away.

You will do what I say, when I say
Back to the front.
You will die when I say, you must die
Back to the front.
You coward,
You servant,
You blindman,
Back to the front!

Life planned out before my birth, nothing could I say,
Had no chance to see myself, molded day by day.
Looking back I realize, nothing have I done,
Left to die with only friend,
Alone I clench my gun.

MASTER OF PUPPETS is a classic Metallica song with a great concept and some awesome lyrics:

Taste me you will see
More is all you need
Dedicated to
How I'm killing you

Master of Puppets I'm pulling your strings
Twisting your mind, smashing your dreams
Blinded by me, you can't see a thing
Just call my name, 'cause I'll hear you scream

Master, Master, where's the dreams that I've been after?
Master, Master, you promised only lies
Laughter, laughter, all I hear or see is laughter
Laughter, laughter, laughing at my cries
Fix me!

WELCOME HOME (SANITARIUM) is inspired by 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' and does a great job expressing the anger throughout the entire film:

Sleep my friend and you will see
that dream is my reality
They keep me locked up in this cage
can't they see it's why my brain says Rage

Sanitarium, leave me be
Sanitarium, just leave me alone

They think our heads are in their hands
but violent use brings violent plans
Keep him tied, it makes him well
he's getting better, can't you tell?

Fear of living on
natives getting restless now
Mutiny in the air
got some death to do
Mirror stares back hard
Kill, it's such a friendly word
seems the only way
for reaching out again.

FADE TO BLACK is one of Metallica's slower and more thought-provoking songs all about the end of life:

I have lost the will to live
Simply nothing more to give
There is nothing more for me
Need the end to set me free

Emptiness is filling me
To the point of agony
Growing darkness taking dawn
I was me, but now he's gone

Yesterday seems as though it never existed
Death greets me warm, now I will just say goodbye

ENTER SANDMAN is another classic and proves that metal and literary references really can go together well:

Exit light
Enter night
Take my hand
We're off to never never-land

Something's wrong, shut the light
Heavy thoughts tonight
And they aren't of Snow White
Dreams of war
Dreams of liars
Dreams of dragons fire
And of things that will bite, yeah

Now I lay me down to sleep
Pray the lord my soul to keep
If I die before I wake
Pray the lord my soul to take

Hush little baby don't say a word
And never mind that noise you heard
It's just the beasts under your bed
In your closet and in your head

ONE is widely considered Metallica's finest masterpieces and one of the best rock songs of all time. It's based on 'Johnny Get Your Gun' which is about a man who was injured in war. As a result, he can't speak, hear, see, move or feel. It's truly haunting song:

Now that the war is through with me
I'm waking up, I cannot see
That there's not much left of me
Nothing is real but pain now

Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please god, help me

Fed through the tube that sticks in me
Just like a wartime novelty
Tied to machines that make me be
Cut this life off from me

Landmines has taken my sight
Taken my speech
Taken my hearing
Taken my arms
Taken my legs
Taken my soul
Left me with life in hell

UNTIL IT SLEEPS is about James Hetfield's mother and her battle with cancer. Very strangely, it sees James directly addressing the disease that killed his mother:

It grips you so hold me
It stains you so hold me
It hates you so hold me
It holds you so hold me
Until it sleeps

So tell me why you've chosen me
Don't want your grip, don't want your greed
Don't want it

I'll tear me open make you gone
No more can you hurt anyone
And the fear still shakes me
So hold me, until it sleeps

MAMA SAID is a follow-up song, where James talks about the life he had with his mother:

Mama, she has taught me well
Told me when I's young
Son, your life's an open book
Don't close it 'fore it's done
The brightest flame burns quickest
That's what I heard her say
A son's heart's owed to mother
But I must find my way

Let my heart go
Let your son grow
Mama, let my heart go
Or let this heart be still

"Rebel", my new last name
Wild blood in my veins
Apron strings around my neck
The mark that still remains
left home at an early age
Of what I heard was wrong
I never asked forgiveness
But what is said is done

THE DAY THAT NEVER COMES is from Metallica's latest album and is open to interpretation. It's very character-based and captures sadness, remorse and anger:

Born to push you around,
Better just stay down.
You pull away,
He hits the flesh,
You hit the ground.

Waiting for the one!
The day that never comes!
When you stand up and feel the warmth!
But the sunshine never comes!

God I'll make them pay,
Take it back one day.
I'll end this day,
I'll splatter color on this gray.

Love is a four letter word!
And never spoken here!

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