Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Song Meaning: One by Metallica

Artist: Metallica | Album: ...And Justice For All | Released: 1989
Second power ballad ( if I'm not mistaken ) by Metallica, "One" put the 'thrash' metal band on MTV. The single also marked a milestone for the band: they made the first music video to promote the song on MTV. The music video, however, was like no other other at the time - filmed in a gloomy setting, running over seven minutes in length . Nevertheless, the video compelling enough for the band to be nominated for a Grammy in 1988, but lost to Jetro Tall. This was later recognized as one of the f#@ed up moments in the history of Grammy Awards.

The song talks about a soldier supposedly retuning home from Vietnam. He has lost all of his senses, except for hearing, and maybe feelings. He's also missing few limbs, both legs and arms, but his brain functions fairly well. So he is practically a prisoner trapped in his own body without being able to interact with the external world. Prior to the riff, ( in the studio version ) helicopter hovering sound and several gun shots can be heard. Lyrics starts off as "I can't remember anything / can tell if this true of dream," setting the pessimistic and dark scene for the rest of the song. The gloomy lighting used in the music video perfectly coincide with the atmosphere depicted in the lyrics.


I can't remember anything
Can't tell if this is true or dream
Deep down inside I feel to scream
This terrible silence stops me

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

Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please God, wake me

Back in the womb it's much too real
In pumps life that I must feel
But can't look forward to reveal
Look to the time when I'll live

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

Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please God, wake me

Now the world is gone, I'm just one
Oh God help me
Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please God, help me

Darkness imprisoning me
All that I see
Absolute horror
I cannot live
I cannot die
Trapped in myself
Body my holding cell

Landmine 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

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