Monday, June 17, 2013

Song Meaning: Broken, Beat and Scarred by Metallica

ARTIST: METALLICA | ALBUM: DEATH MAGNETIC | RELEASED: 2008
"Broken Beat & Scarred" depicts an individual struggling with adversity. It's quite reminiscent to Metallica's old days on the road - 1980s. Nobody really gave them an inch - only dozen radio stations played their songs. Sometimes, according to Lars himself, couple of band members had to sleep in one bed because they simply didn't have the money to afford luxurious hotels. However, against all odds they crated good music, and slowly by surely, they build an empire now we refer to as Metallica.

Their earlier albums, Ride the Lightening (1984) and Master of Puppets(1986), were some of the best in the history of heavy metal. On a side note, neither of these albums were recorded in the US because, as I said earlier, they could afford to do so. Since there was no help from the radio stations and MTV, Metallica's only way of promoting their material was touring. Thankfully they had a very loyal fan base who were open minded and understood the band's struggles. They supported and followed the band every step of the way. In fact, Metallica's third studio album, Master of Puppets, was certified gold ( meaning selling in excess of 500,000 ) within a year without no airplay!
Meaning of some important lines:

You rise you fall you’re down and you rise again1 - describes the roller coaster of life, in that we are sometimes faced with good and bad days

What don't Kill you Makes you more strong2 - if you're still alive after faced with adversity, make it a learning experience so that you'll be more stronger when faced with a similar obstacle in the future

Breaking your teeth on the hard life coming14 - probably refers to the grinding of teeth due to frustration

Show your scars15 - be proud of the wounds, don't hide them. It's all worth it

The dawn, the death, the fight to the final breath20 - never give up or give in...
UPDATE - JULY 29, 2013:

As I was listening to "Broken, Beat and Scarred" other day, I thought the song could also be about the military - a  group of soldiers struggling through adversity to overcome their enemy. When I first analyzed the song, I missed this aspect, thinking the song was a personal reflection of Metallica's own struggles when they were trying to make a name for themselves. So I'll do a quick re-analysis of the lyrics once more :-).
Reanalyzing lyrics: 

You rise you fall you’re down and you rise again1 - describes a day in the life of a soldier; there's ups and downs

Breaking your teeth on the hard life coming12 - battlefield isn't a walk in the park. There are plenty of Vietnam war movies that accurately depict the harshness of the battlefield - Full Metal Jacket is a good one.

They scratch me, they scrape me / They cut and rape me31,32 - this means having to face punches from both the enemies and your own side. "Rape me" could be referring to numerous rape cases profiled in Afghan and Iraqi wars.


  1. You rise, you fall, you're down then you rise again
  2. What don't kill ya make ya more strong
  3. You rise, you fall, you're down then you rise again
  4. What don't kill ya make ya more strong

  5. Rise, fall, down, rise again
  6. What don't kill ya make ya more strong
  7. Rise, fall, down, rise again
  8. What don't kill ya make ya more strong

  9. Through black days, through black nights
  10. Through pitch black insides

  11. Breaking your teeth on the hard life coming
  12. (Show your scars)
  13. Cutting your feet on the hard earth running
  14. (Show your scars)
  15. Breaking your life, broken, beat and scarred
  16. But we die hard

  17. The dawn, the death, the fight to the final breath
  18. What don't kill ya make ya more strong
  19. The dawn, the death, the fight to the final breath
  20. What don't kill ya make ya more strong

  21. Dawn, death, fight, final breath
  22. What don't kill ya make ya more strong
  23. Dawn, death, fight, final breath
  24. What don't kill ya make ya more strong

  25. They scratch me, they scrape me
  26. They cut and rape me

  27. Breaking your teeth on the hard life coming
  28. (Show your scars)
  29. Cutting your feet on the hard earth running
  30. (Show your scars)
  31. Breaking your life, broken, beat and scarred
  32. But we die hard

  33. Breaking your teeth on the hard life coming
  34. (Show your scars)
  35. Cutting your feet on the hard earth running
  36. (Show your scars)
  37. Bleeding your soul in a hard luck story
  38. (Show your scars)
  39. Spilling your blood in the hot sun's glory
  40. (Show your scars)
  41. Breaking your life, broken, beat and scarred
  42. We die hard
  43. We die hard
  44. We die hard

1 comment:

  1. I can't be the only one who's thought this: I imagine the lyrics being about a slave trying to escape from a plantation, after years of abuse and labour. This seems apparent when the song says: "They scratch me, they scrape me, they cut and rape me" referring to the harsh punishments imposed on slaves; and "Cutting your feet on the hard earth running" referring to the escape itself. "Spilling your blood in the hot sun's glory" obviously refers to the hard labour they were forced to endure in the scorching heat.

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