Saturday, May 3, 2014

Song Meaning: Welcome Home (Sanitarium) By Metallica

ARTIST: metallica | ALBUM: mater of puppets | RELEASED: 1987
Song Meaning: Welcome Home (Sanitarium) By Metallica
"Sanitarium" is a six and a half minute heavy metal power ballad by Metallica that features some of James Hetfield's best writing. Among the other fast-moving songs on Master of Puppets, this stands out for its melodic guitar solos and emotional lyrics.

The song is based on the movie, One Who Flew Over Cuckoo's Nest starring Jack Nicholson. The movie is about the a man ( Jack ) who managed to avoid prison time by pretending to be crazy, thus going into sanitarium instead. The lyrics of the song accurately reflects the dark atmosphere surrounding the persons portrayed in the movie.

First verse gives a introduction to the setting of the sanitarium and what it's about. The line, "Just labeled mentally deranged" describe the fact that sanitarium houses mentally ill people. As the only sane person of Sanitarium, presumably, Jack is always determined to escape it, thus the line, "I see our freedom in my sight."

As I was reading further into the lyrics, it occurred to me that some lines specifically refer to certain individuals of the movie. "Build my fear of what's out there / And cannot breathe the open air" refers to the fact that Nurse Ratched lies to her patients by telling nonsense, like in the case of Billy where she tell him that she knows his mother. So all his childish behaviors will be reexported to his mom. This is the same tactic that kindergarten teachers use against kids because kinds ( and adults ) usually fear their  parents.

Last set of lines, the outro, refers to the fact that Chief, who's native American, kills Jack. This is done because Jacks was almost dead at that point as a result of a lobotomy operation performed on him by doctors at the Sanitarium. Chief, who happened to be his best friend, figured that there's no point in letting his friend live the rest of life as a half-dead human being. What's interesting is the fact that temp of this section of the song matches to the atmosphere of the scene.

If you're a Metallica fan, you obviously know this song, but if you if you haven't seen One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, I suggest you watch it. Knowing the plot of the movie makes the song much more enjoyable.


Welcome to where time stands still
No one leaves and no one will
Moon is full, never seems to change
Just labeled mentally deranged
Dream the same thing every night
I see our freedom in my sight
No locked doors, No windows barred
No things to make my brain seem scarred

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

Build my fear of what's out there
And cannot breathe the open air
Whisper things into my brain
Assuring me that I'm insane
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?

No more can they keep us in
Listen, damn it, we will win
They see it right, they see it well
But they think this saves us from our hell

Sanitarium, leave me be
Sanitarium, just leave me alone
Sanitarium, just leave me alone

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.

Lyrics from:

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