Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Song Meaning, Analysis, Background: The God That Failed by Metallica

If you're a Metallica fan you know that James and Lars are very potent in staying away from divisive themes like politics and religion ( and climate change lol ). When asked James explained their less punk-like songs by stating that he liked to reach out to people's common emotions that went beyond personal pity personal stuff.

"The God That Failed" is an exception to this unwritten rule. James Hetfield comes out swinging saying that the Biblical God is a failure -- and I agree. Well, in fact I disagree, because how can one fail if he doesn't even exit? Nevertheless the most interesting part is the back story to this song because it's about the death of James' mom.

When he was a kid, James was raised as a christian scientist ( I know it's weird... it sounds like oil and water, or a gay republican ).  What that means is that the Hetfield household didn't believe in science or rational reasoning, or what many interpreted science, logic and reasoning to be. That included their ignorance of modern medicine, because papa and mamma Hetfield believed that God would cure them in the event of a disease.

Then there came a time see the validity of this claim --  James' mom was battling cancer. However none of the fiends of family did anything to help her besides praying to the invisible man in the sky that didn't exist. So she died... and James was absolutely pissed. His dad had already the family a few years prior the mom's death so James is now without a parent.

That's how James' life story turned into lyrics in "The God That Failed." The song is not anti-religious in anyway. In fact James still identifies himself has a christian ( he's got a tattoo of God giving him the gift of music ), but surely not a christian scientist.

I also did an analysis of The Unforgiven, which has somewhat of a parallel meaning to this song. You guys can check that out; it's also got a video in which you can see the early days of James growing up with his family.

Lyrical Analysis:

Pride that you felt when you'd kneel - people who claim themselves to be religious, regardless of their faith, take a lot of pride they engage in their religious activities. Part of the reason is that, since there exists many different religions, they somehow think that their particular religion is superior to others, thus self-appointing themselves to be "better" or others to be inferior. That's why being blindly pride of yourself is pretty bad... it's always good to be humble like scientists; those guys are always open minded to constructive criticism. 


It clouds all that you will know - all the religions tell you want to believe even though their claims may contradict reality, leaving you perplexed...

Decide just what you believe - as I said above, when religions tell you what to believe, it comes with an element of fear, that is, if you don't believe in their blind claims there surely is some form of a punishment -- usually being burned in hell for eternity... wherever that is.

I see faith in your eyes - "I" is James, and "you" is God. What this line means God can be healing

Never your hear the discouraging lies - though God is known for healing, he's also telling lies to control your life

The healing hand held back by the deepened nail - this probably the best line. "hand" metaphorically symbolizes help, or helping those who in need. It's like, you would extend your hand to someone in need. However if you "nails" are sharped, it can be hurtful. This line is also an oxymoron, it's brilliantly written.

Lyrics:

Pride you took
Pride you feel
Pride that you felt when you'd kneel

Not the word
Not the love
Not what you thought from above

It feeds
It grows
It clouds all that you will know
Deceit
Deceive
Decide just what you believe

I see faith in your eyes
Never your hear the discouraging lies
I hear faith in your cries
Broken is the promise, betrayal
The healing hand held back by the deepened nail

Follow the god that failed

Find your peace
Find your say
Find the smooth road in your way

Trust you gave
A child to save
Left you cold and him in grave

It feeds
It grows
It clouds all that you will know
Deceit
Deceive
Decide just what you believe

I see faith in your eyes
Never you hear the discouraging lies
I hear faith in your cries
Broken is the promise, betrayal
The healing hand held back by the deepened nail

Follow the god that failed

I see faith in your eyes
Broken is the promise, betrayal
The healing hand held back by the deepened nail

Follow the god that failed

Pride you took
Pride you feel
Pride that you felt when you'd kneel

Trust you gave
A child to save
Left you cold and him in grave

I see faith in your eyes
Never you hear the discouraging lies
I hear faith in your cries
Broken is the promise, betrayal
The healing hand held back by deepened nail

Follow the god that failed

Lyrics from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/metallica/thegodthatfailed.html

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments will be automatically reviewed by the system, and by the author afterwards. So follow the guidelines listed below; failure to do so will result in your comment being removed.

- Keep comments nice and clean
- Don't include commercials/links to products
- You may include a link to your website if it's relevant