Who Wrote Music And Lyrics For I.M Through With Love Metallica – The Anti-War, Anti-State, Pro-Liberty Metal Band?

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Metallica – The Anti-War, Anti-State, Pro-Liberty Metal Band?

I know a title like the one above is obvious and perhaps unnecessary, but has Metallica recently made a subtle statement about their pro-choice views on the current state of the world? They seem to have done just that in their choice of songs to include in their set lists at the last Bridge School benefit in late October, an event where Metallica played two nights in a row. In a surprising move, they opened each night by playing four cover songs they had never performed before. However, the choices of songs they felt were important enough to play give an indication of what they thought about the war, the country, and life in general in the United States of America today.

Metallica has been writing songs with anti-war messages for over two decades. An obvious example, which we played at the Bridge School benefit, is “Disposable Heroes”, from their 1986 album Master of Puppets. With lyrics like “Bodies fill the fields I see, hunger heroes end / Noone to play soldier now, there’s no one to pretend”, and “Grown to kill, you don’t care / Do exactly as we say / I’m done here, death’s blessing / He’s yours to take”, the emphasis is clearly on the detachment the soldiers have in killing people they don’t know for reasons given to them by people who care more about winning than any moral or personal consideration. Similar thoughts echo in songs like “Ahad” about the plight of a soldier who has no limbs left to move, or senses to use, or a way to communicate with the world, and therefore has no real reason to survive, but who also lacks the ability to end his life.

Distrust of control and manipulation has also been a consistent message from Metallica since at least the album Ride the Lightning and the song “Escape”. The song played at the Bridge School benefit is a more obvious example. “The Unforgivable” is the story of every person who, immediately after birth, is controlled throughout his life. Although he vows “that never from this day / His will they shall take,” his only response to a life of control is to label his subjects and call them unforgivable. His battle, though he has fought it throughout his life, results in his complete lack of care and a regretful death. Those who rule the man are never named, but certain characteristics indicate a “brave new world” style condition that conditions the individuality of the man: “the young boy learns their rules”, “that whipping boy did wrong”, they devote their lives / to activate It’s all his,” and the lyrics of other songs, although they do not eliminate the possibility of influences other than the state, probably point to a system whose purpose is to train and control people against their will in order to eradicate their tendencies to better serve the state: “He tries to please everyone.”

Back then, Metallica displayed an attitude, through songs spanning the band’s old and new era, of being consistently anti-war and anti-state. Their image, of course, took a big hit in the anti-state stance with their fight against file-sharing software like Napster, when they relied on state institutions to defend their claim to intellectual property rights. Having examined Metallica’s position on this matter in great detail, but not much research into the other side of the argument, I will not attempt to defend either side in this article. But moving on from this divisive event in the band’s history, we can now explore the statements the band may have made in choosing the cover songs to play at the 2007 Bridge School benefit.

The first song played both nights was “I Just Want to Celebrate” by Rare Earth. This song contains several pro-liberty statements, such as “I put my trust in the people / But the people let me down / So I turned the other way / And I keep going, anyway.” Of course, this may be a defense against the charge against the band every time an album is released that sells out, but it still illustrates Metallica’s emphasis on individual freedom and not caring what the crowd thinks. But more than that, is the line “Had my hand on the Dollar bill / And the Dollar bill bw away” another line of celebrities bemoaning the decline in the value of the US dollar? Obviously, it’s a more subtle message than models wanting to get paid in other currencies, and shiny rap stars shooting music videos, but it’s a message nonetheless, especially since Metallica has deep roots in Europe, with drummer Lars Ulrich originally from Denmark.

Nazareth’s “Don’t Judas Me” is a clearer example of being pro-liberty, and may even contain some accurate assessments of the media and its effects on the American population. “Treat me as you would like to be treated” is a seemingly honest statement that has been analyzed in its various forms over the centuries. The choice of this song, in the midst of media propaganda about the threat of Iran and an out-of-control police state with daily tasers and intrusive searches at airports, is particularly interesting. “Please don’t shrink my head / Don’t disguise your insinuations / Don’t tell me lies”, and “Please don’t tell me / Don’t betray my trusty promise / Please don’t make me angry / It’s hard for me not to bear any fairness / Don’t let me down, do me Manipulation,” could be Metallica’s subtle warning to fans to do some research on their own and not trust anyone who uses a position of power as a bully stand. This would fit well with Metallica’s own statements that they feel it is inappropriate to use their fame to espouse overt political views, and may indicate a lack of trust in a government that used their recordings as a tool to torture enemy detainees in Iraq, who were unaccustomed to heavy metal. music.

This focus on out-of-control media and the glorification of negative messages carries over into the next song on the first night, Garbage’s “I’m Only Happy When it Rains.” Lyrics like “You know I love it when the news is bad / And why does it feel so good to feel so sad” indicate an outlook that revels in bad news and the love of a friend. Is this song choice Metallica’s statement that only being fed news through state-influenced media will make listeners willingly buy into the negative messages? Without a direct statement from the band, of course, the conclusion is left to speculation, but the general tone of these first three songs seems to show a focus on individuality and a distrust of labeling and easy answers given by a centrally controlled source, like the old media or the state. Of course, singer and guitarist James Hetfield was himself briefly the subject of the negative news machine, when he was stopped at an airport and reported to be a suspected terrorist due to his age. If someone who sells 100 million records worldwide can be considered a terrorist and arrested at the airport, who is immune? Of course, the message is that no one is a suspect.

The last two songs are more clearly anti-war than the others previously described. The first is “Veteran of the Soul Wars”, by Blue Oyster Cult. It may also be a double statement about the media manipulations and the war itself. It is clear that mental wars that take place here at home are just as important as the real war in trying to convince the people that war is beneficial and going well. Fatigue from a war that has gone on for far too long, along with the violation of personal freedom and privacy, is the message of lines like “But the war still goes on, my dear / And there’s no end that I know / And I can’t say if ever… / I can’t say if any Someday we’ll be free,” and “It’s time we had a break from this / It’s time we had some time off.” Metallica previously covered BOC on the album “Garage, Inc.” from 1998, but did not use such an anti-war song. Again, the band’s own personal involvement in the war, through the use of their songs as an “enhanced interrogation” technique, and the reports of Hetfield being stopped at an airport, may indicate their awareness of the need to make such a statement. As much as possible against big war and big government. When the song finally asks, “Did I hear you say it’s a win?”

The last cover song Metallica chose to play at the Bridge School benefit is “Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits. Although the song, throughout most of it, seems to glorify the camaraderie of being soldiers for a common cause, the emphasis on this concept of “brothers in arms” is turned on its head in the final lines. The poem emphasizes the strength of Christian bonds “through these fields of destruction”, “when the battles raged higher” and “in fear and dismay”, which may indicate that strength is found in drawing closer to those allied with them. One is fighting a battle. But, the last lines of the song are “We’re fools to make war / For our brothers to kiss”, using the same line of “Brothers to kiss” to show that all humans have common bonds, no matter that “there are so many different worlds / so Many different suns.” When people go to war for a country, they are making war on their brothers. People, the song says, have more in common with each other than they ever will with an abstract situation. This message is emphasized in the concert itself when James Hetfield repeats the last lines (“We’re fools to make war / On our brothers in arms”) several times until the end of the song.

So, have Metallica’s experiences since the start of the war on terror affected their views on war, freedom or the country? It certainly looks like they have, based on their choice of songs to cover for the Bridge School Benefit Concerts. Although these ideas have been expressed in various Metallica songs throughout their history, never before have they played a set with such consistent messages. In fact, it’s the aspect of the shows that immediately struck me, having read a lot about Metallica’s history and their personal views on issues affecting the world. Mainly through an artist’s work they communicate with us and we can communicate with them, and every concert played by a band is an expression of their communication with their own work and that of others. In their choice of cover songs, Metallica seems to have issued a subtle message about their current views on the world and an anti-war and anti-state stance that has only been strengthened in recent years by public events, such as the torture. The subject and the airport, and their personal reflections.

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