Lyrical Analysis: Metallica -The Day That Never Comes

Posted by on Mar Fri, 2020 in Grind, Hard Rock, Hardcore, Heavy/Traditional Metal, Lifestyle, Lyrical Analysis, Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore, Pop, Thrash | 0 comments

Lyrical Analysis: Metallica -The Day That Never Comes
Death Magnetic is the 9th studio album from American thrash band Metallica.

Intro:

February 22, 2020. Today is a bittersweet day. I feel like I should be celebrating, but I just want to be alone instead. I have been coping in my own strange way. Leaning in to the morbidity, burning black candles of La Santa Muerte, and listening to sad music. Metallica is definitely hitting the spot on this dreary day. I love their ballads, like Fade To Black, Nothing Else Matters, To Live Is To Die, and of course, The Day That Never Comes.

Thrash metal makes me think of skateboards. You have to lean forward, keep going, and speed up, even if it’s scary at first. The fear of falling is worse than the fall itself. Just roll with it. So it is with bad days and emotions. As I learned from a cartoon about a haunted forest full of rabid dentist clowns, the only way out, is through.   Here’s how:

Lyrics:

Born to push you around

Better just stay down

The world is unfair, and I don’t think that the meek will ever inherit it. No good deed goes unpunished, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions. If you try to be a good person, everyone else will just walk all over you. Why even bother trying? I might as well give up, and become a stupid, selfish asshole like everyone else.

You pull away

He hits the flesh

You hit the ground

Sometimes you want to see the good in someone, but there is no good to be seen. There were even serial killers who pretended to be lost or stranded, just to betray and kill anyone who was generous enough to try to help them. People get trapped in abusive relationships because the so-called “honeymoon phase” manipulates them into staying. Even if you try to get away from the abuse, they will use threats and violence to keep their victims trapped. Even your own family can traumatize you. Everyone experiences violence. It’s not a question of “if”, but “when” and “how”.

Mouths so full of lies

Tend to block your eyes

Everyone will hurt you. Not just your enemies, but even your friends and family. There is nobody you can trust completely. But, as Bob Marley said: “Everyone will hurt you, but you have to find the ones worth suffering for.” Some people are worth it, but most aren’t. And sometimes, maybe you’re the one who isn’t worth the effort.

Just keep them closed

Keep praying

Just keep waiting

They say that hindsight is 20/20. But our vision is obscured by the sands of time. Our memories become distorted. Emotional moments are clouded by tears. Cognitive science proves that trauma is correlated with memory loss. How can we confront our demons if we can’t even see them clearly, shrouded in darkness and shadow?

Waiting for the one

The day that never comes

All we can do is bide our time. Fill the void with anything and everything. Therapy, exercise, music, booze. Whatever it takes to live to fight another day. A miserable existence is better than none at all.

When you stand up and feel the warmth

But the sunshine never comes, no

No, the sunshine never comes

Sunlight, and the lack thereof, are recurring themes in Metallica songs. Another shining example of this is in Unforgiven part II, “There’s no sun shining through” and “now I see the sun.” The sun is also a lyrical trope in rock music in general, from The Beatles to Jethro Tull.

This stanza is intriguing because you “feel the warmth”, and yet “the sunshine never comes.” Again, this alludes to lyrics of a cold sun from The Beatles’ I am the Walrus and Jethro Tull’s Aqualung. So there can be shelter where there is no light, and there may be sunshine but it’s cold. When I think of a place that is dark and yet hot, I think of the underground inferno of Hell. When I think of somewhere that is illuminated but cold, I think of the glaring florescent lights in a sterile, clinical hospital room. I’m not sure which is worse.

Push you across that line

Just stay down this time

Celestial bodies may be rad, but back down to earth, people here still suck. They are also walking contradictions. Everyone is a hypocrite. I hate to admit it, but I am one too. I’m sick of fighting with everyone. I’m sick of fighting with myself. I’m learning how to choose my battles. Most people aren’t even worth getting upset over. But sometimes, people piss me off so much that I have no choice but to fight back. I wish I could have been a pacifist hippy forever, but unfortunately, the violent world had other plans for me.

Hide in yourself

Crawl in yourself

You’ll have your time

The only thing I hate more than myself, is everybody else. I don’t want to deal with anyone’s bitchy mood or shitty attitude, other than my own. Hell, half the time, I don’t’ even want to deal with my own shit. Why do you think I smoke and drink so much? It’s to escape myself, my own thoughts and emotions, my past, my regrets. I just want to retreat – nay, let’s call it a strategic fallback – and recover on my own, without anything in my way. I am my own best friend and worst enemy.

God, I’ll make them pay

Take it back one day

People push each other away and hurt each other all the time. We all need love and companionship, but not from anybody in particular. If you are hurt by people you trusted, like your lovers, friends, or even your own blood, then maybe you don’t need them. And it’s normal to feel resentment, anger, and hatred after someone betrays you. If they wanted to be remembered fondly, then they should have acted better in the first place. The truth is more important than anybody’s reputation.   I won’t even lie to protect myself, so why would I lie to protect anyone else? Especially after they’ve screwed me over?

I’ll end this day

I’ll splatter color on this gray

Today is February 22, which is both of my parents’ birthday. Yes, they have the same birthday, and they were both Pisces. This time of year, especially this particular date, is always bittersweet because my mom is alive but my dad is not. So I want to feel happy but I also feel sad. This year, even the sky is overcast. It’s not that dark, but it’s not that bright either. Not black, not white. It’s just grey. Just like how I feel. Ambivalent, gloomy, neutral, almost numb. I hope that, one day, I can finally feel normal happiness. Sometimes, but not always, there is a rainbow after the storm. 

As Anne Frank said, “The dead receive more flowers than the living, because regret is stronger than gratitude.” Now that I have one living parent and one who passed on, I feel like this sentiment is sad but true.

Waiting for the one

The day that never comes

If I wait long enough, eventually my enemies will suffer too. I can call it divine retribution or karma or poetic justice. But the truth is, bad things happen to everyone, whether they deserve it or not. I don’t know what’s worse: If I deserved everything that happened to me, or if I didn’t. Either I’m a bad person, or innocent people are hurt for no reason. One way or the other, the future is bleak.

When you stand up and feel the warmth

But the sunshine never comes

Even sunlight itself is a manifestation of duality. It exhibits the properties of both a wave, and a particle. The sun is the center of our solar system, a force that made life possible on planet earth. But its powerful rays and radioactive core can also destroy. There are tragic myths of flying too close to it and falling into the sea for the hubris. Even though it’s thousands of miles away, you can still permanently damage your skin and eyes if you are in the sunshine for just a few minutes too long. But if you don’t get enough of it, you’ll get shingles. Don’t fuck with the sun.

Love is a four-letter word

And never spoken here

Love is a four-letter word

Here in this prison

We like to think that love is something positive, but it can also be negative. It can be misguided and destructive. It can be forced, fake and insincere. Just because someone says they love you, doesn’t even mean it’s true. And sometimes, love goes unspoken, which causes misunderstandings and secrets, separating people and severing ties asunder. This is why people betray, reject, and abandon each other. Nobody wants to be stuck in a broken home.

I’ll suffer this no longer

I’ll put an end to this, I swear

This, I swear

The sun will shine

This, I swear

This, I swear

This, I swear

This stanza has an interesting transition with a double meaning. “I’ll put an end to this, I swear” becomes “The sun will shine, this I swear.”  If the sun is gone, and there is no light or warmth in your life, you’ll become the center of your own damn universe. No life, no hope? Make your own sunlight. Fuck it. Might as well play God if it seems he’s already dead.

Outro

Music is scientifically proven to have a positive psychological effect. Therapists often recommend music as an outlet for emotions, whether you actively create it or passively listen to it. Sometimes it takes an angry or sad song to process those emotions. And, even mainstream rock music can have a profound effect. People may claim that Metallica are sellouts (is that a hint of jealousy that I detect?). But their music, even the sappy tracks, resonate with me.  Maybe these songs aren’t especially unique, but they are still relatable. Just like my sadness isn’t particularly special – look at the statistics and you’ll see that hundreds of people have similar traumas to your own – but this one is still mine, and I still feel it.

The Day That Never Comes was a single from the 2008 Metallica album, Death Magnetic.

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