Metallica’s “Hardwired” Lyrics Meaning

The title of this song is actually the beginning of the lyrics’ primary phrase, which reads “hardwired to self-destruct”. This is a term which Metallic picked up from a friend who was dealing with drug addiction at the time. So in that regard it would allude to what he deemed to be his natural tendency to engage in self-destructive behavior.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Metallica's Hardwired at

And this theme can be applied both individualistically and macrocosmically to this song. So one hand “Hardwired” has been interpreted to be about drug addiction and overdosing in general. But James Hetfield at least perceives it to be deeper than that. Indeed from his philosophical perspective he is speaking to the human race as a whole. And he is wondering if, in the grand scheme of things, will our time be cut short via specific behaviors. Or stated differently are we collectively on the right path, or will our own actions lead to our premature extinction? And judging by the way the lyrics play out, his outlook isn’t particularly optimistic.

So conclusively, this song can be interpreted as being based on an internal ordeal within a particular individual. But more to the point is the idea that the human race in its entirety is apparently headed down an irreversible, self-destructive path.

Facts about “Hardwired”

“Hardwired” was released by Metallica’s own label, Blackened Records, on 18 November 2016. Its debut date was a few months earlier, during a radio interview Metallica did on 18 August 2016. And it sort of serves as the title track of the album it is featured on, which is 2016’s “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct”. And despite this being the last song they completed for the album, this was also the project’s lead single.

“Hardwired” was written by Metallica co-founders Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield. And the track’s producer is Greg Fidelman.

“Hardwired” was an international success, charting in almost 15 nations overall.

Where it performed most-impressively is in Metallica’s homeland of the United States. For instance, it topped Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart and appeared on four of Billboard’s lists in general. Also it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 2017.

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