Pet Sematary – Unearthing the Fear of Living Past Death


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Ramones's Pet Sematary at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. Ghastly Metaphors and Punk Rock Energy
  5. The Existential Anguish of ‘I Don’t Wanna be Buried’
  6. Victor and the Inescapable Nature of Fear
  7. Nightfall and the Inevitable Cry of Despair
  8. Memorable Lines: The Angst-Ridden Refrain that Haunts

Lyrics

Under the arc of a weather stain boards
Ancient goblins, and warlords
Come out the ground, not making a sound
The smell of death is all around
And at night when the cold wind blows
No one cares, nobody knows

I don’t wanna be buried in a pet cemetery
I don’t want to live my life again
I don’t wanna be buried in a pet cemetery
I don’t want to live my life again

Follow Victor to the sacred place
This ain’t a dream, I can’t escape
Molars and fangs, the clicking of bones
Spirits moaning among the tombstones
And at night, when the moon is bright
Someone cries, something ain’t right

I don’t wanna be buried in a pet cemetery
I don’t want to live my life again
I don’t wanna be buried in a pet cemetery
I don’t want to live my life again

The moon is full, the air is still
All of the sudden I feel a chill
Victor is grinning, flesh is rotting away
Skeletons dance, I curse this day
And at night when the wolves cry out
Listen close and you can hear me shout

I don’t wanna be buried in a pet cemetery
I don’t want to live my life again
I don’t wanna be buried in a pet cemetery
I don’t want to live my life again
Oh, no, oh, no
I don’t want to live my life, not again
Oh, no, oh, oh
I don’t want to live my life, not again
Oh, no, no, no
Don’t want to live my life, not again

Full Lyrics

Late 1989 served as the eerie backdrop for The Ramones’ unforeseen delve into the macabre with ‘Pet Sematary’. Inspired by Stephen King’s novel, the song is a haunting exploration of the themes of death, rebirth, and the chilling desire to avoid both. Unlike the band’s typical punk rock anthems, ‘Pet Sematary’ taps into a profound existential terror, one that strongly resonates with the primal fear of a life not fully lived.

The single’s hypnotic refrain echoes a sinister reluctance, a refusal to endure the cycle of life and death. It’s a cry out against the supernatural, against the unnatural reanimation featured in King’s original tale. As we peel back the layers of The Ramones’ offering, we find a poignant commentary on the human condition, cloaked within the catchy hooks of punk rock.

Ghastly Metaphors and Punk Rock Energy

The Ramones, known primarily for their breakneck tempos and rebellious vigor, take an unexpected turn in ‘Pet Sematary’ by weaving in elements of horror. The lyrical depiction of ‘ancient goblins, and warlords’ emerging from the soil paints a darkly vivid picture of the restless dead. It channels the punk ethos of upheaval, only this time, it’s the ground itself being disturbed, not the establishment.

Combining the rawness of punk with the unsettling eeriness of King’s horror creates a unique soundscape. The resulting track doesn’t merely convey a message; it sets a mood, a call to arms against the backdrop of a graveyard. It’s an anthem that compels the listener to revolt against the unknown darkness that death represents.

The Existential Anguish of ‘I Don’t Wanna be Buried’

The chorus is where the fear is most palpable. The repeated lines ‘I don’t wanna be buried in a pet cemetery / I don’t want to live my life again’ strike a chord deep within our psyche. It reflects a fundamental dread not just of death, but of resurrection — a concept often glorified, yet here, it is feared. The Ramones take a stance: to live life once is painful enough, and to endure it again, especially as an echo of former self, is an unfathomable distress.

Their protest against the notion of a second life, especially one under the conditions akin to those portrayed in King’s horror settings, is haunting. The Ramones articulate a feeling of resistance to the cycle of suffering that life can be, a sentiment that pushes against the common yearning for immortality and asks the listener to consider if once around is more than enough.

Victor and the Inescapable Nature of Fear

Who is Victor? In the context of King’s narrative, he’s a harbinger of doom, a sign of the horrific fate awaiting the song’s protagonist. But in The Ramones’ take, Victor could be everyman’s anxiety, the personification of the unavoidable march toward our end. As we ‘follow Victor to the sacred place’, we’re not just navigating a ‘Pet Sematary’; we’re confronting the inevitability of death itself.

The protagonist’s struggle to escape, symbolized by this pursuit, layers the song with a psychological depth. It’s not just a simple retelling of King’s story, but a relatable journey. Each of us, at some point, faces our own ‘Victor’ leading us somewhere we’re hesitant to follow. In acknowledging this, The Ramones tap into a vein of relatable angst, contrasted by the allure of the ‘sacred place’, which in horror is often a metaphor for the finality we all must face.

Nightfall and the Inevitable Cry of Despair

The Ramones masterfully use the setting of night to evoke the terror that creeps in with darkness in ‘Pet Sematary’. The nocturnal backdrop — moon, chill, and the wolf’s cry — all serve as harbingers of doom. Nighttime is when fears are magnified, and the song’s repeated invocation of these elements encapsulates the inescapable shroud of death that looms over all.

The cry that ‘something ain’t right’ is laden with a universal dread. It transcends the particular story of ‘Pet Sematary’ and taps into a broader horror. That ‘something’ is the corruption of natural order, the violation of the line between life and death — which is, at its heart, what King’s novel, and by extension, The Ramone’s track, communicates. It’s the cry of every person who feels the chilling grip of mortality and recoils from it.

Memorable Lines: The Angst-Ridden Refrain that Haunts

One cannot delve into ‘Pet Sematary’ without acknowledging the grip its chorus holds upon the listener. Unassuming in its simplicity, the line ‘I don’t want to live my life again’ resonates with a stark aversion to repetition, to fated reoccurrence. The Ramones have, in one line, encapsulated a sentiment many harbor but may never voice.

It is in this refrain that The Ramones pivot from punk rockers to philosophers of the macabre. The memorable lyric, replayed in the minds of those who hear it, becomes an anthem not just for the fear of death but for the trepidation of life’s potential rerun. The dread the verse evokes speaks volumes, cementing ‘Pet Sematary’ as both a punk classic and a provocative examination of our deepest fears.

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