“Sad But True” by Metallica

Metallica is a band which tends to drop some pretty-intellectual songs, and in that regard “Sad But True” is even more heavy-handed than many of the others. And on this track it reads as if the narrator is speaking to himself. Or rather it is his ego which is doing the talking. Or let’s say that it is his inner self, the dark side of his persona so to speak. And it can also be said that this inner voice is trying to seduce him into believing that he is his truest friend, with the ultimate goal being to take total control of his being.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Metallica's Sad But True at Lyrics.org.

So in a general kind of way, this song is actually based on the well-documented inner struggles we all face as intelligent human beings. That is to say that sometimes, more unfavorable sides of our nature want to take over. And the one which the narrator possesses is quite-clever indeed. For in addition to presenting himself as the person’s truest friend, he is also saying that with this person suppressing this side of his nature, he is not being true to himself.  In other words, the inner voice states that it rather is the “real” one, while the life this person is living on the outside is the “mask” used to conceal his true personality.

Who or What is this Voice?

And there have been other explanations offered for this song. For instance, it has been postulated that it is actually critiquing people blindly adhering to religious beliefs. And in that case, the inner voice would actually be the voice of reason if you will, the one that is telling its possessor to be more practical than spiritually-minded. There is also a very-popular theory that said voice is actually a personification of the narrator’s addiction.

But in the name of not overanalyzing an already-complex tune, we will just stick to the fundamental understanding of this song. And that is it representing the conflict between an individual and a part of his persona that is chastising him for not keeping it real, shall we say. Or more to the point is that said part of his psyche wants to completely takeover. And apparently, the ultimate idea the title of this song alludes to is once again this inner voice dissing him for not being true to his self.

Facts about “Sad But True”

This track is from Metallica’s fifth album, which is named after the band.  And it was released by Elektra Records as part of “Metallica” on 12 August 1991.

“Sad But True” was written by Metallica’s usual songwriting duo of Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield. The latter also served as the lead vocalist on the track. Hetfield in particular was inspired to write the tune by a 1978 movie entitled “Magic”. That movie starred Anthony Hopkins as a ventriloquist and an evil, “possessive”puppet who wants to control his character.

Lars and James also produced the track alongside one of their regular collaborators, Bob Rock.

“Sad But True” topped Finland’s music chart and also broke the top 20 of the UK Singles Chart. Additionally it appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 and overall charted in a dozen nations.

Amongst the musicians who have covered “Sad But True” is none other than hip-hop artist Snoop Dogg, who did so as part of MTV’s Icon tribute to Metallica in 2003.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...