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Metallica - The Unforgiven



For "The Unforgiven" James Hetfield put his personal feelings stemmed from his childhood turmoil into lyrics. As he said in an interview, "personal wounds are a great thing to write about." This is somewhat of a complicated song, such that each individual line doesn't necessarily posses a deeper meaning, but rather you have have to collectively consider them together in a verse or chorus. So without further ado, let' do some rock n' roll analysis of this song.


Written by James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and Kirk Hammett, this song was a new style for Metallica. They wanted to try a song with a heavy verse and a soft chorus, something rarely heard in hard rock or metal.


James Hetfield's singing on this track was inspired by Chris Isaak's song 'Wicked Game.

Producer Bob Rock explained he changed the way he recorded his vocals on this song:


"At this point, James wanted to sing. He had done a lot of screaming, but now he wanted to go somewhere else. In the past, he had always doubled his vocals. He didn't sing harmonies per se; he just sang the same thing on another track. But the process of doubling doesn't give you character, really; in fact, a lot of times it takes character away, because you're hoping that the second vocal gives you the depth that your first vocal should have. I told James that we should record his vocal, but instead of listening to himself on headphones I wanted him to listen on speakers. The difference was amazing. He sang the song, and because he heard himself in a different way, there was a whole new dimension to his voice. It was big and deep and warm and jumped out at you."


Lyrics


New blood joins this earth, And quickly he's subdued. Through constant pained disgrace The young boy learns their rules. With time the child draws in. This whipping boy done wrong. Deprived of all his thoughts The young man struggles on and on he's known A vow unto his own, That never from this day His will they'll take away. What I've felt, What I've known Never shined through in what I've shown. Never be. Never see. Won't see what might have been. What I've felt, What I've known Never shined through in what I've shown. Never free. Never me. So I dub thee unforgiven. They dedicate their lives To running all of his. He tries to please them all – This bitter man he is. Throughout his life the same – He's battled constantly. This fight he cannot win – A tired man they see no longer cares. The old man then prepares To die regretfully – That old man here is me. What I've felt, What I've known Never shined through in what I've shown. Never be. Never see. Won't see what might have been. What I've felt, What I've known Never shined through in what I've shown. Never free. Never me. So I dub thee unforgiven. What I've felt, What I've known Never shined through in what I've shown. Never be. Never see. Won't see what might have been. What I've felt, What I've known Never shined through in what I've shown. Never free. Never me. So I dub thee unforgiven. Never free. Never me. So I dub thee unforgiven. You labelled me, I'll label you. So I dub thee unforgiven. Never free. Never me. So I dub thee unforgiven. You labelled me, I'll label you. So I dub thee unforgiven. Never free. Never me. So I dub thee unforgiven.





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