"Ain't My Bitch" is the opening track on Metallica's sixth studio album, Load.
The "bitch" in the song doesn't refer to a woman. It refers to a "bitch" in the sense of a complaint. This fact, of course, didn't stop people from jumping at the chance to be indignant over it, and some controversy arose. Looking at the lyrics, it's clear that the song has nothing to do with disrespecting women.
Metallica frontman James Hetfield sings "Ain't My Bitch" from a first-person perspective. He's basically crashing forward and telling the negative people in his life to not dump their complaints on him and to not try to force him to take on their problems. "It ain't my bitch" is just another way of saying, "It isn't my problem so leave me out of it."
This theme might come across as a bit cold, but the song's really about getting toxic people out of one's life.
Metallica recorded the first demo of this song on April 6, 1995, under the shortened title of "Bitch."
As a whole, Load was controversial among many Metallica fans because its sound was more mainstream than any of Metallica's preceding albums. The band had built their reputation with thrash metal that scared the hell out of most pop-music listeners. It was the kind of stuff angry teenagers blasted while holed-up in bedrooms plotting their revenge against the world, or the type of thing barbaric-yet-intellectual folks turned up to 11 while not giving a single damn about "fitting in" to polite society. Metallica had built a fanbase of proud outsiders, then Load came along with a more radio-friendly sound and generally accessible lyrics and riled up the fanbase.
Still, "Ain't My Bitch" is probably the hardest song on Load.
The issues with the new sound may have been exaggerated by the other factors, anyway. That's how the band themselves frequently spoke about it. Hammett has said that he thought their newly short haircuts primed the way some hardcore fans heard the music. "I didn't think Metallica was all about having long hair," Hammett told Loudwire. "I thought it was about creating music."
Mostly, the band has stated to a man that they weren't reaching for anything commercial in the new Load sound, they just wanted to try something new. They'd shown they could rule the world of thrash metal and wanted to stretch their talents to try new things. As with so many bands with cultish fanbases, this created more of a problem than might be expected.
One of the sound deviations specific to "Ain't My Bitch" was lead guitarist Kirk Hammett using a slide for his guitar solo. Using slides is normally not a big deal at all, but it was the first time Hammett had done so for a Metallica record.
Metallica played this song live regularly during the Poor Touring Me tour they did in support of Load from 1996 to 1997. They last performed the song live on April 17, 1998, at the Queens Wharf Event Centre in Wellington, New Zealand.
A live version of this song is the B-side of the US/Canadian version of the "King Nothing
" single. It was recorded on August 4, 1996 at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre in California.