Cure

Album: Load (1996)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Cure" is about the modern human condition as a whole. Cut loose from a clear sense of purpose or faith in something higher than the material world, we're all looking for our own release from the nagging voices in our heads. We are indeed looking for the cure, each of us in our own personal manifestations. That quest unfortunately leaves a lot of causalities who pick the wrong medicines.
  • This song is sort of like Moby Dick (the novel, not the Led Zeppelin song). Really, it is.

    Just as Herman Melville gave us enough to know that the whale in Moby Dick symbolizes something extraordinarily significant yet left things ambiguous enough that everyone can project their own interpretation, Metallica frontman James Hetfield paints a picture of disease in "Cure" but keeps it gray enough that we can all give a different take on it. It's the same lyrical tactic employed by artists like Bob Dylan, and some would even argue it's an essential quality of all good art - hook 'em with something heavy but leave enough room for their imaginations to fill in the rest.

    All that being said, "Cure" is generally not considered high art. It's mostly looked at as a pretty good song, if not totally forgettable throwaway album filler. That's not Songfacts' take, but rather the general consensus. In a retrospective piece concerning the Load album, for instance, Joseph Schafer of Decibel wrote, "The weakest parts of Load, songs like 'The Cure' and 'Thorn Within,' could be Danzig songs." Minus the Danzig part (Danzig fans would surely consider that a compliment), that pretty much sums up how "Cure" is viewed by Metallica fans. For non-Metallica fans, it basically doesn't exist.

    The song's lyrics actually do offer up an interesting examination, however.

    "Cure" opens with a man who "takes another bullet." Here, the meaning seems to imply that the bullets are metaphors for drugs or booze ("he takes his medicine").

    He thinks the answer's cold and his hand
    He takes in his medicine
    The man takes another bullet
    He's been fooled again


    After this verse, though, things get hazier, and the substance-abuse angle seems too narrow a take.

    Besides the unnamed man, the one other character mentioned in the song is an unnamed woman.

    The lies tempt her and she follows
    Again she lets him in
    She must believe to fill the hollow
    She's been fooled again


    Here it's less certain that substance abuse is the problem. It seems to have something more to do with a person. Possibly she's one of those unfortunate women who are so desperate for love that they're willing to take in (consciously or unconsciously) an abusive man to fill that need. The rest of the song, though, grows even vaguer.

    Betting on the cure
    It must get better than this
    Betting on the cure
    Everyone's got to have the sickness
    'Cause everyone seems to need the cure
    Precious cure


    Addiction and abusive relationships may indeed be issues in this song, but neither seem to be the essential core. The song is more of a general observation that everyone feels something is missing in their lives and everyone is looking for some kind of external cure, whether that's drugs, love, money, video games, fame, or [insert your preferred stimulus here]. In that way, "Cure" links somewhat to another Load song, "King Nothing," which is obviously about this subject.
  • Metallica themselves seem to consider "Cure" to be unexceptional. It's one of four songs on Load that they've never played live. The others are "The House Jack Built," "Thorn Within," and "Ronnie."

Comments: 3

  • Zero from Nowhere, NjYeah, most likely alchohol. "He thinks the answer is cold and in his hand/he takes his medicine."
  • Jeremy from Lafayette, La I think it's about drugs. Because everyone starts out not "needing" it. They're just curios. And then they kind of find out later, that they have grown to need it.
  • Nick from Paramus, NjThis song was originally going to be called "Believe" because of the chorus.
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