Sad But True

Album: Metallica (1991)
Charted: 20 98
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  • This song is about blind faith in religion and the lengths people will go to to practice their faiths. The line, "I'm inside, open your eyes" means that god only exists in people's heads. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Luke - Auckland, New Zealand
  • James Hetfield got the idea for this song from the 1978 Anthony Hopkins film Magic, which is about a ventriloquist who is controlled by his evil puppet.
  • Kid Rock sampled this in his song "American Badass." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Like, "Thing That Should Not Be," this was written and performed in standard-D tuning for guitar. However, the song's demo was originally in the key of E. Producer Bob Rock recalled to "We were in pre-production, which was uncomfortable because nobody had ever made them go through their songs in such a deliberate way before, and six songs in 'Sad But True' came along. Suddenly, I realized that every song, including this one, was in the key of E.

    I brought this to the band's attention, and they said, 'Well, isn't E the lowest note?' So I told them that on Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood, which I produced and Metallica loved, the band had tuned down to D. Metallica then tuned down to D, and that's when the riff really became huge. It was this force that you just couldn't stop, no matter what."
  • The artist Pushead (Brian Schroeder) created the sleeve art for the single, which is an image of two skulls looking at each other. When James Hetfield saw the artwork, it made him hear the song differently. He told Rolling Stone in 2012, "I had no idea the duality was so blatant in that song. He picked up on that: good and evil; the secret me and the public me."
  • Ulrich, Hammett and Newsted were all going through divorces while making the self-titled album, also known as The Black Album. Hammett told Playboy in 2001: "I was an emotional wreck. I was trying to take those feeling out of guilt and failure and channel them into the music, to get something positive out of it. Jason and Lars were too, and I think that has a lot to do with why The Black Album sounds the way it does." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Royal Blood covered this song for The Metallica Blacklist. The 2021 tribute collection comprises covers of Black Album tracks by various artists. After titling their debut single "Out Of The Black," then asking "How Did We Get So Dark?," the British rock duo were an apt choice for the record.
  • In a 2022 interview with Metal Hammer, Jason Newsted named "Sad But True" as his personal highlight on The Black Album, "because of the weight."

Comments: 38

  • Puppet from Off The ChartsAnyone who was/is a user (cocaine eg) can recognize the song as how drugs deceives you:
    I'm your life, I'm the one who takes you THERE,
    They, they betray, I'm your ONLY TRUE FRIEND NOW (fing lie),
    I'm your dream, I'm your eyes, I'm your PAIN (this swept me off the feet)

  • Poopybutt from Chicago IllinoisIt's not about religion. It used to be, but the single artwork convinced James Hetfield to reconsider what the lyrics mean. And so, ever since, the legendary Metallica song Sad But True is about...duality, specifically in the midst of a crippling addiction. In the addict there are two halves, the addiction itself and the victim that is the addict. The addiction isolates the addict from other people, creating a sense of paranoia and self-deceit that the addict can conquer his/her addiction themselves without anyone else. However, the addiction becomes so strong once fed that all attempts to keep it at bay fail and the addiction comes to define the addict's life forever. It also drives a craving for more that may even make the addict stoop so low as to theivery or lying to get their fix, whether it be booze. drugs. or sex. If you hear the lyrics under this interpretation, everything makes much more sense than religion. Even Metallica agrees to this interpretation, especially as James Hetfield's hostility toward religion starts to fade.
  • Theknowerseeker from Baton RougeDoesn't sound like anything having to do with religion but rather with codependency / abusive relationship or with multiple personalities / disassociation. Cults might fit that description, but not religion.
  • Zack from Czech RepublicThis song is simply about a soul or spirit talking to its own body...nothing else. There is nothing satanic about it.. its quite genius
  • Bvshr from Jacksonville I was told the song Sad But True had strong satanic elements to it. Not that I’m a religious nut, but when you listen to it and think the context fits almost perfectly
  • Russ from NashvilleReading all the comments only solidifies for me that music has different meanings for different people. Depends on where you are in your journey. Music is so awesome.
  • No One from No WhereI always thought it meant depression controlling someone and that's sad but true. And I love Metallica!!!
  • Dano from Medford Oregon I think this song is about codependency and and how one who is in a toxic relationship is under the misconception that one cannot live without the other that one is the others pain that the other you cannot see.
  • Andrew from OrI always thought this song (which is AWESOME!!!) was about drugs controlling your mind!
  • Ivaylo from BulgariaThis song is about life itself and how life actually controls you. It's not about manipulation or anything like that. The simple explanation is usually the right one. The lyrics clearly say it
    I'm your life
    I'm the one who takes you there
    I'm your life
    I'm the one who cares
    They betray
    I'm your only true friend now
    They'll betray
    I'm forever there)

    It is how your past and decisions build you and have a result over your future. And it is "Sad but true" that you can't escape your past and your fears build by it and that the future has already been written by your past decisions. The song itself puts the story from the POV of your "life" (future and past). It has nothing to do with religion or drugs or anything.
  • Ja from EarthJa, whoever wrote above, that this song is about religion is daft. It's about the parts of ourselves we bury and hide and refuse to love.
  • Tony from Cleveland NcI always thought this song was about people's inner demons like bad thoughts etc.
  • Smurf from Moncton, NbIn my opinion that no one else has to believe, he is talking about the good and bad side towards a person in general.
  • James from Yokosuka, JapanZero from NJ, it's Darkthrone not Dark Throne and 2nd they don't sing about satanic stuff. You don't know anything about Black Metal. Btw you wouldn't have your band Slipknot or metallica if it wasn't for Black Metal. That music has been around from the late 70's to early 80's. Yes both of bands where influenced by Black Metal bands. Hell ever Thrash Band that came out in the 80's was influenced by Black Metal. This has been a music fact for your ass!
  • Dionisio from San Jose, Costa RicaThis is one of the most satanic songs ever written. This one is a no brainer. The twist is that his incarnation of satan tries to become a cautionary tale, by mocking the puppet, how is he/her, all of us been used by the only form of a real negative force. A force that feels foreign as a drug, as an addiction as greed,etc., and satan laughs at all the nasty things we do, while actually begging for love.."im your hate when you want loove"!. Misdirected actions of misfired instincts of people that dont know themselves. It really works off "master of puppets", but represents it much more subtle, thus dangerous
  • Zero from Nowhere, NjCory, the Heretic Anthem was written just to piss off the people who accused the band of being Satanist when in reality none of them are and about Slayer Tom Araya is actaully very religeous and I'm pretty sure none of them are Satanists they just like to write songs about that subject matter. It's really Black Metal bands like Burzum and Dark Throne you should stay away from (I never really cared for Black Metal musically anyway).
  • Adam from Surrey, United KingdomI'm not sure why but everytime I do something that is morally, emotionally or physically wrong even to my standards, this song will be on the radio as soon as I turn it on. Also, my cousin had this song played at his wedding.... legend.... METALLICA RULES!!!!
  • Cameron from Seatt/e, WaI believe this song is about satan trying to take control of the anti christ in revelations as the anti christ is a human being.
  • Cory from Akron, American Samoai dont believe metaliica knocks on religion as much as ppl say they do but yea theres the god that failed but tht bout the god of christianity scientists and as a christian i can safle y say thts not my god bcuz god knows mind over matter dosent always workand i dont want to believe tht metallica is as antichristianity as ppl say they r bcuz i am now a strong christian follower and metllica is my favorite band so i highly doubt this is bout religion but ill have to c for myself cus there r bands i like but i refuse to listen to some of there songs cus of there dissing on christianity and talk of the antichrist (slipknot-the heretic anthem, slayer cult)but in the end im still hoping metallica is not antichristianity cus i dont wanna have to give me favorite band up
  • Ivy from Springfield, Nesuper eighties sounding...gross
  • Linda from Near Boston, MaWikipedia says it's about drugs taking over your life.
  • Chris from Parker, CoWell, I don't believe the songfacts here. If you read the lyrics it seems alot more similar to drug or alcohol addiction. "I'm your dream, mind astray, I'm your eyes while you're away
    I'm your pain while you repay," and "You're my mask, you're my cover my shelter" makes it pretty obvious to me that this song is a person's alter ego talking back at them.
  • Darrick from Swanzey, NhWikipedia says that this song is about somebody suffering from schizophrenia and/or dissociative identity disorder. That's closer to the way I've always interpreted it.
  • Michael from Morris County, Nji think this song is about multiple personality disorder. it makes sense, especially when you think of the whole "i am you" line.
  • Kyle from Boise, IdI have listened to this song because it reminds me of a girlfriend I have. It describes the situation down to the t.
  • Matt from Cleveland, Tnthis song is what got me hooked on Metallica.Metallica 4 Life!
  • Cherie from Newcastle , AustraliaI think this song is about drug addiction and the addict within that takes control of your body mind and soul, the addict within that whores you like a pimp
    "I'm your dream, make you real
    I'm your eyes when you must steal
    I'm your pain when you can't feel
    I'm your truth, telling lies
    I'm your reason alibis"
  • Marissa from Akron, OhIt's a song. Music is always open to interpretation. It can mean whatever you want it to. That being said, this song kicks ass. Also, that movie you're talking about, I've never seen it but the idea scares the living crud out of me. I'm really afraid of ventriloquist dummies, not the cool Jeff Dunham ones but the old creepy wooden ones.
  • Austin from Bristow, VaOne of Metallica's best.
  • Josh from Grasonville, MdFirst Metallica song ever heard and I was hooked by the band ever since. This kicks major ass!!! METAL UP YOUR ASS!!!
  • Dylan from Ottawa, KsThe song is about the movie "Magic" and the character's problem, but it can be used for nearly anything to that effect, such as any mental disorder or possesion.
  • Cristina from Long Beach, Cathis is a very good song METALLICA plays this song every time that they go on tour i love this song
    it rocks this is what u call
  • Steve from Boston, MaSomehow I always thought this song was about being addicted to drugs. Apparently either I was right and everyone else is wrong, or the opposite... :)
  • Alex from Fresno, CaLuke is flat out wrong. Thats the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

    This song is about demon possession. All it takes is one listen to the lyrics, its obvious. Anyone who says otherwise is an idiot.
  • Danielle from Palm Coast, Fli love this song metallica the best and ever they seem to give you a vision into another world!!!i lve them so much!! if i have a kid and it is an boy all name him metallica!
  • Czar from Tarlac City, Philippines, OtherI think the one said above, that this is about faith is wrong.. this song is about the evil side of us that contradicts our conscience.
  • Laura from Perth, West Australialove this metallica song!!! one of my favourites, saw them perform this live in 2004, i was going off!!! pure genius!!
  • Richard from Merthyr Tydfil, WalesThis song is based on the 1978 movie Magic, starring Anthony Hopkins. The movie is about a ventriloquist who is controlled by his puppet
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