The House Jack Built

Songfacts®:

  • This is a song about drug abuse. The line, "The higher you are, the farther you fall" is a metaphor James Hetfield came up with to describe the effect of drugs. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    jake - Las Vegas, NV

Comments: 26

  • Bmn from Hisuan, ArgentinaJust started to read Alan Moore's "From Hell" and read the line: " ...This is the House Jack built"

    reminded me instantly of this song, but I don't know if there's any real connection,....
    would be interesting to know....maybe someone here knows more about it? (if there's more to know about ;) )
  • Jason from Bartlesville, OkI've been a Metallica fan since 1986. I happened to be a passenger in a car whose speakers were working overtime to the then new "Master Of Puppets" album. The album's title song was the first tune by Metallica I ever heard. Needless-to-say, I was hooked, and still am 27 years later. Like most true fans, I own everything they've created (except St. Anger - see below). Like some fans I know the lyrics to every song they've written (except St. Anger - again, see below). I think "House That Jack Built" is pointedly/poignantly speaking about booze - specifically Jack Daniels. The line "It swallows me..." is exposing the irony that at first we are swallowing alcohol (general mode of ingestion anyway), but alcohol turns around to swallow us. Hetfield is essentially saying alcohol will consume its consumer. However, one could infer that this song's lyrics speak to illicit drug use and their effect on mind, body, soul. Additionally, one could surmise the song is talking about the loss of one's mental faculties (going crazy). I'm interjecting a little food-for-thought here, however, by an ever-widening margin, alcohol is the most dangerous/destructive drug available today.

    It is a simple truth that anything well written (song, book, essay, poem, etc) will speak to some subject or topic. Sometimes the topic is immediately clear with zero ambiguity, or vagueness, and/or little open room for debate. Other times the main focus speaks to the author in ways far different than it will to the reader. Even further, the writer may purposefully use metaphoric/allegoric speak to expose some basic idea, or absolute truth, that will be applicable to many, and most likely in many different ways. Having said all of the above, it would be logical, and wise, to conclude Hetfield was/is speaking to his own experience with alcohol addiction in a lyrical mode that's applicable to a wide range of addictions, and even reaches out to behavior that is not drug-induced.

    Now, from an early sentence above - Invisible Kid is a pretty good tune, but my POV is that St. Anger sucks. It is simply terrible, and I am truly glad they did not continue to experiment with that particular sound/format/technique.
  • Zach from Butler, United KingdomDONT need hetfields life facts to think about the song in different ways. Duh. you take his alcoholism too serious.
  • Zach from Butler, United KingdomJack could be anything. THe way the song is consructed, "Find my place to hide" could mean a heroin addict finding an alley to shoot up in. It could be an alcoholics house or bar to drink his "pain" away. " I twist away", being drunk and passing out, oe dying from an overdose. Think about it. Real hard. Get it strait. The song is great, the lyrics have a huge meaning warning others not to screw up their life. Period.
  • Billy from Newcastle, United KingdomCalling Metallica 'silly noise makers' is like calling Shakespeare dyslexic. This song is about the experiences and evils of alcoholism, drug taking is on a different level altogether. Well done for kicking the drink.
  • Camille from Semi, Lasecond of all, to the guy that said the shake part was for heroine, then maybe u should stop doin drugs before u hurt urself boy cuz u dont shake it
  • Camille from Semi, Lato aaaaaaall the people that called the legendary Metallica silly noise makers or got tired of Hammett's silly noise makers, u shouldn't be here
  • Rob from Los Angeles, CaHeroin was never hetfields drug of choice. if you read the book metallic and Philisophy, it is directly stated that this song is about hetfields alchoolism.
  • Ryan from Philly, PaFirst off, great song. Secondly, this song is not about Jack Daniels...it is about heroin, which was for a long time, Hetfield's drug of choice. Take a closer look at the lyrics, applying heroin to it rather than Jack Daniels and you'll see.
  • Billy from Cresco, Pa"The temple it tilts" obvious reference to Hetfield screwing up his body with "Jack." "Jack" being an obvious reference to jack Daniels.

    so, its not about drugs. its about Hetfield's battle with alcohol
  • Nick from Paramus, NjIt's James that uses the "Silly Noisemaker". And I like it, it gives the song a cool "Peter Frampton"-like feel.
  • Vlad from Podgorica, EuropeSilly noisemakers reffers to the Kirk's silly stompboxes which turn sound of a guitar into a "silly noise". Kirk gone too far with those on this album.
  • Steven from Viking, CanadaChris, Nick, I'm with you too. This song KICK A**!!!!
  • Keith from Ottawa, CanadaUmmm, Ian, technically everybody that can talk is a silly noisemaker.:P

    By the way, this song is great. It sounds amazing.
  • Matt from Gueydan, LaTo Ian from Canada, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOW DARE YOU CALL METALLICA "SILLY NOISEMAKERS"!!! THEY ARE ONE OF THE GREATEST BANDS EVER FORMED AND THEIR MUSIC ROCKS!!!!!!
  • Jeremy from Rocklin, CaIt's not drugs folks. It's alcohol. James has long been an alcoholic, by his own admission, and his drink of choice was, for a long time, Jack Daniels. Even spent a long stint in rehab for it. :(

    Although the metaphor could be equated to drugs, the song's intent was more The House That Jack (Daniels) Built.
  • Shawn from Pasadena, MdFirst, I'd like to say I love this song. It's very awesome. Now onto my interpretation:
    It's about a drugs. He tries to find his escape in life (Close my eyes find my place to hide.) as he begins to puff (And I shake as I take it in.) He then is ready to get his high (Let the show begin.)
    The drugs obviously bring on bad effects (It swallows me, as it takes me in it's fog.) He begins to get worse and worse (Don't want control, as it takes me down, and down, and down again.) And his high harms him more than it helps (The higher you are, the farther you fall.) The man's body is in terrible shape, mentally and physically.(My body, my temple. This temple it tilts.) Meanwhile the drugs are consuming him (It swallows me. Is that you there? I twist away. Away, away, away...)
  • Michael from Zurich, United StatesChris and Nick, I absolutely agree with you two:
    damn great song
    To Ian from Cananda: how the hell can you call Metallica "silly noisemakers"?!!
  • Ian from Hamilton, CanadaI love the song but I get tired of Kirk and his silly noisemakers.
  • Thomas from Prince George, Canada"The House That Jack Built" Is also a book written by a lesser known Beat poet, Jack Spicer, who died of alcoholism.
  • Dane from Lamar, CoI'm with philip. It seem to me that the house is James. And all these things are pushing on him(my body my temple, this temple it tilts). The haze of drunkenness is destroying his reality, (Is that the moon? Or just the light that lights this dead end street?) so much so that he can't hold himself up to fight it.
  • Philip from Colorado Springs, Cowhat if the song is and even deeper metaphor. the house could be james himself. If u ever read the peom u'll understand wat im about to say. what it the house is a metaphor for all of the things that were effecting james at the time, drugs alcohol , etc. Things "build" up so much that they eventually "fall " into peices.
  • Jake from Las Vegas, Nvthats not right i love the damn song too it is a different metallica like on "ronnie"
  • Chris from Las Vegas, Nvyou are not alone Nick. This song rocks
  • Chris from Memphis, TnThe House that Jack Built is obviously about Drinking. Jack Daniels. "Drugs" is such an ambiguous term to use when describing the meaning of any song. James had a drinking problem.
  • Nick from Paramus, NjJames uses one of those talk-box thingies to play the solo. By the way I'm one of the only creatures on God's green earth that thinks this song sounds alright.
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