The Outlaw Torn

Album: Load (1996)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is about losing someone that means a lot to you and desperately seeking a replacement that never comes. It could be written about the band's late bassist, Cliff Burton. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Nick - Paramus, NJ
  • Another possibility: The song might be a dialog between Christ and his Father. Christ was an outlaw and was torn on the cross when he was crucified. At the beginning of the song, he talks about waiting and searching for God - "I ride the dirt I ride the tide for you (have become a mortal) I search the outside search inside" (for his Father). "You make me smash the clock and feel, I'd rather die behind the wheel, time was never on my side. So on I wait my whole lifetime" - Christ's mortality is evident and he awaits meeting his Father again and always knew his time here was fleeting. The last few verses - "And if I close my mind in fear...", he's lamenting his human body and its human failings - closed mindedness, pride, deceit, mortality and the reminder of these human failings is his ordeal on the cross. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Matt - Pittsburgh, PA
  • Kirk Hammett played the first solo in the middle and James Hetfield played the solo at the end of the song. Since they were running out of room on the CD, Hetfield's solo had to be cut short because no more than 79:59 minutes/seconds can be stored on a normal CD.
  • This was included on their 1999 album S&M with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.
  • James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich wrote this song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Nick - Paramus, NJ, for above 3
  • On the single for Metallica's "The Memory Remains" (1998), the uncut version of "The Outlaw Torn" is featured. It is 11 minutes long, and contains James Hetfield's full solo. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jake - Buffalo, NY

Comments: 30

  • Hamidi think this conversation is between devil and God.
  • Amy from IndianaThis song is one of my favorites. For me it symbolizes several things. The main ones are, my desire for the twin soul connection "and now I wait my whole lifetime for you", and my desire to feel content and fulfilled in life "I search the outside, search inside for you".
  • Jesse Odum from OrlandoI think this is a song to his wife. Asking his love to remind him where he has come from. The hurt...the struggle...it is easy to forget and I’m sure it is easy to forget when you are a giant f--king rock star. Hetfield is basically asking his woman to keep him grounded.
  • Saira from UkPersonally i think this song is about grief and the loss of someone profound to you......
  • Dave from Thornloe, OnThis song may have various meanings, but it is a book written by Edgar Rice Burrows 'The Outlaw of Torn'. Even the chorus says 'Outlaw of Torn'! which is the castle's name where the Outlaw lives.
  • Zero from Nowhere, NjBeautiful, powerful song, intensified tenfold with the SF Symphony.

    By the way, I think that Kirk uses a slide to play the solo in the middle, just like on "Ain't My B****" and the first, clean solo on "Bleeding Me" (another powerful, beautiful song off the underrated LOAD).
  • Dionisio from San Jose, Costa RicaThis is a very powerful, dramatic song as many of their songs. Is easy to relate too cause of its ambiguity and symbolisms. Splitting hairs, you may propose that it is maybe about his relationship with his wife and how it conflicts with his relationship with alcohol, the only kind of romantic song of Metallica. His plea at the end could be to her to "stich me together...if I come undone". He explains how long he has search for a woman to accept this "mistress"...
  • Dan from Wf, TxWhat James is saying is that he is not complete...............in his understanding.................probably his understanding about his parents beliefs (religious). However, he is content to live this life with unanswered questions. These feelings make him "torn". He also wants to be courageous enough to handle the outcome of his life and to come to terms with who he is. It is a plea...........a prayer to God................help me through this...............life.
  • Adam from Clinton Township, MiThat solo was extended live. They did have to cut it short for recording purposes, but they play(ed?) it in concert as it was intended to be.
  • Marcelo from Sj, Costa RicaFor me... it's about loving someone you can never have, and not being able to get over it no matter how much you try
  • Dan from Holmen, WiRegardless of what Metallica planned it to mean... this song IS beyond words. Good thought Mark. I love someone and she is gone now and I relate!!!!
  • Nick from Cairns, AustraliaMark, dude, all of metallica's songs never get tired listening to. Well at least for me it doesn't. they've really influenced me as a guitarist. the whole song, the distorted bass, poundin bass. I love kirks solo there, its so surreal and powerful. and james solo at the end just makes me wanna listen to the whole thing, even if it fades in.
  • Mark from Somersworth, NhOne of best songs ever. The sheer intensity of the guitar work should be considered legendary. One of those songs you never get tired of listening to. They must have shed tears on the playback because this song is almost beyond words.
  • Ahmed from Baghdad, Iraqgreat song especially in s&m james sing it alot better i love it
  • Jose from San Salvador, Otherthe lyrics are easy to relate, actually almost all of the metallica's songs are like this, I love the part when kirk plays the solo, it sounds like you're shaking a lot of things off
  • Jqy from Houston, Utthis is my favorite song and im from texas not utah
  • Brian from Burke, VaR.I.P. I love this song it is the the best song on that cd. I hope there is a heaven and Cliff,Dime,and Randy are jamming.
  • Anthony from Melboune, AustraliaThis song is about the famous book by Edgar Rice Burrows The Outlaw Of Torn (well it follows the same story line SOTY ROCKS!!!!
  • Charlesgreer from Ocean City, Md, Mdi think all of you are right......... It is a great song anyway you look at it.
  • Serkan from Ankara, TurkeyI think The Outlaw Torn is the best song of Load; both musically and lyrically...It does not include any unnecessary puns or riffs. The volume effects increase its charm and James' guitar solo concludes it so nicely...
  • Matt from Pittsburgh, PaLOL I think we all may be right! If you shade it with your life or impressions or angers the true meaning sort of becomes real only to you. In the end it seems to be about someone who drags themselves through some serious sh*! for the love of another, only to fail in the attempt. I can identify with that for sure and so can most of us I think. Metallica is one of the most lyrically "thoughtful" bands out there; that is why they are so present in so many people's lives- the music is great but the staying power of a song is when someone says, "I remember that song, the song is about me"- we remember it if it speaks about us, to us...Oddly, for me Bruce Springsteen with the E Street Band around him is the only other one that I like better than Metallica; his songs are very close to me in my experiences in so many ways.
  • Michael from Melbourne, AustraliaI belive this is a (great) song about a man who is loyal, true an honest to his family but in a time of depression. He seeks more of his partner in the way of feeling, emotion an care. He feels his partner is un-aware of there duty and is Torn by that.... But I belive as with most of Metallica's music, there is a lot more then behind the words, I guess that's what makes them a true 'Super Group' of the modern era..
  • Chris from Thessaloniki, GreeceThe songs great- no doubt it's the best Rock Opera ever. Now about the lyrics... Matt is perhaps right, but my opinion is that it is about searching a person your in love with. "I ride the dirt, I ride the tide, for you, I search the outside search inside, for you", means he tries as hard as he can to find her, "I'm Outlaw Torn and I'm Torn", means that he has become an Outlaw Torn tryong to find her, "I'd rather die behind the wheel", "wheel" could be the wheel of the car he drives trying to find her(sounds a bit stupid, doesn't it?).
  • Matt from Pittsburgh, PaLet me preface this by saying that I'm not a religious guy, but think this song is a really, really good one (even in their giant pile of really really god ones!)... I think the song might be a dialog between Christ and his Father. Christ was an outlaw and was torn on the cross when he was crucified. At the beginning of the song, he talks about waiting and searching for God -- "I ride the dirt I ride the tide for you (have become a mortal)I search the outside search inside" (for his Father). "You make me smash the clock and feel, I'd rather die behind the wheel, time was never on my side. So on I wait my whole lifetime"--Christ's mortality is evident and he awaits meeting his Father again and always knew his time here was fleeting. The last few verses -" And if I close my mind in fear...", he's lamenting his human body and its human failings- closed mindedness, pride, deceit, mortality and the reminder of these human failings is his ordeal on the cross. Sound good?
  • Ian from New York, NyNO!!! it's a bad idea to force your opinions on to others. Songs are about what ever we want them to be about. By forcing your meaning on others you are preventing their ablity to think on their own.
  • Sebastian from New York, NyNO!! the song is about loosing someone. and looking around for another who can replace the late personbut knowing that this won´t happen...
    hetfield tries to work with the dead of his mother
    and jason didn´t sing..and hetfield played the first solo (the tranquil one) and the last...so jamyz and kirk alternates with playing rythm and solo guitar!
  • Hetfield from Manchester, EnglandTo me this song sounds like a convicted man on the run (ie Outlaw) who is TORN between the life, love and family that he leaves behind, and the freedom that he gains

    It is like a last goodbye to his significant other, as he makes his bid for freedom from the law
  • Charles from Big Stone Gap, VaWith jason's backup vocals this song was absolutely bad... :)
  • Mike from Drayton Valley, CanadaThis song is about losing something/someone that is close to you.. cliff burton... your with us all the time.
  • Brian from Mayfield Heights, OhProbobly the best song on the cd, musically. I love it and can relate to it absolutely.
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