3 Eternal Metallica Songs that Stand the Test of Time

The Los Angeles-born heavy metal rock band Metallica changed music. The group brought sounds to the mainstream that hadn’t previously existed. With heart-pounding drums and emotional, growling vocals, the group made its own unique brand of rebellion cool. More than that, they became Hall of Famers doing it. The duo of founding members James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich turned a subgenre into prominence.

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In so doing, the group has written and released songs and albums that have so far stood the test of time. But here below, we wanted to dive into a trio of tunes that especially fit that bill. Three songs that will be remembered for decades and even centuries into the future for their force of will and sonic heft. These are three eternal Metallica songs.

[RELATED: Metallica’s James Hetfield Reveals How Elton John and Bernie Taupin Challenged Him]

“Nothing Else Matters” from Metallica (1991)

Talk about a song that knows how to build. This track from the band’s 1991 self-titled album begins with simple electric guitar picking, which just grows and grows thanks to intricate rhythms and leads, buoyed by strings and then the full band. Likely Metallica’s most famous song, this one has it all: remorse, worry, power, strength, nostalgia, poetry, passion, explosions, and existentialism. On the track, lead singer James Hetfield croons,

So close, no matter how far
Couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters

Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words, I don’t just say
And nothing else matters

“Enter Sandman” from Metallica (1991)

Another from the group’s 1991 self-titled album, this song is cut from a similar cloth as the one above but has more drive and aggression. As such, it sets the stage for the album as its opening song. On it, Hetfield rages, belting emotion in a way that made him one of the most iconic frontmen of the 20th century. Imbued with religious motifs, this song bridges darkness with a twisted hope. On it, the lead singer offers,

Say your prayers, little one
Don’t forget, my son
To include everyone
I tuck you in, warm within
Keep you free from sin
‘Til the Sandman, he comes

Sleep with one eye open
Gripping your pillow tight

Exit light, what is it?
(Enter night)
Take my hand
We’re off to never-never land

“One” from …And Justice for All (1989)

This is an especially tragic song highlighting the sadness that comes from war. The track is about a solider who has much of his body blown off by a landmine. In the hospital, he jolts his bed to make the sound of an SOS in Morse code, wanting to end his life. It seems impossible that wars still go on in this world but, sadly, they do. It’s for this reason that this song will continue to live on. Sings Hetfield on it,

I can’t remember anything
Can’t tell if this is true or a dream
Deep down inside I feel to scream
This terrible silence stops me

Now that the war is through with me
I’m waking up, I cannot see
That there’s not much left of me
Nothing is real but pain now

Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please, God, wake me

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