What does The Outlaw Torn mean?

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Metallica: The Outlaw Torn Meaning


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The Outlaw Torn Lyrics

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And now I wait my whole lifetime, for you.
And now I wait my whole lifetime, for you.

I ride the dirt, I ride the tide, for you.
I search the outside, search inside, for you.

To take back what you left me, you know I'll always burn to be,...


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    Sep 5th, 2017 9:14pm report

    This could be about James' father who abandoned him at an early age. James has mentioned that this has impacted his life tremendously.

    His father died in 1996, the same year this song came out, so it could be about James dealing with his death and with abandonment all over again.

    "And now I wait my whole lifetime for you"

    James has waited his entire life for his dad to return to him. When he finally does, he leaves again (by death).

    "I ride the dirt, I ride the tide for you
    I search the outside, search inside for you"

    James never had a father figure, so he had to teach himself how to be a man. He searches inside for it.

    "To take back what you left me
    I know I’ll always burn to be
    The one who seeks so I may find
    And now I wait my whole lifetime"

    His father has left him again and he's completely shattered by it. He'll always long for a father that he'll never have.

    "Outlaw of torn
    Outlaw of torn
    And I’m torn"

    James is obviously emotionally torn by this.

    "The more I search, the more my need for you
    The more I bless, the more I bleed for you"

    James is suffering from the loss. He needs his dad but he's not here anymore.

    "You make me smash the clock and feel
    I’d rather die behind the wheel"

    James doesn't like showing his emotions or even feeling them at all, but his dad makes him do that. He'd rather die than to feel.

    "Time was never on my side
    So on I wait my whole life time"

    James never had time on his side. His mother died when he was thirteen and his father left him. He's always been waiting, and he'll wait for the rest of his life.

    "Hear me
    And if I close my mind in fear
    Please pry it open
    See me
    And if my face becomes sincere
    Hold me
    And when I start to come undone
    Stitch me together
    Save me
    And when you see me strut
    Remind me of what left this outlaw torn"

    I believe he's singing this part to his wife. Telling her to don't let him be a wreck like he used to be throughout his life.

    This is just my interpretation, so I could obviously be way wrong.


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    Apr 24th, 2017 4:27pm report

    It's sung from the perspective of Oderus Urungus as he was killed by Mr. Perfect.


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    Jun 1st, 2015 6:43pm report

    The song is from a book by Edgar Rice Burroughs (author of Tarzan) called "The Outlaw of Torn". The Outlaw was actually a prince of England kidnapped and raised to fight/hate the English. He later falls in love with a royal lady (Bertrade de Montfort, daughter of Simon de Montfort) but feels his love can only be unrequited. So he waits and seeks for her. She, for her part is in love with the alter ego of the Outlaw but fears the Outlaw himself.


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    May 5th, 2015 5:21pm report

    I think this is religious...
    And in the words of the mighty Stan Lee:
    'Nuff said


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    Sep 3rd, 2014 9:49pm report

    I know when trying to look at art we all see what we want to see. SO when i think about what this song could mean I believe that it is talking about that thing we search for in our lives, like trying to find who we are or what we are or were we come from. The struggle that comes from growing up and trying to understand why we are and why we do what we do. It also goes on to mention the help we all need when we close our minds in fear and fall apart and need help being put back together.


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    Feb 21st, 2013 2:54pm report

    I firmly believe the lyrics were written by James Hetfield as an outlet for the sorry and pain from losing his good friend Cliff Burton.

    "You make me smash the clock and feel
    I'd rather die behind the wheel"

    I remember reading an interview with Kirk Hammet about the night and nights after Cliff was killed. HE was talking about being at the hotel room and James got drunk and destroyed his room (smash the clock) and was out in the street screaming Cliff's name. "I'd rather die behind the wheel" seems to be James' way of saying that he wishes he was the one back where Cliff was sleeping so he could take his place.


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    Dec 8th, 2011 12:32pm report

    This song is about one pacific person


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    Sep 26th, 2010 9:59pm report

    The song talks about a person who waits their whole lifetime for somebody, but they never find that person. This almost is like how Metallica searched for a replacement of Cliff Burton when he died, but it was never found.

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