‘One’ represents one of Metallica’s best known and acclaimed songs and at the same time one of those legendary songs that can’t miss from any Metallica live performance.The song was included on Metallica’s fourth studio album,’…And Justice for All’,and it’s also their first song for which a video was made. The song deals with the theme of war and the terrible devastation it causes on humans taken from an individual perspective.The concept of the song was inspired by ‘Johnny Got His Gun’,a novel written by DaltonTrumbo in 1939,which tells the story of a soldier which is severely wounded by a mortar shell.After an introduction which contains sound effects which suggest the dramatic scenes of a battlefield,the first lyrics introduce us to the ordeal of the main character,the terribly wounded soldier who can’t remember anything g and is unable to distinguish between dream and reality.The fact that he feels the need to scream,but is unable to do it makes us realize his dramatic condition:he’s trapped inside his own body,perfectly aware of what’s happening around him,but incapable of moving. The verse ‘I’m waking up,I cannot see’ reveals the torments of the soldier who finally realizes that he hasn’t got a nightmare and that his tragical condition is real.He understands that,even if he’s still alive,he’s worthless and he’s as good as dead,and the chorus reflects his wish of dying as the final solution to his tragedy:’Hold my breath as
I wish for death’.Feeling completely alone and helpless,he can only meditate on his condition to ease his pain,as he also understands that only a few machines that help him breathe and feed him stand between life and the eternal escape,the soldier has no more desire to live,and he’s also desperate that no one comes to set him free by interrupting his connection to those devices:’Tied to machines that make me be/Cut this life off from me.’ Trapped and condemned to complete isolation,he can only ask for God to have mercy on him and save him from his terrible suffering,and as the song gets heavier and heavier and the guitars more distorted,so the torments of the soldier,prisoner of darkness and of his own useless body,(’Body my holding cell’).The last verses indicate that the despair of the soldier has reached the climax,as he is deprived of all his senses and he feels that he’s in hell because of the landmine which basically took his life away. ‘One’ represents a truly great anti war song which describes the unbearable suffering of an individual like so many others who went to fight indoctrinated with all sorts of noble ideals to justify killing people that they didn’t know.It’s a warning and at the same time a protest against those which play so easily with human lives,sending thousands and thousands of people to death.