1001 Songs Challenge #757: Enter Sandman (1991)
On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Metallica – Enter Sandman (1991)
Sample of the main riff from “Enter Sandman” as it was originally written by Kirk Hammett and before Lars Ulrich suggested to repeat the first part. This sample was taken from the DVD documentary, Classic Albums: Metallica – Metallica. Problems playing this file? See media help.
We’re leaving the UK behind today, dear reader, and making our way back to the US and to Los Angeles in California. We have a second appearance from Metallica who previously appeared in 1988 with the track, One. When we join Metallica in 1991 it is with the release of their self-titled fifth album and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Enter Sandman.
Enter Sandman concerns childhood and nightmares we might have when we are kids. A seemingly devoted parent wishes their child a good night but tells them to take heed of the sandman who comes to children at night and the results are not pretty. The song conveys the sense of fear and uncertainty with the child seemingly struggling to sleep, while the parent continues to weave tales of scary things at night. It doesn’t sound like they are having fun. It sounds like they are mentally torturing their child. The accompanying music video contained various images of frightening nightmares including drowning and being pursued by a rampaging truck. Eerie stuff indeed.
Metallica were evolving by the time of their fifth album. Intricate and heavy with their sound in the 1980s, here they were simplifying things a little with Enter Sandman being built around one riff but what a riff it is. James Hetfield’s nightmarish lyrics brilliantly complement the music but the original draft sounded far darker with images of cot death. The song has proved to be one of the group’s most popular hits and it has to be a contender for their greatest ever composition.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)
Tracy Chapman – Fast Car (1988)