A Textual Analysis
of
Nothing Else Matters by Metallica:
An Open Mind and True Heart

"Metallica plays heavy metal music." This is a common stereotype of the band. "Their songs consist of nothing but meaningless screaming, while banging their guitars as loud as possible. Hordes of incomprehensible fans jump around in circles flailing their arms in the air screaming the so-called lyrics to their songs. It is not music." Numerous people believe this in all sincerity. The song "Nothing Else Matters," by no means falls under the heavy metal category. It is the type of song that would be played for a slow dance. Through the use of ethos and pathos, the author, James Hetfield, connects with his audience in ways to convince them that life is important and being true to yourself will help you survive.
In 1992, Bob Rock came to Metallica and convinced them they had yet to produce an album they were capable of. He motivated and pushed Hetfield to write a song far different from any previous hits. After over a year of production and recording, their acclaimed Black album sold millions. Among the large list of award-winning songs was "Nothing Else Matters." It caught the music industry off guard. The song’s mellow mood caught the eye of more than just their die-hard fans. Hetfield wanted to show how his open mind had affected his life. A decade of heavy metal rock had won over many fans. Hetfield had captured the attention of the distraught teens of the times. He had earned the respect of the pot-heads and stoners. His audience consisted of mainly kids and young adults struggling to make it through life. Trying to find out who they are, they looked to Metallica’s music. The message presented in this song was a strong one. It proved to these fans that despite life’s struggles and all the trials that are thrown your way, nothing matters aside from having a true heart and an open mind. Hetfield does a good job of appealing to ethos. He had already established himself as a musician and won over many fans. They became loyal to Metallica’s music, and were willing to listen to any type of song, whether it was slow, fast, emotional or heavy.
One specific verse in the song Hetfield explains his sincerity. He says, "…No matter how far, couldn’t be much more from the heart." This is something very dear to Hetfield. He is attempting to show his fans how much he cares about life. Hetfield likes inspire his fans to think about their lives. He challenges his listeners to look inside themselves. He gets right down into the pathos, and shows his fans how to find things out for themselves. His attempt to convey the importance of being true to yourself is very effective. Many of his struggling fans want to find themselves. They want to know who they are and what they are going to become. He does a great job of helping these teens with their struggles. You can tell that Hetfield cares about himself, and it seems he watches out for his fans. It almost seems that he is talking to his fans on a personal level. His life is fun-filled and exciting, and he tries to show his fans how he got there.
The song’s title "Nothing Else Matters" expresses how highly Hetfield regards his message. If nothing else really matters, then what does matter must be extremely important. There are a lot of things in life that people see as important. Family, friends, and career all affect our lives. So what is it that is so important that "Nothing Else Matters"? Hetfield is saying that an open mind will always be a strong influence in your life. With such a strong title, the fans are forced to think about the song. If the title was, "There’s not a Whole Lot That Matters More," it would not catch someone’s attention. What is it, that is so captivating and so important in his life, that nothing else matters? This does a great job of grabbing the attention of his listeners. Again, Hetfield uses ethos to captivate his audience. The individuals seeking for direction and success in their life, will want to know how Hetfield