One : A Plight for Help

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

None other song other out there has given me chills and a utter disgust of the way the world works than the song called One. The lyrical masterpiece by the American Rock/Metal band Metallica , which was recorded in the year 1988 for the Album (And Justice for all..) .

This song has a smooth transition between the light and darkness , which discusses the horrors of war and how soldiers are just chess pieces to be thrown away in the massive board game controlled by the greedy players.

The album cover for the song is really disturbing in such a way that the band puts forward a message about the use of innocent soldiers who are injured and disfigured who are used as temporary tools for the sake of the country.

In the end , war is a war. There is no victor or a loser. It just causes destruction and unwanted deaths for a reason that doesn't exist. Millions of innocent men are sent to fight a war that they know they cannot win.

The bands main inspiration of the song is based on the 1971 movie Johnny Got His Gun , which is an American drama and a anti-war film about the plight for help of an American soldier disfigured beyond humanity and his wish kept away from reach for the entertainment of the selfish generals of the war.

This underrated gem was eventually forgotten after it hit the theatres, But the popularity of the movie resurfaced a decade later when clips of the movie were incorporated into the music video of ONE By Metallica in 1988. This move spontaneously ignited the popularity of the movie and shocked the viewers about the gruesome horrors of war.


This masterpiece of a film has a shocking and disturbing transition between light and dark halfway within the film.

The story follows the story of Story of Joe Bonham, who is an American Soldier who leaves his aged father and his girlfriend to fight in World War 1. During his campaign in Europe who gets Hit by an artillery shell and brutality wounded and Damaged beyond imagination. While he lies in his hospital bed , The doctors deduce that Joe is a quadruple amputee (Lost all his Limbs) and has also lost his sense of touch, taste, hearing, sight and smell. The only thing which remains of him is his consciousness and his abdominal area. His wounds leave him a prisoner of his own body. He is stuck in the void of not being to reach out for help for the pain he is suffering.

He is stuck in a rift between fantasy and reality, where he is stripped of the rights of basic human functions. He clearly imagines his old life with his family and his girlfriend, where a clip shows a conversation between Joe and his Father.

Joe: Father! What is democracy?

Father: It has to do with Young men killing each other.

Joe: What if its my turn? Would you send me to fight

Father: For democracy, every man must send his only son.

He is the left as the product of experimentation as a viscous cycle of pleading for help. He also forms a bond with a young nurse who understands his plight as she communicates with him by sense writing on his chest. Joe is astonished that someone can finally understand him.He decides to communicate with the Doctors using MORSE code by tapping his head for help.

The Generals response to the plead for help was by ignoring him and conducting gruesome experiments on him (His sense of touch was not damaged , so he had to withstand to pain without being able to respond). Joe constantly sends S.0.S Signals but to no avail.

He wishes for the US Army to put him in a glass coffin in a freak-show as a demonstration of the horrors of war. His wish was denied , he responds begging to be euthanized, repeatedly saying "kill me."

This puts him in a perpetual state of agony and suffering and constant experimentation, as he realises that the army cannot grant either of the wishes. He is forced into a living death. A daily cycle of pleading for help but nobody to understand his pain. The sympathetic nurse tries rot help him by breaking his breathing tube, but her superior stops her from doing so as the research isn't done so. Joe realises that his fate has been sealed of this eternal suffering and he constantly begs to be killed, he cannot be released from his entrapment and he is left alone , weakly chanting in eternal darkness


How Metallica used music to understand his plight:

Music can really connect with People’s emotions and soul to portray a message which may bring chills. I can proudly say that Metallica has done an amazing song with well fleshed out riffs, beats and tempos. The lyrical genius of front man and vocalist James Hatfield provides us with Shakespearean hues which explain the plot of the movie in the perspective of Joe and the horrors of war and his eternal suffering.

The music video begins with audio clippings of bombs and helicopters whirring to give an auditory message to the viewers about the topic of war. The music video features the band setting in an broken down warehouse all showcased in black and white. The intro is a melodic and eerie acid trip in which the bass doubles on to give a heavy tone. Throughout the song , video and audio clips of the movie to give a sense of sadness along with the broken down harmony. James Hetfeild's deep vocals narrates the use of innocent soldiers for the war. During the chorus of the song , The breakdown kicks in , switching the guitar tone to a heavier bass tone with distortion, which amplifies the pleading of Joe has a prisoner of his own body. The audio clips shows Joe screaming for help. James Hetfeild backs the guitars with his thundering and deep vocals towards the end of the song.

James sings the chorus vocals in the perspective of Joe , This lyrical maestro talks about how darkness has sealed him in his fate.


"Darkness imprisoning me All that I see Absolute horror I cannot live I cannot die Trapped in myself Body my holding cell"

"Landmine has taken my sight Taken my speech Taken my hearing Taken my arms Taken my legs Taken my soul Left me with life in hell"

This masterpiece has opened my eyes on the horrors of war and makes me ashamed as a human being for letting innocent people die in a battle they weren't into in the first place..


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