ONE: Song That Changed Metal Forever (Deep Into Hit #1)

ONE: Song That Changed Metal Forever (Deep Into Hit #1)


There are two types of people: those who love this song, and those who hate it… and eventually love it. I’m one of those who used to not like One, but one day I found myself addicted to it. And if you’re one of us, you should give the song one more shot. Because it’s really… ONE-derful [the word “one” is banned from futher use in the video] Hi friends! It’s Andriy Vasylenko, and today we’re sstarting a series which you’ve been requesting for a long time Analysing rock songs, seeking curious things you might’ve not known, noticed, or cared about. It’ll include small, easy-to-digest portions of theory, and curious composing tricks that might help you in writing own music. And the series opener is a tune that had blurred the line between seemingly unmixable things: thrash metal and power ballads. There were two eras of metal: before and after “And Justice for All” album led to the masses by [uno], the first real single of Metallica. Nobody prior to it would’ve made such opposite characters meet in a composition. [Einer] tricks an uninformed listener to thinking, it’s good for a slow dance… but then just crashes your skull. This is how many of the fooled may have turned metalheads back in 1988. Alright! Intro & verse (Main riff) The main riff is built on just two chords: B minor and G major with an extension to A major and fleeting inclusions of E and F#. And you can find this progression in many songs, for example, if it’s A minor [Californication by RHCP] James said that he’d been fiddling around with the progression for a long time. So, quite possibly, Cliff might have heard him do it. And the reason why it attracted James could be that B minor is particularly good for composing on the guitar 5 out of 7 notes of the key are open strings and also you can go down the scale from the lowest root it’s here, you can’t get a lower B on the guitar in this tuning which is not possible with, say, E minor The lowest E is the lowest open string So, this progression in E minor would be like Em – C not that feeling And this feature could guide James in the process of shaping the riff. [James Hetfiled in 1983-87] If you ask me, there’s nothing ever so astonishing in the riff. in comparison to, say, The Unforgiven or The Day That Never Comes But does it really need that? The beauty of it may lie in its restraint and dryness. It doesn’t say much but invites you to tune in for the story, which will be unfolding and escalating. This sort of phrasing fits the overall notion of the Justice album: compound time signatures, variations, extended riff tails, and going a little crazy with everything in general. These are things that could have not worked in the context of other Metallica albums. Among other features that make the riff catchier for the cost of some smoothness, is these bits This goes against what James usually does in clean riffs: arpeggiating, hammer-ons/pull-offs, and these things. The demo tape indeed features a hammer-on instead. As for me, the two versions sound like pencils with sharpened and rounded tips, each has its own purpose. And in this case, Metallica might have decided, the sharp lick serves the song better. [Bridge] The bridge, in contrast with the main riff, is more embellished and cheerful (the latter is thanks to D major). But in spite of that, it’s one of the most underrated Metallica riffs. [such a beauty was buried under the solos, no wonder it slipped away from your ear] Even cameramen rarely film James when he’s playing it live. Instead, they almost always shoot Kirk or, for some reason, Lars. Most of Metallica songs are made of standalone riffs written separately, they’re like musical Frankensteins. And the true art lies in hiding the joints and stitches. The bridge could naturally sound finished with a D major chord at the end But they needed to go back to the main riff in B minor. This is a parallel key, but you still should find a way to connect them naturally. And so, James added a medium note C creates some sort of instability, swinging between the roots notes and it’s up to you to where to resolve it: to B, or not to B (to D) C# gravitates more to D, this is how they go from chorus to bridge while C pushes you in the opposite direction. On stage, though, James doesn’t play the C at all. He simply hits dead notes, which works too. [Kinda chorus] It may shock you, but [un] actually does not have a fully functional chorus. “Hold my breath as I wish for death” part serves as such, but it’s too short and has no peak, no climax. So, it’s rather a heavy extra bridge In the demo version, however, the power chords are played without distortion. [Heavy interlude] The heavy interlude is a transition between the ballad-y and thrash-y parts of the song, or section A and section B. Without the link, the song’s flow would be too abrupt, like a massive waterfall instead of a series of locks. And it’s a treasure for aspiring composers. The chord progression here is Am-G-B-C (which maybe derives from the acoustic bridge) But wait… Am in a Bm song?! This must sound weird and unnatural, but somehow doesn’t. What’s the trick? The previous section, the third chorus, consists of fleeting chords, including an A major. But since most of the action happens via power chords, that lack a triad to firmly sound either major-y or minor-y, Metallica took advantage of it to “smuggle” A minor instead of A major. In the very last repeat, they cut it on A5 and they used it as some sort of a wormhole or a portal to another tonality. It’s actually bouncing between Bm, Am, and Em. But fully switches to E minor in the chuggy part And with that, the interlude has done its job. And now listen to this You recognize it? Yes. An no. It’s not the interlude from To Live is to die, but my variation on the interlude from One. Just in E minor instead of A minor. But Cliff is not mentioned among the writers of the song. Both are written approximately at the same time, the very chords are used in the middle sections share the same tempo and rhythm and I can’t recall another Metallica song with these chords. Although, I am not saying Metallica just copy-pasted it without giving Cliff a composing credit. James could bear the lick in mind while working on multiple songs together and it might’ve conceived another riff, which ended up in the interlude the song we’re talking about. Another glorious thing in the interlude: layering. In fact, we still don’t know how many parts are there. I’ve come across tabs with three, four or even six! Usually, Metallica do just a pair of harmonies and a rhythm beneath. Except for a few Intros, such as Blackened, Battery, and That Was Just Your Life. But almostn never amids a song. Btw, suscribe to @BenEller, he might do a breakdown of the section He’s done excelent breakdowns of the most complex Metallica riffs So, go check him our and say “hi friend!” to Ben from me! You instantly knew what it is, even without the notes, but just the percussive essence. This is the machine gun riff [Section B] …and I won’t talk about it much. Seems like a lot of people are eager to jump straight to it, like if the whole part before doesn’t interest them at all. And here’s what I will say about the riff, things you might’ve not known or noticed Usually, Metallica, especially now, just glue riffs together like bricks: riff B starts when riff A ends. But what if to hint on an upcoming thing earlier, to make it even sweeter? You can hear the double bass riff before the section B, in two final repeats of the heavy interlude. It makes you feel “Wow, some serious sh[low E]t is coming!” This is called “foreshadowing”, and the trick is widely used in cinematography and literature. And it does work in music, as you see. And a few words on the bass part… And for those who don’t know how to play the riff on bass with fingers I play it with three fingers 3-2-1-3-2-1-2 3-2-1-3-2-1-2 3-2-1-2 The original script was twice as big, but I had to cut it in order to make the video happen and survive making it For example, I had to give the entire sections about the harmony and solo The raw materials are available on my Patreon, so join me there. I’m endlessly thankfull to my patreons who are making these videos possible Thanks for watching. It’s Andriy Vasylenko. Be in metal m/

100 thoughts on “ONE: Song That Changed Metal Forever (Deep Into Hit #1)

  1. This video could've been twice as long, but reason has taken over. Anyway, the full scrip is available on my Patreon, if you're curious https://www.patreon.com/posts/31939722 I hope it's worth the wait, and you want more songs analized like this. And yeah, search for "metallica one demo" and "one james riff tape" for futher studying m/

  2. I mean, death metal was already an established genre by 88 and the first wave of black metal already had a steady catalogue of excellent albums and AJFA is Metallicas least influentiual album so the claim that One changed metal forever is so absurd. Thrash should've died a peaceful death by 91 but unfortunately the thrasher mouthbreathers insisted on copying the same concepts that've already been jerked to death by 80's thrash bands. But I guess the average viewer of your videos actually think Pantera's a good band. You make a lot of great videos Andriy but this title is just ridiculous.

  3. I think you should make a video about something a lot of people dont care but its awesome
    the base riffs during metallica songs!
    battery has a fucking beautfiul riff

  4. “he usually does arpeggios”
    plays an arpeggio
    “or hammer ons”
    does a hammer on
    “or these things”
    does a thing

  5. These are going to be great videos if they are to keep coming. Full breakdowns of songs are without a doubt the need for Andriy

  6. The song it's on a constant ascension and the "machine gun riff" it's the point where you start releasing all that energy, and it works awesomely giving the step to the solos and and giving the an excellent climax

  7. I love how true that intro was lmao. I used to HATE One and even considered it the only song that dragged down Justice from being my favourite album

    Now even I'm surprised by how much I love both One and The Day

  8. I remember guys from school used to recomend this song to me and get all hyped about how dark and heavy it was, plus the amazing solo. The first time i actually heard it i was pretty dissapointed xD but man, it's beautiful and, yes, SO DARK AND HEAVY. After years of listening to it is still my favourite Metallica song (also the video is one of the band's best)

  9. I love Metallica. One is a perfect example of "the rhythm parts are better than the lead parts"

    James just writes some of the best rhythm tracks ever.

  10. Андрей, молодец! Очень круто все разобрал. Я как раз из тех, кто не любит особо эту песню, но после твоего разбора попробую ещё раз:) и английский у тебя с каждым разом всё лучше и лучше) дядю Бэна тоже смотрю, только благодаря ему научился играть тот самый риф из файт файр))

  11. Why does no one even bring up the single upgrade to this songs opening, the change from "dun dun dun dun" to "dun da dun dun dun dun" at the end of the intro riff which takes place at 3:27 when they play it live. I wish they would add it to a studio version.

  12. Когда я был младше, я не мог вообще слушать Металику, но сейчас все время у меня играют их треки, невероятно кайфую от прослушивания! Не знаю кто может хейтить такую прекрасную музыку, возможно некоторые просто не доросли до неё.

  13. Хэллоу Эндръэй. Вери гуд. Ама пушин лайк батон.
    Preevet Andrew. Ochen horosho. Ya nazheemat nraveetsya knopka.

  14. You are the best man! I enjoyed so much this video, and it reminds me (for some reason) the S&M version of “One”, the progression chord 7:57 “Am-G-B-C” that you were talking of, the arrangements that Michael Kamen composed in that part are the most beautiful thing I’ever heard of, very powerfull arrengements in this song makes it the best in that concert (IMO).

  15. i'm really sorry that you couldn't put all the script on the video… but awesome video, as always!! already waiting for more videos of this serie! cheers from brasil m/

  16. would you ever think of having the writings in between scenes a little longer, so that we dont have to rewind back… shirts color suits great on you… thank you, nice looking freind !!

  17. Maybe I haven’t heard all Metallica’s songs, but comparing “One” to others famous songs of them, I find it to be the best one. Like a sad poem with a beautiful and complex music behind it.

  18. Me: Mom! Can We get "One"?
    Mom: We have "One" at home.
    "One" at home:

    JEDEN 🤘

    Thank u frrriend for this and keep doing this serie! Greetings from neighbourhood 👊

  19. Maybe my favorite Metallica song… a sober and austere intro clean main riff, a bridge in D major thats makes us think of peaceful and beautiful memories before war and violence, a perfect and solid interlude before a strong and dramatic end. A real masterpiece. And the solo is great.

  20. Dude, you are honestly one of the best musical youtubers out there, like seriously. Super skilled, super smart, and on top of that, fun! When I watch your covers, you show emotion and headbang in there too! It's awesome! I hope to get to 'one' – million subscribers

  21. It’s so weird, I’ve always respected the song and never really put it on by choice, but the past couple days it’s been on repeat for me while listening to music. Then this video comes out… fucking strange world man

  22. Andriy, will you please do that tricky bridge in frayed ends. It's an awesome riff. They way you explain things will surely help all these folks playing it wrong on their demo vids. (The part before Kirk's solo) rock on brother.

  23. It was’88/‘89, sitting in my grandparents basement watching much music as normal, this black and white video comes on, watched it and that was it, hooked for life on Metallica, I was about 10 years old

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