Metallica - Ride the Lightning - Meaning of the song
The song title came from Stephen King's book The Stand, which guitarist Kirk Hammett was reading at the time.
"There was this one passage where this guy was on death row said he was waiting to 'ride the lightning.' I remember thinking, 'Wow, what a great song title.' I told James (Hetfield, vocals), and it ended up being a song and the album title."
This is about someone convicted of murder and being sent to the electric chair, even though he didn't commit the crime. The lyrics are what is going through the person's mind.
The lyrics at the end, "Wakened by the horrid scream, freed from the frightening dream" imply that everything in the song was just a dream.
Ride the Lightning - Lyrics
Guilty as charged But damn it, it ain't right There's someone else controlling me Death in the air Strapped in the electric chair This can't be happening to me Who made you God to say "I'll take your life from you?" Flash before my eyes Now it's time to die Burning in my brain I can feel the flame Wait for the sign To flick the switch of death It's the beginning of the end Sweat, chilling cold As I watch death unfold Consciousness my only friend My fingers grip with fear What am I doing here? Flash before my eyes Now it's time to die Burning in my brain I can feel the flame Someone help me Oh please, God help me They're trying to take it all away I don't want to die Time moving slow The minutes seem like hours The final curtain call I see How true is this? Just get it over with If this is true, just let it be Wakened by horrid scream Freed from this frightening dream Flash before my eyes Now it's time to die Burning in my brain I can feel the flame