Suspicion is your name
Your honesty to blame
Put dignity to shame
Dishonor
Witch hunt, modern day
Determining decay
The blatant disarray
Disfigure
The public eye’s disgrace
Defying common place
Unending paper chase
Unending

Deafening
Painstaking
Reckoning
This vertigo it doth bring

Shortest straw
Challenge liberty
Downed by law
Live in infamy
Rub you raw
Witch hunt riding through
Shortest straw
The shortest straw has been pulled for you

Pulled for you
Shortest straw
Pulled for you
Shortest straw
Pulled for you
Shortest straw
The shortest straw has been pulled for you

The accusations fly
Discrimination, why?
Your inner self to die
Intruding
Doubt sunk itself in you
Its teeth and talons through
You’re living Catch-22
Deluding
A mass hysteria
A megalomania
Reveal dementia
Reveal

Secretly
Silently
Certainly
In vertigo you will be

Shortest straw
Challenge liberty
Downed by law
Live in infamy
Rub you raw
Witch hunt riding through
Shortest straw
This shortest straw has been pulled for you

Pulled for you
Shortest straw
Pulled for you
Shortest straw
Pulled for you
Shortest straw
Shortest straw has been pulled for you
Shortest straw
Pulled for you
Shortest straw
Pulled for you
Shortest straw
Pulled for you
Shortest straw
Shortest straw has been pulled for you

Behind you, hands are tied
Your being, ostracized
Your hell is multiplied
Upending
The fallout has begun
Oppressive damage done
Your many turned to none
To nothing
You’re reaching your nadir
Your will has disappeared
The lie is crystal clear
Defending

Channels red
One word said
Blacklisted
With vertigo make you dead

Shortest straw
Challenge liberty
Downed by law
Live in infamy
Rub you raw
Witch hunt riding through
Shortest straw
The shortest straw has been pulled for you
Pulled for you


Lyrics submitted by fennsk, edited by RyanWolfeh, Ashram

The Shortest Straw song meanings
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22 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentthat is right weaselfierce. This song is about blacklisting during the 50's when americans hunted down any communist believing human. This fits well on this album because it is obvious disorder of our nation. This disrupted the very ammendment that founded our nation, the first ammendment. Freedom to assembly. People were paranoid and did "witchhunts" like during 1600's - searching for the different.
    bassman2kon September 05, 2002   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningIt is about Metallica's firt bass player Cliff Burton. All of the band members drew straws one night to see who would get the top bunk on the tour bus. That night the bus got in a crash and he died. That is what this song is really about.
    sandta88on May 15, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationIt's not about Cliff. Only a title may seem to be linked with his accident. But it's like saying that "One" is about an alienation.

    Maybe it's about communists but I think it is about people or media, especially tabloids, looking for any sensation. They accuse people just to provide entertainment to their audience. So if you'll do something that may be controversial they'll make a witchhunt, telling people that you are what you're not. And they can accuse almost anyone so this is like drawing straws.


    PS. @sheppo: they played "Orion", that was Cliff's favourite song, on his funeral, not "To Live is To Die".
    Domiuson April 30, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbout how in the old days like the 40's or 50's people were imprisoned if they had different beliefs. This is the one song that got me to start listening to Metallica. Love that Kick-ass solo!
    King Nothingon April 14, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's basically about McCarthy-ism and even some of todays attacks on people who are brave enough to make their controversial thoughts public.
    Guyon May 07, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about blacklisting....if ur looking for a loud, fast hardcore Metallica song....or ne kind of song like that......this is it
    Harvester of Sorrowon June 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is downright awesome. It rocks and the lyrics are good.

    From what i read somewhere, it was about the communist-hunts (witchhunts almost) in the US during the cold war.

    But the theme and song is valid to this day
    weaselfierceon August 22, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song wight be a tribute to cliff burton, metallica's original bassist, :If the song would be a kind of tribute to Cliff it would refer to the irony of Cliff's death. Every band member had his own seat in the tour bus - except in the tragic night in which Cliff did swap his seat with Kirk because they made a kind of game about it and Kirk pulled the right card ("spade ace"). So in that way Cliff picked "The Shortest Straw" before the terrible accident in 1986.
    - but wouldn't be that sort of tribute a bit too sarcastic? " -encyclopedia metallica
    mike_johnston_1989on May 13, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentblacklisting
    every1 nailed it

    great song
    ViciousMachineon October 11, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is my favorite (lyrical) song (orion beats it by far, but this song still captivates me) and GREAT solo (i'm in the process of learning it and its going to take a little more than a bit)
    SlasherLSon October 30, 2004   Link

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