Open door, so I walk inside
Close my eyes, find my place to hide
And I shake as I take it in
Let the show begin

Open my eyes just to have them close again
Well on my way, but on my way to where I’ve been
It swallows me as it takes me in its fog
I twist away as I give this world the nod

Open door, so I walk inside
Close my eyes, find my place to hide
And I shake as I take it in
Let the show begin

Open my eyes just to have them closed once again
Don’t want control
As it takes me down and down and down again
Is that the moon or just a light that lights this dead-end street?
Is that you there or just another demon that I meet?

The higher you are
The farther you fall
The longer the walk
The farther you crawl
My body, my temple
This temple, it tilts
Step into the house that Jack built

The higher you are
The farther you fall
The longer the walk
The farther you crawl
My body, my temple
This temple, it tilts
Yes, this is the house that Jack built

Open door, yes, I walk inside
Swallow me so the pain subsides
And I shake as I take the sin
Let the show begin

The higher you are
The farther you fall
The longer the walk
The farther you crawl
My body, my temple
This temple, it tilts
Yes, this is the house that Jack built

The higher you are
The farther you fall
The longer the walk
The farther you crawl
My body, my temple
This temple, it tilts
Yes, I am, I am, I am

Open my eyes
It swallows me
Is that you there
I twist away
Away
Away
Away


Lyrics submitted by fennsk, edited by Ashram

The House Jack Built song meanings
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40 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentIt's about James and his struggle with alcohol. 'Jack' is a metaphor for Jack Daniels, as the song is evidently about some dependency that gets you high, but then slams you down.
    i_forgot_to_breatheon April 09, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt is about a "house" which represents the only place where a person feels safety
    I_LIKE_BEANSon July 09, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commenttaking what i forgot to breathe said a step further, maybe it's how his life is so surrounded by alcohol that it 'built' a house, meaning everything he has done has been built around jack daniels...or maybe i'm just full of shit.
    BeanBoyon April 27, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThere's absolutly now reason to reduce metallica songs to alcohol, heroine or any other drugs, like I always find in comments about this and other metallica songs. One of my first experiences with metallica was in my youth when a friend of mine, living in a small chamber with really BIG speakers, pushed the volume up, playing ride the lightning. The song that struck me in my heart was creeping death of course.
    Reviewing the biblical and historical context of this and other songs, we cannot read the text of "The house that jack built" without reviewing the origin of the expression, which comes from a poem from the 16'th century, which makes even more sence, when you think of metallica as of musicians who made themselves well knowing and loving J.S.Bach (1685-1723). The original poem tells us about a a house that is quite badly build, affecting all and anything living within, with it's bad nature.
    Yes, it might be alcohol, it might even be Jack Daniels that makes the destroys this house which is "my body my temple". It might also be any "other demon that I meet".
    For me this song takes us much farther, describing the agony of the whole life that makes us "open the doors" for the demons like heroin and jack daniels. It just makes no difference what makes you "twist away, away, away". This like much other songs written by james hetfield is again a cry for salvation from this life, for some "place to hide" from it.
    Note also that the body the temple "this temple it tilts", will tilt anyway, no matter what kind of demon makes the temple tilt, no matter how high you are, how far you went, you will fall and you will have to crawl back. But back to where? What is the meaning, the aim of this life, in this badly build, detructed house ? I don't know if hetfield had an answer to this question, but at least he asks the question. And he asks you !
    ikrabbeon June 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is about addiction, could be any addiction (pick your demon). I’ll break it down from the top.

    The door is the difference between sobriety and acting out in your addiction. Saying I walk in the door since it is open implies something like, who cares, what have I got to lose, I’ve already lost everything. Alternatively, when you are coming from a place of being sober and choose to open that door of your addiction and walk inside, you shut down to the world (“close my eyes”), it is your “place to hide” to avoid coping with the challenges life brings. When you are in your addiction you “shake and I take it in”, a rush of sorts, another hit of chemicals in the brain. Then you put on your alternate identity, the one that deceives everyone in believing you don’t have a problem, “Let the show begin”.

    “Open my eyes just to have them close again”. This is in reference to being sober, eyes open, to going in the addiction, eyes closed (and repeat), and possibly deflecting blame somewhere else instead of yourself, “just to have them close again”. “Don’t want control” but have no choice because in reality you actually have no self-control and it takes you down in a spiral to rock bottom. “Is that the moon”, did I hit bottom yet and I’m seeing a hopeful light of recovery or am I still travelling to rock bottom “dead-end”, which could even mean death. “Is that you there” someone positive to help you find sobriety, or are you just another enabler, a demon in disguise. In other words is this reality or the alternate reality where my addict lives strong.

    A pessimistic view of sobriety, “The higher you are” could imply a positive level of sobriety, and when you open that door of your addiction you have a longer way to fall, more to lose, and the “longer the walk” implies a longer path “crawl” back to sobriety. “This temple, it tilts”, your body is a temple (reference to the bible) and it tilts could mean we are flawed, not perfect.

    Then later the lyrics say after he walks through that door, “swallow me so the pain subsides”, clearly this is being numb in your addiction so you can’t feel the pain anymore.

    “Open my eyes, it swallows me, is that you there, I twist away.” Maybe this is a moment of clarity, opening of the eyes, realizing it is killing you, seeing those that love you, but twist away in shame or contempt of self.
    Spin24on July 20, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJaymz plays the solo on this song using one of cool "Talking Guitar" effects.
    King Nothingon June 12, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's about drugs! "Swallow me so the pain subsides
    And I shake as I take this in
    Let the show begin
    The higher you are
    The farther you fall" read it, it makes sense.
    evil_killer_phoneon March 26, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentah... never thought of that. i knew he had this struggle with alcohol.. the 2 things just didn't click.
    evil_killer_phoneon April 14, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentactually i was thinking about this song again, and it might not be about alcohol. i'm still pushing towards the drugs theory, unless the drugs are a metaphor for the alcohol. because lines like "and i shake as i take it in" sound much more druglike than alcohol like .. i mean it's probably about alcohol.. but i'm not gonna leap to that conclusion. also i agree wiht bean boy
    evil_killer_phoneon April 28, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is unquestionably about alcohol. What
    else do you swallow to kill pain? A pill? Not very likely coming from Jamz.

    "Open my eyes
    Just to have them close once again"
    -Someone is drunk
    "Don't want control
    As It takes me down and down again"
    -Drunknessism
    "Is that the moon
    Or just a light that lights this deadend street?"
    -Can a drunk person tell the difference between
    a light and the moon? Another hint: deadend street

    I've come to the conclusion that this song is about
    the Jack Daniels, the drink, or something so deep,
    Bill Cosby couldn't find it with a huge jello spoon.
    Forgotten Oneon May 07, 2003   Link

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