We're in the building
Where they make us grow
And I'm frightened by
The liquid engineers
Like you.

My Mallory heart
Is sure to fail
I could crawl around the floor
Just like I'm real
Like you.

The sound of metal
I want to be
I could learn to be a man
Like you.

Plug me in
And turn me on
Oh everything is moving.

I need my treatment
It's tomorrow they send me
Singing 'I am an American'.
Do you?

Picture this
If I could make the change
I'd love to pull the wires from the wall
Did you?

And who are you
And how can I try
Here inside I like metal
Aren't you

All I know
Is no-one dies
I'm still confusing love with need.

Lyrics submitted by [inactive account]

Metal Lyrics as written by Gary Anthony James Webb

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Metal song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentNine Inch Nails do an awesome cover of this song. Numan himself said the cover is better.
    [inactive account]on April 17, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song seems like pure science fiction. A cyborg like machine wants to be human, but never can be.

    "Picture this if they could make the change
    I’d love to pull the wires from the wall
    Did you?"
    MrLongroveon January 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNuman has stated in the past that he does not like the sound of his own voice (I wonder if that makes him not talkitive in general).
    It stands to reason that he would compliment a different band doing a version of any of his songs.

    I love this song.
    Numan has consistantly drawn the elements of human emotion and the sterility of technology together in very vivid images in his lyrics.
    Further examples can be found in "Engineers", "Are Friends Electric", "I Nearly Married A Human", "We Have A Technical", "My Dying Machine", and "Wreckage".
    Major Valoron September 26, 2006   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThink the old silent picture, Metropolis, George Orwell's 1984 and one can begin to see these lyrics in an interesting context...
    The dehumanizing of, well, humans, society doing its damnedest to make automatons of us all (and it's been pretty successful if one takes a moment to think about it.)
    "I need my treatment it's tomorrow they send me singing I am an American. Do you?"
    The artifice of being an American.
    That's the Readers' Digest condensed version.
    MadMethodon November 10, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMallory used to make padlocks, and thats what I always interpreted this as, a secure, hard to break heart, when it fails, breaks or is unlocked, he becomes human and doing so exhibits the emotional torment of that trauma "I could CRAWL around the floor..."
    gingermickon August 08, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionThis song seems to about an android being created in a factory.

    It also seems that the engineers are androids as well, as he implies with his questions and the fact that "no one dies".
    AkaiEdgeon December 10, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song...it's about a machine expressing his feelings about human emotions and things that a machine doesn't understand. a great song !!!
    xl5ronon May 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI do love the Nine Inch Nails cover which appears on "Things Falling Apart". Actually, I believe Gary and NIN created the cover together, in relation to the music, but Im not completely sure. Still, a lovely song. I'm not sure about xl5ron's interperation, in fact, Im not sure about the meaning at all, I never really looked into it and I'm afraid that if I tried, I'd get it wrong anyway.
    ming mingon January 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always had the image of a robot developing artificial intelligence (a cyborg would have human emotions: it's not the same as a robot or an android, no matter what "Terminator" would have you believe).
    Artificial intelligence, coupled with will and desire, that could "pull the wire from the wall", would be quite frightening.
    Particularly since he's confusing Love with Need.
    Major Valoron August 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I’m still confusing love with need"

    one of my favorite lines from a song ever.
    i still like to keep it a bit abstract still and not analyze it to bits.
    darbonneon March 29, 2007   Link

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