Song: Metallica, “Enter Sandman”
History: “Enter Sandman” is a rock song. People talk about it. It sold a few copies. It's been played a few times. My cousin likes it, so there's that. But he also once let us talk him into jumping from the roof to a trampoline as a kid, so he ain't exactly the most independent brain. And that's a pretty good analogy for how Metallica got so popular.
Atmospherics: A wall of monster-riffs; Doooom-doom-doom-doom-dooooms; neck snap drums.
Scientific Analysis: I imagine one of the first things someone is going to mention here is that “Enter Sandman” was the lead single from 1991's Metallica album, which eventually sold 22 million copies, and how could it have ever sold that many copies if it wasn't just about the greatest and blahblahblahblahblah. And that's cool. We're scientists, so we get that. But do you know what else a lot of people like? Child predation. Did you know that there are an estimated 50,000 child predators online at any one time? Gross. I think we can all agree that ain't the move to make, chillbros. So now that that's out of the way.
Besides, even if that weren't the argument someone was making, no matter: When viewed through the unforgiving lens of science, “Enter Sandman” has just far too many problems. I mean here's perhaps the song's most famous line:
Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight
I suppose that could possibly be a pretty powerful sentiment, which is maybe the whole point of the song. Except you know what we call sleeping with one eye open in science? We call that “looking,” guys. Or maybe even “winking,” depending on how long you keep that second eye closed. Or I guess if you have a glass eye, then maybe that's blinking? I don't know. I don't think I've ever known anyone with a glass eye. Or if I did, I couldn't tell because it was really realistic, in which case, science wins again. Way to go, glass eye Scientists. Great work.
Exit light, enter night
Trenchant songwriting? Or a poor understanding of Earth's rotation?
Also, if we're given to understand that “Enter Sandman” is a song about a kid having nightmares, and isn't that just spooky and creepy and curiously evil, well maybe that's not such a mysterious thing once we start to investigate a little.
I mean, look, for one, this is Metallica's lead singer, James Hetfield, in 1991:
Notice the facial hair. In lay terms, that's commonly referred to as a “Horseshoe” or “fumanchu.” We needn't look any further than scientist/graphic designer Matt McInerney's end-all-discussion chart of the trustworthiness of beards to see that something nefarious is afoot.
Hetfield is only seven spaces less dastardly than a werewolf, and only nine spaces better than Hitler.
For two (and this is maybe an extension of one), he keeps preempting bedtime with things like, “Good night. Oh, hey, that noise you hear, don't worry about it. It's just the beast under you bed.” Dick move, yo.
You can't say that shit to a kid, particularly one in a bed. They lose their heads, man. Empirical research: A recurring conversation with my sons before bedtime:
Me: Good night, boys.
Boy A: Daddy, can you close the closet? It's open.
Me: Dude, we've been through this. We even checked. There's nothing in there.
Boy A: The Cucuy [pronounced Kuh-coo-ee; the Mexican boogeyman] is in there.
Me: But we can see in there now. It's empty. He's not there.
Boy A: He'll come.
Me: …So let me understand this. There is a monster that exists in your closet?
Boy A: Yes.
Me: And he is possessed of such devilishness that he can materialize from nothing to come torture you?
Boy A: …
Me: But if I close the door, then you're safe?
Boy A: Yes, sir.
Me: He can bend the laws of matter to his will, but he can't figure out how to open a door?
Boy B: …Can you close it please?
Kids, man. They are anti-science.
Oh, additionally, it should be noted that the kid in the video is kind of a Grade A pussy. Essentially, he has nightmares about three things: being in water, being in the air, and snakes.
To clarify, he's afraid of water and air and things with no arms and no legs. The most dangerous thing on that list is snakes, the deadliest of which still can't figure out how to get out of a damn burlap sack. I'm saying, do you even watch Animal Planet? They got guys on there that wreck snakes' shit all day. That puts this kid firmly in category three on the Character Traits, As Determined By One's Position On A Dodgeball Court chart, which is pretty much the end all for determining such things. If there's a place in America called Pussytown, this kid's gonna grow up and be the mayor.
So there, mystery solved.
(I) “22 million is like whoa.” –Black Rob
(II) The Cucuy is the ultimate hustle move in Latino parenting (“If you don't finish your food, the Cucuy will get you,” things like that).
(III) The Internet would roll its eyes at Metallica SO SUPER hardcore if they released their first album today.
(IV) Dodgeball is basically the most scientific sport of all.
(V) Category three in that chart is also typically heavily populated by overweight kids. Category one is typically heavily populated by behavior problem kids. Everything I need to know about life I learned by watching kids play dodgeball.