The Metro (song)
Original 1981 U.S. edition
|Single by Berlin|
|from the album Pleasure Victim|
|B-side||Tell Me Why (1981)
World of Smiles (1983)
May 1983 (re-release)
|Format||7" vinyl, 12" vinyl|
|Recorded||1981, Los Angeles|
|Producer(s)||Daniel R. Van Patten|
|Berlin singles chronology|
"The Metro" is a song written by John Crawford for his band, Berlin. It has been covered by a number of artists, including System of a Down, Alkaline Trio, John Frusciante, Hannah Fury and Idle Warship.
The song first appeared on the non-album single, "The Metro" b/w "Tell Me Why", released by MAO Music in 1981. It reappeared, slightly remixed, on Berlin's breakthrough album Pleasure Victim, released on the independent label Enigma in 1982 and re-released on Geffen in 1983. In May 1983, "The Metro" was re-released as the third single from the album, and the second to appear on the Geffen label. It was produced and engineered (as was most of the album) by the band's then-drummer and drum programmer, Daniel Van Patten.
The Berlin recording is known for epitomizing the new wave genre as a blending of punk rock and pop, with heavy use of the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 synthesizer. Terri Nunn said the song, which was a breakthrough hit for Berlin, "defined us and defined that period of music."
The song's music video was their first MTV hit, in heavy rotation on the young channel in its second and third years. Directed by Dominic Orlando, it was filmed in 1983 at GMT Studios in West Los Angeles, California. Terri Nunn only sang two lyrics on camera: "I remember hating you for loving me" and "Sorry". The video became a part of the Berlin Video 45 Geffen-VHS home video, released in 1984.
The single surpassed the Billboard Hot 100 peak of their previous single, "Sex (I'm A...)", reaching No. 58 in July 1983. It is currently their third-highest charting single in the U.S. A dance remix of the song received club play in 1983.
Subsequent remixes were done of Berlin's song, including one by Sigue Sigue Sputnik. A revamped Berlin lineup, led by the original group's Nunn, re-recorded the song circa 2000; this version received several remixes as well. An acoustic version was made available exclusively on iTunes.
One of their signature songs, it was among those performed by a reunion of the original lineup for a live show at The Roxy in Los Angeles which was the culmination of an episode of VH-1's Bands Reunited.
"The Metro" was System of a Down's first cover, performed in 1995 on their Untitled 1995 Demo Tape. This dark, moody version of the song was slowed to a crawl. As re-recorded by the band for their Demo Tape 4 in 1997, it became less moody and truer to the Berlin original, with the tempo increased. A third version was sped up greatly and Daron Malakian lent his vocals in parts, appearing on System of a Down's "Lonely Day" maxi single as "Metro". That version also appears on the soundtracks for Dracula 2000 and Not Another Teen Movie. An unofficial video was available on the band's website. Malakian has said on many occasions that his band could have done the song better, but the chances of a new version were low as the band was on "indefinite hiatus" at the time. They have since reformed.
A cover of the song by Alkaline Trio kept the pace of Berlin's original while altering the melody.
An I Am Spoonbender version of this song exactly replicated the sounds and production style of the original, but completely changed the words and title to become "Where Do Words Go?" IAS leader Dustin Donaldson stated their intention: "By changing only the words and by musically rendering an exact replica, it forces notions of illusion/reality. It is an alternate-reality experience of the song. Therefore it isn't really a 'cover', so to speak–it is a 'Teletwin' of the original." It was released on the 1999 EP Teletwin.
Gridlock covered the song on their 1995 demo, Sickness, and on their album 5.25 in 1999.
The Interrupters covered the song on the deluxe edition of their 2014 self-titled album.