Thesis: Irony Metaphor Personification Simile Symbolism

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Queensryche Analysis

"Operation: Mindcrime"

Queensryche is an American heavy metal band founded in Bellevue, Washington in 1982. Throughout their illustrious musical career, Queensryche has released twelve studio albums, an EP, and several DVDs ("Queensryche"). Queensryche has been nominated for a Grammy four times and has had their music featured in three films. Queensryche recently signed a record label deal with Century Media Records and is in the process of working on and releasing their thirteenth studio album (Titus). Operation: Mindcrime, released in 1988, was Queensryche's third studio album. Operation: Mindcrime is a concept album constructed as a rock opera that follows the story of Nikki, a heroin addict, and his struggle to cope with his addiction and the sordid underworld he is drawn to because of it. The album's fourth track shares the same title as the album and finds Nikki struggling to overcome his addiction only to be sucked into the world of Dr. X and his underground revolution. The song's lyrics utilize irony, metaphor, and symbolism to convey the choices and obstacles Nikki is forced to confront during his struggle with heroin addiction.

"Operation: Mindcrime" is driven by heavy guitars, loud bass, and pounding drums that give the song an industrial sound and feel. This sound helps to support the lyrics of the song, which are tinged with hopelessness, desperation, and helplessness. The song's lyrics allow the listener to understand what Nikki is struggling to overcome: his addiction and need for heroin. The song begins, "It takes a minute/and you'll feel no pain," which refers to the instantaneous gratification he will receive if he gives in to his desires (Queensryche). These introductory lines are followed by "Gotta make something of your life boy," an idea that seems to haunt Nikki. In a sense, this concept serves as a metaphor for the establishment and fulfillment of goals and obligations, however, within the context of the song, it can be taken to mean that an individual needs to do something with his or her life and not let another person dictate what should be done, but rather that the individual choose what they should do and not be coerced into it. This haunting thought is quickly dismissed as Nikki's thoughts turn back to getting high and seeking a fix for his current pains and troubles in life. "Give me one more vein/You've come to see the doctor/Cause I'll show you the cure/I'm gonna take away the questions/Yeah, I'm gonna make you sure" demonstrates Nikki's lack of discipline as he cannot control his impulses, but would rather make himself feel better temporarily rather than seeking a cure for his addiction. In these lines, it becomes clear that Nikki is addicted to heroin and that his preferred method of ingesting the drug is intravenously (Queensryche). Furthermore, "doctor" and "cure" are used metaphorically to describe Nikki's drug dealer and his drug of choice, heroin. Within this first lyrical stanza, Nikki's obstacles are symbolic of the everyday obstacles people are faced with, even if they are not addicts. People constantly need guidance and reassurance to reinforce their decisions and provide an affirmation that they are on their desired career or life path.

In the song's second stanza, the narrative continues to focus on Nikki's addiction and asserts that in order to continue giving in to his addiction, he must sacrifice his free will to the doctor. Ironically, Nikki's free will was sacrificed the instant he became addicted to heroin because from that moment forth, he was no longer in control of his impulses, cravings, or actions and became a slave to his cravings and addiction. This second stanza contends that in order for Nikki to be supplied with a fix, he has to become "A hit man for the order," which implies that he has give up his autonomy and free will to the doctor in order for his drug order to be fulfilled. The lyrics proceed to provide an explanation of how Nikki became addicted to the drug and provide insight into his background. In this stanza, it is explained that Nikki's drug use possibly arose out of boredom and a lack of direction. The song continues, "When you couldn't go to school…had a habit doing mainline/Watch… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Irony Metaphor Personification Simile Symbolism.  (2013, March 22).  Retrieved August 23, 2019, from

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"Irony Metaphor Personification Simile Symbolism."  March 22, 2013.  Accessed August 23, 2019.