Afraid to Shoot Strangers

How good is Afraid to Shoot Strangers on a scale of 1-10?


  • Total voters
    55
  • Poll closed .

Perun

After the war?
Staff member
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

Brilliant number. I like it both with Bruce and Blaze. I know that Blaze is off-key, but somehow, it sounds incredibly well that way. I posted my idea of the lyrics here years ago, and I still stand by it: It's about a soldier lying to himself to be able to face the coming battle. Musically, this is just amazing in every respect. 10/10.
 

bearfan

Ancient Mariner
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

Of the Bruce songs, this is the one I think Blaze did best .. this song could have been on X Factor.  Good song overall, cool intro, nice melody (a real toe tapper) ... if you count No Prayer and FOTD as an "era", this would be in the top 3 of that era.  I give it a 9
 

Babo 91

Nomad
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

great melodies and lyrics. this song was one of the first songs off fotd that i liked. janicks solo on this is also great. 8/10
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

If there's one song I have an emotional connection with, it's got to be this one.

Due to some personal issues I couldn't see Bruce's farewell tour in 1993. It was going to be my second concert and I was very disappointed, because I thought I'd never see Maiden with Bruce again.
I remember that I played A Real Live One a lot around that time, and sometimes, this live version recorded in Stockholm even brought tears in my eyes.

When I hear it, it brings me back to 2 September 1992 when I witnessed this song for the first time, in concert.
After Bruce ends with No trust, no reasoning, no more to say, the song's melodies are so powerful, piercing staight through my heart. Steve's bass and Nicko's drums carry the whole thing with immense force, and I remember Bruce kept us busy during this section. He stimulated the wave of v-shaped arms in the air. Thousands of arms making the same moves, while this enchanting music took away my breath.

It was and still is the best song from the first new album I bought since I was a fan (I became a fan in 1991). I find it the best song from the nineties. It's in the same league of the best material that came out since, but it made a bigger impression than most of that stuff.

I hope that this song will return, one day, and I am curious if it will have the same effect.

10
 

mckindog

Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

I really like the structure of this song: somber and introspective, to stately, to off the rails, to intense yet disciplined, to somber and introspective again; It nicely mirrors a soldier’s journey from recruit to veteran. Vintage Harris songwriting. I was thinking eight, but it really resonated with me on a careful re-listen. It’s better than some I’ve ranked nine, so nine. And I’m with Albie, this album really starts out like it’s going to be strong.
 

Taker

Cannon Fodder
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

7 out of 10... I would have been able to give this tune an 8 were it not for the intro, which has never grabbed me. Once things speed up it gets better. Killer solo from Janick...
 

Albie

Keeping an open eye on the Weeping Angels.
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

Easily the second best track on the album (guess which one is the best :D). As been discussed and agreed upon so many time here, Blaze's (officially recorded) version of this is actually a lot better, but the original is still good enough to get a 9. It would have got a ten but I feel the transition from slow to fast pace is just a little to abrupt and does not feel right. Maiden do this occasionally (Dream of Mirrors, for example) and it does bug me, but they get it right more often than not (Infinite Dreams, for example).
 

Mega

Ancient Mariner
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

8. It's awesome, moving, and has one of Janicks best solos ever. Really, he shines on this album.

You know LC, this is the first time I think about what you said, that it's presumptuous of them to write about a soldier's feelings. And you know what? You're probably right. It takes a bit from the meaning of songs such as this one.
 
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

Albie is spot on as far as transitions go. I actually find this song really disappointing because it promises to be be maiden yet never is (janick and dave aren't to blame, great guitar) but this is no longer the sound of maiden. It seems to harp back to a time that no longer exists. I remember hearing this song live in 92 and secretly wishing they'd played Weekend Warrior...of all songs.

3
 

SixesAlltheway

Ancient Mariner
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

Well, I just listened to the track again, and I really didn't remember it as being so synth heavy, but it really is, all the way through the track you have the synth keys in the background  :blink:

I love the intro with the guitar and bass interplay, Nicko comes in with his kicks and snare, Bruce whispering the lyrics, awesome!  :ok:

The mid paced bit before the solo section kicks off I could have done without though, but the solo is really off the wall, crazy stuff, and great the way Bruce screams out the words here  :edmetal:

Overall, yeah it could have been better structured, but its still one of the strongest tracks on this particular album. An 8/10 from me.
 

Donner

Ancient Mariner
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

This is a 9 from me (even though I mistakenly voted 10).  It surprises me that they haven't done this live since that era as it has the reunion era structure down to a T.  Great guitar bits, a nice intro, and a cool speedy section.  Like most songs from that era, I actually prefer the studio version to the live one with Bruce.  Blaze did a good job with this one as well.
 

Travis The Dragon

"Here's another fine mess you've gotten me into"
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

A great slow beginning followed by some sweet harmonic guitars. 9/10
 

Vortex

Invader
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

Great song. The music really captures the lyrics well, and gives you a sense off being 'in the moment'. Love that melody/lick that kicks in after the verses. Just lacks the final polish required for a 10 so I rate it 9/10.
 

Prowler_108

Trooper
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

YES

One of their ALL TIME best songs, and easily their best of the 90's.  A perfect ten, would do unforgivable things to see this live.
 

Invader

Ancient Mariner
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

I gave this song an instinctive 9 without really questioning it at all; it just feels like a 9 song.  It is one of the better songs of the 90s, along with Fear, Sign of the Cross, and The Clansman; but to be honest I really don't have much to say about this song.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Re: Daily Song: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

In my earlier post I forgot to mention how mysterious that guitar melody sounds in the intro.

The Mid-Distance Runner said:
this is no longer the sound of maiden.

Actually, with this song Maiden tried out something new, namely a rhythmic and calm beginning, built around a bass pattern, in which the role for Nicko was nihil or minimal. This was done on various later songs as well, e.g. on The X-Factor, check out Fortunes of War for instance. This song is not only important in this development.

Listen to the part which starts at 2.44, where we hear a certain style, where Steve and Nicko follow eachother smoothly, and Steve does a certain bass pattern and the guitars play the same(!) melody (no harmony, no rhythm guitars). This was done later as well, on various occasions. E.g. take Look For The Truth, take When The Wild Wind Blows:

Afraid To Shoot Strangers is written all over these instrumental sections.

Coming back to "this is no longer the sound of Maiden":
This song is trademark Steve Harris writing, and it represents the sound of post-No Prayer Maiden, and therefore its relevance is easily recognized.
 

Dr. Eddies Wingman

Brighter than thousand_suns
Interesting comment, Foro.

My own opinion of the song: It's a very good one, my favourite from this album and one of my favourites from the 90s. I simply love playing those guitar lines myself. The beginning perhaps drags on a bit too long for it to be perfect, and I'm not that keen on the entire "AFRAID!! Afraid to shoot strangers"-part in the middle. That part could just as well be instrumental, it's sufficient that Bruce sings the title four times at the end of the song. All in all this is a solid 9/10.

As for interpretation of the lyrics - I agree with Perun in that it sounds mostly like the soldier uses these arguments to make himself confident, rather than trying to persuade others that he's fighting a just war.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Eddies Wingman said:
Interesting comment, Foro.

Cheers!

Eddies Wingman said:
As for interpretation of the lyrics - I agree with Perun in that it sounds mostly like the soldier uses these arguments to make himself confident, rather than trying to persuade others that he's fighting a just war.

Indeed. It's a struggle in the mind of the soldier.
 
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