Global Trade: Fading to Black

by Danielle DiMartino Booth

Rarely does an idiom manifest itself in as many mediums as does the seemingly ubiquitous “Fade to Black.”

Spreading far from its beginnings as the director’s call to slowly dim the lights, end the scene and fade away, it runs the gamut from dark beer, to mystery novels to documentaries, from slasher films, to music, lots and lots of music. And, with the music there can be darkness, perhaps even the darkness of suicide. Dire Straits’s self-titled cut is a bitter rebuke to a wicked woman with black widow tendencies. Tommy Cash chose the idiom but not the darkness in his 2008 album, “Fade to Black: Memories of Johnny,” a tribute to his older brother, “The Man in Black.”

Urban lore consigns to Metallica, the thrash metal band formed in 1981 Los Angeles, the honor of bringing the most darkness and crossing the boundaries of metaphorical meaning in its version of “Fade to Black.” Have a listen: “I have lost the will to live, Simply nothing more to give, There is nothing more for me, Need the end to set me free.”

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