"I'll Be Back": The Terminator Monster Ballad

“I’ll Be Back”: The Terminator Monster Ballad

Because they can’t terminate love. Or power chords.

Really, Mark Lee should be writing this post. A couple weeks ago, he had the idea of doing a schmaltzy Terminator song, in the style of “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” or “Everything I Do (I Do It For You).” He asked if anyone would be willing to help, and I told him to “keep me in the loop,” which means “good luck.” Then he sent me a demo version of the song, and it’s been in my head ever since. So in the end, I had no choice but to make this video.

Notice the armband he’s wearing?

This song, to me, is a prime example of “earony,” a word I coined to describe my feelings towards inspirational speeches. The word is a combination of “earnest” and “ironic.” With this song, Mark is clearly mocking monster ballads. At the same time, he clearly loves monster ballads to death. Thus, it’s an earonic song.

I like to imagine this whole backstory about lovers separated by nuclear disaster, searching for each other as they dodge exoskeletons. “How far would you go to find the one you love?” No wait, maybe we play it a little lighter. Poster shows an endless line of gleaming robots walking down Santa Monica Boulevard. Tagline: “The commute is killer today.”

But here’s something to Overthink: is the end credits monster ballad a thing of the past? Robin Hood was ’91, Armageddon was ’98. Nowadays, they end action movies with upbeat rock songs, not cigarette lighter-waving declarations of undying affection. Of course, maybe the monster ballad itself is an endangered species. The genre definitely peaked in the 80’s and early 90’s. I might argue that the high water mark for monster ballads was 1992, which gave us “November Rain” and “Bed of Roses.” But ’92 was also the breakout year for Nirvana. After Nevermind, rock became less glam, for better and for worse.

Anyway: Mark, you’re a rock star, plain and simple.

Lyrics after the jump.


I’m sleeping alone on this cold concrete floor
Another sad night in this sad robot war
On Judgment Day man and machine did collide
But even though billions of people have died

Somewhere out there tonight
You’re hugging your rifle so tight
I’ll find you, somehow, someway
In the rubble that once was L.A.

I’ll be back, no man no machine
Can keep me from you, I’ll always be true
I’ll be back, to finish the fight
And say “hasta la vista” to this lonely night
This vow I must take:
No fate but what we make
I’ll be back

Dogs they are barking, I know something’s wrong
He barely speaks English, his accent’s so strong
The cyborg attack took us by surprise
All the silvery skulls with their glowing red eyes

Skynet has torn us apart
And Judgement Day’s broken my heart
But I’ve got so much to give
Come with me if you want to live


I’d travel through time just to hold you again.
I’d take on a world of mechanical men.
Tonight Hunter-Killers keep watch from above
But nothing can Terminate our love.


22 Comments on ““I’ll Be Back”: The Terminator Monster Ballad”

  1. ned #


    words can hardly describe. the metal of your chords is only matched by metallic aura that your words weave.


  2. Lisa #

    Mark.S.Lee, you are my hero. :-)


  3. Matt #

    You crazy Mark. Best part = facial expressions as you’re riffing at the end. The Darkness better look over their shoulder.

    The masters of earony, btw, are Tarantino on violence and Andy Kaufmann on self-reflection.


  4. Chance McClain #

    That was dope. Awesome job man. When Arnold did the harmonies…that was hilarious. Can I air it in Houston on my Sports Radio station?


  5. DaveW #

    Absolutely fantastic.


  6. Gab #

    Belinkie’s right, you’re totally a rock star, Lee. You’ve even got the power stance down.


  7. Hazbaz #

    I’m crying tears of awesome!


  8. jhc #

    wow. really an awesome job.


  9. Tom #

    This is now tied with the Grand Unified Theory of Schwarzenegger for my favorite thing on the site. Bra-freaking-vo.


  10. pave #

    made my day! week! life! oh man i am so singing this at people!


  11. Schmoid #

    “I’ll be back” for Memorial Weekend. Fantastic!


  12. Wordsworth #

    That is freaking awesome. MP3? :D


  13. Daniel #

    That is superb! Mark Lee, i had no idea you were so awesome. Matt Belinkie, perfect editing job. If you could put out an MP3 of that, it would be great.


  14. lee OTI Staff #

    Thanks for all of the props. If it was half as fun to watch as it was to make, then it was worth it. Even if I may have tuberculosis from shooting in that basement.

    Also, allow me to quote John Connor: “If you’re listening to this, *you are* The Resistance.”


  15. Rish Outfield #

    Truly inspirational, dude. I hope an entire generation of teenagers makes out to your ballad.

    Okay, that may be too much to ask. I hope that at least two teenagers make out to your ballad. Ahhh, sweet youth.


  16. Tony Wong #

    Friggin awesome, Lee. Nice work!


  17. Sunshineyness #


    Seriously. DUDE.


    If you had an MP3 version of that I’d totes dl it. Really, really awesome.


  18. Frehley Fox #

    ohmygod! we need monster rock back. big rock with the big hair to go with it. grunge was good for a while, but then it got more and more unwashed and filled with Kurt Cobain’s incoherent mumbling….

    Mark’s ballad is awesome! it sounds like Metallica singing an Aerosmith song. SO cool.

    seriously. i want glam back

    but what the hell do i know. my musical tastes are stuck in vintage as far as rock is concerned. (and i’m 22!) for the past few months i’ve been falling in love with footage of Paul Stanley jumping about in glittery jumpsuits & 7-inch heels, so that tells you where i’m coming from….


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