|Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence|
|Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence|
|Release date||January 29th, 2002|
|Lyrics||John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy|
|First live performance|
|Total live plays|
|Other appearances||Live at Budokan (War Inside My Head, The Test that Stumped them All, Goodnight Kiss, Solitary Shell), Score Live at Luna Park (War Inside My Head, The Test that Stumped them All)|
|Next song||As I Am|
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence is a 42 minute odyssey split into eight tracks or 'movements', and takes up the entirety of the second disc of their sixth studio album, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. It is by far the longest song in Dream Theater's discography, with the second longest song being In the Presence of Enemies at 25:38. Lyrically, it discusses mental health, which could be considered a kind of inner turbulence, owing to the song's title. According to Mike Portnoy, "After it was finished we divided up the sections and John and I split up the sections into six different characters and each of us write about three. Basically I wrote about three and he wrote about three and they're six different people all from very different backgrounds and walks of life, all dealing with the common thread of trying to cope with mental imbalances and things like that." MP.FAQ)
Personnel[edit | edit source]
- Mike Portnoy - Drums, percussion, backing vocals, co-lead vocals on War Inside My Head
- Jordan Rudess - Keyboard
- John Petrucci - Guitar, backing vocals
- John Myung - Bass
- James LaBrie - Lead vocals
Tracklist[edit | edit source]
1. Overture (instrumental) 6:50
2. About to Crash (Petrucci) 5:50
3. War Inside my Head (Portnoy) 2:08
4. The Test That Stumped Them All (Portnoy) 5:03
5. Goodnight Kiss (Portnoy) 6:17
6. Solitary Shell (Petrucci) 5:47
7. About to Crash (Reprise) (Petrucci) 4:04
8. Losing Time/Grand Finale (Petrucci) 5:59
Analysis[edit | edit source]
Overture[edit | edit source]
The Overture was the first part written for Six Degrees. Mike Portnoy discusses it in the FAQ. "We wrote the overture first and from there we took the themes in the overture that we liked and knew we wanted to expand into full sections." (MP.FAQ)
"We approached the Overture as if we were scoring a movie or writing a piece of classical music. For us as a band, it was a whole new way of writing and recording. Jordan's presence is felt most on the title track because he was the instigator and motivator for most of those sections. We wrote the sections around his keyboard parts since his parts were recorded first. My drumming approach for that was not that of a rock drummer, but rather more like that of an orchestral player. I wanted to avoid playing drumset grooves and focus more on the classical orchestration by doing things like multiple marching snare drum overdubs and bass drum and tom patterns with orchestra cymbals. Once we recorded the Overture, that laid the groundwork for the rest of the piece."
About to Crash[edit | edit source]
About to Crash is part II of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. It appears to be about bipolar disorder, however, it contains lyrical content that could pertain to drug addiction as well. Most of the song is upbeat, however the second half is more melancholy, to reflect the unstable aspect of the character's disorder. The main riff of this song is 7/8, a time signature that occurs at several other points throughout the song. It contains a reprise to Overture at 3:39 and 4:49.
She can't stop pacing She never felt so alive Her thoughts are racing Set on overdrive It takes a village This she knows is true they're expecting her And she's got work to do He helplessly stands by It's meaningless to try As he rubs his red-rimmed eyes He says, "I've never seen her get this bad." Even though she seems so high He knows that she can't fly and when she falls out of the sky He'll be standing by She was raised in a small midwestern town By a charming and eccentric loving father She was praised as the perfect teenage girl And everyone thought highly of her And she tried Everyday With endless drive To make the grade Then one day She woke up to find The perfect girl Had lost her mind Once barely taking a break Now she sleeps the days away She helplessly stands by It's meaningless to try All she wants to do is cry No one ever knew she was so sad Cause even though she gets so high And thinks that she can fly She will fall out of the sky But in the face of misery She found hopefulness Feeling better She had weathered This depression Much to her advantage She resumed her frantic pace Boundless power Midnight hour She enjoyed the race
War Inside My Head[edit | edit source]
War Inside My Head is part III of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. It discusses PTSD. It features backing vocals from Mike Portnoy which were (surprisingly) used pre-recorded in a live performance with Mike Mangini instead of John Petrucci singing them. It's the shortest movement of the song, a fact which they were unaware of while composing the piece.
"It's just the way it came out. We kind of wrote that together with The Test That Stumped Them All, so we wrote those back-to-back. They weren't supposed to be broken up in to specific lengths time wise; they're all just sections of the big piece. We weren't even conscious of the lengths of the individual sections. We were just writing with a vision of the big picture."
Napalm showers Showed the cowards We weren't there to mess around Through heat exhaustion And mind distortion A military victory mounted on innocent ground Hearing voices from miles away Saying things never said Seeing shadows in the light of the day Waging a war inside my head Years and years of Bloodshed and warfare Our mission was only to get in and kill A free vacation Of palmtrees and shrapnel Trading innocence for permanent psychotic hell Hearing voices from miles away Saying things never said Seeing shadows in the light of the day Waging a war inside my head Feeling strangers staring my way Reading minds never read Tasting danger with each word I say Waging a war inside my head
The Test that Stumped Them All[edit | edit source]
The Test That Stumped Them All is part IV of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence appears to be about a man with delusions and paranoia, or possibly schizophrenia. It also includes the voices of the parents or other adults (maybe doctors) making comments such as, "The boy is simply crazy / suffering from delusions". This song also utilises the odd 7/8 time signature. This part of the song was recorded with a 7 string guitar, as a low B can be heard during the riff underneath the keyboard solo. However, John uses a 6 string guitar to play this song live.
Standing in the darkness Waiting for the light The smell of pure adrenaline Burning in the night Random blinding flashes Aiming at the stage Intro tape begins to roll Igniting sonic rage Still they keep me between these hollow walls Hoping to find in me the answers to The test that stumped them all "The boy is simply crazy! Suffering from delusions We honestly think that maybe He might need an institution He lives in a world of fiction And really could use some help We have just the place to fix him To save him from himself" Curled up in the darkness Searching for the light The smell of stale sweat and shit Streaming through the night Random urine testing Pills red, pink and blue Counseling and therapy Providing not a clue Still they keep me between these hollow walls Hoping to find in me the answers to The test that stumped them all "We can't seem to find the answers! He seemed such a clear cut case We cannot just let him leave here And put all this work to waste Why don't we try shock treatment? It really might do some help We have just the tools to fix him To save him from himself"
Goodnight Kiss[edit | edit source]
Goodnight Kiss is part V of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. It is written about a mother with post-natal depression. The tone of this movement is much more relaxed and ambient than previous parts. The second half of the song hints of disturbed sleep and perhaps a forceful separation or failed operation, emphasised by the lyrics, "Those bastard doctors are gonna pay".
Goodnight kiss in your nightgown Lavender in your bed So innocent as you lie down Sweet dreams that run through your head Are you lonely without Mommy's love? I want you to know I'd die for that moment You're just a poor girl Afraid of this cruel world Taken away from it all It's been 5 years to the day and My tainted blood's still the same I can't help acting this way and Those bastard doctors are gonna pay I'm so lonely without baby's love I want you to know I'd die for one more moment I'm just a poor girl Afraid of this cruel world Taken away from it all
Solitary Shell[edit | edit source]
Solitary Shell is part VI of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. The boy in Solitary Shell has autism (more specifically, Asperger's syndrome), and shows that the affliction has been going on for his whole life, "As a boy ... as a man". This song also uses the recurring 7/8 time signature. The tone of this section is more upbeat and poppy, with John Petrucci using a double-necked 12-string guitar, which he only used again on "Someone Like Him" from Octavarium.
He seemed no different from the rest Just a healthy normal boy His mama always did her best And he was daddy's pride and joy He learned to walk and talk on time But never cared much to be held And steadily he would decline into his solitary shell As a boy he was considered somewhat odd Kept to himself most of the time He would daydream in and out of his own world But in every other way he was fine He's a Monday morning lunatic Disturbed from time to time Lost within himself In his solitary shell A temporary catatonic Madman on occasion When will he break out Of his solitary shell He struggled to get through his day He was helplessly behind He poured himself onto the page Writing for hours at a time As a man he was a danger to himself Fearful and sad most of the time He was drifting in and out of sanity But in every other way he was fine He's a Monday morning lunatic Disturbed from time to time Lost within himself In his solitary shell A momentary maniac With casual delusions When will he be let out Of his solitary shell
About to Crash (Reprise)[edit | edit source]
Part VII of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. This is written about the same character as About to Crash, and appears to hint at a recovery, or at least a positive episode, this time written from the character's perspective. It also uses the recurring 7/8 time signature as well as being as upbeat as its predecessor. It contains numerious musical references to the Overture in the instrumental outro.
I'm alive again The darkness far behind me I'm invincible Despair will never find me I feel strong I've got a new sense of elation Boundless energy Euphoria fixation Still it's hard to just get by It seems so meaningless to try When all I want to do is cry Who would ever know I felt so sad Even though I get so high I know that I will never fly And when I fall out of the sky Who'll be standing by Will you be standing by
Losing Time / Grand Finale[edit | edit source]
Part VIII and the final track of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. Losing Time was written about a girl with Dissociative Identity Disorder, who is modestly attired and finds it difficult to connect with people. This part is in 3/4, and is very symphonic in tone, with the use of orchestral keyboard sounds. The Grand Finale is a summation of all the previous parts.
She dresses in black everyday She keeps her hair simple and plain She never wears makeup But no one would care if she did anyway She doesn't recall yesterday Faces seem twisted and strange But she always wakes up Only to find she'd been miles away Absence of awareness Losing time A lapse of perception Losing time Wanting to escape She had created a way to survive She learned to detach from herself A behavior that kept her alive [GRAND FINALE] Hope in the face of our human distress Helps us to understand the turbulence deep inside That takes hold of our lives Shame and disgrace over mental unrest Keeps us from saving those we love The grace within our hearts And the sorrow in our souls Deception of fame Vengeance of war Lives torn apart Losing oneself Spiraling down Feeling the walls closing in A journey to find The answers inside Our illusive mind