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Dream Theater - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
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Uploaded on Jan 21, 2010
"Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" is the sixth song and title track on the album of the same name, written and performed by progressive metal band Dream Theater. Though the song is essentially broken up into eight movements, the track itself is one 42-minute song and takes up the entire second CD of the album. The genesis of the song came when Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess wrote what would become the "Overture" section of "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence", and the band took some different melodies and ideas contained within it and expanded them into chapters of the complete piece. The song explores the stories of six individuals suffering from various mental illnesses. Particularly represented are bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, autism, post-partum depression, and dissociative identity disorder.
The song also contains musical influences from classical, metal, folk and progressive genres. Some parts of the song are direct nods to some of the band's musical influences. The piece's main theme bears resemblance to the ending of Kansas's "The Wall", and "Solitary Shell" is similar to Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill".
The song is the longest that Dream Theater has recorded. In order to ease the scrolling through the song, Mike Portnoy decided to split it into eight different parts, each with their own distinctive styles.
The song was played in its entirety on Score, with the "Octavarium Orchestra" playing "Overture" and backing for the rest of the piece, except for "The Test That Stumped Them All".
I. Overture (0:00)
This serves mainly as an introduction, encompassing the many musical themes which occur throughout the remaining movements.
II. About to Crash (6:50)
The lyrics tell of a girl (Degree 1) who has one of the most well known of all mental illnesses: Bipolar disorder. With bipolarity, a patient suffers from manic episodes (e.g. "She can't stop pacing, she never felt so alive") alternating with depressive crashes (e.g. "Then one day, she woke up to find, the perfect girl, had lost her mind"). Bipolar mania often involves heightened energy, flight of ideas ("Her thoughts are racing, set on overdrive.").
III. War Inside My Head (12:41)
This movement tells the story of someone (Degree 2) who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, as some soldiers do after war.
IV. The Test That Stumped Them All (14:49)
This patient (Degree 3) is suffering from schizophrenia, ("He lives in a world of fiction").
V. Goodnight Kiss (19:52)
This is a piece about a mother (Degree 4) who has lost her child, in one form or another, and is suffering from post-partum depression ("Are you lonely without Mommy's love?" ... "I'm so lonely without Baby's love).
VI. Solitary Shell (26:09)
Referred to as Degree 5, this person is suffering from autism. The lyric tells us that he started off quite normal ("He learned to walk and talk on time, but never cared much to be held"), however, he did develop the tendency autistics have, and that is the withdrawal of social contact (the title, "Solitary Shell", shows that he is quite reclusive).
VII. About to Crash (Reprise) (31:56)
This section carries on from where About to Crash left off. This time the song is sung from the sufferer's point of view and describes her going through another manic episode ("I'm invincible, despair will never find me"). n.
VIII. Losing Time (36:00)
The last degree is suffering from dissociative identity disorder, previously called Multiple Personality Disorder.
Grand Finale (39:26)
In this section, the lyrics advise the listener to be more understanding of the people who carry these and similar afflictions, and to accept them as they should be. This section, in which the degrees described by the song are summed up in six lines, is similar to the "Intervals" section in the song "Octavarium":
Deception of fame — Degree 3: The Test That Stumped Them All
Vengeance of war — Degree 2: War Inside My Head
Lives torn apart — Degree 4: Goodnight Kiss
Losing oneself — Degree 6: Losing Time
Spiraling down — Degree 1: About To Crash (and Reprise)
Feeling the walls closing in — Degree 5: Solitary Shell
The Grand Finale ends with a drum fill and gong while the final chord fades over the course of the remaining minute and forty-five seconds. The final chord is the same chord that starts "As I Am", the first song on the next album Train of Thought, which is a further example of Dream Theater's continuity between albums.
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