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Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Length 42:02
Working title (Unknown)
Release date January 29th, 2002
Lyrics John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy
Music Dream Theater
First live performance
Total live plays
Recorded Beartracks Studios
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)
Previous song Disappear
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)

PersonnelEdit

Tracklist Edit

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

AnalysisEdit

OvertureEdit

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 CrashEdit

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 aspext 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 HeadEdit

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 AllEdit

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.

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 KissEdit

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 ShellEdit

Solitary Shell is part VI of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. The boy in Solitary Shell has autism (perhaps 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

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 FinaleEdit

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