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The Sound Of Silence (Disturbed)
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Disturbed’s cover of ‘The Sound of Silence' by Simon&Garfunkel.

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence.

DARKNESS= /'dɑ:knɪs/ Absence of light. The first line highlights the key theme of the song, the inability for people to talk to one another. He takes comfort in venting his thoughts and emotions to the darkness, because it is the only one willing to listen. To emphasize the speaker's isolation, the composer uses personification by having him speak directly to "darkness, my old friend." The speaker desires to encourage people to find meaning in their lives beyond commercial culture, but no one will listen, except for the darkness he awakens to after dreaming of a chance to address them.

VISION= /'vɪʒən/ The manner in which one sees or conceives of something; mental image.

SOFTLY CREEPING= Moving quietly and slowly.

SEEDS= (Figurative) The source, beginning or germ of anything. Something that may serve as the basis of further growth or development.

PLANTED IN MY BRAIN= (Figuratively) To place in mind. He said that when he was sleeping a vision left its seeds and it was deeply rooted in his brain.

STILL REMAINS= To continue in the same state or condition. He could still realize the vision, but had no words to express it.

WITHIN= In the inner part or parts of; inside.

THE SOUND OF SILENCE= It is a paradox,  a statement of apparent contradiction. On a literal level the idea seems impossible, but there is truth in the contradiction.

RESTLESS= /'restlɪs/ Characterized by a lack of quiet, repose, or rest.

NARROW= /'nærəʊ/ Small in breadth, esp in comparison to length. Not wide.

COBBLESTONE= A paving stone, especially one that is naturally rounded; paving of smooth round stones. Click here to see the image.

NEATH= /ni:θ/ Archaic short for 'beneath'. Below.

HALO= /'heɪləʊ/ Around light source. Something suggesting such a light or shape.

COLLAR= /'kɒlə*/ Neck of shirt or jacket.

DAMP= Moisture, slight wetness; humidity.

STAB= /stæb/ To cause to penetrate with force. In this case, the eyes were suddenly penetrated by the flash of a neon light.

SPLIT THE NIGHT= Break the night.

NAKED LIGHT= (Figurative) Pure light.

TALKING WITHOUT SPEAKING= A paradox to imply that the people's relationships and conversations are so superficial and limited that they fail to have any connection or deeper interaction. They could not convey any meaning or emotion.

HEARING WITHOUT LISTENING= People are unable to interpret or view conversations with any significance or understanding, and treats their interactions as mere routine.

DARE= To be courageous or bold enough to do or try something.

1. used as an intransitive verb

If you dare to do something, you have the courage to do it. You use dare on its own, or with an infinitive with or without to.
I went to see him as often as I dared.

In this meaning, dare is often used in negative sentences and questions.

If someone daren't do something, they don't have enough courage to do it.
I daren't ring Jeremy again.

In American English, the contraction 'daren't' is not used. American English uses the full form dare not instead.
I dare not leave you here alone.

Be Careful!
You must use an infinitive without to after daren't and dare not. Don't say, for example, 'I daren't to ring Jeremy again'.

If you are talking about the past, you say that someone did not dare do something or didn't dare do something. After did not dare and didn't dare you can use an infinitive with or without to.
She did not dare leave the path.

In formal writing, you can say that someone dares not do something. Dare not is always followed by an infinitive without to.
He dared not show that he was afraid.

In other kinds of negative sentence, you can use an infinitive with or without to after dare.
No one dares disturb him.


2. used as a transitive verb

If you dare someone to do something, you challenge them to prove that they are not frightened of doing it.
I dare you to swim across the lake.

3. 'I dare say'

You say I dare say or I daresay to show that you think that something is probably true.
It's worth a few pounds, I dare say, but no more.

DISTURB= To break up or destroy the tranquility, order, or settled state of.

FOOLS= (Pejorative) Idiot.

SILENCE LIKE A CANCER GROWS= This is a poetic license, to create unity within the song. Rhyme is the use of similar sounds; in this case 'know' and 'grows'. In this song, the composer uses end rhyme, a type of rhyme that occurs when lines end with the same sound. For example, the first verse of the song contains end rhyme through the words 'friend' and 'again', 'creeping' and 'sleeping' and 'brain' and 'remains'. The final line of the verse ends with the word 'silence', but no corresponding rhyming line, creating a beat of actual silence in its absence.

MIGHT= /maɪt/ Used to express possibility or probability. The singer takes a more didactic tone. His imploring of the people suggests his desperation to correct them of their iniquity ('I might teach you'), to show them of their ways and have his words resonate within them ('I might reach you').

Might and may are used mainly to talk about possibility. They can also be used to make a request, to ask permission, or to make a suggestion. When might and may are used with the same meaning, may is more formal than might. Might and may are called modals.

RAINDROPS= Drops of rainwater. The words of the singer are like silent raindrops falling. This imagery suggests his efforts hitting a blank wall; of how his teachings, powerful as they are, being unable to reach the people. A decrescendo is also used after the word “fell” is sung, adding depth to the image of disappointment and failure.

ECHOED IN THE WELLS OF SILENCE= Like a raindrop dropping in a well, his warnings only echoed to no one. This image also conveys void and emptiness, a theme that is carried throughout the song.

BOW= /bəʊ/ To incline the body or head or bend the knee in greeting, consent, courtesy, acknowledgment, submission, or veneration. It suggests an image of total submission and dependency.

NEON GOD= The neon god represents modern, urban life. While worshiping this god, we become alienated from one another and unable to express our true selves. Maybe this song is not only just about the ignorance and willingness of people, but also about consumerism, with the 'neon gods' being brightly lit adverts seen everywhere. The use of the word 'made' suggests mockery and irony, as the people are worshiping that which they created, resulting in a paradoxical cycle.

SIGN= /saɪn/ It could refer to the 'neon god' mentioned in the previous line, with the use of the word 'flashed' suggesting glowing lights.

FLASH OUT= To shine out of something suddenly or in bursts.

WARNING= Caution. Advice to be cautious.

PROPHETS= Spiritual leaders. The energy in which the line is sung, suggests that these 'prophets' are very much significant and important in the context of the song. They can perhaps be interpreted as ancestors or previous leaders of the people being described in the song. These 'prophets' were perhaps trying to convey the very message the author is desperately trying to tell the people.

TENEMENT HALLS= Raaaaaaooms or sets of separate residences in housing complexes and apartments. Specifically rundown, overcrowded and low income apartments.

WHISPER= /'wɪspə*/ Talk softly. The author reveals the final place where the 'words of the prophets' are being published. Unlike the previous two lines that suggest the 'words' being 'written', the final line narrates the 'words' being 'whispered'. This idea suggests that the people are able to hear if they only take the effort to listen.

The song warns us about the dangers of a society without empathy, the inability of people to communicate emotionally. Communication is often only on a very superficial level. In this world, no one dares to reach out to anyone else and disrupt the sound of silence.

The song can be interpreted as a bitter satire towards the materialistic tendency of the people in the modern world. The poetic persona is a visionary who warns against the lack of spiritual seriousness in modern people

The music video is a breathing monument about the state of music today... What if musical instruments turned to dust? What happened to real musicianship?

In the following link you can read an interesting viewpoint about the song meaning: Click here

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