"Solitary Shell" as written by and John/portnoy Petrucci....
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


Lyrics submitted by Idan

"Solitary Shell" as written by John Petrucci John Myung

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Solitary Shell song meanings
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49 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI believe that it was written about Autism, but a lot of these 'symptoms' could fit any number of disorders.

    This song fits with the lives of a lot of poeple (mine included), though it doesn't mean these people are Autistic. I show a lot of symptoms of Asperger's, OCD and apparently APD and a few other social disorders(though I would not claim to have any of them). This song describes me well, though rather than having a shell, I have a bubble. This bubble tells people to leave me alone, a lot of the time, the bubble even hides me.

    Anyway, my point is that, I don't think it matters what this song is specifically about, as it describes many things. I think it's an amazing song - I'm Paradox on the contrast thing. It works because to begin with, you don't notice the contrast, but then it jumps out at you and shocks you.
    Maneatingfishon May 04, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti dont think that he was autistic..."just a healthy normal boy". the song is associated with schizophrenia...he was catatonic...
    Bryant the Greaton October 17, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with Bryant the Great. It's not about an autistic person; although, it can seem as such with him not desiring to be held as an infant. However, the description is more towards schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder (which can have the same "symptoms" in infancy/childhood as autism does psychologically), since he appeared healthy to everyone else (he was a danger to himself). On top of this, he wrote frequently, which implies that he did not have problems with communication/language (autistic people do have a hard time with communicating/language). The instrumentation is amazing in this song (very progressive IMO)! ;) I completely agree with Paradox.
    komplexnouson November 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is hott
    blackliston July 11, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm not saying that the song is not about autism or that the band didn't confirm its autism, but what I think it is and how I like to think of it is as someone who grows up differently than the other kids. Someone like me, a kid growing up into music so deeply, who can't find anyone else who loves music and wants to grow up and be a musician. NONE of my friends listens, to dream theater. I'm 14. No one can tell me how this song was tuned like I can, no one can explain to me an f# scale like I can. People can be popular,and make fun of you, and listen to shitty music, but no one understands how I feel about music, and how it affects me. Solitary Shell explains that, for the most part, even if it is about autism.
    petruccifan7on July 11, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the greatest think about this song is the juxtaposition. The contrast between the happy sounding acoustic guitar and the depressing lyrics is genius.
    Paradoxon July 25, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIts a song about an autistic child's development
    Haaseraceron August 20, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBryant the Great and Komplexnous are both wrong. The song is about autism. Autistic children appear to be normal and can often act normal. However, at times, they also can withdraw inward and not socially interact. Not all austistic people have problem with language as autism is as diverse as religious and spiritual beliefs; there is no singular case symptom. The "not wanting to be held" is a common symptom of austistic children. Mice that mimic autism in humans are anti-social. My wife is a teacher and has had several children diagnosed with autism. They are smart and often their disorder is unrecognizable until put under some type of stress. Again, not autistic people are like Rain Man.

    That...and the band has confirmed that the song is about autism.
    heirtoruinon April 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is just simply amazing
    blackliston May 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song may have been written about Autism, but what is described is more exactly Aspergers syndrome/disorder, which is often classified as high functioning Autism. It is a seperate syndrome, which shares a lot with autism, but where the person with the syndrome has a lot higher brain functions than your standard Autistic, often being fine other than a dislike for social environments and seeming somewhat slow sometimes. There can be other symptoms, especialy when under stress, but for the most part they are a lot more 'normal' than your average autistic.

    The important point here is that there is a campaign to have this syndrome no longer recognised as a disorder, but as a standard variation from normal. While it does seem to restrict the sufferer in day to day social life, it often leaves them funtioning better on different levels. Many asbergers people seem to be the source of many 'savants' and there have been many talented artists. Their skills may lie in other areas, but they are just as able as 'normals'.
    TANSTAAFLon June 18, 2005   Link

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