"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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50 Comments

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  • +2
    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 Commentthis song is hott
    blackliston July 11, 2005   Link
  • +1
    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 CommentJust a good song. I relate to it. but this autism and Aspurger syndrome thing, i don't think so. I have personally haven't seen anyone with either of these afflictions "Writing for hours at a time" I maintain this is simply about schizophrenia and delusions of grandeur, The Daydreamer that is portrayed is why people relate very well with this song. Kicks ass anyway.
    Infraon October 25, 2007   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 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
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is just simply amazing
    blackliston May 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI personally don't believe this song is about Autism. I think it's about John Pertrucci's personal struggles with life. I do realize there are a few songs about his Dad. That is obvoius. Both John and myself have the exact same birthdays, July 12th. Which makes us both deep male Cancerians. So I really understand where he is coming from with is lyrics. If you reference this song to the others that he has written, they are very similar. In the way that the character of the song was having a hard time fitting into society and feeling rejected. "Just because you are on the top doesn't mean you don't have any problems. Just food for the thought... -Thotw
    Thotwon August 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of those songs that I can connect to. It kinda depicts me (but not entirely) and that is very nice. Makes you retrospect...

    Edited by YtseJam on December 19 2005, at 12:19PM

    Idanon December 19, 2005   Link

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