"Octavarium" as written by John Petrucci, Michael Portnoy, John Myung, Kevin James Labrie and Jordan Rudess....
I never wanted to become someone like him so secure
Content to live each day just like the last
I was sure I knew that
This was not for me
And I wanted so much more
Far beyond what I could see
So I swore that I'd
Never be someone like him

So many years have passed
Since I proclaimed
My independence
My mission
My aim
And my vision
So secure
Content to live each day like it's my last
It's wonderful to know
That I could be
Something more than what I dreamed
Far beyond what I could see
Still I swear that I'm
Missing out this time

As far as I could tell
There's nothing more I need
But still I ask myself
Could this be everything
Then all I swore
That I would never be was now
So suddenly
The only thing
I wanted
To become
To be someone just like him

A doctor sitting next to me
He asks me how I feel
Not sure I understand his questioning
He says I've been away a while
But thinks he has cured me
From a state of catatonic sleep

For 30 years
Where have I been?
Eyes open
But not getting through to me

Medicate me
Infiltrate me
Side effects appear
As my conscience slips away

Medicate me
Science failing
Conscience fading fast
Can't you stop what's happening

A higher dosage he prescribes
But there's no guarantee
I feel it starting to take over me
I tell them not to be ashamed
There's no one who's to blame
A second shot
A brief awakening

I feel the relapse
Can't break free
Eyes open
But not getting through to me

Medicate me
Infiltrate me
Side effects appear
As my conscience slips away

Medicate me
Science failing
Conscience fading fast
Can't you stop what's happening?

Sailing on the seven seize the day tripper diem's ready
Jack the ripper owens wilson phillips and my supper's ready
Lucy in the sky with diamond dave's not here I come to save the
Day for nightmare cinema show me the way to get back home again

Running forward
Falling back
Spinning round and round
Looking outward
Reaching in
Scream without a sound

Leaning over
Crawling up
Stumbling all around
Losing my place
Only to find I've come full circle

Flying off the handle with careful with
That axe Eugene gene the dance machine
Messiah light my fire gabba gabba
Hey hey my my generation's home again

Running forward
Falling back
Spinning round and round
Looking outward
Reaching in
Scream without a sound

Leaning over
Crawling up
Stumbling all around
Losing my place
Only to find I've come full circle

Our deadly sins feel his mortal wrath
Remove all obstacles from our path

Asking questions
Search for clues
The answer's been right in front of you

Try to break through
Long to connect
Fall on deaf ears and failed muted breath

Loyalty, trust, faith and desire
Carries love through each darkest fire

Tortured Insanity
A smothering hell
Try to escape but to no avail

The calls of admirers
Who claim they adore
Drain all your lifeblood while begging for more

Innocent victims of merciless crimes
Fall prey to some madmen's impulsive designs

Step after step
We try controlling our fate
When we finally start living it has become to late

Trapped inside this Octavarium [Repeat: x4]

V: RAZOR'S EDGE (19:59-24:00)
We move in circles
Balanced all the while
On a gleaming razor's edge

A perfect sphere
Colliding with our fate
This story ends where it began

Lyrics submitted by Idan

"Octavarium" as written by John Petrucci John Myung

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Octavarium song meanings
Add your thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +12
    General CommentGot this from a forum and I think he pretty much hit the nail on the head.

    The song is about Dream Theater and their influence on progressive rock. The first 13 and a half minutes of that song sound very similar to pink floyd, yes, genesis, the beatles, and many other progressive rock pioneers. This is done on purpose, considering that they started the genre, so Dream Theater started the song by playing their music very much like their influences - "i never wanted to become someone like him" basically means Dream Theater, when they were young, never wanted to be like their influences because they wanted to be independent. However no matter how hard they try they will end up being just like them in some way, although still original - "Then all I swore that I would never be was now, so suddenly, the only thing, I wanted, to become, to be someone just like him."

    The next part of the song is sort of a metaphoric explanation of how Dream Theater became like them, other than that there is not much i can explain.

    At about 14 minutes into the song, a strong, very progressive metalish riff comes into play, and that is where the line "Isn't this where we came in?" (sample from Pink Floyd The Wall) is heard. The basic reason for this quote is to explain that at this point in time (around 1989), Dream Theater opened the door to a new genre (Progmetal, for those of you who dont know). Now Dream Theater realizes that they will always be like their fathers, and yet original, so they pay homage to their influences in this section.

    - Sailing on the seven seize the day tripper, diem's ready
    ...sailing on the seven seas: OMD song
    ...seize the day: famous DT line from A Change of Seasons
    ...day tripper: Beatles song
    ...diem's ready: Carpe Diem from A Change of Seasons

    -Jack the ripper, Owen's Wilson Phillips and my supper's ready
    ...jack the ripper: Judas Priest song
    ...owen wilson: if you dont know this youre retarded
    ...phillips and my: not sure lol
    ...supper's ready: Genesis song

    -Lucy in the sky with diamond, Dave's not here ive come to save the day
    ...lucy in the sky with diamonds: Beatles song
    ...daves not here: Yes song

    -For nightmare cinema show me the way to get back home again
    ...nightmare cinema: antonym to Dream Theater, and also a joke band they made with Derek Sherinian (former DT keyboardist)
    ...home: Dream Theater song

    -Eugene Gene the dance machine messiah, light my fire, gabba gabba hey hey
    ...gene gene the dance machine: TV character from the 70-80s
    ...machine messiah: Yes song
    ...light my fire: Doors song
    ...gabba gabba hey: Ramones song

    -Hey hey my my generation's home again
    ...hey hey my my: Neill Young song
    ...my generation: The Who song
    ...home again: Dream Theater song again

    The next part, Intervals, is about the songs on the album Octavarium itself.
    I need not explain, just read this:

    The Root of All Evil
    Our deadly sins feel his mortal wrath
    Remove all obstacles from our path

    The Answer Lies Within
    Asking questions
    Search for clues
    The answer's been right in front of you

    These Walls
    We try to break free
    Long to connect
    Fall on deaf ears with failed muted breath

    I Walk Beside You
    Loyalty, trust, faith and desire
    Carries love through each darkest fire

    Panic Attack
    Tortured insanity
    A smothering hell
    Try to escape but to no avail

    Never Enough
    The calls of admirers
    Who claim they adore
    Drain all your lifeblood while begging for more

    Sacrificed Sons
    Innocent victims for merciless crimes
    Fall prey to some madman's impulsive designs

    Step after step
    We try controlling our fate
    When we finally start living it's become too late

    Root second third fourth fifth sixth seventh and octave are musical intervals, thus the name of the section. And all the songs on Octavarium are on different scales spaced interavally: Root of all evil is in F, Answer lies within is in G, These walls is in A, I walk beside you is in B, Panic attack is in C, Never enough is in D, Sacrificed sons is in E, and Octavarium is in F, therefore making that album a full circle.

    TRAPPED INSIDE THIS OCTAVARIUM basically means that the band cannot be different or independent anymore because they have already defined themselves.

    A perfect sphere
    Colliding with our fate
    The story ends where it began

    Notice the first note in The Root Of All Evil is an F, well the last note in Octavarium is the same F, making it a full circle and saying that the story ends where it began musically as well.

    This song = pure genius
    jonpyleon August 01, 2012   Link
  • +9
    General CommentThis song is obviously about Mike Portnoy being trapped in the middle of his drum set.
    Opdion November 08, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentSection IV., each stanza appears to corrolate to each of the songs in the album in order. Neat. :)
    Idanon June 08, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTaken from Portnoy's site:

    Sailing on the seven seize - "seize" is exactly spoken as "seas" which would be the real meaning as well as reference to Queen’s Seven Seas Of Rhye from Queen
    Seize the day
    Day Tripper - Beatles
    Diem's Ready -????
    Jack the Ripper - Morrissey
    Ripper Owens - Vocalist of Iced Earth (ex-Judas Priest)
    Owen Wilson - actor
    Wilson Phillips - band
    Supper's Ready - Genesis
    Lucy in the sky with diamond - Beatles
    Diamond Dave - David Lee Roth
    Dave’s Not Here – Cheech & Chong
    Here I Come To Save The Day – Mighty Mouse
    Day for night - Spock's Beard
    Nightmare Cinema –
    Cinema Show - Genesis
    Get back - Beatles
    Flying off the Handle – ????
    Handle With Care - Travelling Wilburys
    Careful With That Axe Eugene - Pink Floyd/Steve Vai
    Gene the Dance Machine -The Gong Show / character in the film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
    Machine Messiah - Yes
    Light my Fire - The Doors
    Gabba Gabba Hey Hey - The Ramones
    Hey Hey My My - Neil Young
    My Generation - The Who
    Home Again - Pink Floyd
    Yaridovichon July 08, 2005   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationAlright, I'll try to take a crack at this...
    This song is not meant to be an explanation in the literal sense. Rather, it completes the cycle, and by doing so, things finally fall into place. This is also connected by how the eight step is the realization that everything has been in a loop all along.

    First, I just want to say how amazingly intertwined and interconnected this song is, along with the entire album. While the music is, of course, great, it's the constantly-branching meanings and connections that are truly extraordinary.

    Basically, the entire album is the "Octavarium." The Octavarium is the full-circle cycle of life which the band claims we are all confined to and forced to live. Each track of the album represents a particular stage of this cycle, and it thus progresses until this song as its conclusion. I figure the best way to go into detail about this would be to break the cycle and songs down, one by one:

    First/The Root of All Evil
    The odds are impossible. You give up. Bitter defeat is acknowledged, but this time, you can gather the strength to move on.
    But, through this, you begin anew. You give up all hope, all pride in order to start fresh. Welcome.

    Second/The Answer Lies Within
    Finally finding the strength to rise above the problems that have been obscuring your life as of now. Hope, motive, "the answer" is, at last, found! But from an unlikely place-- yourself. Confidence and determination is gained, and you choose to strive forward with your life.

    Third/These Walls
    Reality. Stark and dim. Finding that your new-found dreams are conflicted by the world around you. The first taste of failure. Resorting to ask for help. But the will to keep pushing forwards through the hardships of life.

    Fourth/I Walk Beside you
    Bliss. Love. Definitely love. Your struggles are rewarded.
    Finding somebody who you can put your trust, faith, and care into-- somebody you want to walk beside forever. And no matter what may happen, you know that absolutely nothing could tear you apart--

    Fifth/Panic Attack
    Death. Horror. Sheer, hopeless panic. Everything that was given was snatched away in an instant. You're left without knowing what to do, without knowing what to do. You want to run, you want to fight, you want to just breathe.. But you can't. It's all gone.

    Sixth/Never Enough
    You're a shell of what you once were. Life goes on, but nothing can repair that hole inside of you. Nothing could make life better.
    These people take, but they never give back. They hear you, but they never listen.
    Hopelessness. Despair. You live only on wishes that things will change-- but you know they won't. You don't know how much more you can take. You feel like you're going to crack.
    And all of these people who said they would be there for you... They don't care...

    Your despair and pain have turned into numbness. You lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, for hours. You want to go back and change things. You can't. Why live? Why try? Nothing is going to change. You're going to live day in and day out, only holding on to dreams of what could have been. You aren't alive.

    Temporary recovery. You can live again. You can breathe. You can feel.
    You haven't moved on, though. You are still haunted by the loss-- you still want to go back and change things. But, now, there's a trickle of light.

    The cycle then begins anew. After finding that bit of positivity, you finally acknowledge what happened, give up your past, and decide to start again. And, therefore, the process is restarted. Ultimately, you will find new hope, new love, and new life. And this time, it will feel completely different. But, it will end the same-- it will be lost, and that short time of golden bliss will meet a tragic end.

    Octavarium (song) goes more in-depth into this cycle. The beginning is obvious-- the singer describes his aspirations, probably as that of a little kid, to be different from the others. To live each day like it's his last-- to get the most out of life. This is similar to the first four songs of the album.

    But then, half of his lifespan later, it is found that the described person has unwittingly developed a lifeless cycle. They realize that their old aspirations are nothing, and are shocked and unnerved by the fact that they've wasted their life not living. This can be associated with how, during the last two songs of the album, the themes are of how somebody is able to come to terms with what happened and start to move on. Between Panic Attack and Sacrifice, the character had been stuck in a day-by-day loop of mundane routines. While in this particular case it was due to a tragic, heart-breaking event, it could also consist of a more typical scenario relating to modern-day society and conformity.

    Medicated is entirely an analogy. It isn't absolutely rare for a person who has been in a permanent coma to awaken after many years. The singer goes on about how it must feel for that patient. How they spent the last 30 years of their life without thinking, without living, without experiencing. This symbolizes the ongoing message of Octavarium where the character realizes that he's been spending a great deal of his life in a mundane situation.

    Another theme is how, when the character finally realized his situation, it was too late for him to change anything, for he was too old.

    Also, there's a prevalent theme of being trapped in this Octavarium. That no matter what you do or what you try to change, you will always have potential at first, but then wind up falling into a cycle of nothingness. Whether this is via society or the loss of a significant other, is up in the air. Even if you went back and tried to do things over again, it will occur again. There is no escaping it. It's similar to how, in Medicated, the coma patient was only awake for a short period of time. They experience a short time of experience and happiness (The Root of all Evil to I Walk Beside You), but in the end, they will always fall back into an endless sleep.

    The Root of all Evil could also reference to how the beginning of the cycle is truly "evil," which I would agree to be true. That simply by living, you will fall into the loop with this first step, and henceforth, it is the root of all that is evil. Thus, by reaching Octavarium, you will inevitably loop back to The Root of All Evil (like how the last note of Octavarium is the same as the first note of Root.)

    And thus, you have Octavarium.
    All in all, the album is both very depressing, but also very brilliant. I think it's Dream Theater's way of trying to get us to wake up and not be caught in the Octavarium. To not get into a routine of Work-Home-Sleep-Work-Home-Sleep, but to open our eyes and breathe the fresh air.
    It's clear that the Octavarium, in the real world, doesn't need to exist. In a way, I believe Dream Theater expresses this. They take their influences ("beginning") and implement them extensively throughout their latest work ("end",) but it isn't a loop this time. They're continuing onwards. Rather than circling back to their roots, they are instead an unstopping band that carries it's past with itself.

    And that's my interpretation and analysis. Hope you all like it.
    Linkson June 25, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAfter reading through the comments and also being on Mike's forum and reading through all the theories, I cannot comprehend how these guys wrote this song with all the golden eggs in the song. I think about it and giggle like a little girl. Thats how amazing DT is.
    Portnoyfan911on February 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningSomeone already nailed, it's about how everything moves in circles. From what I've heard and determined the first section is Petrucci, writing about how he wanted to be his own person, and not a musician, but was inspired to become one, and now has become an inspiration for others, bringing everything full circle.

    The second part is by LaBrie, it's just a fictional story, but the man starts out in a state of catatonic sleep, awakens, then ultimately falls back into his state of catatonic sleep. AKA it ended like it began, with him in a state of catatonic sleep.

    The Third part is by Portnoy, similar to the first one about how they didn't want to be like their idols and role models. Ultimately they couldn't help it and no matter how much they tried they did become like them and he mentions at the end how they've come full circle.

    The fourth, also by Portnoy emphasizes how every song on the album was all part of one big theme. Every song on the album goes up a note in key, and Octavarium, being the eighth song, is the Octave, which is the same note as the root (Root of All Evil). Then ends with LaBrie saying "Trapped inside this Octavarium" which is about how they're trapped in the cycle.

    The Fifth part, which is written by Petrucci, who also wrote the first in order to emphasize how the song is ending like it began, is just blatantly saying we move in circles and that everything is cyclic.

    There's much more to it, but it would be even longer to type out.
    troy5117on March 11, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love DT's longer songs and this was no dissapointment. A couple things though, I believe "First" "Second" "Third" etc... are said before each stanza in section IV.

    Another thing of note: The music in the section where "Medicate me
    Infeltrate me
    Side effects appear
    As my conscience slips away" is sung is in other songs on this album. I consider that section the theme of the album. Its other apperances are at the end of "The Root of All Evil" and about 2:42 into "The Answer Lies Within". There areprobably more appearances of this melody, but I haven't found them yet.
    Yaridovichon June 08, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe lyrics were taken directly from the album booklet.
    Idanon June 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, I haven't completely understood everything, but I did notice that this song ended with the beginning of the First song...Thus the whole...going in circles theme in the song "Full Circle"

    This song is damn awesome :D
    WeepingMoonon June 10, 2005   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top