The Sound of Silence – Disturbed

Wake up! Pay attention!

The Sound of Silence is, originally, a song by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel and was written by Paul Simon in 1963/64. The version featured above is a brilliant and powerful cover by the America heavy metal band Disturbed. The Sound of Silence is one of the singles of Disturbed album Immortalized from 2015 and was a major success worldwide.

The poetic and insightful lyrics of Sound of Silence, ‘play’ with the imaginary of darkness and light to represent people’s inability to communicate, which has been destroyed by their detachment and ignorance.

The song makes an allusion to the extreme capitalism and consumerism that is suffocating society – “the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made” (neon represents the signs of commercial stores), and further expresses a discontent for humans who do not care to pay attention to anything and anyone. They are “hearing without listening” and are not willing to detach themselves from what is superficial. People simply assimilate the world as it is without challenging it since “no one dare[s] disturb the sound of silence.”

The reference starts with a man who had a revelation that awoken him from a shallow world of superficiality. He then rises and walks alone, and sees the light. In vain, he tries to awake other people – “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”.

More and more, people get lost in a myriad of self-involved problems and forget to pay attention to the world and the people surrounding them. People spend time tweeting, posting selfies on Instagram and updates on Facebook to their one thousand ‘friends’, but in other words this phenomena can be translated in an ocean of people craving attention but without the ability to communicate and engage in actual meaningful contact with others. Without meaningful conversations there are no meaningful emotional and social engagements – “people talking without speaking – hearing without listening”.

The main message is extremely simple. We have to look around, to listen to each other, to pay attention to each other. “Silence like a cancer grows” and if people keep feeding the world with ignorance and selfishness, there will be no meaningful future. Inequalities, discrimination, violence and war – this is what happens when we don’t care about each other. So don’t be “Fools” and “Hear my words that I might teach you”. Wake up and pay attention.


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 street lamp
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
And 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
And 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 sound of silence

Sounds from the Bucket
Silvie Vale

Passionate about LGBT issues and human rights, Silvie Vale has recently graduated in Development and International Relations from Aalborg University, Denmark. She is specialized in Global Gender Studies and is particularly interested in creating awareness about matters of social justice. She loves travelling, researching and learning new things.
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