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Why Disturbed’s “Sound of Silence” Cover is Better Than the Original

The Sound of Silence is an iconic song, written by Simon and Garfunkel. However, I find Disturbed’s cover to be a better version of the song.

I don’t remember when I first came across Disturbed’s cover of Sound of Silence. But I do know that I listened to it over and over again, for a quite a while. And I’m really happy that I found it, because I do think it’s better than the original. When I made that comment to a friend, who is heavily involved in music, he very quickly scoffed at the idea. Then he listened to it. I don’t think he ever actually ended up agreeing with me, and that’s fine, but I do think he understood why I thought it was better.

While it’s true that we wouldn’t have any version, without Simon and Garfunkel, Disturbed’s version matches the lyrics better. It shows an entirely different emotional profile than the original. There’s a level of anger that’s present in Disturbed’s version. Sure, you could say that it’s just because it’s Disturbed that did the cover. But read to the lyrics.

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
No one dared
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
Hear my words that I might teach you. Take my arms that I might reach you. Does this sound like a person who has given up? No. It sounds like a person who is disgusted by the state of affairs, and by the people who do nothing, but who wants to see things change. And in a desire to see change, in a desire to refuse to accept the status quo, anger arises.

@dm20 tries to get at the psychological heart of why we get angry, and suggests ways to avoid anger. And it’s not bad advice. But I don’t think anger is always a bad thing. Anger means you haven’t given up. If you’re angry, you still want things to be different and you still are trying to change things.

As Dr. Lamia explains it in her article “Maybe You Should Be Angry,”

Anger deserves appreciation. Designed to produce action in response to the violation of social norms or to remedy situations that are wrong, anger alerts you to circumstances that are unjust and tells you that you’re having a reaction to something that should not be as it is.

But when you’ve given up, there’s no anger, just sadness and remorse. That’s what you hear in the original version of Sound of Silence. It just sounds weak as if they’re not really pleading for people to listen, but just trying to resolve their own remorse. So who really did the song justice? If the lyrics and the singing don’t match, then it just doesn’t sit right.