1. Disconnected, Part 1
Hear those sirens? Hear the storm warning? The wailing guitars that introduce Fates Warning’s “Disconnected” are not just there for show. The first track is part one of the title track, and it drips with sorrow, longing, and especially warning.
But what reason is there for us to cry out in such a way? Those siren calls are like a blast in the darkness; trying to reach out to those that we know are out there, but something separates us. Something, perhaps of our own making, keeps us from real connection. Will you answer the call for help?
“Knowing at a glance/ Where we all stand/ Searching for another chance/ To make us all one”. What does it mean to be one? The cover of Fates Warning’s “Disconnected” shows two people who seem to be in love—they seem to be one—but there is something keeping them from fully connecting. In fact, they only seem to connect in an inhuman way.
It’s sad, really. Human beings are created to be unified and to be one with another. Yet, we always put things in the way, even when, “at a glance”, it is so obvious that we should stop our bickering. What is wrong with us? There are human emotions that are surging and longing for peace and embrace. We take pieces of each other, instead. How much more until there’s nothing left? Why do we let our most important and natural relationships rot?
So tired. Unending thirst. Longing. So tired. “Feeling so strong/ I feel so inspired/ Like a man with all the words/ I could move the world/ If I weren’t so tired”. In this third track “So”, it becomes obvious that our lyricist is speaking specifically of a relationship he had. I don’t think it is the standard lovesick frivolities, though. This relationship is grounded more deeply. This album, in a way, is about Alder’s relationship with his father.
He had all the words. He knew how to tell his father like it was. He should have been happy, even “inspired”, at least in the way he was “supposed” to be. Isn’t this kind of disconnection natural? Doesn’t this happen to everyone?
Relationships are hard work. Yet, sometimes a relationship isn’t worth that work. He feels disconnected from his father, even though they have all the outward appearances of what the world says they should have. What’s missing? What is love, really? And so he goes on being admired and envied by others, but his bones won’t let him forget the exhaustion in his soul. Why can’t he let this go?
4. Pieces of Me
His exhaustion of heart finally catches up with him. He’s been living on promises for so long, but no substance or truth has ever come to light. His life has been a fraud for as long as he can remember, and now he’s lying in pieces. His father broke so many promises.
“I’m drowning, choking/ Falling deeper into this/ Black hole we call living”. Their lives have been swallowed up in misery and despair. Their disconnection has them talking past each other. Their lives are a living hell now. The tide of hatred is rising, breaking them apart more and more. The more victories he wins, however, the worse he feels about himself.
See what we can do to each other? Why are humans so capable of emotional harm? Why can we rip the hearts out of the ones we love? And here we sit, empty shells where humans should be. We are only fragments of what we were meant to be in the beginning.
5. Something from Nothing
“We’ve chased our dreams/ We’ve had our way/ Stood here so long/ I’ve forgotten what I was even looking for”. Have you ever felt so alone that you don’t even know what you like anymore? You don’t even know what you want anymore? What happened to your dreams? What happened to that little boy or girl inside us all?
“I thought I never needed/ Everything I knew was wrong”. He thought he could live without a relationship with his father. He didn’t need him, after all. He didn’t need his father’s approval or love. He didn’t need the look of pride in his father’s eyes.
Perhaps it’s our own fault. We like to blame others, and they certainly do break their promises and drag us into a black hole of emptiness and apathy. Yet, maybe it is our own pride. We went after the things that we thought we wanted, if only because the world told us those things were worth having. In the end, we’ll only find sorrow and a certain vacant space in our chests.
We need to make our own way. We have to take the nothing that we have settled upon, and we need to make it so much more than we’ll ever need. Humans are created with this ability. What are we waiting for?
6. Still Remains
There are so many experiences in life that drag us down or simply change who we are as people. The second to last track on “Disconnected” is “Still Remains”, and what a track it is!
After the ruin of his relationship with his father, our lyricist stumbles into something that will be more difficult than everything he has faced so far. His father dies. His father moves on, but Alder still remains. The disconnection is now worse than ever. He has longed for a relationship. All he wanted was a father that was proud of him. He just wanted to hear those three little words, “I love you”. But his father denied him those things. His father went to his grave the same stubborn fool he had always been.
But now it is too late. “And a fading memory/ Can’t cloud the pain/ When the voice is gone/ The word still remains”. My mother died about a decade ago, and so I can feel the anguish in this song. There was so much I should have told her; so many things I shouldn’t have said. But then she was gone, and now I live with the sadness and guilt of never telling her how much she meant to me. I will always have this pain.
But these words strike deeper in my heart than even that. It is no secret that my father and I do not get along well. Recently, after attempting to fabricate something of a relationship with him for almost six years, he threw it all away for the sake of his pride. What a stubborn fool! He threw away a relationship with me. He threw away a relationship with his grandchildren. He showed once again that he will never change. But, though this felt like a victory for me at first, I can’t help but feel this mournful void in my heart. This isn’t right. And there isn’t much I can do about it.
“Deep in the night/ Underneath the darkest skies/ Searching for some sign or some distant light”. Alder lost his father. And now his search for self and for meaning will never be satisfied. Deep down, he just needs his father.
7. Disconnected, Part 2
Why do we wait so long? Why do we require others to be a certain way in order for us to connect? Why do we say and do things to break relationships? To hurt people?
“I say to you, there is only one way in which the world can be saved from itself and that is by the realisation that love overcometh all things.” Shouldn’t it? Our communication problems are so petty in the grand scheme of things. Our hatred and emptiness come from our own evil hearts that cannot put aside selfishness for just one moment. We need each other, but we just can’t see it.
Life and love matter more than any of our pathetic problems. We are human beings!! We aren’t animals. We aren’t robots. We are humans that were built to love and to be one. And yet we let our stupidity and selfishness get in the way. We squander the time that we have, and only realize it after it is too late. We make the same mistakes over and over, never learning a single thing. The sorrowful siren wails on. The storm has come.