Some thoughts | Reviewer: Ted C. | 11/14/10
This song has kicked around in my brain for decades and has always had an inexplicably large impact. So I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on it.
The imagery of talking to darkness his "old friend" is one of great isolation. "In restless dreams I walked alone" and even "I turned my collar to the cold and rain" reinforce this.
As the song turns to encountering the "Ten thousand people, maybe more" he talks of how he sees the people's communication as something that feels inadequate to him
"People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share"
and he reacts in anger to this by judging that they are unwilling to communicate as he wants/needs
"And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence"
"Fools", said I, "You do not know"
In desperate he flails at those people warning them that...
"Silence like a cancer grows"
and finally turns to outrage and rebellion
"Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
and finally he accuses the material trappings of the world from detracting from the society he wishes to see
"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
I've heard this song since I was quite young and my reaction to it has changed over the years. It is still very sad to me probably because I feel the isolation that I think the song captures. I often wonder if Paul Simon was as depressed when he wrote it as it always makes me feel.
Sound of Silence | Reviewer: Azumi | 6/8/10
With all the events unfolding at present, it is always wiser to look back to what had happen previously. The influx of information in the internet drowns once capacity to really think for himself. Coupled with the cinema and television programs, the total alienation of our minds from the true nature of life invades our day-today existence. Undoubtedly "the Sound of Silence" within each and everyone of us succumbs our will to voice out our sentiment because of pervading fear to reach out to others and be vulnerable. This ignorance of the true nature of man steadily cripples the mind to be progressive. What then can we do about it? The answer lies not from a distance but within us. Our total commitment to change ourselves will be the first step towards the fall of the "neon gods" we now call "technology". Our total dependency to technology diminishes our God-given gifts, talents and innovativeness that eventually leads to our downfall...to "the well of silence...
Brainwash Interpretation | Reviewer: Apparently Un-American | 5/28/10
"steve76", your absurd comment suggesting this song is about the government trying to brainwash citizens into surrendering arms paints a stereotypical and highly negative image of Americans.
It's an interesting conclusion, I must admit, but your comment has a very militant tone to it that I find quite worrying. Guns take lives, remember. Please don't assume it is every man's God-given right to own them.
Soul speak | Reviewer: Dev
This is probably one of best songs I have ever heard.It has real deep meaning to it.Finally the inner voice inside you speaks telling that in this noise & chaos around us we still are lonely & quiet.
We are so busy in our lives that we stopped speaking to others around us(read as heart-to-heart chat) & ourselves.Slowly the silence is widening the communication gap between the world around us.We are turning victims of our of our own acts.The last para totally is dedicated to television(idiot box) which tells our inner voice to shut up & listen to it :-).How long are we gonna let this silence rule our life? Will this lead to a quiet exit? when will someone break the ice? when will we connect emotionally with others?
Well... | Reviewer: hcorruption | 1/25/10
If you listen to the beginning of the song it talks about how he was dreaming. He was walking on a street of cobble stone... cobble stone streets were very common many many years ago. Then the song turns to the flash of a neon light. The contrast here is a man living in the past having a glimpse of the future... but the reality of it is a man of the present looking back on the past. The visions in the light reflect that there is no communication anymore, The sound of silence. Paul Simon wrote of the song: "A societal view of the lack of communication.". The song is meant to describe how people use to comminucate with each other a long time ago. In todays time...with technology (neon light) there is no more communication. You can pretty much make deductions for yourself regarding the rest of the lyrics.
talking about everything and nothing | Reviewer: alexander the great | 11/28/09
I see that there are various interpretations of this song, and some people have different approaches to finding the meaning of a song. I must agree with whoever said to appreciate a song and learn to interpret it as you grow and live, and letting each aspect of it form different meaning with you in its own time. This is good advice to take not just with interpreting a song's lyrics but with interpreting anything, whether it be a poem or even a piece of literature. People do debate meaning too much. As for the song, it is perhaps my most favorite song ever written. I deeply fell in love with it years before I looked up the lyrics. Honestly, I didn't care what the lyrics were. I sang the song as I drove along for years, and the lyrics I sang were the lyrics I heard. Years later, when I looked up the lyrics, I realized that I was wrong. But was I wrong? There was a subtle disappointment in finding out that certain lines were not what I thought they were, for they had already grown to have meaning to me in my life as they were in my mind. So I tell you, wanderer: love the sound of the song before the verse. Too much stock is put into interpretation. I believe that that is a key purpose or aspect of the song: meaning, which survives only through communication, and both communication and meaning that comes with it can be lost in this world if we do not continue them. We must keep talking, and giving the world meaning. That is indeed what I personally think these amazing artists are trying to say in this song.
Oi... | Reviewer: Josh
To the idiots babbling about government mind control: Get over it. You are yourself controlled by your obsessive conspiracy theories.
To the people trying to find meaning in the song: Nobody can tell you the meaning. You must interpret it yourself.
RE: What about Garfunkel? | Reviewer: Clandestine | 8/24/09
Paul Simon wrote it, as well as most of the Simon & Garfunkel songs, so Garfunkel shouldn't receive credit for the lyrics. That is not to say that Garfunkel's voice isn't absolutely brilliant and pure.
Let it come to you | Reviewer: Andrew | 7/25/09
There are some comments from younger listeners wishing for a detailed explanation of this song.
My advice is just to say that songs mean whatever you personally make of them. Some songs do not make sense to us until we go through some experience in life.
The greatest songs will grow on you and take on new meanings as you grow and experience life. So just enjoy the songs, and let certain lines jump out and grab you when you're ready.
Confused...HELP! | Reviewer: Jen | 3/30/09
I'm a bit young for someone who listens to S&G but what exactly is the exact meaning to this song? I been trying to figure this out for months but when going on websites and reading people's comments, it's made me even more confused! Someone said that this was about the devil (they said that "hello darkness" is really "Hell! Oh darkness").My friend said that it could be about athiest ("with the neon god they made", she said that they're saying that god is made up).And about "the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls" what is the whole meaning about that?Does this song have any sort of a threatening message? SOMEONE ANSWER MY QUESTION!
the real meaning | Reviewer: steve76
this song is about mind control.
the darkness is the evil ones associated with the sound of silence project.
this mind control is delved out in your TV. that is why the government sent 16 billion dollars to get the convertor boxes to every household in america on the same date. for a better picture. the rest of the tv's have digital boxes built in. the neon god is tv.
ten thousand or more people within our govenment are working on these messages.
"hear my words so i may teach you". study it on the internet. look up. educateyourself.org
watch: right now they are sending messages for family members to kill one another with guns. that will give the reason for our government to take away our guns. and since we are brainwashed in our own households we will give up our guns.
paul simon's family was involved in the neo-con military establishment in the early 60's.
meaning of the song | Reviewer: Mido
The meaning of the song quoted from Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon:
Art Garfunkel: "Inability of people to communicate with each others.. and.. not particularly internationally, but especially emotionally.. so that what you see around those people who are unable to love each others."
Paul Simon: "A societal view of the lack of communication."
Tehe sound of silence | Reviewer: wendy
Can please somebody tell me what is the meaning of this song..?? i found it some kinda difficult to interpret.. and besides im so young that my mind is not focused in the world and its meaning or the other way around..
but i found it so very interesting.. i just can understand the total me meaning of this song...
The most beautiful song ever | Reviewer: Frealaf
I listened to this song for the first time when I was four or five. Then this song was lost for me for long ten years. Now I'm twenty and still absolutely agree with this and love it. This is the last thing, which I wanna hear in this world.
The Beauty of S&G | Reviewer: Alex | 10/14/08
This song is, in my opinion, the greatest song by S&G, and possibly the greatest song ever written. Many will disagree, but this song is deep beyond deep, and everyone, regardless of age (I'm 15) should recognize the importance of every lyric of this beautiful and meaningful song.