At Wit's End

Album: Distance Over Time (2019)
Play Video


  • Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie wrote this song, which takes on a very dark subject.
    "It's the after-effect of a very traumatic and horrific experience, which is being the victim of rape," he said in a Songfacts interview. "I read an article and then I saw a documentary on victims of such a heinous act, and it's really hard for the couples to go on. So, that lyric is about him telling his wife that no matter what has happened, she has to remember that he still loves her as he always has, nothing has been lost, and that she needs to see that he is still the man she fell in love with. He still does not think anything different. He is there for her, and he needs her to rediscover that yes, she has been changed by this act, but at the same time, she has to realize that there is more to her than what this act dictates. So, that's basically what that lyric is about: her trying to salvage the relationship due to that."
  • The phrase "at wit's end" means nearing a breaking point where you can't take it any more. It appears in the Bible, and comes from a time when "wit" referred to mental faculty, so if you were "at your wit's end," you were losing your mind. In this song, it's the woman who has reached this point, with the man trying to help her through it.
  • The song opens with a persistent, guitar driven-intro, with the vocals coming in at 1:10. It runs 9:21, but fades to silence 8 minutes in, returning about 15 seconds later with distant percussion. These adventurous elements are not uncommon for Dream Theater, which has always explored the boundaries of progressive metal.

Comments: 1

  • Mm from IndianaI have been listening to this beautiful song over and over... for 2 months. I have connected with this on many levels as it can also be interpreted as to dealing with a partner who is in the throws of addiction... which is my situation. I lost my fiance 2 months ago, and every word of this song is something that I talked to her over and over about.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"They're Playing My Song

The first of Billy's five #1 hits was the song that propelled Madonna to stardom. You'd think that would get you a backstage pass, wouldn't you?

Tony Banks of Genesis

Tony Banks of GenesisSongwriter Interviews

Genesis' key-man re-examines his solo career and the early days of music video.

U2 Lyrics

U2 LyricsMusic Quiz

How well do you know the lyrics of U2?

Chris Isaak

Chris IsaakSongwriter Interviews

Chris tells the story of "Wicked Game," talks milkshakes and moonpies at Sun Records, and explains why women always get their way.

Director Mark Pellington ("Jeremy," "Best Of You")

Director Mark Pellington ("Jeremy," "Best Of You")Song Writing

Director Mark Pellington on Pearl Jam's "Jeremy," and music videos he made for U2, Jon Bon Jovi and Imagine Dragons.

Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root

Michael Glabicki of Rusted RootSongwriter Interviews

Michael tells the story of "Send Me On My Way," and explains why some of the words in the song don't have a literal meaning.