The Theory of Everything


Ayreon - The Theory of Everything (Album Lyric Video)

"The Theory of Everything" is a double-CD stand alone concept album released on October 28th, 2013. It is not related to the previous Ayreon albums. When released, the CDs were separated into forty-two separate tracks (a reference to Douglas Adams' book "A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"), in four "phases," though Arjen Lucassen has stated they are really four twenty-plus minute tracks.[1] The total length of the album is 1:29:33.

Guest musicians include Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, Jordan Rudess, Steve Hackett, Troy Donockley, Ben Mathot, Maaike Peterse, Jeroen Goossens, and Michael Mills. Siddharta Barnhoorn provided orchestration, a first for the Ayreon series.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

A father attempts to solve the Theory of Everything, a mother tries to protect her son, and a prodigy tries to see through the haze.

More information on individual characters can be found on the page Characters from The Theory of Everything.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Vocalists[edit | edit source]

Musicians[edit | edit source]

  • Arjen Anthony Lucassen - electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, mandolin, analog synthesizers, Hammond organ, Solina Strings
  • Ed Warby - drums, percussion

Guest musicians[edit | edit source]

  • Rick Wakeman (ex-Yes) - synthesizer solo on "Surface Tension", piano
  • Keith Emerson (ex-Emerson, Lake & Palmer) - synthesizer solo on "Progressive Waves"
  • Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater, ex-Liquid Tension Experiment) - synthesizer solo on "Progressive Waves"
  • Steve Hackett (ex-Genesis) - guitar solo on "The Parting"
  • Troy Donockley (Nightwish) - uilleann pipes, whistles
  • Ben Mathot - violin
  • Maaike Peterse (Kingfisher Sky) - cello
  • Jeroen Goossens - flutes, bass flute, piccolo, bamboo flute, contrabass flute
  • Siddharta Barnhoorn - orchestrations
  • Michael Mills (Toehider) - Irish bouzouki

Track List[edit | edit source]

CD 1[edit | edit source]

Phase I: Singularity[edit | edit source]

  1. "Prologue: The Blackboard" - 1:55
  2. "The Theory of Everything Part 1" - 3:01
  3. "Patterns" - 1:03
  4. "The Prodigy's World" - 1:31
  5. "The Teacher's Discovery" - 2:58
  6. "Love and Envy" - 2:39
  7. "Progressive Waves" - 3:16
  8. "The Gift" - 2:38
  9. "The Eleventh Dimension" - 1:46
  10. "Inertia" - 0:45
  11. "The Theory of Everything Part 2" - 1:50

Total length: 23:29

Phase II: Symmetry[edit | edit source]

  1. "The Consultation" - 3:49
  2. "Diagnosis" - 2:48
  3. "The Argument 1" - 0:24
  4. "The Rival's Dilemma" - 2:22
  5. "Surface Tension" - 0:57
  6. "A Reason to Live" - 0:45
  7. "Potential" - 3:14
  8. "Quantum Chaos" - 2:09
  9. "Dark Medicine" - 1:23
  10. "Alive!" - 2:29
  11. "The Prediction" - 1:05

Total length: 21:31

CD 2[edit | edit source]

Phase III: Entanglement[edit | edit source]

  1. "Fluctuations" - 1:01
  2. "Transformation" - 3:13
  3. "Collision" - 3:26
  4. "Side Effects" - 2:59
  5. "Frequency Modulation" - 1:44
  6. "Magnetism" - 3:54
  7. "Quid Pro Quo" - 3:09
  8. "String Theory" - 1:29
  9. "Fortune?" - 1:36

Total length: 22:34

Phase IV: Unification[edit | edit source]

  1. "Mirror of Dreams" - 2:30
  2. "The Lighthouse" - 3:16
  3. "The Argument 2" - 0:49
  4. "The Parting" - 3:27
  5. "The Visitation" - 3:27
  6. "The Breakthrough" - 2:00
  7. "The Note" - 1:11
  8. "The Uncertainty Principle" - 2:09
  9. "Dark Energy" - 0:44
  10. "The Theory of Everything Part 3" - 1:29
  11. "The Blackboard (Reprise)" - 1:13

Total length: 22:20

Plot[edit | edit source]

Phase I: Singularity[edit | edit source]

The Teacher and The Girl wonder what could have happened, and wish they could have helped him more.

Eleven years before, The Father and The Mother argue about their child, The Prodigy, as The Father attempts to solve the theory of everything, a scientific principle that would unify all physical forces in the universe. The Mother tries to connect with The Prodigy, but he does not respond; he is simply unable to connect with her, though he wants to.

Four years pass, and The Prodigy is in class. He finds a piece of paper covered in equations from The Teacher. The Prodigy completes them, leading The Teacher to question him about his phenomenal mental abilities. The Rival, jealous and in disbelief of The Prodigy's abilities, and The Girl, upset at The Rival for being so cruel, argue. The Rival thinks The Girl is in love with The Prodigy, and tries to dissuade her, stating he is the better choice. The Teacher speaks to the father, stating that The Prodigy is exceptional. The Father doesn't believe, but The Teacher convinces him to help The Prodigy.

Two years have passed, and The Father is trying to connect with The Prodigy, but The Prodigy does not respond. The Father and The Mother agree to enlist the help of a professional, but The Mother wants what is best for The Prodigy, while The Father only truly wants help with the theory of everything.

Phase II: Symmetry[edit | edit source]

The Mother takes The Prodigy to the The Psychiatrist for an analysis. The Psychiatrist says he thinks The Prodigy is astounding, but that he is impaired mentally. He tells The Mother in The Father that there is a drug he could give The Prodigy, but it has dangers attached. The Mother and The Father argue about the drug.

The Rival wonders what his life is going to be like with The Prodigy getting so much attention. He resolves to beat The Prodigy any way he can. The Teacher and The Girl, separately, think of their goals: The Teacher wants to make his mark on the world by helping The Prodigy, and The Girl wants to help him due to her attraction to him.

A year passes, and The Prodigy's condition worsens, sending him into a chaotic world of equations and patterns. The Father privately visits The Psychologist and they devise a plan to give The Prodigy the drug, and the results are astounding. The Prodigy's abilities increase dramatically; he and The Father begin working on the theory of everything, and The Mother rejoices at her son's improvement.

Phase III: Entanglement[edit | edit source]

The Teacher is wary of The Prodigy's progress, though he is happy about it. The Prodigy, feeling more confident, stands up to The Rival, both saying the other is the lesser intellect.

Another year passes. The Psychiatrist comes to The Father with troubling news: the drug The Prodigy has been taking has terrible side effects. The Father tells The Prodigy, asking his forgiveness, but The Prodigy refuses, angered. The Prodigy rushes off, trying to find The Teacher, but instead runs into The Girl and The Rival. He explains everything and asks to stay with The Girl. She accepts, but The Rival thinks she is going to be tricked.

The Prodigy stays with The Girl for a year.Without the drug, he descends back into the confused world he once lived in. The Rival approaches with an offer: crack the bank's algorithms, and get the drug in return, as well as more money than he can count. The Prodigy considers it, but The Girl refuses to be a part of it. She says if the Prodigy goes along, she won't be a part of his life. The Prodigy agrees to the deal, hoping The Girl will understand. The plan succeeds, The Rival celebrates, The Girl leaves, and The Prodigy is crushed by her departure.

Phase IV: Unification[edit | edit source]

After twenty-one months, The Girl has still not seen The Prodigy. She speaks to The Mother, and they wonder if there is any way to truly connect with The Prodigy.

In fact, The Prodigy purchased an empty lighthouse with funds from The Rival where he is able to be in peace and work on the theory of everything. The Teacher checks on him every day. The Mother and The Father argue about what The Father has done. After three months, The Mother has had enough; she leaves The Father.

The same night, exhausted from working on the theory, The Prodigy receives a visitor. It is The Father, on his knees an pleading for forgiveness. Reluctantly, The Prodigy forgives him, and together they work on the theory. The Prodigy takes far greater amounts of the drug to help him, and they set to work. They manage to solve the theory, and celebrate. Weak after working all night, The Prodigy writes a letter to The Teacher, feeling he has worked too hard, and is fading.

The Teacher enters, finding The Prodigy Comatose. He phones The Girl, who rushes over. The Teacher tells her about The Father and The Prodigy working, but The Girl says it isn't possible. The Mother called her, and told her that last night The Father committed suicide. The Mother joins them, and the three console each other.

The others leave. The Teacher, inspecting the blackboard, makes a strange discovery. He wonders how, if The Father was dead, there were two different hand styles.

Notes[edit | edit source]

Mastered by Brett Caldas-Lima.

During the recordings, Lucassen suffered an elbow injury. According to him, it is "pretty serious" and will need to be operated on, with only 70/80% chance of success. However he chose to not be operated immediately because it would delay the release of The Theory of Everything, and continued to record despite the pain.[2]

The album's cover was painted by frequent Ayreon artist Jef Bertels.

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Ayreon Albums Next:
"The Source"
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