This is part 2 of my 3 part tribute to the 30th Anniversary of Dream Theater. I’ve chosen my favorite 30 songs by them and these are not necessarily their best songs of course, just the ones I love and why. For numbers 21-30, please click here!
20. “The Dance of Eternity” from Metropolis Part II: Scenes From A Memory – This is probably the definitive Dream Theater instrumental with the billions of time signatures that flow together perfectly. I have no doubt fans would place this much much higher than I have but again, when you consider just how many great songs this band has, placing in the top 20 is great.
19. “Pull Me Under” from Images and Words – The hit. I think it’s easy to forget why this song broke the band, with it’s heavy riffs, awesome hook and sing-a-long chorus. But the bottom line is that it’s a great song that every Dream Theater fan owes a debt of gratitude toward. The band got a second chance after the debut album flopped and this song was the make or break moment.
18. “Lifting Shadows Off a Dream” from Awake – This song is vastly underrated, probably even by me! Every time I hear it, I feel good. Once again, John Myung’s lyrics are pure poetry. The song goes from mellow to a very upbeat chorus and back again. The solo section builds perfectly into the chorus, making an amazing climax. There really isn’t a song in Dream Theater’s catalog that sounds like it.
17. “Wait For Sleep” from Images and Words – Kevin Moore pulled out a section from the song “Learning to Live” to create this song which served almost like an intro to “Learning to Live.” “Wait For Sleep” was more than an intro however. It’s short, with a cool time signature and it’s lyrics gave the album its name. Perfection.
16. “Caught in a Web” from Awake – If this song was selected as the first single/video from “Awake” rather than the very simplistic “Lie,” I think that “Awake” might have out sold “Images and Words.” As is was, “Lie” felt like Dream Theater were trying too hard to be played on metal radio. “Caught in a Web” is every bit as heavy as “Lie” (maybe heavier) but it has all technicality that fans of “Images and Words” were hoping for.
15. “The Enemy Inside” from Dream Theater – This song would have ranked even higher if it weren’t for the seemingly out of place “circus” keyboard solo from Jordan Rudess. It really doesn’t fit the song and he has pulled that stunt too many times. It’s a shame because lyrically this song has so much meaning. Musically, the song really kicks serious ass too.
14. “Octavarium” from Octavarium – This is the bands second best epic and yes most fans would probably put this song in the top ten. I actually initially had this song in my top ten but after really being honest with myself, I had to push it to 14. That is nothing against this song. The song really has EVERYTHING. Literally! It’s off one of my favorite Dream Theater albums too. It could easily be in my top 10 though.
13. “You Not Me” from Falling Into Infinity – Let the death threats begin. So we are clear, I do NOT mean the demo version of this song. Like it or not, I think Desmond Child took an average song and gave it a kick ass chorus. I think fans that say they hate this song, only hate it because they know Desmond Child helped with it. If he wasn’t credited, they would love it. PERIOD. It’s a great song.
12. “Learning to Live” from Images and Words – This song is a classic. It is another song that was in my top ten and really should still be, I think. Man, doing this list was HARD!!! This song has some of Dream Theater’s best themes and transitions. I’d be hard pressed to think of a song with as many different pieces that flow as easily as “Learning to Live.” This song should be higher!
11. “Speak to Me” outtake from Falling Into Infinity – Dream Theater is one of those bands that even their outtakes are amazing. “Speak to Me” is very different for them. It’s got an 80s shoegaze, new wave vibe with one of my favorite melodic solos from John Petrucci. One reason I love the “Falling Into Infinity” album and all of its outtakes is that the band were really experimenting. Did it always work? No, but on this track it really did.
So there’s the middle section of my 30 favorite Dream Theater songs! Keep an eye out for my top ten songs! Can you guess what number one is?
For the top ten, click here!