Today I felt like writing about a song and I chose a…. well a Dream Theater song… Surprise, surprise 😛
There is something interesting about this song. It is a very special song that will grasp you instantly even if you never have listened to them…
I reckon, Train of Thought is the best choice to warm up to DT for the metal-heads since it is by far the most metal-y (and least proggy) album of theirs. Think Symphony X’s Paradise Lost or Sabbath’s Master of Reality – the album is like the band’s tribute to Metal Gods…
Such albums usually divide the fans – some see them as “the best work of theirs so far” and some as “the odd album that doesn’t sound like theirs.” I can’t see myself anywhere there though – as a metal-head addicted to heavy tunes, I find this song a very tasty one from a brilliant album.
Moreover, the song has us witness a special vocal treatment by the brilliant James LaBrie, he of the impeccable technique and delicious voice. There is a rhyming bit (yes, as in Rap-like) which some can’t really make sense and some love to bits (e.g. yours truly).
So, we have a – seemingly controversial – song that caused much debate and inside the song we have a controversial bit that caused much confusion and all of that was in an album that caused much controversial debate.
Well, now that you are properly confused, I’ll just say that I’m absolutely and completely against “making sense” of art – which is different than “understanding art” and that’s a rant for another time. Think of it like a David Lynch film. At the end of it, you may find yourself confused, lost and even disturbed – but this wouldn’t change the fact that the experience impressed you and shook you. Which is what art is all about.
Going back to this wonderful tune, its legendary drum intro makes you go “what the hey?” the first time you hear it. Then follows the ripping and tearing main riff that will etch itself into your brain. Mini guitar feats on the background are like brown sauce to a nice steak. You can’t say enough about John Petrucci – his work is delicious through and through. Then does not come the usual Portnoy solo. Again a “controversy” – which is a view I find strange as I tend to focus on what I like about a tune and this one is impeccable as is.
Oh, let’s just not forget the Myung‘s aggressive bass that will tickle your pleasure centres especially during the intro with its perfect companionship to the guitar. Jordan Rudess solo, as always, is killer – and it adds much to the mad streak of this song. Of course, the production and song-writing are incredible as well.
All in all, a brand new sound you would not have imagined before 1990, but everybody can have his own view on that.
The brilliance behind the aggressive drums and the lyrics, the original victim of the titular step father, Mike Portnoy. Do you see the brilliance behind the legendary line?
“Don’t cross the crooked step!”
Haunting, isn’t it? The harbinger of the horror to come in the music to boot – goosebumps!
Portnoy said, when asked about this song, “I’m not very good at writing love songs, so I decided to write a hate song.”
The most frequent theme going on in the song is “regret” while those whispers you hear are from Magnolia, a 1999 Paul Thomas Anderson film that delves into themes like pathetic choices, estranged fathers and regret for the past decisions.
Last, but not least about this wonderful song, the delivery of the following lines gets to me each and every time…
“Expecting everyone to bow and kiss your feet”
“Don’t you see respect is not a one way street”
“Blaming everyone for all that you’ve done wrong”
“I’ll get my peace of mind when you hear this song”
Hey, I couldn’t be sure, have they been playing this song after Portnoy’s depature? Well anyways, enjoy the song and bask in its torrent of emotions!