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Offline cygnusx1jg

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Such differing opinions on Awake....
« on: August 28, 2009, 08:27:20 AM »
....based on the threads I have read on this board.  Now, I can understand the people that think Awake is DT's best record.  I don't agree with them, but I at least understand their opinion.  I just don't get the people that think this is their worst record.

Anyway, do you think Awake is the most varied DT release based on these opinions, or is their another album that has more differing opinions?
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Offline BlobVanDam

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2009, 08:32:18 AM »
I'd say FII is a lot more mixed, and the newer ones like ToT and Octavarium. Awake usually ranks top 3 for a lot of people here, but I see a lot more variety in opinions for the other albums I've mentioned, ranking from favourite to least favourite, and everything inbetween.
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Offline Slain

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2009, 08:44:53 AM »
Yeah, it seems pretty mixed. I've read posts saying that they hate James Labries vocals on this album, even going on to say they were terrible. I don't get that at all, I think he sounded great... but that's  just me. Definitley one of the more diverse DT Cd's, but that's why I love them- they are diverse, and their sound is dynamically changing
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Offline BlobVanDam

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2009, 08:49:10 AM »
Yeah, it seems pretty mixed. I've read posts saying that they hate James Labries vocals on this album, even going on to say they were terrible. I don't get that at all, I think he sounded great... but that's  just me.

Similar thing with Marquee. Some people don't like the harsher growly tone, especially on the higher vocals. Because I don't think there's anything you can really fault with JLB's vocals on Awake for the most part. I think it's just personal preference there.
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Offline ResultsMayVary

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2009, 08:51:53 AM »
I'd say FII is a lot more mixed, and the newer ones like ToT and Octavarium. Awake usually ranks top 3 for a lot of people here, but I see a lot more variety in opinions for the other albums I've mentioned, ranking from favourite to least favourite, and everything inbetween.
This. I'm definitely in the newer category so you could understand since Awake is my #5.
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Offline Dimitrius

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2009, 08:54:09 AM »
I find Awake to be a great album, until you get to the last 3 songs.

LSoaD does nothing for me.
Scarred is the most overrared song in DT's history.
SDV gets more props than it should because it's the DT song that will never get played live.
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Offline robwebster

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2009, 08:54:20 AM »
RIGHT, my two cents.
....based on the threads I have read on this board.  Now, I can understand the people that think Awake is DT's best record.  I don't agree with them, but I at least understand their opinion.  I just don't get the people that think this is their worst record.
I'm not convinced it's their worst record, but it's their least bombastic, which is kind of where Dream Theater's strengths lie. I like a lot of songs on it, but I don't think it plays to their strengths as a band. Not to say it's bad, but it doesn't soar like a lot of the other albums, in my opinion. Especially the newer albums, which I really enjoy.

Six Degrees, Octavarium and Black Clouds are all in the top half of their catalogue for me, which I can't say about Awake. Probably controversial but hey.

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2009, 09:02:04 AM »
I find Awake to be a great album, until you get to the last 3 songs.

LSoaD does nothing for me.
Scarred is the most overrared song in DT's history.
SDV gets more props than it should because it's the DT song that will never get played live.

I completely agree with this, although I'm not fond of Lie either (although I can still enjoy it occasionally)
AMBI is fantastic, the album before that is pretty good, but the last half hour of the album just does nothing for me. LSOAD isn't bad, but I've never really liked it myself. I've never understood the love for Scarred at all. Other songs I don't like I can still appreciate the reasons why others do, but with Scarred it makes no sense. And SDV is just boring. There's nothing specifically bad about it, it's just not an interesting song on any level. Songs like Disappear succeed much better at being slow emotional songs. My opinion of Awake would be quite high if the last half hour didn't exist, but I just can't overlook that long stretch of music at the end.
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Offline Dimitrius

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2009, 09:04:22 AM »
:tup
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Offline orcus116

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2009, 09:12:19 AM »
I find Awake to be a great album, until you get to the last 3 songs.

LSoaD does nothing for me.
Scarred is the most overrared song in DT's history.
SDV gets more props than it should because it's the DT song that will never get played live.

Funny because these three allow with Voices are probably the most mature songs they've ever written.

Offline GuineaPig

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2009, 09:14:19 AM »
Awake = best DT album
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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2009, 09:14:32 AM »

Offline BlobVanDam

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2009, 09:14:55 AM »
I find Awake to be a great album, until you get to the last 3 songs.

LSoaD does nothing for me.
Scarred is the most overrared song in DT's history.
SDV gets more props than it should because it's the DT song that will never get played live.

Funny because these three allow with Voices are probably the most mature songs they've ever written.

Maybe lyrically, but musically Scarred ranks as low as most of WDADU for maturity. And LSOAD is a pretty standard ballady type song. And there's nothing all that exceptional about SDV either. The lyrics really save what are otherwise pretty average pieces of music by DT standards and are certainly not the most mature pieces they've written.
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Offline Dimitrius

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2009, 09:25:52 AM »
I find Awake to be a great album, until you get to the last 3 songs.

LSoaD does nothing for me.
Scarred is the most overrared song in DT's history.
SDV gets more props than it should because it's the DT song that will never get played live.

Funny because these three allow with Voices are probably the most mature songs they've ever written.

Maybe lyrically, but musically Scarred ranks as low as most of WDADU for maturity. And LSOAD is a pretty standard ballady type song. And there's nothing all that exceptional about SDV either. The lyrics really save what are otherwise pretty average pieces of music by DT standards and are certainly not the most mature pieces they've written.
This.

I have never liked the music in Scarred and the radical transitions it has makes me hate it!
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Offline orcus116

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2009, 09:32:21 AM »
I find Awake to be a great album, until you get to the last 3 songs.

LSoaD does nothing for me.
Scarred is the most overrared song in DT's history.
SDV gets more props than it should because it's the DT song that will never get played live.

Funny because these three allow with Voices are probably the most mature songs they've ever written.

Maybe lyrically, but musically Scarred ranks as low as most of WDADU for maturity. And LSOAD is a pretty standard ballady type song. And there's nothing all that exceptional about SDV either. The lyrics really save what are otherwise pretty average pieces of music by DT standards and are certainly not the most mature pieces they've written.

I seriously think you undercut the songwriting on those songs. In fact I dunno how anyone can call those songs immature yet love any of the more recent prog-metal-by-numbers songs.

Offline Mebert78

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2009, 09:34:20 AM »
Awake is definitely my top DT album.  It's my second fav album overall behind Queensryche's Promised Land.  I gotta disagree with you guys about the last three songs on Awake.  Obviously, SDV is my top song but "Scarred" and "Lifting Shadows" are also really powerful songs too.  I'll admit, it took me many years before i really started to appreciate "Scarred."  Now it's actually become the song that gets the most play from me on Awake.  I think it's really underrated.  
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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2009, 09:35:37 AM »
All the songs are great for me except SDV. I can't listen to that song.
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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2009, 09:36:28 AM »
I find Awake to be a great album, until you get to the last 3 songs.

LSoaD does nothing for me.
Scarred is the most overrared song in DT's history.
SDV gets more props than it should because it's the DT song that will never get played live.

Funny because these three allow with Voices are probably the most mature songs they've ever written.

Maybe lyrically, but musically Scarred ranks as low as most of WDADU for maturity. And LSOAD is a pretty standard ballady type song. And there's nothing all that exceptional about SDV either. The lyrics really save what are otherwise pretty average pieces of music by DT standards and are certainly not the most mature pieces they've written.

I seriously think you undercut the songwriting on those songs. In fact I dunno how anyone can call those songs immature yet love any of the more recent prog-metal-by-numbers songs.

Do you have any reasonable explanation for their apparent greatness other than spitting out some generic and tired criticism of modern DT? What makes them so special? Songs like Voices and The Mirror are much better examples of good songwriting on Awake, but Scarred has many of the same faults that plague their weaker efforts of WDADU, like poor transitions and lazy vocal melodies.
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Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2009, 09:41:57 AM »
Can we have a conversation about Awake while not resorting to calling DT "prog-metal-by-numbers"? Seriously, whatever-the-fuck that is supposed to mean is outside of my understanding. Frankly, I can't think of one other prog metal band that sounds remotely like the DT we hear on SC or BC&SL (like those albums or not), and I'd love to hear someone try and draw a comparison between a typical prog metal band and anything on them. Say what you want about them, but they're certainly not typical prog metal outings and it's no surprise that most people who espouse that tired criticism are people who admittedly don't listen to much prog metal.

[/rant]

That being said, Awake is a great album with tons of highs. However, the lows (The Mirror, Lie) are just about as low as DT gets for me. It was my first album and an album I still listen to regularly but I think that it's experimentalness is pretty hit or miss. Kevin Moore's sounds in the beginning of Caught in a Web are a fail, but in Erotomania his playing makes John's chromatic scale actually sound good. Kevin's lyrics on Lie are some of the worst the band's written, but John's on Voices and Kevin's on 6:00 are among the best. James' voice sounds horrible on 6:00, The Mirror, and the first half of Scarred, but he sounds fantastic on Innocence Faded, Voices, and the second half of Scarred. And so on.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2009, 09:49:23 AM by Perpetual Change »

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2009, 09:45:18 AM »
  Kevin Moore's sounds in the beginning of Caught in a Web are a fail

What?  That is pretty much THE definitive DT keyboard tone.  Kevin Moore used it all over the place, Derek Sherinian used it a little bit, and Jordan Rudess uses it pretty often, too.  I think the only difference is Moore played more of a lead with that tone in the beginning of "Caught in a Web," unlike most of their other songs, where that tone is usually used to play textural chords.

Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2009, 09:46:52 AM »
Yeah, I understand. Again, I chalk it up to the experimental usage of the tone. It's a miss, in my opinion, when it's used that way. Unlike Erotomania, where Kevin uses the same tone in a more traditional sense and causes one of the best DT moments ever as a result.

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2009, 09:48:02 AM »
 Kevin Moore's sounds in the beginning of Caught in a Web are a fail

What?  That is pretty much THE definitive DT keyboard tone.  Kevin Moore used it all over the place, Derek Sherinian used it a little bit, and Jordan Rudess uses it pretty often, too.  I think the only difference is Moore played more of a lead with that tone in the beginning of "Caught in a Web," unlike most of their other songs, where that tone is usually used to play textural chords.

Even I love the intro to Caught in a Web (great fun to play on keyboard too, although tricky on the pitch bender). The basic octave strings sound would have to be one of the most commonly used DT sounds, although I can't think of any other instance where it is played with pitch bender, so I think you're right.
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2009, 09:49:58 AM »
LSOAD is a pretty standard ballady type song.
Listen again.  It's the least "standard" "ballad" I've ever heard.
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Offline Edan the Man

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2009, 09:56:14 AM »
Wait, what, James's harsh vocals on 6:00 and Scarred are awesome.

"Melodyyyyyy walks through the door" is one of my favorite DT lines vocally ever.

Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2009, 09:58:53 AM »
Wait, what, James's harsh vocals on 6:00 and Scarred are awesome.

"Melodyyyyyy walks through the door" is one of my favorite DT lines vocally ever.


It's a matter of opinion. I think the best thing James decided to do for his voice EVER was stopping that harsh gargly tone.

Offline orcus116

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2009, 10:01:23 AM »
With a little help from food poisoning.

Offline Dimitrius

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2009, 10:01:51 AM »
Wait, what, James's harsh vocals on 6:00 and Scarred are awesome.

"Melodyyyyyy walks through the door" is one of my favorite DT lines vocally ever.


It's a matter of opinion. I think the best thing James decided to do for his voice EVER was stopping that harsh gargly tone.
I think it suits some songs in the album. Caught in a Web and 6:00 being some of them.
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Offline SeRoX

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2009, 10:02:05 AM »
Wait, what, James's harsh vocals on 6:00 and Scarred are awesome.

"Melodyyyyyy walks through the door" is one of my favorite DT lines vocally ever.


It's a matter of opinion. I think the best thing James decided to do for his voice EVER was stopping that harsh gargly tone.

Oh wait a minute, man!
James harsh voice always gets me well and I find it enjoyable and also that's why I love Awake so much. Glad we have harsh vocals in BC&SL a bit.
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Offline Edan the Man

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2009, 10:03:59 AM »
Well yeah, I'm sure it wasn't very good for his voice :lol, but it did sound awesome in my opinion.
 

Offline j

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2009, 10:39:55 AM »
LSOAD is a pretty standard ballady type song.
Listen again.  It's the least "standard" "ballad" I've ever heard.

Seriously this.  Of course it doesn't appeal to everybody, but it's anything but generic.  Creative, unorthodox songwriting with a lot of sounds you don't hear in DT's other work.

As for Scarred, again it's a song that I used to dislike and can see why others would.  But "immature" songwriting?  Most of the transitions aren't any better or worse than is usual for DT, excepting a few abrupt ones going into the chorus, and I'm not sure what makes a vocal melody "lazy".

Awake is my 2nd favorite album, but I think it's relevant to point out that it was by far my *least* favorite when I first began listening to DT's albums.

-J

Offline robwebster

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2009, 10:41:53 AM »
I find Awake to be a great album, until you get to the last 3 songs.

LSoaD does nothing for me.
Scarred is the most overrared song in DT's history.
SDV gets more props than it should because it's the DT song that will never get played live.

Funny because these three allow with Voices are probably the most mature songs they've ever written.

Maybe lyrically, but musically Scarred ranks as low as most of WDADU for maturity. And LSOAD is a pretty standard ballady type song. And there's nothing all that exceptional about SDV either. The lyrics really save what are otherwise pretty average pieces of music by DT standards and are certainly not the most mature pieces they've written.

I seriously think you undercut the songwriting on those songs. In fact I dunno how anyone can call those songs immature yet love any of the more recent prog-metal-by-numbers songs.
Scarred is one of the only songs by Dream Theater where the transitions make absolutely no sense to me - I don't understand how it's apparently more "mature" (or how writing a really good nineteen-minute long prog metal song is immature, for that matter - it's a really lazy criticism which is thrown around far too much). The intro is lovely but it really loses its way. I'm not even convinced it has a way by the end. I've been trying to like it for over five years now, listening to live versions to see if I can work out what everyone loves about it, but it just doesn't fit together in any way for me. Which is my loss, but it is a little odd to see people calling it "perfect," which isn't rare.

(Oh, and Dimitrius, I agree with you on LSOAD and Scarred - although if you catch me at the right time I can be in the mood for Lifting Shadows! I really dig Space-Dye though.)

Offline Dcrupi

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2009, 10:45:05 AM »
Personally, I love James' growling high vocals.  On the Live in Tokyo and the New York '93 discs, it's SO SWEET when he launches into his high register.  Love it.

I have never liked the music in Scarred and the radical transitions it has makes me hate it!

Also, I never understand these comments about Scarred.  Do you all even LISTEN to Dream Theater?  They're all about rough, radical transitions that VERY OFTEN never work well.  They've done this throughout their entire career, BC&SL included (RoP).  Why the hell does it bother everyone so much in Scarred?  Do you dislike Metropolis for the same reasons??  I'm just so sick of hearing this excuse...

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #32 on: August 28, 2009, 10:45:59 AM »
LSOAD is a pretty standard ballady type song.
Listen again.  It's the least "standard" "ballad" I've ever heard.

Seriously this.  Of course it doesn't appeal to everybody, but it's anything but generic.  Creative, unorthodox songwriting with a lot of sounds you don't hear in DT's other work.

As for Scarred, again it's a song that I used to dislike and can see why others would.  But "immature" songwriting?  Most of the transitions aren't any better or worse than is usual for DT, excepting a few abrupt ones going into the chorus, and I'm not sure what makes a vocal melody "lazy".


By lazy I meant it doesn't sound like much thought went into it. It sounds like someone is just playing up and down the scale. Playing along a scale isn't a bad thing, as it leads to a flowing melody, and most good melodies do this, but it just doesn't sound like there is any care taken to where the melodies start and end in this particular case, in my opinion. DT write a lot better choruses now, and they wrote a lot better choruses on the rest of Awake too, and I think it's quite possibly the worst chorus DT have ever written (excluding WDADU).
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Offline orcus116

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2009, 10:55:32 AM »
Scarred is one of the only songs by Dream Theater where the transitions make absolutely no sense to me - I don't understand how it's apparently more "mature" (or how writing a really good nineteen-minute long prog metal song is immature, for that matter - it's a really lazy criticism which is thrown around far too much).

I guess I'm the only one who doesn't really have a problem with the transitions in Scarred. I can't ever recall listening to it and thinking "wow that was a weird transition". If you can find one in Scarred as terrible as the Beautiful Agony -> blues type solo section in Nightmare be my guest.

I consider Scarred mature in how tastefully composed the sections and solos are. The techniques used meld together very nicely and aren't overpowering at all. It's also a great showcase on how creative JP used to be. Aside from maybe Lines In The Sand I haven't heard much of any of that in the newer stuff. To answer about The Count, it's immature mainly in lyrics but aside from the fantastic intro and last 5 or so minutes the music is not that great of quality.

Offline j

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Re: Such differing opinions on Awake....
« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2009, 10:55:57 AM »
LSOAD is a pretty standard ballady type song.
Listen again.  It's the least "standard" "ballad" I've ever heard.

Seriously this.  Of course it doesn't appeal to everybody, but it's anything but generic.  Creative, unorthodox songwriting with a lot of sounds you don't hear in DT's other work.

As for Scarred, again it's a song that I used to dislike and can see why others would.  But "immature" songwriting?  Most of the transitions aren't any better or worse than is usual for DT, excepting a few abrupt ones going into the chorus, and I'm not sure what makes a vocal melody "lazy".


By lazy I meant it doesn't sound like much thought went into it. It sounds like someone is just playing up and down the scale. Playing along a scale isn't a bad thing, as it leads to a flowing melody, and most good melodies do this, but it just doesn't sound like there is any care taken to where the melodies start and end in this particular case, in my opinion. DT write a lot better choruses now, and they wrote a lot better choruses on the rest of Awake too, and I think it's quite possibly the worst chorus DT have ever written (excluding WDADU).

Well I disagree, but I can't really articulate why because I know nothing about music.   :lol  Thanks for the explanation though.   :tup

But it is still hard for me to grasp how someone could prefer the choruses of songs like You Not Me and Burning My Soul to this one.

-J