Author Topic: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album  (Read 4753 times)

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Offline Max Kuehnau

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2023, 10:10:04 AM »
IMHO, it's not their worst ever (FII is), but it certainly isn't among my favourites for many reasons. (didn't listen to it in well over a decade and I don't plan to do so ever again) I enjoyed DT playing the second half of it on the Along For The Ride Tour in 2014 (was very enjoyable listening to everything being played correctly and precisely for once) I have to say I always enjoyed James' vocal parts on the album though.
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Offline TheHoveringSojourn808

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2023, 11:50:47 AM »
IMHO, it's not their worst ever (FII is), but it certainly isn't among my favourites for many reasons. (didn't listen to it in well over a decade and I don't plan to do so ever again) I enjoyed DT playing the second half of it on the Along For The Ride Tour in 2014 (was very enjoyable listening to everything being played correctly and precisely for once) I have to say I always enjoyed James' vocal parts on the album though.

that's funny FII was always one of my least favorites but it has aged well for me a lot in recent years. there's some clear duds but overall it's not bad!!
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Offline TAC

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2023, 12:43:25 PM »
IMHO, it's not their worst ever (FII is), but it certainly isn't among my favourites for many reasons. (didn't listen to it in well over a decade and I don't plan to do so ever again) I enjoyed DT playing the second half of it on the Along For The Ride Tour in 2014 (was very enjoyable listening to everything being played correctly and precisely for once) I have to say I always enjoyed James' vocal parts on the album though.

that's funny FII was always one of my least favorites but it has aged well for me a lot in recent years. there's some clear duds but overall it's not bad!!

What helps FII age well is its impeccable sound. It's not the songs..
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums........or WTF.  ;D
TAC got a higher score than me in the electronic round? Honestly, can I just drop out now? :lol

Offline TheHoveringSojourn808

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2023, 12:57:09 PM »
IMHO, it's not their worst ever (FII is), but it certainly isn't among my favourites for many reasons. (didn't listen to it in well over a decade and I don't plan to do so ever again) I enjoyed DT playing the second half of it on the Along For The Ride Tour in 2014 (was very enjoyable listening to everything being played correctly and precisely for once) I have to say I always enjoyed James' vocal parts on the album though.

that's funny FII was always one of my least favorites but it has aged well for me a lot in recent years. there's some clear duds but overall it's not bad!!

What helps FII age well is its impeccable sound. It's not the songs..

my ultimate DT fantasy would be a FII-production take on raise the knife
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Offline TheOutlawXanadu

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #39 on: September 24, 2023, 06:54:09 AM »
I remember there was a contingent of fans way back in the day, led by some guy called 6:00 or 9:00 or whatever, that basically argued Awake was by far and away the best Dream Theater album and a low key masterpiece. I'm not as big a die hard as them but I do personally think it has a case as their best album.

Ultimately, Awake is a bit of an odd ball because it is one of the few DT albums where the lyrics may be the strongest point, at least IMO. The guys really make you feel like a fly on the wall in terms of their personal lives and the whole Kevin Moore situation. Even Moore himself is going out guns blazing, talking about how money changes people in 6:00 and then bleeding his depression all over the page in Space-Dye Vest. If you don't really care about lyrics or the particular subject matter, then it may not move the needle much, but I personally find Awake's lyrics to be fascinating and I think they really boost the album.

Musically, Awake is basically a crisp winter day, and I really love that tone. I think it's also the perfect middle ground between the insane technicality that DT is known for while also being clearly ramped back from the insanity of I&W or SFAM. This is something that I personally think the band has maybe struggled with a bit in the Mangini era - They've clearly moved on from the excessive showmanship that sometimes plagued albums like TOT, but as a result, their songwriting has maybe gotten a bit more predictable and straightforward than some people might like (although I think AVFTTOTW found a pretty good balance here). Awake is right in the sweet spot for me.

In terms of criticisms, I really struggle with albums bordering on 80 minutes these days. Even though it's a great song, I wonder if maybe removing Scarred would have helped. At the same time... JP clearly had some important things to say lyrically with that one.

So yea... I'm not going to sit here and tell anyone that Awake is objectively NOT their worst album or that it is objectively their best album. It's all in the eye of the beholder. But I personally think it's easily in their "Big Four" along with I&W, SFAM, and SDOIT, and there are days where I'd probably rank it right at the top.

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Offline Trav86

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #40 on: September 24, 2023, 08:16:58 AM »
I remember there was a contingent of fans way back in the day, led by some guy called 6:00 or 9:00 or whatever, that basically argued Awake was by far and away the best Dream Theater album and a low key masterpiece. I'm not as big a die hard as them but I do personally think it has a case as their best album.

Ultimately, Awake is a bit of an odd ball because it is one of the few DT albums where the lyrics may be the strongest point, at least IMO. The guys really make you feel like a fly on the wall in terms of their personal lives and the whole Kevin Moore situation. Even Moore himself is going out guns blazing, talking about how money changes people in 6:00 and then bleeding his depression all over the page in Space-Dye Vest. If you don't really care about lyrics or the particular subject matter, then it may not move the needle much, but I personally find Awake's lyrics to be fascinating and I think they really boost the album.

Musically, Awake is basically a crisp winter day, and I really love that tone. I think it's also the perfect middle ground between the insane technicality that DT is known for while also being clearly ramped back from the insanity of I&W or SFAM. This is something that I personally think the band has maybe struggled with a bit in the Mangini era - They've clearly moved on from the excessive showmanship that sometimes plagued albums like TOT, but as a result, their songwriting has maybe gotten a bit more predictable and straightforward than some people might like (although I think AVFTTOTW found a pretty good balance here). Awake is right in the sweet spot for me.

In terms of criticisms, I really struggle with albums bordering on 80 minutes these days. Even though it's a great song, I wonder if maybe removing Scarred would have helped. At the same time... JP clearly had some important things to say lyrically with that one.

So yea... I'm not going to sit here and tell anyone that Awake is objectively NOT their worst album or that it is objectively their best album. It's all in the eye of the beholder. But I personally think it's easily in their "Big Four" along with I&W, SFAM, and SDOIT, and there are days where I'd probably rank it right at the top.

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Offline Jamesman42

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #41 on: September 24, 2023, 08:33:24 AM »
Nice post, TOX.

I think Scarred does suffer from being at the end of a fairly long album, itself being 11 minutes long. It's a fine song on its own but i find it a chore to listen to in the context of the whole album. I don't like long albums, though.
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Offline HOF

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #42 on: September 24, 2023, 11:41:18 AM »
I remember there was a contingent of fans way back in the day, led by some guy called 6:00 or 9:00 or whatever, that basically argued Awake was by far and away the best Dream Theater album and a low key masterpiece. I'm not as big a die hard as them but I do personally think it has a case as their best album.

Ultimately, Awake is a bit of an odd ball because it is one of the few DT albums where the lyrics may be the strongest point, at least IMO. The guys really make you feel like a fly on the wall in terms of their personal lives and the whole Kevin Moore situation. Even Moore himself is going out guns blazing, talking about how money changes people in 6:00 and then bleeding his depression all over the page in Space-Dye Vest. If you don't really care about lyrics or the particular subject matter, then it may not move the needle much, but I personally find Awake's lyrics to be fascinating and I think they really boost the album.

Musically, Awake is basically a crisp winter day, and I really love that tone. I think it's also the perfect middle ground between the insane technicality that DT is known for while also being clearly ramped back from the insanity of I&W or SFAM. This is something that I personally think the band has maybe struggled with a bit in the Mangini era - They've clearly moved on from the excessive showmanship that sometimes plagued albums like TOT, but as a result, their songwriting has maybe gotten a bit more predictable and straightforward than some people might like (although I think AVFTTOTW found a pretty good balance here). Awake is right in the sweet spot for me.

In terms of criticisms, I really struggle with albums bordering on 80 minutes these days. Even though it's a great song, I wonder if maybe removing Scarred would have helped. At the same time... JP clearly had some important things to say lyrically with that one.

So yea... I'm not going to sit here and tell anyone that Awake is objectively NOT their worst album or that it is objectively their best album. It's all in the eye of the beholder. But I personally think it's easily in their "Big Four" along with I&W, SFAM, and SDOIT, and there are days where I'd probably rank it right at the top.

I also agree it is a bit long. Personally Iíd drop Erotomania and Mirror/Lie, but I donít dislike those at all. Just if I had to drop something from it thatís what Iíd drop.

Offline TAC

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #43 on: September 24, 2023, 12:14:16 PM »
I'd start it at Erotomania and then replace The Mirror and Lie with Innocence Faded.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums........or WTF.  ;D
TAC got a higher score than me in the electronic round? Honestly, can I just drop out now? :lol

Offline Trav86

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #44 on: September 24, 2023, 12:43:02 PM »
I'd start it at Erotomania and then replace The Mirror and Lie with Innocence Faded.

As someone who loves 6:00 and Caught in a Web, I would just like to point out that your wrongness is wrongest wrong to ever wrong.
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Offline TAC

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #45 on: September 24, 2023, 12:55:20 PM »
I'd start it at Erotomania and then replace The Mirror and Lie with Innocence Faded.

As someone who loves 6:00 and Caught in a Web, I would just like to point out that your wrongness is wrongest wrong to ever wrong.

Hah!

I just remember finally getting Awake when it came out, and I was like WTF at the first three songs.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums........or WTF.  ;D
TAC got a higher score than me in the electronic round? Honestly, can I just drop out now? :lol

Offline HOF

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #46 on: September 24, 2023, 01:13:28 PM »
6:00 is my favorite DT song, and Caught in a Web is the first DT song I remember hearing (and thinking it was amazing), so yeah.

Offline TAC

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #47 on: September 24, 2023, 01:14:39 PM »
Of course. :lol
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums........or WTF.  ;D
TAC got a higher score than me in the electronic round? Honestly, can I just drop out now? :lol

Offline Trav86

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #48 on: September 24, 2023, 01:37:40 PM »
6:00 is my favorite DT song, and Caught in a Web is the first DT song I remember hearing (and thinking it was amazing), so yeah.

Hell yeah!

6:00 was the first DT song I heard. And no TAC, I didnít want to throw my CD out the window afterwords :lol
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #49 on: September 24, 2023, 03:09:30 PM »
Even though it's a great song, I wonder if maybe removing Scarred would have helped. At the same time... JP clearly had some important things to say lyrically with that one.
Fun fact: Scarred wasn't included on the cassette version, which was the format I originally had. It was several years before I upgraded to CD, so imagine my surprise when I discovered what was to me a brand new song.
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Offline TheBarstoolWarrior

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #50 on: September 24, 2023, 06:08:13 PM »
I take a lot of your points but I don't think it is the worst. I think it might be the most overrated DT album, but it's still pretty good.

After listening to I&W I was a little bit disappointed in Awake and I know some people who LOVED I&W and just stopped being interested in the band after they heard Awake. It's a big departure in from I&W and one of the biggest issues for me is JLB's singing. Because the album dialed up the Metal, I feel like they made him sing in a way that doesn't suit his voice. He's not the only problem on it though. I don't think there is a standout song, front to back, on the entire album. Everything is either decent or good or meh. Personally I never understood the love for songs like 6:00. It's good but there's nothing spectacular about it and as a result I never feel the urge to put it on.


Offline Jamesman42

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #51 on: September 24, 2023, 06:11:15 PM »
6:00 has one of DT's best choruses ever.
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Offline HOF

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #52 on: September 24, 2023, 06:50:40 PM »
6:00 has one of DT's best choruses ever.

And intros, and verses, and bridges, and middle section, and outro.

Offline TAC

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #53 on: September 24, 2023, 07:11:16 PM »
I really struggle with albums bordering on 80 minutes these days.

So I generally concur with this. Devoting that much time to listening to an album isn't always realistic.
My response though would be that bands are taking between 2 and 3 years between releases. Sure, I'd rather get a 40 minute release every 15 months, but that doesn't seem possible.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums........or WTF.  ;D
TAC got a higher score than me in the electronic round? Honestly, can I just drop out now? :lol

Offline HOF

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #54 on: September 24, 2023, 07:21:14 PM »
I really struggle with albums bordering on 80 minutes these days.

So I generally concur with this. Devoting that much time to listening to an album isn't always realistic.
My response though would be that bands are taking between 2 and 3 years between releases. Sure, I'd rather get a 40 minute release every 15 months, but that doesn't seem possible.

Yeah, back when I was 16 this wasnít an issue. In fact Iím sure I would have preferred maxing the music for my $. But these days thereís just so much music, and itís rare to have enough quality to max out an 80 minute disc (to say nothing of some double albums).

But I was also thinking of how much music DT made in that first 10 years of the bandís history from WDADU through SFAM. Including some ACOS, b-sides, and other extra tracks that didnít make it onto albums and two albums that ran over 75 minutes (and I also tend to lump the first two LTE albums with that era of DT). They were awfully prolific, and while some might disagree about the quality of some of that music, for me they made enough quality music in that period to round out a quality catalog before you even get to SDOIT.

Offline TAC

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #55 on: September 24, 2023, 07:39:06 PM »
I really struggle with albums bordering on 80 minutes these days.

So I generally concur with this. Devoting that much time to listening to an album isn't always realistic.
My response though would be that bands are taking between 2 and 3 years between releases. Sure, I'd rather get a 40 minute release every 15 months, but that doesn't seem possible.

Yeah, back when I was 16 this wasnít an issue. In fact Iím sure I would have preferred maxing the music for my $. But these days thereís just so much music, and itís rare to have enough quality to max out an 80 minute disc (to say nothing of some double albums).

But I was also thinking of how much music DT made in that first 10 years of the bandís history from WDADU through SFAM. Including some ACOS, b-sides, and other extra tracks that didnít make it onto albums and two albums that ran over 75 minutes (and I also tend to lump the first two LTE albums with that era of DT). They were awfully prolific, and while some might disagree about the quality of some of that music, for me they made enough quality music in that period to round out a quality catalog before you even get to SDOIT.

Yeah and even pre-internet, the band was just so engaged with the fans.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums........or WTF.  ;D
TAC got a higher score than me in the electronic round? Honestly, can I just drop out now? :lol

Offline Jamesman42

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #56 on: September 24, 2023, 08:00:16 PM »
I really struggle with albums bordering on 80 minutes these days.

So I generally concur with this. Devoting that much time to listening to an album isn't always realistic.
My response though would be that bands are taking between 2 and 3 years between releases. Sure, I'd rather get a 40 minute release every 15 months, but that doesn't seem possible.

A 40 (or less) minute release every few years would be A-OK with me, generally speaking. I would much prefer the best of the best and not waste time with stuff that could be polished down the road.
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Offline TAC

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #57 on: September 24, 2023, 08:02:43 PM »
I really struggle with albums bordering on 80 minutes these days.

So I generally concur with this. Devoting that much time to listening to an album isn't always realistic.
My response though would be that bands are taking between 2 and 3 years between releases. Sure, I'd rather get a 40 minute release every 15 months, but that doesn't seem possible.

A 40 (or less) minute release every few years would be A-OK with me, generally speaking. I would much prefer the best of the best and not waste time with stuff that could be polished down the road.

Even 40 minute albums have skippable tracks. Max me out with the music.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
Winger Theater Forums........or WTF.  ;D
TAC got a higher score than me in the electronic round? Honestly, can I just drop out now? :lol

Offline Jamesman42

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #58 on: September 24, 2023, 08:06:29 PM »
I really struggle with albums bordering on 80 minutes these days.

So I generally concur with this. Devoting that much time to listening to an album isn't always realistic.
My response though would be that bands are taking between 2 and 3 years between releases. Sure, I'd rather get a 40 minute release every 15 months, but that doesn't seem possible.

A 40 (or less) minute release every few years would be A-OK with me, generally speaking. I would much prefer the best of the best and not waste time with stuff that could be polished down the road.

Even 40 minute albums have skippable tracks. Max me out with the music.

True, but 40 compared to 80 will probably lessen the amount of skippable stuff.
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Offline Setlist Scotty

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #59 on: September 24, 2023, 08:20:09 PM »
I really struggle with albums bordering on 80 minutes these days.
So I generally concur with this. Devoting that much time to listening to an album isn't always realistic.
My response though would be that bands are taking between 2 and 3 years between releases. Sure, I'd rather get a 40 minute release every 15 months, but that doesn't seem possible.
A 40 (or less) minute release every few years would be A-OK with me, generally speaking. I would much prefer the best of the best and not waste time with stuff that could be polished down the road.
Even 40 minute albums have skippable tracks. Max me out with the music.
True, but 40 compared to 80 will probably lessen the amount of skippable stuff.
But what's skippable to you may be a masterpiece to me and or Timmay. And what Timmay and/or I think is a masterpiece may be skippable to you. Better to have too much to skip from than less potentially causing some fans to hate the album because in their opinion, everything is skippable.
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Offline Jamesman42

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #60 on: September 24, 2023, 08:25:44 PM »
I really struggle with albums bordering on 80 minutes these days.
So I generally concur with this. Devoting that much time to listening to an album isn't always realistic.
My response though would be that bands are taking between 2 and 3 years between releases. Sure, I'd rather get a 40 minute release every 15 months, but that doesn't seem possible.
A 40 (or less) minute release every few years would be A-OK with me, generally speaking. I would much prefer the best of the best and not waste time with stuff that could be polished down the road.
Even 40 minute albums have skippable tracks. Max me out with the music.
True, but 40 compared to 80 will probably lessen the amount of skippable stuff.
But what's skippable to you may be a masterpiece to me and or Timmay. And what Timmay and/or I think is a masterpiece may be skippable to you. Better to have too much to skip from than less potentially causing some fans to hate the album because in their opinion, everything is skippable.

I get that, I just have a huge preference for shorter albums in general, and my take is probably a hot one without a lot of agreement. But I don't think as much would be skippable if albums had more time to be refined. Would some people miss out on songs they would love if this were the norm? Sure. It would give me more time to find the best of many artists. Maybe it's because my free time is limited for the past several years. But that's where I am at right now.
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Offline TheHoveringSojourn808

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #61 on: September 24, 2023, 08:36:38 PM »
i'd probably like the cassette version more :lol
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Offline bosk1

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #62 on: September 24, 2023, 11:21:57 PM »
...and one of the biggest issues for me is JLB's singing. Because the album dialed up the Metal, I feel like they made him sing in a way that doesn't suit his voice.

Actually, you are very mistaken about that.  According to James, he was the one that came to the band just before recording the vocal tracks and said he wanted to try doing it more gruff and metal than what they had done on I&W.  So they didn't "make" him sing that way at all--that was all him.
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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #63 on: September 25, 2023, 01:23:36 AM »
From what I can gather, he wanted more agression in his singing on Images as well, but it didn't work out for that type of songs. So Awake was the perfect opportunity for him to try it out, and boy did it work out!

Offline TheBarstoolWarrior

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #64 on: September 25, 2023, 06:16:44 AM »
From what I can gather, he wanted more agression in his singing on Images as well, but it didn't work out for that type of songs. So Awake was the perfect opportunity for him to try it out, and boy did it work out!

Glad so many enjoy it. For me, it was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole or trying to use a plunger to fix a crack.

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #65 on: September 25, 2023, 09:33:59 AM »
In terms of criticisms, I really struggle with albums bordering on 80 minutes these days. Even though it's a great song, I wonder if maybe removing Scarred would have helped. At the same time... JP clearly had some important things to say lyrically with that one.

Removing the album's best song would not have helped.  If you're looking to remove stuff, The Mirror/Lie and Innocence Faded would be the best candidates.  Even Space-Dye Vest - I like it, but it wouldn't have been noticed if it hadn't been there in the first place.

And I'm definitely in the camp that thinks shorter albums more frequently was better.
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Offline Setlist Scotty

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #66 on: September 25, 2023, 12:31:12 PM »
...and one of the biggest issues for me is JLB's singing. Because the album dialed up the Metal, I feel like they made him sing in a way that doesn't suit his voice.
Actually, you are very mistaken about that.  According to James, he was the one that came to the band just before recording the vocal tracks and said he wanted to try doing it more gruff and metal than what they had done on I&W.  So they didn't "make" him sing that way at all--that was all him.
Exactly. It's funny as I was just listening to an interview he did with Peter Orullian where Peter brings up about how James started using "rasp" in his vocals for Awake, and James explains where it came about. You can watch it here:
https://youtu.be/xuxETd-iFm0?t=3340
As a basic rule, if you hate it, you must solely blame Portnoy. If it's good, then you must downplay MP's contribution to the band as not being important anyway, or claim he's just lying. It's the DTF way.

Offline TheHoveringSojourn808

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #67 on: September 25, 2023, 01:33:43 PM »
I take a lot of your points but I don't think it is the worst. I think it might be the most overrated DT album, but it's still pretty good.

After listening to I&W I was a little bit disappointed in Awake and I know some people who LOVED I&W and just stopped being interested in the band after they heard Awake. It's a big departure in from I&W and one of the biggest issues for me is JLB's singing. Because the album dialed up the Metal, I feel like they made him sing in a way that doesn't suit his voice. He's not the only problem on it though. I don't think there is a standout song, front to back, on the entire album. Everything is either decent or good or meh. Personally I never understood the love for songs like 6:00. It's good but there's nothing spectacular about it and as a result I never feel the urge to put it on.



pretty sure james himself said he wanted to do the vocals on this one a lil more harsher. i don't think the band forced him to do anything without his consent! :lol
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Offline Cool Chris

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #68 on: September 26, 2023, 09:04:55 PM »
When Awake came out, I loved every minute of it. I knew it was long, but it never felt long.
"Nostalgia is just the ability to forget the things that sucked" - Nelson DeMille, 'Up Country'

Offline Wim Kruithof

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Re: my most controversial take: awake is the worst DT album
« Reply #69 on: September 28, 2023, 12:33:25 AM »
then there's the songwriting. don't get me wrong, there are some great tracks on "awake," like "6:00" and "the mirror." but there are also some forgettable moments, like "innocence faded" and "a mind beside itself: iii. the silent man." it's not that these songs are bad per se, but they just don't reach the same level of complexity and emotional depth that we've come to expect from dream theater.another issue that some fans have with "awake" is the lyrics. they can be a bit on the cheesy side at times, and it feels like the band was trying a bit too hard to be profound.

I really can't follow what you're saying right there. To me, Awake has a couple of their most emotional lyrics by a mile, with The Mirror, Voices, Scarred and Space-Dye Vest as absolute stand-outs. As being their third album, which lyrical themes were touched before - or even after until Honor Thy Father - that shares the same vulnerable reflections?

Quote
perhaps most interestingly enough, "awake" came at a time when the progressive metal scene was really starting to take off, with bands like tool and opeth pushing the boundaries of the genre. in comparison, "awake" feels a bit safe and formulaic. it's almost like dream theater was trying to fit into a mold rather than breaking new ground.

Here you lost me also... Awake is much darker overall than the debute and Images and Words were and the complexity, riffs, themes and lyrics were definitely different to all the work until then. I would follow you if you feel this way about the far more safe 'mainstream' Falling Into Infinity, but Awake... surely not.

In the DT albums countdown that Kev did a year ago (link below), Awake clocked in at #4.  Awake received 8 first place votes and, like all of the top 6 albums in the countdown, Awake received ZERO last place votes.  It's average ranking was 4.5.  For anyone who's interested, the consensus produced this list:

I was one of those who ranked Awake at #1. I think it is an absolute masterpiece which low-tier songs aren't as low as Systematic Chaos, When Dream and Day Unite or Falling Into Infinity by a wide margin. And the highs are just unbelievable high, Voices, The Mirror / Lie, Scarred and Space-Dye Vest. I'll think Awake sets the foundation for Train of Thought being build on almost a decade later, were darker themes became more expelled. And even in 2021, Answering the Call has that same feel, same touch and reminds me of Awake from the first time the vinyl touched the needle.

In terms of criticisms, I really struggle with albums bordering on 80 minutes these days. Even though it's a great song, I wonder if maybe removing Scarred would have helped. At the same time... JP clearly had some important things to say lyrically with that one.

My problem with albums lengths is never that there's too much, but they let some beauties out in the official released versions. I would have loved it if Images and Words was a double disc with A Change of Seasons, that Eve or Raising the Knife would never have to fall off.

So basicly, Hovering Sojourn, I do understand the variety of ranking or in feelings about albums or individual songs, but neither that the lyrics are cheesy or that it doesn't reach to that emotional depths as other albums, are points to comprehend, I would say.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2023, 12:44:10 AM by Wim Kruithof »
Wim pointed out something I don't see mentioned very often...