John Petrucci has a great track-by-track commentary on the new Dream Theater album over at Music Radar.
Here are some highlights for the Rush-minded amongst us.
Here’s Petrucci on “The Looking Glass”:
“The song is definitely a tip of the hat to Rush. We’re such fans – they’ve been a huge influence on us, and we continue to admire and look up to them. One of the great things about them is how they write really uplifting songs with positive messages, but they always sound cool.
“It’s really interesting. The Spirit Of Radio, Limelight – those are big, big songs with big arena-rock riffs in a major key. Even Free Will has that. The songs aren’t dark, but they’re tough. It’s really hard to write something that can cut both ways like that, but that was my goal.
“The Looking Glass has a few different stylistic changes: There’s the Rush arena-rock major riff, but the verses are tricky as far as time signatures, and the style is a little darker. The pre-choruses are very pretty and flowing – they’re in half-time – and the choruses open up and get really hooky. From verse to pre-chorus to chorus to riff, you’ve got a lot of musical styles, and that helps to keep things interesting.”
And on “Surrender to Reason”:
“This was the first song that we wrote together for the album, so it’s really special to us. You know, we had our discussions, and we even had a meeting in the studio, but then it finally came down to us standing there with our instruments and looking at one another: ‘OK, let’s go!’
“I had the idea for an acoustic in the opener, but on the initial scratch versions I played a clean-sounding electric. Rich was a big fan of the electric, but I told him, ‘I really hear a 12-string there. Trust me, it’ll be cool.’ It almost went the other way, but in the end I put a Taylor 12-string on it.
“It has one of my favorite moments on the album, where John digs into a bass part. He has so much attitude and aggression – it’s great. Once the guitar solo starts, we’re back to trio land – again, harkening back to Rush. It reminds me of something like Working Man off their first album, just that raw bass, drums and guitar, with everybody going for it. The guitar has no delay and no reverb – it’s just dry, in your face, with a flanger on it. It’s one of the more aggressive, fun moments on the album.”