Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
This was the first Dream Theater I bought/heard, going solely on a tip somewhere from the internet. The first track didn't disappoint. The intro has some nice shredding by Petrucci, Portnoy vocals are almost always a welcome sound, and then theres the frantic keyboard work during the second verse. The song takes on some new life at the time change, with an infectious keyboard line and more use of background vocals. Even after the song devolves into a wankfest, it still keeps my attention. Although the song clocks in at a hefty 13:52, it doesnt really seem like it's that long. great track, all around.
Blind Faith opens with a keyboard riff that sounds like Rudess stole it out of Nick Rhodes's closet. That said, I think this song has probably some of Jordan's best keyboard work. The song also has a pretty good hook, mostly due to the contrast of the chorus with the rest of the vocal lines. The bridges into, between, and out of the solo sections are also pretty impecable, plus theres piano, and piano always makes a song better. Then from piano we get organ which is almost as good as piano. I think I'd put this song in the top ten of all DT songs.
Misunderstood follows in the same vein of religious questioning as Blind Faith, although from the opposite side. Although on first impression, this song seems like its about celebrity in general, after a few listens, its pretty clear this song is about the Jesus. Far from being a preachy song though. The song is a good minamalist approach to music, as it's rare that theres more than two or three instruments playing at any given time at first, the building up into a full blown sonic buffet.
The Great Debate is a topical song about stem cells. The sample work at the beginning is extremely well done with comments from the left coming from the left channel, the right from the right channel, and news coming from the center. The samples ride on one of the few pronounced basslines in DT's catalog. The vocals again continue the right/left channel splits which is one of the more clever pieces of musical constuction I've heard. Although people say that this song rips heavily off of Tool's 46 and 2, I've always got more of a Pink Floyd feel to it, probably due to Petrucci's slide work. This is the third song on the disc, that breeches the 10 minute mark, and once again, you can't really tell.
I'm not much of a fan of Disappear, it just doesnt seem to go anywhere for me. The intro is blah, the vocal line is as well, then you get into like off key carnival music. Your mom died, we get it. Thankfully this song is the shortest track on the album, clocking in at 15 seconds short of 7 minutes.
The track/second disc of SDoIT opens with 6 minutes of filler known as Overture. It's possibly a throwback to Metropolis pt2, but nowhere near as good as Overture 1928. Thankfully, though it builds and the piano takes us into About to Crash, one of the better parts of the song. Piano driven, but with synth in the background to make it interesting. The guitar solo fits well with the manic/depressive theme of the song too, so that's pretty nice. From About to Crash, the bass drums take us into War Inside My Head. Much heavier than the former part, once again to correspond with the mental illness du jour. This song has some of the Portnoy/Labrie vocal switching as Glass Prison. A short guitar fill takes us into Test That Stumped Them All, which again is heavier than the last part. The vocals get a little sketchy in this section, what with a fake "doctor" voice that sounds extremely ridiculous. Another segue takes us into Goodnight Kiss, which I'd rather not talk about. Good guitar solo, yes, but the cheesiest lyrics this side of Take Away My Pain. "I'm so lonley without mommy's love" cmon. Thank god the solo builds probably the best part of the song, Solitary Shell. A poppy song with soaring vocals and some nice acoustic guitar work on the solo, not to mention more piano. A short segue takes us into the greatest guitar riff in DT's repitoire, not to mention the obligatory reprise piano glissando of About To Crash (Reprise). Clearly more "manic" than About to Crash, even the part about depression is set to happy music which is always a plus. The instrumental section is pretty much a wrap up of the whole song, and makes Overture even more uneccessary. Losing Time is the Brain Damage/Eclipse of the song. A great piece of music designed especially to be the big finish. Long, grandiouse vocal lines bring the song to a close in a way infinately better than Overture opened it. Im glad that DT decided to split the tracks up on this second disc. It would really have sucked to have to fast forward through the songs 42 minutes to get to the parts you wanted to listen to.