Dream Theater – Hollow Years (1997)

The CD-single for the song “Hollow Years” came out to support the album Falling Into Infinity, and contains two versions of the song “Hollow Years”, the album version and a radio edit. That’s not what interests me about this CD, however, as I think that’s one of the weaker songs on the album, probably because it was made to be all “radio-friendly” and was probably likewise pushed by the record company. It had a video made that was never seen on TV and was a waste of approximately $100,000, but is hoarded by Dream Theater completists.

There are two things of interest on this CD. The first is a demo of the song “You Not Me”. It seems that during the demo stage, this song was called “You Or Me”, and the words were a bit different. That’s cool, in the sense that you get to see that even perfectionists like these guys change their minds (or have their minds changed by producers) and don’t just instantly shit out perfect songs. It’s also cool to hear what one of their songs sounds like at the demo stage. It’s not as low-quality as portastudio or jambox recording; it’s higher quality than most amateur bands who self-produce a CD. But it’s markedly different than the final product you get through the real recording.

The other interesting thing is a b-side called “The Way It Used To Be”. The track starts with a slower but upbeat verse before taking off a bit. There’s also what sounds like a theramin, or maybe it’s the creative use of a Leslie stack, for a weird wobbling sound. The song starts out great, but it’s too repetitive and drags on, with a total length of almost eight minutes.

Overall, this is a curious little single. I really do like the two new songs here, but you have to weigh in the cost of actually finding one of these things versus what you’ll get.

Rating: 8

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