Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Dream Theater – Greatest Hit (…and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) (2008)

Well, here’s a tough sell. How do you compile a greatest hits album for a band that only has one arguable “hit?” And furthermore, how do you sell a compilation album when a band’s core demographic are fanatic completists who most likely buy every single item ever issued by the band? There aren’t many casual Dream Theater fans, and it’s not like someone’s going to hear one of their songs on the local hot-100 radio station and rush out to buy this. So is it worth the $15 to buy this?

Well, maybe. This compilation includes two discs: a “dark side” of heavier metal numbers, and a “light side” of the more melodic songs. It’s an interesting way to group things, with the down side that I never realized Dream Theater recorded so damn many ballady songs until they were all presented back-to-back. At any rate, you get 22 tracks, which is a pretty decent value for $15. Plus you maintain continuity in owning every one of the band’s releases, which might calm the OCD demons in your head if you suffer from the “must have every release” syndrome.

And there are a few kinda-new things here. First, there’s “To Live Forever”, a B-Side from the “Lie” single. That wasn’t on any studio album; that’s also as far as you get with regard to original stuff. You also have a lot of remixes and radio edits and slightly different tracks. And three of the tracks from Images and Words are remastered. This is a big deal to some, because the original mix used a snare trigger throughout, and many a fanboy bitched and moaned about the production. Now, those three songs are mixed with a real snare. Unfortunately, after almost two decades of hearing the triggered snare, the regular one sounds weird to me. The remix does bring out some of the other percussion sound though, and the sax on “Another Day” sounds pretty crisp, too.

There’s not much else to say here. It’s a good grouping of songs, but it might not be an essential purchase to you, especially if you have other albums to catch up on. I don’t like greatest hits albums in general, but this isn’t bad.

Rating: 6