Top 10 Dream Theater Songs

Script written by Jason Duran. Formed in 1985 in Boston, Massachusetts, this five-man outfit has led and defined progressive metal with creative arrangements, versatility and superior musicianship for over two decades. For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites and their most commercially successful songs. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Dream Theater songs. Special thanks to our users narudude111, Alex Garvens, FadeBlackAngel and jenelcarlo for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Jason Duran.

For over two decades, this five-man outfit has led and defined progressive metal with creative arrangements, versatility and superior musicianship. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Dream Theater songs.

For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites and their most commercially successful songs.

#10: “As I Am”
Train of Thought (2003)

We start off our list with the opening track to the band’s 2003 album. John Myung’s (my-yung) tension-building, harmonic bass riff captures our attention and we know something awesome is about to happen. And, by the time the band goes into the song’s main pounding riff, our heads are a-bangin’. “As I Am” is a tribute to the band’s DIY success story and their refusal to let the mainstream music industry influence their songwriting. Take THAT, music industry!

#9: “The Dance of Eternity”
Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (1999)

Few other songs are a better example of musicians firing on all cylinders than this sick instrumental. The ominous intro picks us up and slams us down into a six-minute shred-fest filled with odd time signatures, insane guitar/keyboard duets, and atonal riffing. As an added bonus, the song is filled with musical references to its prequel song, “Metropolis-Part I,” where the album gets its name. We’re not worthy.

#8: “The Glass Prison”
Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (2002)

Opening with another Myung bass riff, this fourteen-minute monster is a heavy metal workout! John Petrucci’s wah-soaked guitar rhythm starts the ball rolling, and drummer Mike Portnoy stomps us into submission with… well, pretty much every drum beat he knows. Using the theme of drawing power from brokenness, the lyrics are Portnoy’s tale of recovery from alcoholism, which was his own glass prison. Too deep for you? Just listen to this part then. Nice.

#7: “The Count of Tuscany”
Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009)

The Count of Tuscany is a nineteen-minute melodic masterpiece. Every part of this epic exudes emotion, mystery and at times, a nervous sense of foreboding. The instrumental break is what you’d expect from Dream Theater, until Jordan Rudess’ keyboard sends us into orbit. After our close encounter, we are sent back to Earth for the grand finale… and grand it is. Who could ask for anything more?

#6: “The Spirit Carries On”
Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (1999)

Take everything you’d expect from Dream Theater and toss it out, then insert a basic chord progression, a gospel choir, and ask the listeners some heavy-duty questions about life, death and eternity – that’s this song. With its slow, shuffling rhythm and heart-felt lyrics, “The Sprit Carries On” is definitely a fan sing-along favorite when played live. And the ending guitar theme perfectly communicates the elation we feel after the singing’s done.

#5: “Pull Me Under”
Images and Words (1992)

It’s the song that started it all. Their first single to ever be played on the radio, with an accompanying video aired on MTV, “Pull Me Under” shot up the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks charts to number 10 and eventually caused the Images and Words album to “go gold.” And that’s about the extent of the band’s mainstream success. Regardless, the song is loved by fans of all generations and it frequently appears in the band’s live encore set.

#4: “Panic Attack”
Octavarium (2005)

The number four spot goes to the pulse-pounding train ride that is “Panic Attack.” With its changing meter and scorching tempo, we have to pause to check our pulse every few minutes. The lyrics try to put to words that feeling of dread that sometimes grips us in stressful situations… like while trying to play along with the band. That’s right, if you’re up to the challenge, you can play along with the musicians in the video game “Rock Band 2.”

#3: “A Change of Seasons”
A Change of Seasons EP (1995)

Dream Theater loves long songs – and so do we. In fact, this whole list represents over two hours of listening. But instrumental indulgences aside, the lyrics are the substance in this epic track. Again drawing inspiration from pain, Portnoy uses his own loss of a loved one to urge us to take advantage of every opportunity in life. As deep as it is lengthy, it always inspires us to Carpe some Diem.

#2: “Metropolis-Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper”
Images and Words (1992)

You know what’s about to happen when you hear those sleigh bells ringing, and it ain’t a Christmas song. From its powerful introduction through the winding tunnels of instrumentals and its grandiose ending, “Metropolis-Part 1” solidified the band as serious and influential musicians. One listen to the atonal single note section had everyone wondering how they were going to play that live. Well, like this… Duh.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “The Enemy Inside” Dream Theater (2013)
- “6:00” Awake (1994)
- “In the Presence of Enemies ” Systematic Chaos (2007)
- “The Dark Eternal Night” Systematic Chaos (2007)
- “The Root of All Evil” Octavarium (2005)

#1: “Octavarium”
Octavarium (2005)

Where do we start with this one? At the end, of course, which is the same as the beginning. The song is the capstone of the concept album of the same name, which is saturated with cyclical allusions, hidden meanings and interesting Easter eggs. The musicianship is top notch, the lyrics are ingenious. It takes you twenty-four minutes to get through this magnum opus, but you’ll want to keep re-listening to discover all that’s being communicated.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite Dream Theater track? For more entertaining top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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