Falling into Infinity

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Falling Into Infinity
Studio album by Dream Theater
Released September 23, 1997 (1997-09-23)
Recorded June 1997 at The Power Station in Manhattan
Genre Progressive metal, progressive rock
Length 78:12
Label EastWest
Producer Kevin Shirley
Dream Theater chronology
A Change of Seasons
(1995)
Falling into Infinity
(1997)
Once in a LIVEtime
(1998)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]

Falling Into Infinity is the fourth studio album by American progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater, released on September 23, 1997 through EastWest Records. It is the band's first and only studio album to feature keyboardist Derek Sherinian following the departure of Kevin Moore in 1994.

Falling into Infinity was produced by Kevin Shirley. The album's writing and pre-production phases were stressful periods for the band, and at one point almost led them to retire. It was recorded in June 1997 at The Power Station (now Avatar Studios) in Manhattan, New York. A commercial and critical failure, the album led to the band demanding to be free from record label interference for all future albums.

Background[edit]

Following a brief tour in support of the A Change of Seasons EP, Dream Theater entered Dream Factory Studios in East Rutherford, New Jersey in early 1996 to begin writing material for a new album.[2] It was their first time writing with keyboardist Derek Sherinian, who replaced Kevin Moore in 1994.[3] Around this time, Elektra Records was exerting pressure on the band to write concise, radio-friendly songs.[2] Consequently, creative conflicts arose, with John Petrucci accepting the label's plea for change and Mike Portnoy fighting against it.[4] Relations in the band further deteriorated over management decisions.[5]

For over a year, Dream Theater wrote songs without being given permission to record them, and at one point became so frustrated that they considered retirement.[6] In March 1997, the band were finally given the go-ahead to record the new album with Kevin Shirley producing.[7] By May, the band had enough material for a double album, but was told to keep it to one disc for budget reasons.[8] As a result, certain songs were not included on the final cut of the album, including "Raise the Knife", "Where are You Now", "Cover My Eyes", "Speak to Me", "The Way It Used to Be", and "Metropolis Pt. 2", the latter of which was later expanded into its own album,[9] and the rest were later included on the 1999 fan club CD "Cleaning Out the Closet".[10] Shirley made significant alterations to some songs left on the album; most notably, he took the middle section out of "Burning My Soul" and turned it into what would become "Hell's Kitchen".[11] Shirley also recommended that the band work with Desmond Child to re-write "You Or Me",[12] resulting in Petrucci being flown down to Florida to work on the song with Child.[13] Following the sessions, the song became "You Not Me".

Actual recording for the album began on June 2 at The Power Station (now Avatar Studios) in Manhattan, New York City.[14] In contrast to the difficult writing and pre-production stages, the band considered the recording sessions trouble free and enjoyable. The album, titled Falling into Infinity, was completed on July 30.[15] Originally, Petrucci and Portnoy wanted to call it Stream of Consciousness, but the rest of the band rejected the name because they felt it was too pompous (although the phrase "Stream of Consciousness" is found in the song "Lines in the Sand").[16] Its eventual title was proposed by Petrucci.

Artwork[edit]

Falling into Infinity's artwork was designed by Storm Thorgerson.[17] Its cover art depicts two people staring at each other through binoculars on sea-based platforms, with an effect giving the impression that they are also being viewed with binoculars. The image was not computer-generated; rather, Thorgerson built a platform, employed a pair of models, and placed them in the sea off Camber Sands in England to get the photograph. The artwork is also notable for being one of three Dream Theater albums, alongside Once in a Livetime and When Day and Dream Unite, not to feature the band's signature font. This was due to Thorgerson's refusal to work with fonts created by other artists.

Composition[edit]

Falling into Infinity is the first Dream Theater album to feature multiple songs with lyrics by Mike Portnoy. Portnoy and the rest of the band were forced to write more lyrics following the departure of Kevin Moore.[18] All of Portnoy's lyrics were inspired by his frustration with Elektra Records: "New Millennium" and "Just Let Me Breathe" are aimed at the music industry and label, and "Burning My Soul" targets A&R man Derek Oliver.[19] John Petrucci wrote six lyrics for the album, including those for "Peruvian Skies", which deal with the subject of child abuse. James LaBrie and John Myung each contributed one lyric, and one song, "Hell's Kitchen", is an instrumental. As is the case with most Dream Theater albums, the songs were given working titles during production; for example, "Lines in the Sand" and "Burning My Soul" were originally called "Cat's Tail" and "Carnival of Clams", respectively.[20]

In the official Dream Theater biography Lifting Shadows, author Rich Wilson described Falling into Infinity's musical style as having an "accessible nature".[21] In his review of the album for AllMusic, Jeremy Ulrey noted of the album: "Like many other progressive bands playing difficult music, Dream Theater inevitably chose to trim down both their bombastic production and intricate songwriting for a more laid-back approach, both live and in the studio."[1] Its writing was inspired by a multitude of artists including Elton John.[22]

Release and reception[edit]

Falling into Infinity was released on September 23, 1997.[15] In America, the album debuted at number 52 on the Billboard 200.[21] Fan reception to the album was muted, with some going so far as to accuse Dream Theater of "selling out in an unashamed attempt to appeal to the mass market."[21] Critical reception to the album was also lackluster, resulting in many battles with the press, particularly in Britain.[23][24] In Lifting Shadows, Rich Wilson described it as "one of the patchier albums in the band's catalogue."[15] In a three out of five star review for AllMusic, Jeremy Ulrey called it "the band's weakest effort since their debut."[1]

Legacy[edit]

Falling into Infinity is considered a commercial failure, failing to break any new ground for Dream Theater or increase their sales despite its more commercial direction.[21] As a result of the creative and personal tensions experienced during the album's production phase, it has been described as the band's "most difficult album",[25] and eventually led to their demanding to be free from record label interference for all future albums.[26] Mike Portnoy has mentioned that if Elektra Records, Kevin Shirley, and Desmond Child were not involved in the making of the album, he would have made a "completely different record".[27] In 2007, the band released a demo version of the album reflecting Portnoy's original song arrangements and track listing, including a live rehearsal of the original Metropolis Pt. 2.[28][29]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Dream Theater.

No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "New Millennium"   Mike Portnoy 8:20
2. "You Not Me"   John Petrucci, Desmond Child 4:58
3. "Peruvian Skies"   Petrucci 6:43
4. "Hollow Years"   Petrucci 5:53
5. "Burning My Soul"   Portnoy 5:29
6. "Hell's Kitchen"   (instrumental) 4:16
7. "Lines in the Sand"   Petrucci 12:05
8. "Take Away My Pain"   Petrucci 6:03
9. "Just Let Me Breathe"   Portnoy 5:28
10. "Anna Lee"   James LaBrie 5:51
11. "Trial of Tears"
  • "I. It's Raining"
  • "II. Deep in Heaven"
  • "III. The Wasteland"  
John Myung 13:06
Total length:
78:12

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
Billboard 200 52
UK Albums Chart[30] 163

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Ulrey, Jeremy. "Falling into Infinity - Dream Theater". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2013-11-22.
  2. ^ a b Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  3. ^ "Bio". Derek Sherinian Official Website. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  5. ^ Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  6. ^ "Dream Theater - 20th Anniversary Documentary (Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 23 July 2012.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help) Timestamp 30:35.
  7. ^ Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 193. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  8. ^ Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  9. ^ Portnoy, Mike. "How did Dream Theater figure out which songs to include and which ones to leave off of Falling Into Infinity?". Mike Portnoy Official Website. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Portnoy, Mike. "What are the contents of the 1999 Fan Club CD, and how many were pressed". Mike Portnoy Official Website. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  12. ^ Portnoy, Mike. "How did Desmond Child get involved in co-writing You Not Me?". Mike Portnoy Official Website. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  13. ^ Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 298. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  14. ^ Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  15. ^ a b c Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  16. ^ Portnoy, Mike. "How did the album title for Falling Into Infinity come about?". Mike Portnoy Official Website. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  17. ^ Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  18. ^ Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 189. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  19. ^ Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 203. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  20. ^ Portnoy, Mike. "What were the working title for songs on Falling Into Infinity?". Mike Portnoy Official Website. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  21. ^ a b c d Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  22. ^ Portnoy, Mike. "Was Anna Lee inspired/influenced by Elton John’s music?". Mike Portnoy Official Website. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  23. ^ Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 206. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  24. ^ Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  25. ^ Wilson, Rich (2007). Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater. Essential Works Limited. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-9545493-7-4. 
  26. ^ "Dream Theater - 20th Anniversary Documentary (Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 22 July 2012.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help) Timestamp 33:30.
  27. ^ Portnoy, Mike. "Would Mike say that Falling Into Infinity a blatant attempt at radio success?". Mike Portnoy Official Website. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  28. ^ "Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity Demos ( 2007 )". Mike Portnoy Official Website. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  29. ^ Portnoy, Mike. "What would Mike have done differently with Falling Into Infinity if he would have had full control?". Mike Portnoy Official Website. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  30. ^ "Chart Log UK". Retrieved 21 July 2012.