The title track was recorded at BearTracks Studios in New York and was originally slated to be released on the 1992 album Images and Words, but was instead re-recorded and released as an EP. Although the song includes audio samples from the 1989 film Dead Poets Society (as well as quotes from the 1648 Robert Herrick poem, To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time), the lyrics, written by drummer Mike Portnoy, were not inspired by the film. Instead, "it's about the cycle of life. Basically, I took a lot of personal incidents, like losing my mother and a couple of things that happened in my life, and I wrote them into the lyrics."A Change of Seasons was also the first Dream Theater release featuring Derek Sherinian on keyboards.
Although the record is labeled as an EP, its running time of 57:30 makes it significantly longer than a standard EP, and even many LPs, including Dream Theater's first two albums. According to Portnoy, "It was important for us and the label for it not to be perceived as the latest studio record. That's why we tagged it an EP."