Images and Words
|Images and Words|
|Studio album by|
|Released||July 7, 1992|
|Studio||BearTracks Studios, Suffern, New York; The Hit Factory, New York City|
|Dream Theater chronology|
|Singles from Images and Words|
Images and Words is the second studio album by American progressive metal band Dream Theater, released on July 7, 1992, through Atco Records. It is the first Dream Theater release to feature James LaBrie on vocals. Since its release, the album has maintained its position as the band's most commercially successful studio album, and the song "Pull Me Under" has the distinction of being the only Top 10 hit (radio or otherwise) the band has had to date. This particular song has also had more recent success as it has appeared in the 2008 video game Guitar Hero World Tour.
After Charlie Dominici's departure from Dream Theater, the band auditioned nearly 200 individuals across the nation, until James LaBrie, who at that point was part of Canadian glam metal band Winter Rose, sent the band an audition tape. After a short jam session, he was named Dream Theater's new lead singer, and has remained with them ever since.
With LaBrie as the new vocalist, the band was signed to a seven-album contract by Atco Records, and shortly thereafter, they began recording their new album in late 1991. The album's production was marred with tensions, as the band clashed with producer David Prater, including incidents where Prater would lock the band out of the studio, and infamously forcing drummer Mike Portnoy to use triggered snare and bass drum samples, with the snare sample being the exact one used on FireHouse's 1992 album Hold Your Fire, another album Prater produced around the same time.
The lead single, "Pull Me Under", gained the band considerable commercial success with its airplay on MTV and radio, garnering them a top 10 hit on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. When the album was released, it sold at a steady pace, helped by an extensive world tour.
Dream Theater originally intended to release a double album, but that plan was rejected by ATCO, causing several songs to be omitted from the album. One of these songs, "A Change of Seasons", would later be re-recorded by the band and released on an EP of the same name in 1995.
The song "Take the Time" includes samples from Kurtis Blow's "Christmas Rappin'" ("Hold it now"), Frank Zappa's "Dancin' Fool" ("Wait a minute"), and Public Enemy's "Power to the People", ("Come on"). The song also features a quote from Giuseppe Tornatore's movie Cinema Paradiso: "Ora che ho perso la vista, ci vedo di più" ("Now that I have lost my sight, I see more"), sung and paraphrased by LaBrie shortly before in the song ("I see clearer now, I'm blind"). LaBrie had appeared as a guest vocalist on Fates Warning's 1991 album Parallels, for which the band was credited as "Dream Theatre" in the "special thanks" of the album's credits. Dream Theater responded by thanking "Fatez Warning" in the credits of Images and Words.
Images and Words was played in its entirety on several occasions during the European leg of the 2007 "Chaos in Motion" tour, in celebration of its 15th anniversary. On July 7, 2012, at a concert in Austin, Texas, the songs "Pull Me Under", "Another Day", and "Metropolis" were performed as an encore to celebrate the album's 20th anniversary; additionally, "Surrounded" was performed during the main set. In 2017, Dream Theater celebrated the 25th anniversary of the album on the "Images, Words & Beyond" tour in Europe, which started on January 30 at the Auditorium Parco Della Musica in Rome, Italy.
In a 2019 interview with Greg Prato in SongFacts, LaBrie listed Images and Words as the Dream Theater album he is most proud of, because "that established what Dream Theater really is. I think it's a phenomenal album from beginning to end."
|Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal||8/10|
The album has received widespread acclaim from music critics since its release. The German magazine Rock Hard elected Images and Words Album of the Month and lauded Dream Theater, using "the old [1970s] term 'supergroup'"; according to the reviewer, they set "standards and still perfect them, although they hardly appear to do so" and, even considering the many influences in their music, the "versatility, the linking of different grooves and melody elements within each songs" shows how Dream Theater are "style-transcending like no other band." In another contemporary review, Select gave the album a lower rating, referring to the album as "elaborate, layered prog-metal" and stated that "if this was a book, it'd be for the coffee-table, glossy but not essential." Phil Carter of AllMusic was taken by the band members' "impressive ability on their respective instruments" and by LaBrie's vocal range, writing also that the album is an "excellent mix of progressive metal stylings with heartfelt vocals and thought-provoking lyrics". Metal Storm reviewer calls Images and Words "a masterpiece and also a historical album", because it "brought something totally new to the scene, this famous progressive metal sound that would become Dream Theater's signature". Canadian journalist Martin Popoff in his Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal praised the band's musicianship and "the tricky arrangements", but was not thrilled by the album, which he found "a bit too self-aware and calculated to be in the true spirit of progressive rock."
Images and Words was a moderate commercial hit, reaching number 61 on the US Billboard 200 chart. It is also Dream Theater's only album to be certified gold by the RIAA, and remains their best-selling album to date, selling more than six hundred thousand copies.
In 2015, the album was ranked first on the website Prog Report's list of the top 50 progressive rock albums of 1990–2015. Four other Dream Theater albums made the list: Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (third), Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (14th), Awake (18th), and Train of Thought (38th).
All music is composed by Dream Theater, except "Wait for Sleep" by Kevin Moore.
|1.||"Pull Me Under"||Kevin Moore||8:14|
|2.||"Another Day"||John Petrucci||4:23|
|3.||"Take the Time"||Moore, Petrucci, Mike Portnoy, John Myung||8:21|
|5.||"Metropolis—Part I: 'The Miracle and the Sleeper' "||Petrucci||9:32|
|6.||"Under a Glass Moon"||Petrucci||7:03|
|7.||"Wait for Sleep"||Moore||2:31|
|8.||"Learning to Live"||Myung||11:30|
- Dream Theater
- James LaBrie – lead vocals
- John Petrucci – guitar, background vocals
- Kevin Moore – keyboard
- John Myung – bass
- Mike Portnoy – drums, percussion, background vocals on "Pull Me Under"
- Additional musicians
- David Prater – producer, mixing,
- Doug Oberkircher – engineer, mixing
- Steve Regina – assistant engineer
- Ted Jensen – mastering at Sterling Sound, New York
- Larry Freemantle – art direction
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