From what I’ve read in reviews and in statements by bandmembers themselves, FII seems to be widely regarded as the band’s “Black Sheep” release… Personally, I don’t understand why it has inspired so much contempt and I certainly don’t agree with the sentiment.To me, Falling Into Infinity proves something that has been mostly lost in their work since… that Dream Theater are very well capable of playing technically complex music while still creating moving and melodic music – and are damn good at it. Every song is not an exercise in playing as many odd time-signatures as they can as quickly as as they can.. simply because they can. There is definite structure, restraint and solid songwriting contained on this CD.What is very evident on FII is that the songs were written around phrasing, not time signatures. Whether this is by design or by chance, I don’t know. But it works. What results is a work of music that flows but remains interesting. I really appreciate and enjoy this kind of writing.A good example of phrasing over meter is “Losing It” by Rush, on their Signals album. “Losing It”, is mostly in 5/8, with bits in 4/4 and a middle part that is in alternating 5/8 and 6/8.. Yet because of the way the music is written and phrased across those meters, it’s not “in your face” and the song actually has a lilting feel.. almost like it’s swing time. Another big complaint is that some of the songs are too “soft” or “commercial”.. To those who find fault with this I ask.. “So what?” Who, exactly, is to say that a Progressive band can’t write a ballad or two? If some of the music on FII is to be considered DT’s most commercial or “worst”, then I say that it *still* stands head and shoulders above the unoriginal, uninspired and uninteresting drivel out there today. Hey.. does anyone complain that Rush wrote “Tears” or “Different Strings”? I’ve never heard any gripes.Though many have complained about them, Songs like Anna Lee and Take Away My Pain are, to me, excellent, emotional and moving songs. No, they’re not in 5/16 time or whatever.. but there’s some excellent vocal melodies and harmonies layered into those pieces and, all in all, they are very strong pieces. And that, to me, is paramount to playing in odd time.. I don’t care how well you play in 7/8, if the resulting music isn’t good… the song is ruined. However, a song written in 4/4 (apparently the bane of progressive music) that is well written, phrased, constructed and layered can be an incredibly moving piece of music. I believe Dream Theater has proven this on FII and, additionally, that they are well capable of pulling it off.All in all, I think FII is an excellent album, with some strong song-writing that runs the gamut – from heavy and grinding, to grooving, to melodic and a hundred points in-between – and stands firmly in all respects. I give FII a solid 5 stars.