I have spent the last year analyzing this album. It has been in my car and on my computer almost everyday since i first picked it up in January 2004. I saw them on tour twice post album-release and even talked to them backstage at Universaly Amp. in Sept. My conclusion:
This album is beyond brilliant. Many people have argued that the solos are repetitive and that the lyrics fall short of expectations. At first I agreed with these views. The first couple times I listened to the album, I proclaimed that Dream Theater had missed. I even refered to it as their “St. Anger”.
Then, after listening to it more and more, it finally clicked. I began hearing things I had never heard the during the first listening sessions. ALL DT fans have gone through this routine – of picking up new things and uncovering meanings within the songs with each new listen – like a Tarantino film.
Skeptics: STOP COMPARING THIS TO OTHER DT ALBUMS AND SIDE PROJECTS. STOP IT NOW. Any REAL Dream Theater fan knows that these 5 extraordinary musicians have the ability to explore multitudes of musical styles, and the fact that DT is able to successfully write a dark/heavy album such as this after releasing a concept album (SFAM) and a more jazz/fusion album (6DOIT) is testimony that this band KNOWS HOW TO DO THINGS.
The key to enjoying this album is TIME. It may take up to 10 listening sessions to finally appreciate it, but believe me – when you do you will not want to stop listening. Although I personally do not think this album is DT’s best (In my opinion that’s a tossup between Images and Words and Scenes from a Memory), Train of Thought is an enjoyable whirlwind of musical virtuosity and exploration.
I am so glad that in a dark age in musical history, where bands such as the White Stripes are rewarded for their “talent”, that bands such as Dream Theater stay dedicated to progress and musical development.
This album belongs in the cd players of any true music fan.