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In writing this node, I was exposed to one of those Glad Wrap commercials with that delicious, cute-voiced woman who introduces the commercial with, "(insert a movie star's name here) is mad," then the celebrity complains about how a generic garbage bag/static wrap/tupperware container failed them. In the spirit of that...

Delicious spokeswoman: "Dream Theater is mad."

Dream Theater: "Our record company is pressuring us to release a more "commercial" album! We're mad as hell, and we're not gonna take it anymore!"

Spokeswoman: "Well guys, you could just smile and nod, and put out that album. Or you could use this pressure to inspire a song and get a cathartic release out of it!"

And so they did. "Just Let Me Breathe" was Dream Theater's defiant cry against the recording industry and MTV. You have to remember, in 1994, the time of Dream Theater's last full-length release, there was still metal in play on MTV. The grunge movement had begun, had momentum, but still didn't dominate the airwaves. The hip-hop movement had begun, had momentum, but still didn't dominate the airwaves. Rock and metal still were a large part of MTV's rotation, but it was on its deathbed. By 1995, grunge and hip-hop had greatly surpassed rock and metal, leaving a lot of bands feeling disenfranchised. Those same bands then were put under the same commercial pressure Dream Theater experienced. Many folded.

So they wrote "Just Let Me Breathe." And then released Falling into Infinity. And then nothing. It was a damn good song, though the lyrics were sung a bit more distorted than LaBrie typically sings them, and are near impossible to figure out without the help of the lyric book that accompanies the CD. The guitars and bass especially seemed as if they were grunge filtered through a prog mind. The tempo was fast-paced, and the song was filled with plenty of hooks. In short, the song could've easily been a hit with the MTV crowd, and they'd have to listen to it several times to realize it was a musical smack in the face.

Instead, it became yet another track on the oft overlooked FII. The CD, which Elektra wanted to be more commercial, contained a song dripping with vitriol, damning the very music industry that put the CD out. Such sweet irony.

Song Title:   Just Let Me Breathe
Song Length:  5:28
Album Name:   Falling into Infinity
Lyrics By:    Mike Portnoy
Music By:     Dream Theater

Lyrics

Open your eyes And turn off your mind Step right up folks "Step right up folks" and you will find A growing trend An epidemic Spread with zen And hypodermics, yeah Yeah Just close your mind You can find all you need with your eyes The big machines take care of you Until you kill yourself And then the sales go through the roof Calculated, formulated Feed my head with simple thoughts And let me breathe instead of being taught All bottled up and tearing at the seams I'm bored Just let me breathe A daily dose of eMpTyV Will flush your mind right down the drain Shannon Hoon and Kurt Cobain, Make yourself a household name, yeah-yeah Yeah Just close your mind You can find all you need with your eyes The big machines take care of you Until you kill yourself And then the sales go through the roof Calculated, formulated Feed my head with simple thoughts And let me breathe instead of being taught All bottled up and tearing at the seams I'm bored Just let me breathe Strike up your best angst ridden posture, whoa Manufactured anger Let's not forget my legacy All my heroes have failed me Now they're dead and buried, yeah Just close your mind You can find all you need with your eyes The big machines will take care of you Until the fashion fades And the checks go through My bankroll's red And my face is blue And still they'll turn their backs on me for someone new Feed my head With some real thoughts And let me think instead Of being taught I'll say things You won't believe Just stand back Just let me breathe...

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