Metropolis - Part I: "The Miracle And The Sleeper"

Album: Images and Words (1992)
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Songfacts®:

  • Metropolis is a classic German film from 1927 directed by Fritz Lang. What does it have to do with the song? Probably nothing, but the word "metropolis," which means a major city, makes a great title.

    There is a lot of imagery in this song, with themes of death, deceit, and love:

    Death is the first dance, eternal...

    Deceit is the second without end...

    Now the Miracle and the Sleeper know
    That the third is love
    Love is the Dance of Eternity


    In a Songfacts interview with Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci, who wrote the lyric, he gave this analysis: "That's a weird one, because that one is very arbitrary in the lyrical content. A very long time ago, I was watching some sort of TV show – a documentary or something – I don't even really remember what the topic was, but it spawned this Miracle and Sleeper character, and I just took it from there. It's fictional and kind of abstract. I guess that's the best way of describing it."
  • Running 9:32, "Metropolis" is one of the most popular Dream Theater songs, and one they almost always include in their setlists. It's part of their 1992 second album, Images And Words, which was a breakthrough for the band after the commercial failure of their 1989 debut, When Dream and Day Unite. It was their first album with lead singer James LaBrie, who replaced Charlie Dominici. LaBrie could hit some crazy notes around this time, but had to rein it in a few years later when he blew out his voice after getting food poisoning in Cuba. "Before the accident, my range was ridiculous," he told Songfacts.
  • The band added "Part 1" to the title as a joke, but this led many fans to expect a sequel. When they went to work on their 1997 album Falling Into Infinity, they wrote a long piece of music with the intention of making it Part 2, but it was too long for the album, so they ended up using it as the basis for their next album, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from A Memory, released in 1999.

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