The Looking Glass

Album: Dream Theater (2013)
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Songfacts®:

  • This song is Dream Theater's tip of the hat to Canadian rockers Rush. Guitarist John Petrucci explained to MusicRadar.com: "We're such fans – they've been a huge influence on us, and we continue to admire and look up to them. One of the great things about them is how they write really uplifting songs with positive messages, but they always sound cool."

    "It's really interesting," he continued. "'The Spirit Of Radio,' 'Limelight' – those are big, big songs with big arena-rock riffs in a major key. Even 'Freewill' has that. The songs aren't dark, but they're tough. It's really hard to write something that can cut both ways like that, but that was my goal."
  • Petrucci explained to MusicRadar.com how the song contains several different stylistic changes. "There's the Rush arena-rock major riff," he said, "but the verses are tricky as far as time signatures, and the style is a little darker. The pre-choruses are very pretty and flowing, they're in half-time, and the choruses open up and get really hooky. From verse to pre-chorus to chorus to riff, you've got a lot of musical styles, and that helps to keep things interesting."
  • Speaking with MusicRadar.com, keyboardist Jordan Rudess explained his contribution to this song. "As a keyboardist," he said, "there's so many ways I can do things, as was the case in this song. I'd written something that was very progressive, kind of contrapuntal against the guitar towards the beginning. I thought it was pretty cool, and it was cool, but when we listened to it, I realized, and we all realized, that it had to be more inside the whole thing."

    "The song is kind of Rush-like," Rudess continued, "so if what I'm doing takes it out of the core too much, then I have to rethink what my approach is going to be. And that's OK – I love being inside the music because we're all working together to create a sound and a mood. My ego is in a very good place. When you hear me, you hear me, and when you don't, well, I'm still in there somewhere. That whole approach is prevalent in the song."
  • Petrucci's main axe that he used for the album was his Music Man JP13 Signature guitar. However, for this song he used something different. He explained to Ultimate-Guitar.com: "That song I used the Royal Atlantic, which is again more like a British-sounding Boogie but it's more of a grinding, rock compressed sound. I used an Axis guitar and that's not a 13 on there. That's a Music Man Axis and again a different-sounding guitar. That solo section we put a Roland Dimension D on it and I was going for more of a free, improvised kind of slinky sound. I think that different guitar and that different amp 100 percent contributed to me getting into that headspace. If I were to play that solo section with a Mark 5:50+ and a JP13, it would totally be different. I would have 100 percent come up with something completely different. So the equipment could definitely inspire you to play a certain way."

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