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Dream Theater - Hollow Years CD (album) cover


Dream Theater

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3 stars I might be overrating this. Hollow Years is an average song, a good ballad, but not what DT are known for. You Or Me seems to be a better song before Desmond Child got his hands on it.

However, the real treat in this single is the previously-unreleased "The Way It Used To Be", a proggy song with U2 roots. That alone is worth the price, other tracks be-damned. If this EP consisted of the other FII B-sides, it would be a solid 4 stars (for a B-sides collection, of course).

To review this album only because of the title song would be foolish... who buys singles for an album track? It's all about the B-sides. ;)

Report this review (#35682)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hollow Years is a classic song from Dream Theater, and this single is something to mention. It has the edited version, and the studio version, edited version is good, just cut short in some solo/bridge areas and the beginnning and end. The bonus tracks aren't much to talk about with the exception of the last, The Way it used to be. That's a song that wasn't added to the album Falling Into Infinity. It's good, and something to listen to if you really have nothing else to listen to. All together it's a good little CD, but it's nothing to get all excited about. 3/5 stars for the great single of Hollow Years. DT rocks!
Report this review (#76676)
Posted Saturday, April 29, 2006 | Review Permalink

Like the most of singles this one contains the Official LP version and the Radio Edit;, which is awfully mutilated, I still don't understand why cutting off a 5 minutes song, it's not that long, but anyway, the song does it pretty cool for its own purpose, please the record label and get a song that really could have rotation on MTV. But my theory is that when you don't do something authentic and really feel connection with the type of music you're trying to do, it doesn't matter if you're the best musician ever, you'll fail.

"You or Me" is the first version of "You Not Me", the second track included on the "Falling into Infinity" album before the contribution by Desmond Child, and I think there are some parts the lyrics barely fit with the music.

"The Way It Used To Be" is a b-side taken from the Falling Into Infinity sessions with a very poppy sound; which I didn't enjoy at all.

Concluding, I'll never rate a single higher than 2 stars, and this time I'm only giving one because it hasn't anything that could really rescue it, if you want something better you'll get the complete album.

Report this review (#122066)
Posted Monday, May 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Interesting inside of this underrated album.

Dream Theater tends to fill their "single" CD's with a lot of extra tracks that cover up more than 30 minutes of music (I have the Japanese version that have 2 more tracks). First of all, this album is for fans are collector, don't need to clarify that. Who else would be interested on having a single like this acoustic based ballad from the Falling Into Infinity sessions?

Well, HOLLOW YEARS is evidently the worst place to start digging into DT because the band has never sound far from their trademark than in this song, no wonder why this single failed to reach a healthy support in chart list. Not even the die hard fans of DT can support such a non prog metal song as a single. That said, I have to say this is what I like about DT, the capacity to compose a song so mellow, focused and purely sense and soul. If someone said that these guys do not play with soul, here this song with attention, is a breath taking composition that in the perfect world could achieved #1 on mainstream radios and stuff like that.

But well, we have here the edited version and the complete version (don't know who decided to chop a 5 minutes song but he needs to check his vocation, he doesn't know what he's doing). Then we have the demo version of YOU NOT ME, before the changes that Desmond Child brought into the mix. This demo is very interesting and I like it a lot, especially because the keyboard was a key part of the song that in the final version is missed and the song finally fail to be commercially appealing as well as progressive appealing. If you like the Falling Into Infinity, you should not miss this version.

The next song is a B side, THE WAY IT USED TO BE. While is not a brilliant song and maybe needed a little more of arrangement work, the song is fresh and you can see that DT was in that time way much more than just metalheads wanting to show off. A lot of emotion on this song, with a little U2 sound in the overall. Rare but interesting song.

The Japanese version included two more live songs: BURNING MY SOUL on it's previous version, which was a mixed version of the song with the instrumental HELL'S KITCHEN. I like this version but it was a good decision to put out the instrumental section on it's own. Surely shines better on the studio final version, but this version is OK.

The final track is THE KILLING HAND, also a live version. While the song is wonderful and sure Labrie's voice fits better with it, his vocal problems during those days were evident and we can hear him struggling trying to reach the high notes. Worth the price of the import? Only if you are deeply into DT, but is not necessary if you are just starting with them.

3 stars is fair because you will find a strange and obscure side of Dream Theater that most people are not used to notice about them.

Report this review (#271037)
Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars You know, for a single, this has a damn fine selection of tracks. At 46 minutes (Japanese version), it's no pushover either. Surprisingly enough, the track Hollow Years is the least interesting thing on the CD. I do have a soft spot for this song, as there was a time when I wasn't used to progressive metal, and Hollow Years was a much gentler introduction to Dream Theater for me. It's a good pop song, but nothing more.

The extras on this 'single' abound. The japanese version contains a shocking 4 extra tracks totalling 35 minutes on top of the single and album version of Hollow Years. For those that haven't heard the 'Falling Into Infinity Demos', these tracks are extremely interesting.

Firstly, there is the original and far superior version of You Not Me, here titled You Or Me. This version has a better chorus that flows with the song, and an extended funky instrumental.

Next up is the 8 minute non-album track, The Way It Used To Be, which is a fun yet peculiar track, with a neat guitar solo. It's easy to see why this song was left off, as it just feels too quirky for the main album.

If you're getting the Japanese version, the next two tracks are a couple of real live treats that you'll be hard pressed to find anywhere else. The first track is a rendition of Burning My Soul in it's original 8 minute glory, with Hell's Kitchen stuck in the centre. It's interesting to note that after the album was released, Dream Theater would continue to play this song the original way, as if the 5 minute version never existed. It's good to see when a band knows the quality of its demos.

Finally, the live version of The Killing Hand here is one of my favourites, as it includes the alternate introduction entitled Another Hand and has the extended ending, adding an extra 5 minutes to the song. Being a once avid Dream Theater fan, I would collect all kinds of bootlegs and I found that The Killing Hand was a track that has evolved over time. Both these live tracks are a real boon for those especially keen on Dream Theater.

With all these great tracks, this is one of my favourite Dream Theater 'singles'. I'd personally recommend the 'Falling Into Infinity Demos' set over this CD, but you can't go wrong with this single. Brilliant for collectors!

Report this review (#483933)
Posted Saturday, July 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars 'Hollow Years' is an incredible song, and definitely one of Dream Theater's most memorable and catchy ballads, and releasing it as a single/EP is fully justified, however, it's the extra material that leaves this release feeling slightly lacking.

First off, 'Hollow Years'... great song. No need to have the radio edit alongside the album version though. Does anyone ever listen to these edited versions? Didn't think so. 'You or Me', a demo version of 'You Not Me' is a nice touch, but not as polished as the finished track. The main reason I like these kinds of discs is for the b-sides and non-album tracks, in which case here we have 'The Way It Used to Be'. It's an alright song. A bit bland if I'm honest. I can understand why it wasn't included on the 'Falling Into Infinity' album.

And then there's two lives tracks (included on the North Korean EP version of this, anyway). They're "good" I suppose, but not really incentive enough to track this down.

Overall, despite my criticisms, this isn't a bad little release. The musicianship is exceptional, as always, and there's not really anything particularly wrong with any of the songs, it's just not anything worth having unless you're a collector of everything Dream Theater.

Report this review (#1785078)
Posted Wednesday, September 20, 2017 | Review Permalink

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