- "Wait for Sleep", from Images and Words. The melancholy melody and instrumentation is bad enough, but according to Kevin Moore, it's a song about grief over a loved one's death and trying to fill a spiritual void. Bring tissues before you start listening to it.
- Even worse; Mike Portnoy dedicated the song to his deceased mother.
- "Disappear". James LaBrie wrote it during a case of Creator Breakdown; in the Live at Budokan DVD, it's easy to see that he's all too close to breaking down at the end of the song.
- "Space-Dye Vest". In spades. Without a doubt it's considered the biggest Tear Jerker within Dream Theater's early years, being completely somber to Awake and being considered by fans to be Kevin Moore's swan song.
- Hits the heartstrings that the band felt that the song was so "100% Moore", they didn't feel it was possible to play the song live until several years later.
- "Love is an act of blood and I'm bleeding a pool in the shape of a heart" is one of the most depressing and effective metaphors for a breakup that you can find.
- "A Change of Seasons" - all 23 minutes of it - was written after the death of Mike Portnoy's mother.
- "Take Away My Pain", written by John Petrucci in memory of his father who had recently passed away, also qualifies. It's considerably more upbeat than other Dream Theater tear-jerkers, but the lyrics are still pretty touching.
- "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" is 42 whole minutes of tear-jerker, especially f you know people who suffer from one or more of the disorders talked about in the song... the entire song is about people who have such crippling mental instabilities that they can never lead really normal lives.
- "About to Crash"? Bipolar disorder. "War Inside My Head"? Combat-related PTSD. "The Test That Stumped Them All"? Schizophrenia. And it just keeps going on, for the rest of the song's 42 minutes. It's even more affecting if you actually suffer from one of the disorders depicted in the song yourself.
- Special mention goes to "Goodnight Kiss", which is about post-partum depression.
- "Solitary Shell" is about autism spectrum disorder. The man mentioned in the song is described as having been normal as a child, but also that he "kept to himself most of the time". In the present day his condition makes him come across as odd and he doesn't take much interest in socialising with others. As the title suggests, this has left him in a "solitary shell" whereby he rejects social interraction. This is sadly true for many people on the spectrum as, although they seem more inclined to talk to others as children, they become more isolated as adults.
- "Vacant" was written after James LaBrie's daughter had a seizure and fell into a coma. It shows.
- "The Ministry of Lost Souls" is depressing, sad, heartwarming, and disturbing all at the same time. For those who don't know: A man dies to save a woman from drowning, but she's unable to enjoy her life because she loved him too much. His spirit returns to take her with him. The final "Don't turn your back on paradise" can give one the chills.
- "Repentance", being another part of the Twelve-Step Suite, speaks of Mike's alcoholism, but this part in particular is about making grave mistakes, taking them with stride (even though it's painful...) and learning from them. The song's pretty emotional, but the big kicker is in the middle part where it has several of Mike's friends, such as Jon Anderson, Corey Taylor, Mikael Åkerfeldt, Steven Wilson, and several others speaking of their mistakes and admitting them. Talk about heartbreaking (especially from those who didn't think some of their favorite musicians made mistakes like that)..
- From the Black Clouds & Silver Linings album: "The Best of Times" is Tear Jerker of the heartwarming variety: the drummer wrote it as an ode to his dying father (who passed not long after hearing a version of the song the drummer sang himself), reminiscing about how great it was when they were together.
Thank you for the inspirationThank you for the smilesAll the unconditional lovethat carried me for milesIt carried me for milesBut most of all, thank you for my life[...]My heart is bleeding bad,but I'll be okayYour spirit guides my life each day
- The lyrics make it worse:
- A Dramatic Turn of Events gives us "Beneath the Surface", which has caused many a fan to tear up.
- For that matter, the music video for "The Enemy Inside" begins with people talking about how hard it was losing people close to them, then when it cuts to the video we have shots between the war and a veteran returning from post-traumatic stress disorder. You really need to watch the video to see how heartbreaking it really is.
- The plot of the video is worse: A father being unable to do anything without being reminded of war and eventually it ending with his wife and young son seeing him put up his own American flag and saluting his fallen comrades, whether to put his demons to rest or in his traumatic stupor.
- "At Wit's End", arguably the darkest topic the band has ever tackled: Rape and the protagonist trying to help his wife recover from it all while trying everything he can to not let it affect their relationship. Both Heartwarming but so heartbreaking.
Tear Jerker / Dream Theater