Label: Harvest - 2C 068-05249 • Format: Vinyl LP, Album, Repress • Country: France • Genre: Rock • Style: Psychedelic Rock, Prog Rock
If it's all dark Experienced music lovers knew very well about all these stages, of course, and although opinions on Floyd's talents as daring-dashing avantgardists continue to be seriously divided, most knowledgeable people today value albums like The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and Meddle as much as "classic era Floyd", if not more so.
But there is a very strong case to be made for the argument that all the first seven years of the band's musical journey were mostly spent in an effort to find the best application for their talents, and that it was not until that they truly found it. Additionally, may have been the perfect year for an album that would combine the latest breakthroughs in recording technology with a simple, accessible and meaningful philosophical angle: progressive rock was still very much en vogue at the time, with bands like Jethro Tull and ELP reaching the peaks of their commercial success, but the music was too dense and complex, and the lyrical messages too modernistic to be understood and appreciated by just about anybody.
Looking back at the entire field of amazing musical development from toit is fairly hard to find even one example of an album that would be musically daring, innovative, ambitious, and pretend to the status of a Very Serious Statement, yet would not prompt a large part of the audience to go The Great Gig In The Sky - Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon the hell is this all about, really?
Meanwhile, some - if not most - people must have been waiting for somebody to tune them in at their own innate, God-given frequency, and this is where Pink Floyd come in. Some basic facts. The classic Pink Floyd lineup at the time included: Roger Waters - bass, vocals; David Gilmour - guitars, vocals; Richard Wright - keyboards, vocals; Nick Mason - percussion all four are also responsible for analog synthesizers and tape effects.
Finally, although the album was self-produced, huge credits always go to the engineering skills of Alan Parsons Who Knows - Hendrix* - Band Of Gypsys, who was so proud with his sonic wizardry on the album that he went out and formed The Great Gig In The Sky - Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon own band, spending the next decade ripping off the Dark Side sound okay, that's sort of a joke.
It is important to remember that the album had a fairly long gestation period: an early conceptual version was assembled and premiered for the press as early as February 17,several months prior to the beginning of the actual recording sessions, and then underwent a long, meticulously thought out series of changes. Tensions between different members of the band were already present, but at the time they worked in favor of the music rather than against the band: according to many sources, Waters largely took care of the "experimental" and "philosophical" angles of the album, while Gilmour and Wright worried more about the actual melodic content and musicality especially when it came down to emphasizing these different sides in the final mix - although Waters is always happy to deny this, and it is true that he wrote much of the music on his own.
This also sets a predicament: no matter whether you like the record, hate the record, or remain completely indifferent towards it, nothing you say is really going to matter - its immense status in the collective conscience is immune to individual judgements.
For the defense. Along with Sgt. Pepperit is one of the biggest "unifying" records of the century - equally capable of charming the demanding rock critic and the average record-buying consumer, equally palatable to art students writing their MA and to people who can easily set it on the same shelf where they keep their Kenny G. People who vehemently criticize the record often seem to do it against their will - perhaps out of noble purposes for instance, I remember myself trying to expose every possible flaw in this record while at the same time remaining blind to the flaws of Animalsjust because the latter seemed seriously underrated by public opinionor simply in order to "be different".
Sooner or later, though, you will most likely just have to give One More Try (Rollo And Sister Bliss Club Mix) - Kristine W - One More Try and join the choir: it's just one of these things. But the trick is simple enough.
Like the Beatles before them, Waters, Gilmour, Wright, and Mason realize here, much more firmly than their contemporaries, that in order to unify, a great song or album, like one of those "family entertainment" animated movies, has to have something for everyone. It ishowever, also a blues-rocker, which will make you tap your toes despite the rhythmic oddities, play air bass and air guitar, and experience the usual fits of rock ecstasy every time Gilmour's high pitch shoots out into the atmosphere.
And then, of course, it is also a simplistically, but cleverly phrased social statement that is as eternally relevant today as it used to be in Shakespeare's times with each lyrical line self-conscious enough to apologize when it's getting too cliched - "money, so they sayis the root of all evil today And most importantly, in classic Trinity fashion, all three of these are really the sameor at least they fit together seamlessly. Showing off with that sampled introduction?
But it is transparent symbolism here, cool-sounding but simple enough for a toddler to understand. Engaging in "rock god mode" guitar solos? But they are a logical continuation of the angry vocals, an expression of hot, frustrated, if helpless anger at the pervasiveness of commercialism.
Even that time signature, so naturally evolving out of the cash register clinking and so inescapable, seems to belong: the first two beats, in your mind, still represent the opening of the register, and the next five is the hand of fate counting out the cash.
George, trying to stick a hole in the nasty dragon of consumerism - but guess who ultimately wins out at into the song. Yes, it all makes sense somehow, in individual aspects and as a collective whole at the same time. How could this not sell millions? You have all these clocks - explicitly ringing at the beginning in a confused-chaotic fashion, then fading out as a single Clock of Doom overrides all the individual tiny clocks.
The bluesy verses and the gospel chorus are linked to that Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan - Back To Marseille means of all the time-related lyrics.
And it could suck - it could all suck - if only the experiments weren't so sonically cool, if only the guitar playing weren't squeezing so much bluesy passion out of every note, if only the lyrics were not able to properly tame and dominate all the tropes and cliches, if only the chord sequences and time signatures did not have those little bits of "unusualness" to them every once in a while.
Madness, aging, death, consumerism, mutual antagonism But, like I said, this is essentially a case of flawless integration. Even the music itself, which is obviously the backbone of the record, does not work nearly as well when it is still free from Waters' words and Parsons' mixing - now that you have all these demos on the Immersion boxset and elsewhere, you can check it out for yourself.
Hear Clare Torry in all her glory as she engages in a wild, delirious act of metaphorical sexual intercourse with God, which is what you can have, too, if you The Next Single - K. Young - Learn How To Love play your cards right.
Enough ass kissing, let's get down to the nitty gritty, shall we? For the prosecution. Arguably the best melody on the entire album belongs to Wright - listening to the bare piano demo on the The Great Gig In The Sky - Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon disc of the Immersion box set reveals a flash of musical curiosity, with chord changes that come at least from the Paul McCartney school of composing, and then all the way back to various popular and classical masters.
But this is rather an exception than the rule, and the rule is Bring in the woman, quick, before we start losing the point. Music-making is a complex and multi-layered affair, and it is just as easy to butcher a great starting melody with bad production, cheap atmospherics, and awful singing as it is to embellish a less-than-perfect starting chord sequence with subsequent layers of sonic perfection.
In fact, it is not even a concern that should, at the outset, worry anybody except, perhaps, professional musicologists. But it should probably be a concern for all those endless "greatest songs ever written" competitions, and it definitely should be a concern for all those people who carried on the tradition of valuing tones, overtones, and technology over actual composing. Because even if the melodies of Waters and Gilmour are not among the finest melodies ever written, they still always show a fine understanding of the basic values of blues and pop music.
They may be stolen, or borrowed, or quoted, or present little variations on already existing themes, but they are a solid enough foundation on which the band then expands its overwhelming sonic attack. Other than that general complaint of a rather theoretical nature, and it still does not prevent me from giving a high overall rating to the album's melodic contentthere are very few things that bug meabout DSOTM.
There are quite a few records in the rock canon that deal with "the meaning of life", one way or another, but there has not been any other record that would shout out so loudly - "Look at me, I'm all about the meaning of life and shit! This is a pop album; it is not a Mahler symphony. But in one way at least, it might be an even greater achievement than a Mahler symphony - because a Mahler symphony finds complex solutions to complex questions, whereas Floyd here are on a quest to find the simplest possible solutions to complex questions, and that can be an even harder task.
Any more complex, and they would not have sold those millions of copies. The balance here is just about perfect, and explains why, indeed, it is permissible to think of Floyd as the most natural inheritors of the Beatles legacy for the next decade. Most importantly, this is a record that absolutely refuses to grow old. This, folks, is simply a textbook example of how to do it rightfrom head to toe and from substance to packaging yes, we have not even mentioned the awesome Hipgnosis cover art ; even if you are not a major fan, it still makes sense to put this on from time to time, just to remind yourself that Germany - Bleeding Through - Declaration is not a word to be thrown around lightly.
Pink Floyd. Previous entry.
Mr. Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra - Out Of The Blue, Skinhead For Life - Hangover - The Lions Are Back In Town E.P., Well Be Together Again - Various - Greatest Love Songs - Golden Greats, Bandage - Asool - A Sudden Outbreak Of Lethargy