Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
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Astronomy Domine A+
Ouchiewawa! (Is that how you spell that word?) Syd Barrett was a weird psychedelic freak! And what's with this incredibly strange song? It starts out with some spaceship radio noises and Morse Code (that probably doesn't say anything) before some really out-there guitar chords come in. Barrett's tone deaf lead vocals sound like he just woke up from a really strange nightmare, and based on the lyrics, he probably did. (Or maybe it was just the LSD. Yeah, that'll probably do that to you.) The development of this song is really unusual, to say the least. Things are constantly stopping and starting again... There's a funny psychedelic jam in the middle where the guitarists seems to be playing anything they could think of while Nick Mason pounds his drums almost as though he was playing a death march. Rick Wright's organ noodling also plays around willy nilly some of the most cosmic things he could think of. What an entertaining, weirdo song!
Lucifer Sam A+
Oh look, Syd Barrett could write pop music! The lyrics don't make sense, but that's partly why this is so fun. The instrumentalists are also trying their hardest to limit the outer space trippiness of the previous song ... although that strange violin-sounding instrument in the middle has me freaking out a little bit as well as Wright's organ noodles. You know, trippiness is a relative thing in this album... I marvel over the catchy melody, and the solid guitar groove.
Matilda Mother A-
Reading these early Pink Floyd lyrics are proving to be some of the most entertaining experiences I've had all day! The first two lines about a king make sense, but after that it loses me. These are indeed the writings of a half-psychotic man. The music itself is really fun, too. The atmosphere is very dreary this time, and nowhere near as exciting as the previous two tracks. And the melody is rather simple this time. Most notably, Wright turns in a pretty freaky organ solo, while someone whispers “cchks, aahh” in the background. (...Oh, I wondered where Styx got that from!)
WOW. I don't think it gets more freaky than that dissonant organ chord and those wolf calls at the beginning of this. ...On second thought, maybe it does. But not much weirder. The rest of this song is pretty creepy, too, with a number of trippy sound effects and noises inserted throughout. I've counted a cuckoo clock, jangly tinkling things, whooshing sounds, clicking noises... They just did whatever random thing came to their mind. And there's such a heavy level of weirdness that I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who tries to sort everything out. The fact that Barrett came up with a children's melody to it just makes it creepier.
Pow R. Toc H. B+
Power touch? I guess that name is code for somethin' ... Um ... Geez, this is another weird one. Something that the band recorded live, apparently, which goes to show that they were both extraordinarily talented and extraordinarily freaky. The strangest bits are at the very beginning where we hear some squawking and dopey animal noises. Then, Rick Wright comes in playing a bouncy lounge piano while Mason plays a 'jungle rhythm.' Things are normal, right? Yeah, not for long... Some dissonant guitar noises come in with the expressed purpose of messing with my mind. Yikeserama!
Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk B-
Roger Water's first composition, and it must be said that three note vocal melody leaves something to be desired. He's trying to match Syd Barrett's creative insanity, and but you've got to be *truly* demented to come up with something quite like that. Even the lyrics don't work in that sense. He's just rhyming random things together ... If this were Barrett, there would have at least been some sort of barely logical thread running through them. The thing that makes this song worth listening to is that jam in the middle! It's not very trippy this time, they're going nuts. And early Pink Floyd going nuts is cool. Even if it was on purpose.
Interstellar Overdrive A+
Is it bad of me to always have images of the original Star Trek running through my mind when this plays? I hope not, 'cos I do! This track is nine minutes long and it's a complete blast from beginning to end. It's meant to illustrate what it's like to travel in space if you're high on LSD (it's the only way to travel), and I can't imagine anything that's more appropriate. (I actually tried writing something like that, but it was absolutely feeble. ...I had fun at least.) It's also hard to imagine that these guys were making this up on the spot. Wow. It opens with a catchy riff, but that quickly evolves into an elaborate, psychedelic jam. These guys were just hitting crazy notes, making all sorts of dissonant sounds. Mason's evolving drum patterns are an intricate part of this experience ... he dominates the song completely at some points, but he also knows exactly when to disappear completely. The strange synthesizers and echoey guitars also frequently come in to give their own strange ideas. The bass guitar and rhythm guitar help give the song some exciting texture... Not only has this got to be the most original space-jam in the history of mankind, but it's also engaging from beginning to end. Difficult to do.
The Gnome B+
Oh god. The good news is that the lyrics make sense for once. The bad news is, you might not want them to. This song appears to be about a little gnome going for an adventure, but the tone of the song is so weird that it seems rather sinister. This is also a bona fide children's song, which makes it even more disturbing way like they're trying to mess with our inner child! Especially that whisper noise is prone to sending a shiver up my spine. I can't say this isn't effective! It gets a B+ for that, but the melody is a little dull.
Chapter 24 C
Geez, now they're just being boring. The lyrics were apparently taken from a Chinese proverbs book, and so they're not nearly as psychopathic as the others. Also, the melody isn't very interesting and neither is the instrumentation. They're just layering on these boring, dreary sounds that never gets interesting. The good news is this is the only uninteresting song of the album... it's a good example of how hopelessly boring other bands from the era could get.
This also isn't that great, but the funny clicking noises provided throughout the track are sort of interesting as well as Rick Wright's noodly organ. Syd Barret's vocal melody is OK, but not one of his better ones obviously. This is a partly engaging song, but it leaves something to be desired.
Arguably the most delightful song of the whole album. And when I say “delightful,” I mean it's the sort of song I'd listen to willingly while it tries to rewire my brain. The central melody is another one of Barret's childish affairs and it's also carnival-like. It's as though Pink Floyd was the mad ringleader of our minds. The lyrics about mice, gingerbread men and rooms full of musical tunes also fits that bill. The overall pace of the song is very menacing and it's quite wicked. The second half of the song is more of a sound effects medley filled with funny duck squeaks, clanky noises and whistles. It's a real musical freak show. Ah yes, this was the psychedelic era, and it was awesome indeed.
A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)
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Let There Be More Light B-
I sort of like that guitar as this one starts. Sort of groovy in a space-man sort of way. A creepy organ starts to play quasi-dissonant noodles in the background, and a tinkly cymbal plays around. Not too terrible, but not exactly mindblowing either. For whatever reason, they decide to bring in a pop melody. That's all fine, you know, but it sounds exactly like that playground nursery rhyme that goes “Miss Mary Mack, all dressed in black...” Not that I mind being reminded of the music from my childhood, but that was kind of a dumb melody wasn't it? They bring in a more fuller and satisfying chorus with more dynamic singing and the guitars going nuts... But it's nothing spectacular. It doesn't smack you in the face like the Barrett compositions did in Piper at the Gates of Dawn. But all the same, they come up with enough funny ideas to generally keep the thing interesting... Particularly a really detached guitar solo in the final third with these nutty rumbling organ noises in the background. Certainly I could understand if this song has its fans as I'm sure it does.
Remember a Day B-
Well, even this is interesting, but again I just wish it would smack me around a bit. This seems so freaking detached. It's like it knows it can't have any effect on the world, and it doesn't even try. Very hippie-esque. The vocals are dreary and weary, and they get a little bit lost in that heavy orchestration. The drums are very loud, making almost tribal proclamations throughout. And then there are all sorts of watery, rubbery, beeping synthesizers whooshing in and out of the speakers.
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun B+
They're acting like creepy space zombies with their eyes rolled to the back of their heads. This song also sounds extremely detached like the previous one, but this has more of a dead-ahead, solid structure to it. Part of that is because it's extremely repetitive with just a single bass riff repeating all the time. In the background, xylophones are twinking around and, once again, the keyboards are playing some of the spaciest stuff it could come up with. This does as good of a job as anything dragging you into a hypnotic-like state and then messing with your brain. Yeah, I like it. But not too much.
Corporal Clegg B-
When it comes right down to it, this is still a pretty boring attempt at imitating Barrett... Nonetheless, it's an altogether decent song. The disjointed vocal melody sort of works, but again, I wonder why they buried their vocals so much behind the squeaky, sirenesque guitars. The chorus is OK, but kinda flat. There's even a goofy, Monty-Python-esque part with a bunch of crazed kazoos. Sort of funny, but also a little bit off-putting. Again, I sort of like the song, but I'm not very wild about it.
A Saucerful of Secrets A
Yup, it's the title track and basically the centerpiece for the whole album. It's an instrumental that runs nearly 12 minutes, so either prepare yourself for a crazed journey through outer space or be prepared for something good to listen to if you're trying to fall asleep. Personally, I find this extremely creepy and dissonant epic to be quite the crazy experience. It's much less exciting and bracing than “Interstellar Overdrive” was on the previous album, but this one tries to turn our heads inside out. The first four minutes are basically a series of squeaky notes and what I gathered were light, tormented screams in the background. The drums are introduced after that, but they prove to be only part of the sound effects as a number of whooshing sounds, random piano chords and backwards tapes zip in and out of the speakers. In the final third, things get considerably calmer as the instrumentation is briefly reduced to a simple organ chord progression... This calmer part, I suppose, is the earliest hint that their brazen psychedelic tendencies were going to turn into the cool way they'd do things in their classic era! Overall, I guess this is what they call avant-garde. Not for everyone's taste, of course, but I find it difficult to tear my attention away from it. So, I guess that means it's successful.
Another Rick Wright composition, and this one's a tad too dreary and a tad boring. But at the same time, I can't quite bring myself to hating it. He almost seemed uncomfortable singing... or at least letting his vocals dominate the proceedings. I can barely even hear him! The melody again is strange and detached like a Barrett, but it's missing that maniacal energy. The instrumentation is something else, as it usually is on these early Pink Floyd records. Somewhat coherent bubbly, twinkly and whooshy sounds provide the backdrop as well as a prominent array of mellotrons and plompy guitars. It's not uninteresting, but it's also not too exciting.
Jugband Blues C
Syd Barrett was basically gone at this point. There are reports that he would never perform a song the same way twice. I get the feeling that the rest of the band was trying to catch up with him, but had no idea where he was going with it. Either that, or they were intentionally sounding this completely disjointed. Maybe a combination of both? Whatever the case, this thing isn't enjoyable... There's a little bit of melodic invention, but it's also a dizzying sort of song that I wouldn't want to listen to more than once.
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Cirrus Minor B-
The first minute of this song is nothing but bird noises! It's funny that when I start listening to this album, I sometimes forget that I pressed “play,” and I subconsciously think that the noises are coming from outside. Well, I wish they were coming from outside, because it's freaking cold outside, and I miss good old spring! The birds never stop their chattering, but Pink Floyd eventually plays a verrrrrrrrry low-key song. In fact, this is so low-key that you'd might as well call this the first real hint of their trademark style made famous by Dark Side of the Moon. There's not much of that chaotic psychedelic rambling that we've heard in their previous albums, that's for sure! It's not a greatly interesting vocal melody, unfortunately. The last half of the song consists of a plain though good chord progression with an organ. They did the same thing previously in “A Saucerful of Secrets!” It wasn't the greatest of ideas, but here it is again. This is a rather boring way to start the album, I must say! But as a low-key, moody type thing, it works pretty well.
The Nile Song B
What the bloody freaking heck is this? Sloppy heavy metal? ...'Scuse me, I wasn't aware that Pink Floyd was supposed to be a metal band! I thought they were these freaky psychedelic dudes all tripped up on acid all the time. Well, if you ever wanted to hear what Pink Floyd sounds like taking on summa Hendrix on for size, I guess you needn't look further than this. ...But if you hoped that they would have lent the genre anything unique, then you're going to be sorely disappointed. It's a very simple riff-rocker that I'm sure they took from somewhere else. Roger Waters' vocal performance seems to predict '80s metal. ...Luckily, they throw in an interesting guitar duet, deep in the mix, if you listen closely.
Crying Song B-
This is called “Crying Song,” because it bores me to tears! ...Bad joke? Yeah, probably. The instrumentation here is very nice and soothing consisting of a pleasantly strummed acoustic guitar and some sort of xylophone. The drumming is is so quiet that you can barely hear it. (In fact, the drumming might as well not even be here.) The melody is OK, but very repetitive. Technically I guess this is a good song... But it's waaaaaaay too dreary for my taste.
Up the Khyber B
...That sounds dirty! Anyway, here's Pink Floyd being the chaotic artsy types that they were cut out to be. This is a full-blown avant-garde song fully equipped with nutty piano chords and noodly organs. A rumbly sort of effect comes in and out of the speakers The drums are playing wildly on the sidelines. It only lasts for two minutes. All in all, not too shabby!
Green is the Colour A-
Another one of their low-key compositions, but this is absolutely lovely! You can hear them playing a nice little flute here and there... The flute is a little bit crazy and out-of-tune, but at least it ain't cliche! The vocals sound rather hoarse and barely audible. But he's sure singing a nice little tune! You know, this laid-back sort of composition sounds a lot like '00s indie-music! And this is good in spite of that! (OK... I like indie music... you know that.)
Oh look, they know how to write memorable vocal melodies! How novel! It's not quite like a high-level Paul McCartney composition, but that's no crime. I'm mentioning Paul McCartney, and that's a start. It's still rather low-key and probably not instantly lovable... and it starts to get very dreary toward the end when this wavy synthesizer and noodly, slightly psychotic organ comes in. Well, it was pleasant until that point, anyway. After that, it is more interesting for its psychology.
Party Sequence B
African bongo drums! But this is not really African drums, because they're playing in the wrong time signature. (Hah! Everyone here has to see the movie The Visitor. I wouldn't have known that otherwise. Plus, it's a great movie and you'll probably like it.) Yeah, so this is a one-minute song with three bongos playing and a very light flute sound whizzing along in the background. Alrighty then.
Main Theme B+
This musta been some freaking weird movie if this was the main theme. This ain't no Superman, that's for sure. It starts out with some really muddled, spacey chords. Then, pretty soon, a regular drum beat pipes up and a groove begins to play. That bright, rhythmic, and sort of disjointed synthesizer that noodles around is reminiscent of a similar effect in Klaus Schulze's “Playmate in Paradise.” I listen to that Schulze album when I can't fall asleep! I guess this would make decent sleeping music, too. It doesn't do anything overly interesting, but all those little spaced-out synthesizers meddling around in the background keep it interesting enough to get me in a trance. Hmm... I guess that's why this is supposed to go with a movie.
Ibiza Bar C+
This is basically the same thing as “The Nile Song” except it's slightly less grating. Actually it is the same song. Play the beginning of both of them back to back, and you'll find that they're playing the same song except in a different key! Anyway, wasn't one of these types of dirty metal songs enough? Especially since, again, they don't do anything particularly interesting with the genre. I mean, there's that piddly guitar going off, but that doesn't mean that the central part of the song is dumb. ...This is really a B, but I demoted it for recycling a bad idea.
More Blues B-
They're really not making it easy on us, are they? This thing is so disjointed that it's basically nuts. All it consists of is David Gilmour showing off some bluesy licks sort of lightly while the drums sort of occasionally pipe up. I guess what's notable here is the panning... The guitar sort of waltzes to and fro lazily in the background, with a little bit of reverb. Er, thanks.
This seven-minute-long rambly space-age instrumental is really kinduva disappointment if you were expecting them to pull out another “Interstellar Overdrive” or “A Saucerful of Secrets.” This sounds more like the background stuff of either of those two pieces. Mostly, it's just a noodly organ, whooshing cymbal noises, and occasionally we get to hear some drums. Instead of consistently engaging my interest and putting me into a weirdo trance like those previous two compositions did, this puts me to sleep. Meh.
A Spanish Piece C+
Hola! This must've been the part in the movie where the hero visits Spain and visits a pervert muttering under his breath. This track merely consists of a cliché Spanish guitar playing around while someone creepy mutters in Spanish. Yeesh!
Dramatic Theme B
Dramatic? This doesn't sound dramatic to me! It's more psycho than dramatic! A mid-tempo groove keeps the beat steady, and a little bit of that hopping synthesizer leftover from “Main Theme” plays around. By far the dominant instrument in the mix is a dream-like guitar noodling around. ...Man, are they trying to drive us crazy, or what?
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Sysyphus: Part 1 A-
AND THE EVIL KNIGHT ENTERETH THE TAVERN!!! PREPARE TO MEET THY DOOOOOOOM!! That's what this minute-long song sounds like. Sort of a medieval fanfare of death. It's pretty good, too! Would have made a pretty decent soundtrack song for any weird '60s medieval film. Or maybe even Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Yes, I like Pink Floyd. They reminded me of Monty Python.
Sysyphus: Part 2 A
And the medieval fanfare of death fades into PIANO MUSIC! It's modern-classical and they twinkle around with those keys as though they were feeling fanciful about something. After awhile, it grows very dark and tormented. In fact, it's so tormented that I don't think it's possible to even play the piano like that. (All those effects put to it, it's as though it descended into the depths of hell. I don't freaking know if one of those snobby music college professors would think this is any good, but I quite like hearing this. Not only is the piano playing skillful, I get distinctly moody vibes from it. That's definitely worth something. Way to go, loony-faces.
Sysyphus: Part 3 A-
There's a bunch of strange screechy, wailing noises. Sort of like what a mice's ghosts would probably sounds like if they were really pissed off about how the farmer jammed that shovel into their head and they came back as zombies to get some sweet revenge. All of this is put to a very dull and thwacked-at rhythm. I'm freakin' out, man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Why do acid when you have Pink Floyd albums?) Anyway, this song is seriously nuts. They're trying to out-loony Syd Barret! Of course nobody can be a loony like Syd. This is far more forced. But they're still completely weird.
Sysyphus: Part 4 A+
This one's about twice as long as the other sections of "Sysyphus" combined. It starts out rather calm and peaceful like! It's a little bit creepy and sinister seeping out of the background, but I don't care! The sounds are soothing! Oh! These fake bird noises and spaceship sound effects begin beeping and whistling in the background. A tiny babbling brook? Well, I must be in some sort of electric forest! ...Hell, I have no idea where I am, but it's kinda cool! Oh! Yes! I like it here!!... But then everything stops and then we get this really freakishly frightening chord. Man! I knew these guys were up to something sinister! I knew it all along! That babbling brook has turned into blood, and the sweet birds have turned into metallic monsters. Oooh, I'm getting freaked out, man. Monsters are wailing all over the place, a dark synthesizer plomps around in the background. Scales of pianos are flaring around. A really, really effective atmosphere. It reminds me of that one Star Trek episode!! Then again, basically everything reminds me of a Star Trek episode, so I guess that's not anything special. And it all ends with that Medieval fanfare that opened this series. Sheesh. Let's give Richard Wright a round of applause for creating something this freaking effective. It's probably the highlight of the whole studio disc. Not only is the atmosphere thoroughly engrossing, but it transported me onto a different planet. As an avid Star Trek fan, this was more valuable to me than you could possibly know.
Grantchester Meadows A-
Bird noises start up this track. I love birds. They make me happy. And then there's a folky acoustic guitar playing and some (whoah) singing. Hey! This is an actual song, apparently. A SONG! It has lyrics and everything! It's such a pleasant song, too, sung while only whimsically piddling around with that guitar as though they were just lazing around in the sunshine in the early afternoon, not thinking about much of anything. I wish I was doing that right now! But it's freaking December right now. Brrr! The obvious shortcoming of this song is the fact that it's seven minutes long. Come to think of it, though, how can I blame it? It's a lazy afternoon! They don't have anywhere to go!!! Also, I won't claim that this melody genius or even catchy or anything. It is just calm. Nice and calm. I like this. (Someone swats a fly at the end of it. That wasn't very nice! The fly just wanted to enjoy the weather, too!)
Several Species of Furry Animals Gathered in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict A-
If you thought some of that “Sysyphus” stuff was freaky, then you've just scratched the surface. If you can possibly an avant-garde choir of a bunch of jamming squirrels, then you might just get a smattering of an idea of what this sounds like. And this track ABSOLUTELY CRACKS ME UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Again, I must ask, how can anyone top this? I mean, a squirrel jam? I think not. They start singing squirrel arias or something in the last half of this song, and I must say ... those squirrels must be pretty pain-filled creatures to be giving it all their heart like that. I would probably be giving these soul-filled rodent arias if I was always always dodging in front of cars. This song is spooky, too. And then some fire-and-brimstone preacher or something delivers a totally unintelligible sermon. It's like a bad dream. A very bad dream. I'm getting sick. Of course, this song is brilliant. In its own special way. I'm freaked out. I like being freaked out!
The Narrow Way: Part 1 B
Straightforward acoustic guitar strumming in the background and then a bunch of weird spaceship noises go in and out of the speakers. It's nowhere near as atmospheric and intricate as some of these previous numbers, so I'm only *mildly* freaked out. But still, they find some pretty weird things to do, especially toward the latter half of the song, but they're just goofing around with a bunch of whizzy noises.
The Narrow Way: Part 2 A-
So, yeah, this song sounds eerily similar to the underground music from Super Mario Bros. 2, a game that I spent way too much time in my youth playing when I should have been out developing six-pack abs. It has the bongo drums and that sort of very dark-electric guitar riff. Naturally, they layer on a lot of weird sound-effects on top of it. Quite intricate, too, with all sorts of bizarre effects moving in and out of the speakers. A little bit like listening to all the spirits fly around in the other plane of existence. (...God, I need to stop watching science fiction shows.......... and start developing some six-pack abs.)
The Narrow Way: Part 3 B
Oh hello, Dark Side of the Moon! It's especially fun going through these early Pink Floyd albums and picking out all the hints of their cold and calculated masterpiece. They're scattered here and there, but they get more pronounced in later albums. The vocals are very cool and sleepy and the melody is as boring as hell. (They would work out the melodies a little nicer later.) Since they're still in their freaky experimental period, they put a bunch of randomly played, cluttered guitars in the background. Yah.
The Grand Vizier's Garden Party: Part 1 (Entrance) B
This is a one-minute long track that begins as a single flute playing a detached melody (quasi-random notes) and ends in one huge drum roll. Gee!
The Grand Vizier's Garden Party: Part 2 (Entertainment) C+
This sounds more like an airport than a party! But whatever, maybe this “Grand Vizier” fellow must have a lot of plants with engines. He must also have some pretty weird friends if he entertains people through this type of avant-garde music! The song begins as a series of echoey drums goes in and out of the speakers and then a metallic instrument (synthesizer?) is playing random things in the background. This all stops and we get very quiet, cool jet engine sounds. A very quiet, echoey song starts to play that's quite pleasant! This soon stops and these very irregular drum sounds go off in all directions. Again, it sounds pretty random, and I'm guessing they were messing around a lot with tapes and stuff to get this effect. The drums starts to get regular and busy by the end of the track. Hm. Well, this track might have been a technical triumph (I really don't know what went into producing something like this in 1969), but I can't say it's as effective as really any other track in this album. As a matter of fact, it's quite boring. Sorry.
The Grand Vizier's Garden Part: Part 3 (Exit) B
Thirty seconds of flute music! This is better than the whole of the previous track!
Astronomy Domine (Live) A
Now, I hope you haven't skipped out on this album, because this is where the magic starts happening! Just under eight minutes and thirty seconds chock full of live "Astronomy Domine" feeds your psychedelic soul to the point of gluttony! From the good old Syd Barrett era, his children prove that they are worthy to handle his mad creations. The thoroughly creepy (and pretty catchy) melody along with thick, mad, engaging atmosphere, and different moods throughout, this is something to latch onto until its very conclusion. My only complaint is that it drags in some spots, but ... well, my soul needs a drag sometimes, you know. Drag in outer space!
Careful With That Axe, Eugene A-
Hah hah! This song starts out with some organ music that sounds like a Henry Mancini song if he did acid, too. Well, good old Mancini didn't do acid, so he wrote "Baby Elephant Walk" and left it up to the weirdos to compose and perform "Careful With That Axe Eugene." Well, this song is as thoroughly creepy as anything in this album especially at the beginning of it. The middle part of it just gets SCARY when we hear this tormented demon scream. (Think "Gig in the Sky" except it's sung by an evil being who desires your immortal soul.) Anyway, there's no singing on this song. It's just more instrumental that contains a lot of creepy atmospheres. It doesn't quite have me on my “toes,” which it apparently did at one time (that's what I said in my earlier review). I find it to be a little more plodding and neutral, now, but it's nonetheless absorbing.
Set the Controls For the Sun A-
To be honest, I'm pretty bored with the first three minutes of this song. It consists of a noodly synthesizer, and the lyrics are sung with a creepy whisper. But after that point, the synthesizers get louder, and these creepy, bending synthesizers begin to play loudly, and it starts to launch itself into outer space. It's kind of like that one Star Trek episode! (OK, I need to stop thinking about Star Trek....... but how can I?) Things start to get a little more restrained later on, but it isn't any less creepy. Man. At least I can say that listening to songs like this is definitely a healthy alternative to acid.
A Saucerful of Secrets A
This one doesn't start out too eventful, but after the first few minutes, the crazy noises quickly start stacking upon each other to create something truly bizarre and nearly chaotic. Weird noises abounds on this 13-minute-long track! I'm not even sure how to describe it other than it's a conglomeration of keyboards noodling around. Sometimes it shows restrained creepiness, other times it's just freaky. The drumming patterns are much more regular and predictable than the keyboards, but there's a definite doom-ridden vibe to its ultra repetitiveness. At about the seven minute-mark, we get to hear that plain organ chord progression that I remember from the original. But for some reason, I think this version is slightly more lively. ...Is it because he's playing a melodic line as well? Anyway, bass guitar and the drums throw in their two cents, which gives it a nice texture.
Atom Heart Mother (1970)
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Atom Heart Mother A-
I had quite a massive paragraph going when I wrote my original review for Atom Heart Mother where I tried to describe every single little thing about this song. I don't expect everyone would ever read that, so I'll just summarize this song, and give you my simple opinions of it. Well, I have to say sitting through this huge 23-minute prog-rock monstrosity is quite an experience! Apart for a few select moments at the beginning, they leave their atonal antics from Ummagumma behind, and sound pretty much like they're warming up to play something on Dark Side of the Moon. For a 23-minute song, it's pretty good. It has bangs of glory and bangs of boredom; that's to be expected. But despite it all, I find it to be fitfully engaging throughout. There's a guitar solo in here! Pretty nice, I say! Just don't masturbate to it. Have I mentioned that this is an instrumental apart from those Klingons that start to sing around the 14-minute mark? Good instrumental!
The good news is that this is a pop song. The bad news is that it's BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It starts out with just Roger Waters singing lazily with a plain, arpeggiated acoustic guitar. Things get slightly better when that minimalistic guitar solo pops up, and a quiet piano contributes quietly in the background. But none of that can really forgive the fact that this melody is dull.
Summer '68 B
Much better! This track begins with a pretty boring piano loop and another tame light pop melody, but then an organ comes in and starts lifting it off the ground. All of the sudden, a reverse cymbal chimes in and a kind of disjointed 'jangly' pop song pipes up. This part is very enjoyable, and it's even accompanied with a spirited and welcome horn solo (and more than one horn at the end)! I can't think of much of a good reason to extend this past three minutes, but it's a decent song all in all.
Fat Old Sun C+
It's funny how I completely missed the fact that David Gilmour sounds exactly like Ray Davies here. Even the song title sounds like Ray Davies! While he might be trying to mimic the Kinks' positively perfect standards, they can't be the Kinks until they figure out how to write more memorable melodies. As it stands, this song is pretty boring. I don't even like that guitar solo at the end. Take that, Pink Floyd fanatics!
Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast C
Ah yes, the infamous psychedelic sound effects collage. It's kind of like “Revolution #9” except not nearly as eventful and creepy. This is about as interesting as listening to someone eating breakfast, which is LITERALLY what most of this is. Who wants to listen to them do that? When they're not just spouting off random lines of dialog and sound effects, they give us this utterly plain patterns with the piano and organ. Boring! Later on, they bring in some sleepy acoustic guitar, and that's better. Peaceful. Boring. Hm. This is what it must be like to live in a retirement home.
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Arnold Layne A
A Syd Barrett song at the peak of his powers. That's all that I need to say, and you'll immediately know that it's a catchy and thoroughly nutty composition. It's really funny how these songs are catchy since the melodies seem so disconnected from reality... I guess that goes to show the sort of thing a mentally unstable guy would actually compose. And the lyrics are about a transvestite. It's based on a true story, we're led to believe.
Interstellar Overdrive A+
Why, this is an absolutely stellar example of cosmic-rock! It's brought here in the same form that it was in Piper at the Gates of Dawn in its full nine-minute glory. The only thing different between hearing this song now as opposed to hearing it then is I got fancy new speakers over Christmas, so I can hear the bass slightly more clearly! And I think I'm getting more of a pronounced stereo effect (I don't remember feeling quite as dizzy the first time around toward the end). Ah, the wonders of technology!
See Emily Play A+
Here's another great early Pink Floyd masterpiece. Unlike “Arnold Layne,” it has a melody that's more immediately accessible. The story goes that most of their audience in the mid '60s only knew Pink Floyd for this song... and that made most people think they were some sort of pop band! Well, they might not have really been some sort of pop band, but this song has a great pop melody, that's for sure. The echo effect they put on that piano was a weird effect, and very interesting. That brief, insane instrumental solo in the middle ought to have been a clue that these guys were out of their minds.
Remember a Day B-
See, I tolerated having to sit through “Insterstellar Overdrive” again, but that's only because it's a great cosmic rocker and it's actually from the Syd Barrett era. This was Rick Wright's attempt at being weirdo psychedelic, but it possesses nothing of that manic energy... Meh...
This was the B-Side to a Syd Barrett single called “Apples and Oranges.” It's hard to know why this Rick Wright composition got included in this compilation and the Barrett one did not! Hm. At any rate, “Paintbox” is one of those songs that we had missed, so let's talk about it... It's a good song! Again, it's obvious he's trying to outdo Syd Barrett, but he lacks the batshit insanity. Part of it seems like it wants to be whimsical, but it frequently takes some nutty turns to keep it from getting too normal. ...Frankly, since it's obviously not nutty enough, I would rather Wright have just concentrated on writing something purely whimsical. Something with a more memorable melody would have been nice, surely.
Julia Dream B
Now it's Roger Waters trying to be weird like Syd Barrett, but he's far too calculating. You can't be mad on purpose, you see; the harder you try, the more it wouldn't work. That's why Pink Floyd inevitably had to adopt the Dark Side of the Moon Style since they were highly methodological. I actually like the sort of somber mood presented in this song, and that flute Mellotron they use is nice to listen to. The melody could have been better, but it couldn't be helped, because Waters' melodies could not be so brilliantly disconnected.
Careful With That Axe Eugene B+
The only place we've heard this song previously in their discography was a live version from Ummagumma. Here is the studio version! It's missing the pure energy of “Interstellar Overdrive,” and even the energy of that live version ... which I didn't seem to consider very energetic in that review. I also think they did the whole cosmic noodle-rock thing better in the live version, whereas this version seems far more restrained and stuffy. BUT as far as this sort of music goes, it's quite good. I sit through it pretty much mesmerized by it, which is a lot more than I can say for most of these sorts of songs. The electric guitar work is fantastic, of course. Pink Floyd fans never forget that, of course. If you're making your own iTunes compilation based on this album, I would probably still recommend skipping this version since the version you already have in Ummagumma is better... But if you're trying to fill up space on your iPod, then this alternate version might be worth having.
Cirrus Minor B-
There really wasn't a good reason to include this song from More on this compilation... But I halfway suspect that More was harder to come by in record shops in 1971 than it is now. (People do funny things and start looking up their back catalogs when they became superstars!) It's really not such a terrible song to own once, though, if you're looking for creative psychedelic songs. It's just very boring, and it exists in too much of a ho-hum lull. Hm.
The Nile Song C+
Again, it's not a terrible song to own once. If you have a copy of More, you already have another version of it in the form of “Ibiza Bar.” But you definitely don't need it a third time. I know I rated the original version a B and this one's getting a C+, but I'm seeing more clearly why so many record reviewers hate this song. And it definitely didn't need to be included on this compilation. I could think of dozens of songs that would have better represented Pink Floyd's early period than this. ...And it does seem an awful lot like the stadium-rock stuff that Foreigner (a crappy band) would have done better.
Biding My Time B
Well, this is definitely interesting in the sense that we finally get to hear Roger Waters not trying to emulate Syd Barrett. Other than that, this derivative bit of jazz-rock is no more interesting than a derivative piece of jazz rock! There's a lot of guitar in it, but you'd have to be a bit of a nutty Pink Floyd fan to be too terribly excited over it. The melody isn't anything, and the chord progression has been done a million billion trillion times.
Ah, a classic for the ages; it's a song that perfectly exhibited Syd Barrett's mad genius. Just comparing the experience of sitting through this and one of those Roger Waters wannabes is enough to prove that nobody could top Barrett in this sort of composition. NOBODY! (Although, I just recently reviewed Their Satanic Majesties Request, which had a worthy adversary from Bill Wyman of all people!) Still... there was only one Syd.
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One of These Days A-
This album is so proto-Dark Side of the Moon that this opening instrumental even takes awhile to begin. But instead of a creepy heartbeat, we hear much simpler wind sound effects slowly come up. Then a low calculator rhythm guitar starts to play with some echoing synthesizers panning in and out of our speakers. If you're patient enough with it, you'll soon hear some drums and electric guitars! Well, they're all being very slow with this build-up, and all of it sounded deliberately planned and executed. Indeed, you'll recognize that as the classic Pink Floyd mentality that we've all grown to know and love over the years. Sure, they get a little crazy-ish toward the end, but this is still relatively disciplined and shows them very far from their Syd Barrett origins.
A Pillow of Winds B+
There's singing on it, but this seems like more of a soundtrack song than even the previous! I love the calming, soothing atmosphere, of course, as does everyone else who appreciates Dark Side of the Moon. David Gilmour's silky-smooth lead singing goes down as nicely as a milkshake, and his minimal, contemplative slide guitar is also luverly to hear. The melody, however, is mostly unimpressive. But I can't stress the point enough that these guys weren't known for their melodies.
This is a stronger pop composition to the previous song although the boringness factor sets pretty strongly in thanks to the slow pace and the six-minute running length. Before you pelt me with stones, please note that I find this song entertaining. It's just not exciting or gorgeous or anything enough to warrant a very high rating. What I like about it is it's calming and it's well-played of course. The riff is OK, but too stale for me to like the song based on it. I adore their newfound sense of purpose, and indeed they're better at doing this straightforward stuff than the experimenting. They fade in some concert chanting, but that's not as jarring as their other stuff had been!
San Tropez B
Here is a bit of tropicana (bossa nova?), which is something that might surprise you. They're about as boring with that as they were with the pop music in the previous tracks. It's also very straightforward, continuing to show that they weren't going to try to pull any fancy punches on us. I know someone who would go nuts listening to this piano solo, because it's a one-armed-man playing it, but it seems to work here.
This is a hilarious bit of blues. Why is it hilarious? 1) Because Pink Floyd are as smooth and sleepy with blues music as they are with their regular stuff. 2) They insert funny sound effects of a yelping dog throughout. Well, the blues needed to have more umph to it than they seemed to be willing to give it. Of course, Pink Floyd didn't have blues credentials, and they never would. But they should have known better than to have put that distracting dog yelping song ALL THROUG THIS. Thankfully, this track is slightly more than two minutes long, because that's just about as much as I could take of this.
Does anyone even pay attention to the previous songs in this album? “Echoes,” of course, is the masterpiece of the album and the only legitimate reason to own it. That's good news 'cos this is twenty-four minutes long, so you're at least paying money for half a great album! (...Actually, I'm exaggerating... There's a good chance you'll like everything in this album except for “Seamus,” which at least has good scoffing value...) “Echoes” is, without a doubt, one of the most compelling sprawling, prog-rock pieces ever composed. It's not their first overextended prog-piece. Not by a long shot. But it has a very followable, smooth flow to it, which was largely absent from their previous works. How can I be so certain? I've listened to all the famous ones (and some of the unfamous ones... but they're crap), and “Echoes” is right up there. Top 10 probably. Normally, I'd sit here and try to describe the whole thing for you, but I'm not in a great mood for that. I do know that this track continues to be calming and deliberately calculated. Fans of Dark Side of the Moon are definitely going to want to hear this, because this sounds very much like a "foreshock" to that release. The atmosphere is beautiful and calming. And even the vocal melodies are good enough to keep my ear engaged. The middle of this track isn't quite as interesting and it consists mostly of spooky ghoul-noises in the middle are spooky. There's an electric guitar here that even sounds like a shrieking ghoul. They've done things similar to that in the past, but the overall tone of it continues to be calming instead of deliberately trying to scare the pants off us. (Although... it can be unsettling.) (And I went through this whole review without once mentioning Andrew Lloyd Webber! ... Well, except for now, but that doesn't count.)
Obscured By Clouds (1972)
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Obscured By Clouds A-
I played this track three times back to back wondering what I was going to write about it when, every single time without fail, I completely spaced out to it to such a degree that I couldn't truly remember if I had just listened to it. I guess that means this thing isn't memorable in the least bit, but I suppose that doesn't mean the song is *bad* necessarily. It just puts me in that soundtracky trance that makes it an absorbing instrumental to sit through. They come up with a sort of pre-synth-pop electronic groove with a very robotic drumbeat and dark synthesizers wafting around in the background. In the foreground, David Gilmour treats us to some mightily decent and atmospheric guitar licks. Not too bad!
When You're In B-
Riff rock? ... It's nothing like “The Nile Song,” thank god, but this instrumental is based on a riff that immediately reminds me of T. Rex. Richard Wright helps with the riff on his organ, giving it a different sort of texture than a normal riff-rocker would have. This isn't bad, although it's kind of comes off dumb as an instrumental.
Burning Bridges B+
That had better not be Lloyd Bridges, or you'll get arrested. And definitely not Jeff, because I will personally murder you for that. (Oh, do I really think that's funny? You know I do!!) Anyway, finally we get a song on here where there's some singing. The eerie thing about this slow, downbeat tune is it sounds exactly like something that would appear on Dark Side of the Moon except you haven't heard it played all over the radio. Those low, low lead vocals, the plodding organ notes, and that dreary echoey electric guitar noodle in the background. ...This is a little boring to tell you the truth, but the relatively simple and unpretentious arrangements are interesting to hear out of them.
The Gold It's In The... A-
The gold is in the next album they're going to release! It gave them more money than they would ever need EVER. Anyway, they're bringing back the riff-rockers, and to my surprise they actually do a halfway decent job of it. Of course, they keep their cool, cool vocals, which doesn't really fit in with the idea of rock 'n' roll. But they work, so whatever. The guitars are pleasant, and Gilmour comes in with a few nice licks here and there.
Wot's ... Uh the Deal A
Wot's ... uh the deal with these song titles? These are the weirdest song titles of all time! And what's the deal with this song? It's excellent! They haven't been known for their melodies previously, but this nice little laid back pop rocker actually has one. And not only does it have one, but it's a good one! It's not as plain and unremarkable as the folk songs these guys have tried in the past; this might be something you'd find actually consider hummable. Isn't that weird?
This is a slight variation of “Burning Bridges,” which means this also sounds uncannily like Dark Side of the Moon. It has not only that slow pacing dark organ and noodly synthesizers, but also one of their famous sorts of chord progressions! There is even a little bit of drama to this, particularly in the final third when Gilmour delivers another one of his dramatic guitar solos. This is all very Pink-Floydian! ... Of course, that also means that I find this slightly boring, but I'd say it's impressive enough to earn such a high score.
Childhood's End A-
Freaking awesome! This song starts exactly the same way as Dark Side of the Moon starts. The first thirty seconds or so are complete silence, making you think your music player has malfunctioned and it's not playing. Just as soon as you check to make sure that it is running, you hear dark synthesizers slowly flare up. And what's this? A bongo drum that sounds like a heartbeat? This is weird! Even the vocal melody sounds vaguely like “Breathe.” Cool! Seriously, DSOTM fanatics would love this album.
Free Four B+
Pop music! This isn't exactly something that sounds DSOTM-ish. It's far too bouncy and good-natured for that! I mean, it has a hand-clap for cripe's sake! This is a very simple song with a kind of dumb melody, but bringing in that ultra-low pitched synthesizer at times was a really weird touch. I also like listening to more of Gilmour's nice guitar soloing.
Ah yes, we can hear Richard Wright's down-key and brooding but somehow hopeful piano playing at the beginning of this, which is another huge reminder of DSOTM. After awhile, we hear those famous deep voiced vocals singing a good, laid back melody. It's not incredibly memorable, but I like it!
Absolutely Curtains B-
Um, I guess I can give them the benefit of the doubt for this one since this is a soundtrack album, after all, but that doesn't make this terribly enjoyable to listen to. Just like “Childhood's End,” it takes freaking forever for it to start playing something, and a low synthesizer texture slowly fades in. The synthesizers eventually flare up to create a texture that I suppose is interesting, but you're more likely to space out to it. Eventually, what sounds like an African folk choir comes in to sing something. It's all very downbeat and easy to space out to, not paying attention to it at all. In that way, I suppose, that means this track is harmless.
Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
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Speak to Me
It starts out with complete silence and then that classic heartbeat comes in. There's also some weird laughing (Naomi Watts' father, according to the legend), and some cash register noises. A jack hammer, too, maybe. I don't know how to score such a track, you know!
Oh, what a cool song! Those slow and thoughtful guitars are the main attraction here naturally. The slide guitar echoes beautifully in the background along with a more busier, noodly guitar that plays a captivating texture. God, everybody in the world loves these guitars, don't they? Yeah, you can include me on that giant heap of fans, too. The production is so clear and smooth that you could eat it, and it would be beneficial to your digestion. I think what I appreciate most about this song is the melody! You know how Pink Floyd had a difficult time writing interesting melodies since the nutter left the stage? Well, they got over it, it seems.
On the Run A
Basically, this is the coolest sound-effects piece that probably ever existed. Somehow I don't think I'll ever run across anything cooler. As you know, this track is characterized by a rapid synthesizer and a tight, quiet drum beat. The synthesizer never changes its pattern, but its sound twists and evolves in interesting ways. In the meantime, they bring in a number of snippets of conversation, zippy sound effects, helicopter noises, explosions, rubbery synthesizers... car engines? I really haven't the energy of explaining everything that goes on here... particularly since you already have this track memorized. The coolest thing about this track is how well it melds in with the previous track... and the next track. Wonderful album programming, I say!
Gimme some alarm clock noises! ... See, I knew that was going to happen before this track even started to play. Haven't I told you already? I have this album freaking memorized! ...You and I have that in common, it seems! After that, as you already know, some quiet and almost minimal guitar parts come with an undoubtedly cool and quiet bongo drum section. It wallows around in this “void” for awhile until another undoubtedly cool pop song pipes up with a memorable melody. You know what I think my favorite part of this song is? Those soulful though weirdly distorted “oohs” and “aahs” that pop up in the background. Classy stuff. Oh yeah, there's a good guitar solo in here, too.
The Great Gig in the Sky A+
Absolutely heartbreaking. Even though Dark Side of the Moon is by and large Roger Waters' baby, I do declare that Richard Wright belongs to the most heartbreaking thing on this album. Naturally, much of that credit is undoubtedly due to Clare Torry's soul-bearing vocal improvisation, one that she recently sued and got a songwriting credit for doing. But it's also Wright's beautiful, minor-chord sequence that deserves an equal amount of the credit.
I'm going to go on a limb here and call this song a bit to ... er ... jammy. I know, I know, they're awesome jams. Maybe I'm just a bit surprised to give this album a fresh new listen and discover that this famous song is actually just a jazzy jam song. The melody is pretty good although very similar to what a nightclub crooner might sing. I do like those funky guitars giving us a little bit of rhythm, and the guitars in the middle do pick up quite a lot of heat. That's undeniable.
Us and Them A+
This is a close second to “The Great Gig in the Sky” as my favorite segment on this album. It's very laid-back, mellow and tuneful. The chorus is gorgeous and powerful, coming in a bit mad... which of course is exactly what they were shooting for. The saxophone and piano are also very jazzy and rather pretty to listen to except for a few spots where it gets nutty. This song goes on for almost eight minutes, but I don't miss the time!! (Funny... It's been almost eight years since I did the whole Wizard of Oz thing, and I can still roughly remember how this played out on screen. It's weird how well those two unrelated things went together.)
Any Colour You Like A
I like green! It's nature's color! This is an instrumental, and perhaps one of the least affecting of the disc. The echoey keyboard stuff at the beginning is pretty cool, and the more guitar-centrist stuff at the end is interesting, particularly the way he makes the guitar sound a little like it has a human voice. Could it have stood to be more melodic? Probably. But I'm not here to suggest rewriting a rock 'n' roll classic, you know!
Brain Damage A
Almost an A+, but that goes to show how well they've started doing vocal melodies. I also like those goofy laughs that we hear throughout the disc. Is it the Scarecrow? Is it Naomi Watts' father? ... Well, it's one of those! The instrumentation is lovely, of course. They brought in a powerful chorus much like the one from “Us and Them,” and it sort of hits you over the head with a frying pan... in a gentle sense as to not completely shock you with it. Good!
I can't be too sure why they decided to split this in a separate track since it basically expands on the idea brought up in “Brain Damage.” Just a repetitive end-chorus, it seems. It's a good end-chorus, of course, and it serves as an excellent, powerful note to end the album with. You probably think the same thing about it. Don't you?
Wish You Were Here (1975)
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Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) A
Sitting through this 13-minute track, one thing's clear: This album ain't gonna be as fun and diverse as Dark Side of the Moon is. It might be labeled parts I-V, but it mostly wallows in the same mellow theme for the entire length. No sound effects; no abrupt changes in mood; no weird emotions; no nothin'! OK, that last one wasn't true. This is definitely something. This is very progressive-rock-ish, much more so than Dark Side of the Moon was. Part one starts with a quiet synthscape, eventually progressing to a melody. The melody is a good one with its fair share of subtle hooks. The highlight of the show is without a doubt the noodles! David Gilmour's “dentistry,” as it has been called, is as carefully constructed and beautiful as it possibly could be. His mellow guitar sounds like it's a person talking, and I want to hear what he has to say! He does this all throughout the track! Part three features a catchy, laid-back riff, something that wouldn't be inappropriate for an Ennio Morricone spaghetti western soundtrack. Very atmospheric, and very affecting. It's not until Part V rolls around (almost nine minutes into it) before they finally get around to singing. The melody is quite good, and probably one of their better ones! And there's a really cool saxophone solo by the end. ... So, I'd say that this section “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a mightily interesting prog-number that wins based on its cool, moody atmosphere and really wins based on their meticulous guitar noodles. Something like this could easily have been boring, but it's far from it, really.
Welcome to the Machine A-
It starts to get boring for me after the four-five minute mark. Rick Wright's synthesizer solo is really nice to hear, but I wonder why they thought he had to do a second one. Once was enough, me matey! Roger Waters would have hated me for it, but if I was a member of Pink Floyd, I woulda told him that right to his face!!! “This is a five minute song, MAAAAN!” ... But what they do pretty much everything else right. They completely nail that very lonely and desperate feeling that they were going after. The atmosphere, particularly at the beginning, has a very black-and-white, film-noir quality about it. (Sorry if that doesn't make any sense!) Those machine sound-effects wobbling in and out of our speakers lends it a very cool texture. The main melodic hook is pretty good, too, but like the previous track, the focus is more in the atmosphere and instrumentals. That's the best idea when it comes to this band...
Have a Cigar B+
It's hard to really argue with a song like this. They bring back those vaguely funky guitars and rhythms from Dark Side of the Moon and Gilmour once again has a cool guitar solos throughout, particularly at the final third. The melody is fine, but not great. The lead vocals were taken by a guest vocalist Roy Harper, something I didn't realize until I read it just now. He has a very Floydian voice! This is a good song... technically marvelous. That heavy synthesizer riffing throughout is very overpowering in mostly a good way. ...I honestly have trouble getting caught up in this. The atmosphere is threatening and evil, but I have to force myself too much to get into it... It's a strong B+.
Wish You Were Here A
This is a bit of an abrupt mood change. After the threatening chords of the previous song abruptly end, we hear some very subdued sound effects followed by some lightweight acoustic guitar strumming. It's not nearly as smooth of a transition as it was on Dark Side of the Moon and so not nearly as classic, but it's fine. The acoustic folk song is really good, though, and it's very tuneful. Wright comes in with an interesting, unpretentious synthesizer sound throughout, which I like. Icing on the cake, I guess! The lyrics are very cryptic. They apparently revolve around Syd Barrett, which everything else does here! The end is a fade-out into wind sound effects. ...A fade-out? Yeah, this isn't even remotely as well programmed as DSOTM, but what is?
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI – IX) A-
MORE??!!! ... OK, bring it on, baby! I'm ready for 'er! They kept the wind sound effect going from the previous track at first, and a very mellow mood eventually pipes up with Wright giving some rather whispy synthesizer solos and Gilmour doing his typical awesomeness. The rhythm gets more upbeat and threatening after awhile, gradually shifting the mood so that we don't get too bored... Gilmour follows suit with a severely more upsetting guitar that eventually turns into a panic. Part VII occurs at the five-minute mark (in a really weird transition), and it's a return to the central vocal melody from the earlier parts. The six-minute mark, they embark on Part VIII, a considerably cool and laid-back groove. A jazzy-jam sort of thing. Wright comes in with some bendy synthesizer ghost-calls throughout, which are fun to hear. The final moments (PART IX) are very calming and almost uninteresting. Mostly they consist of Wright noodling around very calmly. I love his synthesizer tones, though... and the locust-sounding ones that fade in and out gave it a weird texture. I think I'd much rather have heard Gilmour noodle around at the end, though... All in all, this is a rather interesting track. It didn't move me or anything. My interest was more in an academic nature. The atmospheres didn't affect me too much, but the evolution of moods kept me entertained. COOL!
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Pigs on the Wing 1 A-
This acoustic ballad is a surprisingly low-tech and unpretentious way to open up a Pink Floyd album at this point of their career! Oh, but you've got to know the pretentious stuff is going to come along very soon!! This only lasts about a minute, and Roger Waters delivers a nice vocal melody and good old guitar textures.
It might have a very short song title, but it's an extremely long song, clocking in at more than 17 minutes! Whoah boy, needless to say I won't be able to describe every last detail of this! I do suppose there's a lot of details that warrants mention in this song, too, which makes it a shame I guess. This entire song, for the most part, is based on the same general melody, but they manage to shift the moods around significantly through its running length that it always seems to add something new and exciting. The main melody ain't the world's hookiest song, but it's tuneful and melodically striking. Gilmour, as you would expect him to, takes plenty of opportunities to deliver an engaging guitar solo, and I reckon he does some of his best work on this track. Every once in awhile, this track sinks into a spooky, atmospheric section with dark synthesizers and some dog-barking sound-effects. It's much more simply constructed than similar parts of Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, but it's not any less engaging because of that. All in all, it's a very good track. Not quite the *experience* to warrant it an A+, I guess, but it's pretty dang close.
Pigs (Three Different Ones) A+
Another long song! 11 minutes! ...And it's fabulous. They concentrate on the gruffier guitar tones in this, and they do it so well that the only proper way to listen to this is very loudly. Roger's angry lyrics attacking the wealthy class is terribly engaging, with a perfectly delivered vocal performance and a melody that's surely among their finest. Naturally, this wouldn't be an 11-minute song if it didn't meander significantly in the middle, but they always seem to do something weird and crazy in this meandering bit. I don't know exactly what that squeaky sound-effect going “wooowowowowww” all throughout it, but it's scary and cool. Gilmour has some very subtle sliding guitar tones in the background, and they create a nearly deary pace. His does one of his angriest solos ever in the final third, which sort of has the power to make one shiver. The overall moods throughout this piece are always building up and exploding, and the textures are always evolving, which is terribly important for progressive-rock. Man... This song is great from beginning to end.
This 10-minute tracks starts out quietly with some cool textures that Rick Wright plays on his synthesizers, but it slowly builds up to a more exciting and vibrant rocker with a good vocal melody and some good, rougher guitar playing from Gilmour. As you'd expect, after it explodes, the song goes back to a more quieter, contemplative section, and it does a lot of interesting things to build back up to another major explosion. All in all, this is another wildly excellent and solid track with plenty of diversity, and it never gets boring even in the slightest. I probably wouldn't call it as overall engaging as the previous track, but it ain't too far behind. There's even some sheep sound effects in here!
Pigs on the Wing 2 A-
And the album ends the same way it began; this is another brief reprise of the acoustic song that opened the album. As I said earlier, I like the vocal melody and I like the idea of starting and ending this album with something very simple.
The Wall (1979)
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In the Flesh? A
Aw... isn't that a nice little accordion tu---WAAAAAAAA!!!!!!! OK, we all know how this album starts, and I always seem to have the volume on too loudly. This is probably going to be the single cause of my middle-aged deafness in this age of ear-buds. But anyway, this is a terrific, towering sort of overture, which begins the album off on a thunderous start. It consists mostly of heavy guitar chords, but Waters stops it in the middle to deliver a little ditty that sounds '50s inspired. At the end, he really goes mad screaming like a lunatic while the guitar chords get even louder and more thunderous. Airplane sound effects come in and bomb the living bejeezus out of everything. Freaking awesome.
The Thin Ice A
A serious and sudden mood change from the previous song, which isn't something these guys did since Dark Side of the Moon. I guess it's no wonder that many fans tend to overlook the two albums that came in between this. The melody is catchy and memorable with a terribly good use of technological effects. The baby cooing at the beginning, the brooding synthesizer playing chords, the melancholy piano... it all sounds great. The vocal performance at the beginning is beautiful and smooth, and the vocal performance later is more crazed and theatric. Very well done. The outro of this brief song consists of a series of huge and loud guitar chords, and I'm caught up in it as easily as anything. It's almost flashy like arena-rock, but it's slower and much more scientific.
Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 1 A+
I know this song as the extremely lengthy introduction to that famous song we all hear played on the radio. And, geez, what an introduction! It has us all hanging on at the edge of our seats waiting for it to begin, and I love every moment of it. Those deeply pulsating guitars give it a terrific texture, and those minimalists guitar licks from Gilmour are a lot like staring at a bon fire. ...Somebody should make a lazer show from The Wall.
The Happiest Days Of Our Lives A
...We're still in the introduction to the famous radio song! This starts with some helicopter noises and some angry British guy screaming “Hey you! Yes you! Stand stiiiiiiiiiill, laddie!” ...Yeah, you know that little speech by heart already, don't you? After that brief sound-effects collage, we get the real introduction to the famous radio song. The guitars continue to pulsate, but they are more menacing, and the drums pound a way like mad. Waters delivers a truly menacing vocal performance here, snarling about the terrible things about school much more convincingly than he probably should have.
Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2 A+
Ah, finally here's the famous song that we all know from the classic rock radio station from heart. Well, what on earth can I say about this? ... For a start, this vocal melody is quite possibly the catchiest thing Pink Floyd has ever done. Everything about this is catchy. The simple drum and bass patterns are perfect for it. I also like the angry kids' choir they brought in to sing some of it. After all, Roger Waters has been out of school for quite some time, so I don't know what he was getting worked up about. Those snarling British kids, however, had a good reason to be upset about something. The final third is given to Gilmour who brings us another one of his brilliant solos... A solo so brilliant that I can still marvel at it even though I listened to this song about a trillion times. The sound effects in the outro are also so famous that I don't have to mention them... I've been out of grade school for quite a few years now, and I must say that nothing is more satisfying than eating my pudding before my meat.
Holy crap, this Roger Waters guy was completely on fire when he wrote these songs. This is yet another deathly catchy song. It starts as more of a laid-back folk song before slowly turning into something more louder and dynamic. The angst-ridden lyrics are expressed by an appropriately broken vocal performance from Waters. Another fantastic guitar solo from Gilmour in here... it's melodic, expresses the tone of the song, and it doesn't show off. That's the makings of a perfect solo, me thinks. ...I was going to commend Richard Wright for some nice, subtle organ noodles in the background, but I guess that was Bob Ezrin playing there... Yeesh. I'm going to have to be careful. Wright had been fired halfway through these sessions.
Goodbye Blue Sky A+
Haunting, haunting, haunting. It still gives me shivers after listening to this album so many times over the years. I'm not sure how Waters was doing this or where he was hiding these melodies, but these are up on par with The Beatles, if I might be so bold. Those moody, smooth and cool vocals have a fresh hook at every freaking turn. The acoustic guitars provide a quiet, delicate texture and Richard Wright's deep and dark synthesizer texture delivers a truly creepy vibe. This is yet another brilliant song...
Empty Spaces A-
I guess now's a good time to mention why having Bob Ezrin on-board as producer was really beneficial. Waters and Gilmour couldn't have created such an atmosphere by themselves, I'm sure. ...They dabbled in these dark synthscapes all throughout Wish You Were Here, but this sounds much more polished and easily swallowable. (And that's not a bad thing!) The beginning of this two-minute track consists only of a synthescape with a quiet, pulsating industrial noises. You can hear Gilmour playing some geetar very deeply in the background, but that also just contributes to the soundscape. By the end, the dynamics have increased, and Roger Waters sings a terribly creepy little tune...
Young Lust A
This is sort of similar in structure to “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2” since it's just a pop song at its core, and the simple, danceable rhythms are pretty much identical. I'd say this melody ain't quite as good as that one, but it's still really nicely written and memorable. The snarling lead vocals here were bought to us by David Guilmour who also dresses up this entire proceeding with some appropriately dirty guitar! The very end of this brings back more of that random-ish dialogue. Why does he keep hanging up?
One of My Turns A
More of these excellent sound effects and dialogue opens this song... A groupie coming in his apartment with talking with a TV in the background along with Rick Wright's plain synthesizer texture. All very ominous and somehow drawing. Eventually, Waters starts to quietly sing a disenchanted song. In the middle, it suddenly grows LOUDER and all the anger in his performance is absolutely engaging. Catchy tune, too.
Don't Leave Me Now A
The beginning of this song has some of the most compelling textures that they've ever come up with. Pulsating, and fading out rubbery tones with their synthesizers. Once again, their synthesizer textures are absolutely captivating. Waters eventually comes in with some terribly broken vocals, which expresses his angered and upset lyrics perfectly. Just like every song in here should, it gets louder toward the end.
Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 3 A
Someone's smashing a TV, or something, and it's bouncing around! Ouch! Well, as you might have guessed from the title, this is yet another reprise of the famous song we all hear on the radio. They didn't reprise it just for kicks, though. They actually bring us an interesting new texture to keep our ears engaged. It's also preparing us for the end of the first disc... I guess...
Goodbye Cruel World A-
And with this one-minute long piece, with a brief melody, it ends the first disc. The second half isn't this dang conceptual with so many elaborate sound effects that seem to tie together so nicely. So... there you go. This brief melody is pretty good, too. I can't believe it took Roger Waters this long to write so many smashing melodies.
Hey You A+
Hey, second half of The Wall! I have a hard time believing that there are actually people out there who don't care much for this beautiful ballad. It starts out like a Medieval ballad sort of reminding me of a better version of Led Zeppelin's “Stairway to Heaven.” After that, there's a really threatening version of the main “We Don't Need No Education” hook... and the middle-eight section is also brooding and catchy. This is a song I heard rather frequently listening to the classic rock radio station in the early '00s, right before I actually purchased this album, and I always loved it when it came on. It's a very catchy tune!
Is There Anybody Out There? A
Bob Ezrin strikes back with one of his signature synth-scapes, which is as dark and frightening as the stuff he created in the first half of the album. This is also similar in that we all know this is eventually going to build up to “Comfortably Numb,” a song that I really crave to hear. The second half of the song is a very pretty acoustic-led number, and of course it's also very dark and depressing... but absorbing.
Nobody Home A-
The sound effects at the beginning of this are nowhere near as interesting as the sound effects from the first half of the album, but that's no biggie. After some brief sound effects, Water begins to deliver another pretty, brooding ballad. It makes a nice listen, particularly through the orchestral crescendo that picks up through the middle. Though I get the idea that Pink Floyd ought to thought about ROCKING OUT in the second half like they did rather frequently in the first half. It's a good song, though, with a hooky melody. That vocal repeating some of the lyrics were terribly weird and ominous!
Yeah, if everybody's main criticism of the second half of The Wall is that it doesn't rock out enough, and the sound effects aren't nearly as interesting, then I'm with that argument all the way. But I still think this umpteenth brooding ballad is still pretty dang engaging. It's not a very long song, but the vocal hook is so solid that I can recall it on will looooong after the album is through.
Bring the Boys Back Home A-
Very bombastic and overblown in a way that would be appropriate for the 2001 movie Moulin Rouge, I think. I sort of like it, though, with those dreadful opera singers playing back-up and those scaling string sections. The militaristic drum beat, I guess, was supposed to place us in the middle of the war. The sound effects collage at the end repeat some of the sound effects in the first half...
Comfortably Numb A+
Yes, I love this song. It's probably my favorite from this whole disc. I like it for nothing more than it's completely hooky vocal melody. Although the soft and engaging instrumentation that slowly morphs into something more dark and violent as it goes along helps also. It's a fairly lengthy song, though, and it doesn't offer the extreme, emotional contrasts or intriguing textures that most of the songs on the first half of the album offered, but that's nothing in particular to complain about. After all, this is one of the most engaging songs ever written.
The Show Must Go On A
This is a weird song. Back when the only rock albums I owned were two Pink Floyd albums and about seven Queen albums, I noticed eerie connections. Although, thinking about it now, I see that it was all purposeful. The calls of “take me home” and “let me go” emit a strong “Bohemian Rhapsody” vibe, and of course Queen would later record a song by this same name. I also found out that playing Queen's “The Show Must Go On” after this track, it seems to flow very naturally together. (And a new connection I just found out from Wikipedia, Queen's opening lyrics were taken from “Empty Spaces!”) ...Yeah, I have too much time on my hands! ...About this actual song, according to that Wikipedia page, Waters wanted to give this a Beach Boys vibe, and even brought in Bruce Johnston to do that goofy little call toward the beginning of this. They create yet another engaging atmosphere with a cool groove and vocal hooks galore. ...Pretty good for a song that's only a minute and a half long!
In the Flesh A-
Oh, I remember this! This is a reprise of the song that opened the album! ... Come to think of it, putting the Queen song in place of this might not be such a terrible idea... At least it rocks out a bit more! I'm really starting to see why so many reviewers don't care much for the second half of The Wall. This is concrete proof that they really didn't have it all together to create a double album, so they just repeat the same melodies. Although this is certainly a different sounding song... it's a lot longer and it seems to drag a bit at the end. The bit of play acting in the middle is OK, I guess. The instrumentation and production is mostly done well, but it doesn't draw me in nearly as much as the other songs did.
Run Like Hell B+
This starts out sounding like it's going to be another reprise of “Another Brick in the Wall,” but no it's a whole other song that just happens to sound similar! So this is the third danceable song of the album! It really pales in comparison, though. I miss the vocal hooks, and I don't get a whole lot out of the textures. Sure, the pulsating guitar is really nice, but I get the feeling that these guys were having a sort of “been-there-done-that” mentality when it came to playing it. It's a good song, but it's pretty dang weak compared to everything else. ...This also starts to seem pretty dated to me. I know the other ones were pretty dated, too, but I didn't feel the need to bring it up until now.
Waiting For the Worms B
Good, but very slowly paced, and I start to grow tired through it. It consists mostly of uninteresting reprises of melodies that have already occurred in this album. ...It gets a bit tiring. It's time for some more EXPLOSIONS and HELICOPTER NOISES and STUFF HAPPENING! I know they made a movie out of this album, and I have my doubts that I'll ever watch it, but I guess this would have been a good druggy/haze sequence or something. The best way to listen to this song is with visuals aiding it.
Thirty seconds long! It consists of Roger Waters singing sadly with a twinkling piano that reminds me of Tubular Bells. It's not bad... I ain't gonna give it a score, though.
The Trial A-
This is a major source of controversy for some listeners, as this seems more appropriate for a Broadway play than anything that should be on one of the most world's most renown art-rock albums. And, truthfully, this song doesn't fit at all, and a Broadway style number is nothing more than a major cop-out for concluding the concept. Why not end the album with an angst-ridden rock 'n' roll song instead? This is a major bummer! ... All that aside, this is pretty well done for a Broadway number. The full scale orchestration is well arranged, and the theatric vocal performances are all well-acted. The vocal hooks are all quite catchy, and I never truly get bored listening to this.
Outside the Wall A-
Aw, what a pretty accordion song! ... Hey, this makes me want to listen to the album again ... just once more.
The Final Cut (1983)
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The Post War Dream A-
It starts out so quietly, blandly and boringly that it has me exclaiming “We waited four years for this?!” Of course, I didn't personally wait four years. I only waited one year because I was born in November 1982. Of course, I was a big Pink Floyd fan by that Christmas. You believe me, don't you? ... Anyway, let's go about the task at hand, this Pink Floyd song. Or rather, Roger Waters song. Waters is muttering some very politicized anti-war lyrics that are very dark and depressing with a funereal organ in the background and a quiet brass band halfway through (and for some reason, someone rattles change in his pocket at times). Just as I'm about to fall asleep BOOM!!!! A huge chorus! Going quiet and LOUD in a song is almost a cliché for Waters, but it slaps me in the face every time. The song was a B, but it's an A- thanks to that rather brief ending.
Your Possible Pasts A
Well, they might no longer be doing all of my favorite Pink Floyd gimmicks any longer such as substantiative sound effects or well-oiled instrumentation or synthscapes (am I alone in missing Rick Wright dearly?)... but damn, I'm really never going to get tired of Waters constantly going from soft to LOUD in these songs. The quiet bits are pretty boring with very, very bare instrumentation ... just Gilmour noodling around mildly. But the LOUD parts grab me, and I actually start caring about these distressing things Waters is singing about in the lyrics. Oh, and Gilmour's got a pretty fantastic guitar solo in here. That's good, because the guitar solos are the only thing Gilmour really contributed to this album.
One of the Few B
What did I tell you about having loud explosions in all your songs? It's perfectly alright that you make them all quiet to start out with, but they're nothing if you're not going to try to murder me. We could be happy with more of Waters' depressing lyrics, and they're good of course, but this is just a boring minute-long song that I forget exists by the end.
The Hero's Return B+
This song is notable for starting out with an early '80s-style synthesizer texture. It's a bit refreshing to hear something that's not just these guys playing simply dark acoustic songs amidst a lot of reverb! Other than that, though, I'm really waiting for something to musically grab me here... The melody is so-so, the soft and LOUD parts aren't that well orchestrated. Waters really nails his vocal performance, though, which combined with the lyrics can be terribly moving.
The Gunner's Dream A
I've read a fair amount of times that this here Pink Floyd album is like a John Lennon album. I didn't truly gain that impression until now. ...Naturally, these anti-war lyrics have been very Lennon-ish, but here we get an ascending chord progression that's unmistakably Lennon-esque. Somehow, even though most of this song wallows in some sort of dark and musically uninteresting verses structure, I'm still left holding onto what Waters is trying to tell me in the lyrics. And, luckily, this is one of those songs that EXPLODES every once in awhile, and it yet again succeeds in slapping me in the face! DO THAT MORE! I LIKE TO BE SLAPPED IN THE FACE!!!!
Paranoid Eyes B
This is really slow and boring. Blah!! ... Look. The lyrics are good. I'll fully admit that. I just wish he would try to challenge us a bit more with his melodies and atmospheres. If you're looking for something to whistle under your breath, this is about as far away from that as it gets. I'll admit that maybe he's intentionally not writing catchy tunes so that it doesn't distract us from these lyrics. ...But, usually music that is only lyrics-centrist is BORING. I mean, I'm perfectly willing to read Waters' poetry as long as I have some Mozart playing in the background.
Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert B
BIG ATOMIC BOMB EXPLOSION!!! I've got to say Harry Truman was being a genuine dick when he dropped the atomic bombs on Japan, but the explosions they made are really awesome! The explosion takes up about a quarter of this song's one-minute running length. The rest of it is a bare string quartet trying to bring life to another one of Waters' non-melodies. I give it a B+ for the explosion and a B- for the rest of the song.
The Fletcher Memorial Drive A
See? This is all I ask for! The melody ain't a “Comfortably Numb,” but it has its moments. Making it even better is some full orchestration given to us by a string section and some woodwinds. Of course they play rather quietly while Waters delivers more of his hippie-political statements. But what makes this song especially good is that—lo and behold—GILMOUR does a SOLO! ...Yeah, that's right! There's a guitar solo in here! I was almost forgot that Gilmour was still lurking around somewhere in the studio.
Southampton Dock B-
Oh god... This is so boring that I'm starting to run other songs in my head to help me through some of this tedium! ...OK, forcing myself to pay better attention, this isn't a terrible song. The lyrics are good as poetry and some of the string orchestration lifts it up slightly in the final half... But for the life of me, listening to this is like visiting a boring museum. Man, I don't want to be reminded how many boring museums I've been dragged into in my yeut.
The Final Cut A-
You see, the important thing here is Roger Waters is singing LOUDLY as opposed to merely muttering. That gives his lyrics more of an aura of self-importance and it smacks my attention span into gear. It also helps that the instrumentation reminds me of “Comfortably Numb,” which reminds me of that time in the not-so-distant-past I was listening to an interesting record that bore Pink Floyd's moniker. An extra point for the David Gilmour solo in the final third.
Not Now John A
This song reminds me that most of these other songs don't have a rhythm section. The groove he comes up with at the beginning is undoubtedly cool, but then he wallows around in a few sections, which are just dull! ...While not everything about this song is perfect, I've got to say that this is quite possibly the most exciting song of the album. That's not only because of the rhythm section and the fact that Gilmour gets to play his lead guitar pretty much throughout this whole thing, but Waters uses the 'F' word a lot.
Two Suns in the Sunset B-
Dull. I've been writing these tracks from 6-8 this morning, and all I can say is this inspired me to go back to BED! Particularly this song, which has nothing interesting in the melody or the instrumentation. I read through the lyrics on lyricwiki.org, and I can't deny that they are thought-provoking. As much as I'm able to determine what good lyrics are, I'd definitely put these in the top-tier of all the lyrics I've ever read. But that really doesn't excuse Waters muttering them in a sleepy way under his breath and just being boring. He does a loud bit in the middle, and there's a sound-effect of a woman screaming, which is kind of cool, but it doesn't really capture my attention this time. Sorry.
A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987)
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Signs of Life B
Well, at least I always thought that the sound effects of the dock was pretty cool. It gives me that ultra-isolated feeling as though I just got transported to the world of Myst. (Oh, how much I used to love that game! I was very dense back in the day, so it took me a helluva long time to get anywhere, but I had great fun in the process.) ... I assume David Gilmour was trying to continue to express isolation in the rather long-drawn-out synth-led musical sequence that sounds a lot like the opening of Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road follows this. Unfortunately, I don't quite get that feeling of loneliness as intensely as he was probably hoping to. Particularly toward the end when he starts playing a pretty nice minimalist guitar solo, I only get neutral vibes from the whole thing. ...As a whole, this track isn't bad. It at least has enough of a variety of instrumentals to keep it from growing too dull. But Gilmour had a thing or two still to learn about mood music.
Learning to Fly A-
Much more successful this time. This is a slowly paced but captivating pop-song about flying. The melody he comes up with is quite catchy, and the punchy instrumentals make it really fun to listen to. Gilmour does his faithful best to make this sound as Pink Floyd as possible, bringing in familiar sounding female back-up singers right out of Dark Side of the Moon and inserting a cluttered sound effects collage in the middle, but in retrospect this song probably would have simply made a better three-minute pop song.
The Dogs of War B
Let's talk about the good things first, because I'm in a good mood, and I'm also generally sympathetic to Gilmour's cause. That pounding cello pulsating all throughout this song while Gilmour angrily wails over it was undoubtedly a cool idea. Hits of organs come in at just the right times, the DSOTM female back-up singers sound apocalyptic, and Gilmour brings in one of his more rip-roaring guitar solos ever. Icing on this cake is that really whacked-out saxophone solo in the final half! ...So, if there is so many tasty things going on here instrumental-wise, then why only the B? ...The melody is uninteresting, the chord sequences are quite dull, and I'm simply not as captivated by it as I should be for a six-minute art-rock song. ...I probably don't find this song as terrible as some people do, because I really do like listening to it. It just needed a bit more soul.
One Slip A-
Hey, I like this song, too. I probably like it more than most people, so there's your warning. It starts out with some electronic clock sounds—I guess a DSOTM for the '80s. After that, it turns into something that sounds more like a Security-era Peter Gabriel than vintage Pink Floyd, which probably explains why I seem to like this song more than most people. Gimme that quickly pulsating xylophone playing in the background in every one of these songs! I find myself to be very captivated with Gilmour's melody and his soaring vocal performance. Those verrrrry loud drums are quite '80s, but they pack a major punch. ...Hm, who said '80s drums were intrinsically bad, anyway? Especially when they're done this well! The obligatory instrumental interlude continues to have that busy xylophone texture to it, which I'm just eating up like cotton candy.
On The Turning Away B-
As I probably don't need to mention to you, A Momentary Lapse of Reason has a rather terrible reputation, and I don't think my scores had been reflecting that previously to this song. Well, here you go. This album ain't so good. This song starts out a cappella, which was off on the wrong foot to begin with. Luckily, Gilmour comes in with a nice guitar solo quickly thereafter to spice things up, but the song he continues to sing sounds very slow moving and dull. It isn't until the four-minute mark when the rhythm finally picks up to a more enjoyable pace. The vocal melody isn't very interesting, I hate to say, and it's just not that much of a fun song to sit through. ...I will say that at least there's a lot of electric guitar in this, and that has plenty of appeal by itself... particularly coming from David Gilmour.
Yet Another Movie / Round and Round C
It starts out with a bouncy synthesizer effect pounding away before delving into another lengthy guitar passage that is far too reminiscent of the previous track, except it's a little less exciting. There is development here in a sense; at least this seven and a half minute song doesn't sound completely the same all the way through. The only thing samey about this song is the actual mood of it, which continues to be downbeat and depressing. I don't mind listening to depressing music sometimes, but if Waters would have expressed more intense emotions in here, then this would have been a successful song. I'll give Gilmour credit for a truly rip-roaring guitar performance around the 4:30 mark, but that's about it. This is basically an unmemorable blur.
A New Machine Part 1 D
Um. This song sucks major crapola. In fact, if this was the main reason that so many people hate this album so much, then I'm right there with them. This consists of Gilmour singing a cappella in a sort of disgusting vocoder. It was very pretentious of him to think that we would be intrinsically interested in his “technology” and that we actually want to hear Gilmour sing without backing instrumentation. This is sick.
Terminal Frost B-
Better. Compared to the last thing, I would take anything. This is a six-minute instrumental consisting of a hodgepodge of saxophone solos that aren't too many notches away from playing elevator music. I think one obvious thing Gilmour forgot to do when writing the material for this album was chord progressions. Doesn't he know how awesome good chord progressions can be? This song basically wallows around in the same chord the whole time... and when it does switch chords, it never piques my interest. That said, this isn't such a terrible song. The elevator music saxophones are fine if you're into that sort of thing. They do no harm. Except waste your time.
A New Machine Part 2 D
MAKE IT STOP, GOD, MAKE IT STOPPPPPPPPP!!!!
This one starts out with a pretty dang stupid electric guitar solo that's very slow and takes up nearly two minutes of our time. Lucky us, they bring in a rhythm section and some '80s drums for the rest of the song, so it's all OK! Gilmour's guitar noodling sounds better when it's playing amidst a beat and catchy bass-line as I'm sure you'll note as you're listening to this! ... I also see that Gilmour decided to try to bring in chord progressions and such. He picked some rather awkward sounding ones, but at least he's not playing the same freaking groove throughout! ... As you'd expect, there's some Pink Floyd style sound effects in the middle. The main problem I have with this song is that it extends almost to nine minutes, and it really didn't have enough material for that. I get pretty dang bored with it already by the five-minute mark.
Delicate Sound of Thunder (1988)
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Shine On You Crazy Diamond A
Yup! David Gilmour and company play this classic Pink Floyd prog-song in full! You know what that means, right? It's very, very, very long, it's very slow moving, and it consists mostly of David Gilmour guitar noodles. But I think that I've expressed to you in earlier Pink Floyd reviews that David Gilmour is one of the finest noodlers that we have in in rock 'n' roll. I mean, this guy is actually interesting as opposed to empty-headed elevator-noodlers out there like Kenny G. I mean, it was a great insult to even mention Gilmour and “G” in the same paragraph. So I apologize for that. If you want a noodly guitar album, then you're going to really like this song, since they don't actually get around to the melody until the seven-minute mark! ...About comparing this song to the original, I think they did a pretty dang decent job with it considering there's no way they're going to be able to top the original studio work. They keep the captivating atmosphere going pretty well. Gilmour gives a more passionate vocal performance than I would have expected, and the back-up singers come off as very powerful. ...I'm also a fan of that cool saxophone solo at the end of it. ...Geez, I actually really enjoy listening to this.
Learning to Fly B-
Obviously, the reason why everyone says that it was bad of Gilmour to release a live album during his reign of Pink Floyd was that he'd have to include songs like this in it. Yeah, there's no question that anything out of A Momentary Lapse of Reason is just going to suck compared to the classic Pink Floyd stuff. But all things considered, “Learning to Fly” is a pretty great song, so it's sort of pointless complaining about it out of principle. ...This is a pretty solid rendition, but Gilmour's vocal performance seems like it's much more lethargic than it ought to be. Shouldn't he project the feeling that he's flying in his voice?? God! If I could sing like Gilmour, I'd have the time of my life singing a song like this! ...The section in the middle of this with all the sound effects doesn't really come off that well. I wonder what was going on the stage? ...Erg, I'm afraid that the stage visuals were probably too important. I do enjoy listening to this, but Gilmour's vocals are a huge turn-off.
Yet Another Movie C
I'm afraid that the quality of these live songs aren't going to be any greater than their original incarnations, and this cut from A Momentary Lapse of Reason is just BORING. I mean, listening to it in its own album was bad enough, but listening to it on the same album where the more renown Pink Floyd masterpieces just makes it seem even lamer. But at the same time, you might have noticed that I ended up giving it a higher rating! ... Well, the live version is crunchier, ain't it? But this still isn't a very good song. It sounds like something out of a bad '80s movie. A lot of cheesy synthesizers, and thick synthscapes. Gilmour's arena-rock guitar is pretty rip-roaring, though... You've got to admit.
Round and Round
A thirty-second piece of synth-scape. Maybe this is what the previous track should have been!
...Yet another cut from A Momentary Lapse of Reason. I know that's the album that Pink Floyd was actually promoting in this tour, but couldn't they have just performed “Learning to Fly” and then concentrate on the classics? ... OK, OK, Gilmour would've looked pretty bad if he was sucking too much off Roger Waters' songwriting! ...Well, just like the studio version, this starts out with a lot of reverb rather uninteresting guitar solo... About two minutes into it, that infectious bass-line pops up. ...And it keeps on going for 10 minutes! ... I've got to tell you, though, that the bass-line is cool enough that I actually enjoy listening to it for great lengths, and Gilmour's loud and rip-roaring guitars are really cool in this. I probably even enjoy this more than the original thanks to Gilmour's insatiable noodling! (I gave it a higher rating, anyway. I'm not going to into it any further than that!) This ain't the greatest song on the planet, of course, but it's a good one to sit back and soak up.
The Dogs of War C-
...Oh man! This song is boring!!!!! ... Very overblown, too, and Gilmour sounds like he's trying too hard singing them lyrics. (If only he would have evened it out with his enthusiasm with “Flying,” we might have had something here. I'm also not getting a whole lot of joy out of the atmosphere. It's just not very alluring. Gilmour keeps that pounding string line throughout, that gives out a dramatic flare, but it seems very incomplete as a whole. The sax solo is cool, though. I just wish it was playing to a cooler song!!
On the Turning Away C
This isn't an altogether terrible song from A Momentary Lapse of Reason, but it really could have used a good vocal melody. The thing keeping this song on its feet are the ultra-dramatic instrumentals that frequently flare up, and I also like that they adopted a very steady beat for the last half of the song. Once again, Gilmour noodles through most of this, and if you're privy to air-guitaring, then you'll probably find that Gilmour has some really nice moves in here.
One of These Days B
Hey! Here's something that's not out of Lapse! It's from... um... Meddle? Well, that's cool I guess! Meddle is one of those albums that not a whole lot of people out there really know about, and they probably should. Well, this isn't my favorite song from Meddle, but it's definitely a good one with a nice beat, and it gives Gilmour a lot more opportunity to show us why he's so highly regarded as a guitarist. So, there you go. This is a nice opening for the second disc.
And the audience says, “About friggin time we heard something from Dark Side of the Moon, the only album that we care about as a collective unit!” ...Yeah, after drifting through so much of the Lapse stuff, I finally get to hear a song that I wanted to hear! Just like the studio version, it starts with a lot of clock noises, and a very lengthy and bongo heavy introduction before the main vocal melody pipes up. ...Oh, this is of course nowhere near as good as the original. Those bongo drums at the beginning are played way too loudly, and Gilmour's vocal performance seems rather disinterested. But hey, Gilmour does nail the electric guitar solo, which is what we all wanted to hear, right?
Wish You Were Here A
It's safe to say that this is among Pink Floyd's finer melodies that they've ever come up with. This is also a very solid rendition of the song... Gilmour does nothing more to it than they needed to. They bring out the acoustic guitars, Gilmour just sings it the best way he knows how. Rick Wright supplies some minimal synthesizers... They're a little too '80s, but that's not the worst thing that could have happened, you know! This is a very unpretentious and enjoyable rendition of a good song. There you go.
Us and Them A-
Yay!!! This might just as well be my favorite song from Dark Side of the Moon. Well, it's either that or “The Great Gig in the Sky.” It's really hard to tell. Ask me on another day, and I'll give you another answer! Anyway, I'll gladly listen to this song anywhere Waters-ful or Waters-less! I suppose it could have been more mind-blowing, or something. I don't quite get that post-apocalyptic vibe from those back-up singers quite like I do on the original. I'm also not sure if I like that echo-effect Wright puts to his voice in spots. (I think that's Wright singing... You know, it's really hard to tell.) I know there's an echo in the original, but it seemed more subtle there. ...But those are just nitpicks. They play this almost exactly the way they did on the album for the most part. The saxophone seems more fat here, though...
Yay, another DSOTM song! This starts out with the exact same sound-effects of the original! This is a little bit different from the original. For starters, it's about three and a half minutes longer, meaning that Gilmour took some extra time to jam. Well, I like Gilmour's extra guitar soloing in here just fine although I'll just jump on the bandwagon along with people who say that he was taking the soloing way too far, and he shouldn't have quieted down the groove so much in the middle of the song. Come on, Gilmour, we like your noodles, but we like them with strong backing beats! Gilmour also involved his back-up singers more in the proceedings, as they deliver a few woo-woos here and there. I'm not sure I like them very much, though. They're like foreign objects that don't belong.
Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2 B+
Huh... Interestingly, hearing this song pop up out of nowhere like this reminds me how well The Wall had been programed! But of course, Gilmour had to play this song at the concert, because a lot of the audience would have been disappointed if he didn't. I wouldn't particularly call this a great rendition of the song... probably more like an obligatory one. It's only five and a half minutes long, which is very brief as far as songs on this album have been going, and Gilmour's noodling is very good, but not quite as calculating as the original version, I'd say. I'm also not sure what was up with that weird flurry of muted guitar notes that suddenly popped up in the middle. (?) It's an overall solid rendition, though. The song is still catchy, the rhythm is terrific, and they evidently had either real kids or a recording of kids sing that famous chorus.
Comfortably Numb B
Gilmour sings this a bit differently at the beginning... It sounds a lot more feathery and uses a wider range of notes. After that, the song goes back into familiar territory as Gilmour pretty faithfully recreates his famous guitar solo in spots. Other times, he seems to just be making up stuff on the spot, but he's usually pretty good. (A few parts he goes a little deeper than it seems like he should have... Other parts he's playing a little too fast! Hm! Am I too addicted to the original?) ...You know, it's interesting that I'm knocking this song down quite a few points even though it's quite similar. I'm guessing the original is a lot more captivating than it should have been... I'm not quite drawn into this version as I am the original. I'm not sure how to explain it! Maybe the original version was magic!!
Run Like Hell C+
...Ew! They completely butcher this song with that messy call-and-response thing they do with the vocals. Yeah, that's no good. They also drag this on a bit longer than they should have... particularly since Gilmour doesn't even take the time too noodle around like all of his fans want him to! So, if this song is the only reason so many people hate this live album, then I can definitely see it. But I guess the important thing is that synthesizer loop is still fun to listen to, and that drum beat is very pounding. You could probably dance to this if you really wanted to... I don't want to. A very weak finale.
The Division Bell (1994)
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Cluster One B+
Wow!! This album is already off on a better start than A Momentary Lapse of Reason was! That synth-scape they came up with at the very beginning of the song is like nothing else I've ever heard before. Something that sounds like horses trotting plop around while this windy and watery effect slowly builds up... Geez, I don't know what that's supposed to be, but it does put me in a location! Why, probably next to those statues that are depicted on the album cover! It is weird, and it is cool. After that effect is through, there's a very lengthy sequence of very minimal piano and very minimal guitar. It's pretty obvious they were going for calming mood music, but it doesn't quite put me in a *location* like the intro did. And, in fact, I find it to be a little boring at times, but ... not too boring. For a start, there's an actual chord progression that eventually works itself in the mix and it's a good one. And there's also the general tendency of the song to get a little busier and lively toward the end... So, yes, it develops!
What Do You Want From Me A
Well, this mid-tempo pop song certainly ain't the most groundbreaking song to ever feature the Pink Floyd brand-name, but it definitely sounds nice. In fact, it sounds like a DSOTM wannabe... But of course, if anyone's going to make a decent DSOTM-wannabe, it's gonna be David Gilmour. He has the vocals, obviously! The important thing here is the instrumentation is perfect. Geez, the guitar hits the perfect tone, the female backing singers are bright though still dramatic, the bass guitar is clear as a bell, and the groove Rick Wright comes up with the organ sounds great. The most important thing about this song is David Gilmour's guitar, which is astounding to hear... man oh man. And do you know what else? This song is pretty freaking catchy, too! Oh, it took me a few listens to finally get over its mid-tempo pace and start to become captivated by its harmonies and Gilmour's passionate singing. This is really fantastically done!!!!
Poles Apart B-
I like how this one starts and ends OK... The melody and harmonies don't capture me like the opening two songs did. Indeed, perhaps its too simplistic for its own good. I really don't care that much for that lengthy instrumental passage in the middle here, which seems to meld in and out of a circus theme. I don't object to the circus theme; I just think they could have done it better! It's more like an over-processed dream instead of something that I could experience. You know, trying to get me to experience things is pretty much the whole point of a song like this! Gilmour does get to noodle again at the end, and he's good of course. It's just that he's continuing to noodle around with that same old chord progression, and ... well, I'm pretty tired of it at that point. Geez, this song is more than seven minutes long!!
Not an altogether bad instrumental. As usual, it's produced very well, and it goes down as smoothly as a smoothie. But they really needed to up those melodic themes and harmonies! The chord progression is uninteresting to me, and so the whole song comes off as a bit of a blur. Of course other things help make the song palatable overall... Gilmour noodles throughout this whole thing, and he comes up with a number of interesting ideas throughout. The volume of the song also increases quite a bit as it progresses, which helps keep my ears glued to it. Yeah, I know that was a pretty cheap trick, but it worked.
A Great Day For Freedom B
Once again, this ain't altogether bad, and I like listening to it just fine. Rick Wright's morose piano sounds nice, and Gilmour's brooding vocal performance continues to give off that ultra-dramatic touch. The melody is a little more memorable than the previous one, and this four-minute running length is a little more *proper*, so to say! Somehow I think they could have made this stand out a bit, more, though. The melody is good but it doesn't quite take off for me. Gilmour does another nice solo at the end, but ... well I start to get less impressed with those since he's done a lengthy guitar solo on every one of these songs so far.
Wearing the Inside Out B+
I think I threw some accusations around in my A Momentary Lapse of Reason review about some of it sounding like elevator muzak. ...I want to throw around the same accusation about the first thirty seconds of this track. That smooth saxophone sound could have appeared on a freaking Kenny G album! (...OK, it's not that bad!!!!) Luckily, they progress out of that terrible tone and they actually start to give one of the better sounding grooves on the album. Naturally, it's a slow and depressing song just like everything here, but we have a nice bass guitar, a more likable melody, and Gilmour's guitar tends to be a little more rhythmic instead of just soloing like he was doing in many of these other tracks. Wright comes out with a number of interesting synthesizer tones, which helps refresh the atmosphere at just the right times. My main complaint about this, once again, has to do with its freaking length. It makes a good seven-minute song, but it would have made and even better four and a half minute song! ... C'mon guys. I knew we were in the age of the CD, but that doesn't mean you have to pan everything out like this!!
Take it Back A-
Ah yes, this is exactly what this album needed more of; songs that just LEAP OUT AT YOU! Also helping matters is Nick Mason's steady and crispy drumbeat and the electronic synth-scape that's right out of a Vangelis soundtrack... Ah, when it comes to electronic music, there's nothing to get the old heart pumping than a texturally busy synthscape! Even better than the song's atmosphere is the melody! Gilmour hits all the right notes with his soaring vocal performance, and even gives a texturally rich whispy guitar solo instead of the typical guitar sound that he had been doing in other spots of the album. My only complaint, once again, is the song-length. It's not as overdone as some of these other songs—this is only six minutes—but when Gilmour reprises the main theme for the last time at the four-minute mark, I get the feeling that it was unnecessary.
Coming Back to Life C+
This song has an unnecessarily lengthy introduction in which Gilmour pretty much sings with a very light synthscape. There are some hooks in his melody, but fairly weak ones. At the two-minute mark, a rhythm section comes in... You would think the rhythm section would generally help matters, but I really don't care for this stiff texture they come up with. It's all a little bit head-ache-inducing to be honest. As expected Gilmour gives himself a solo in here, but as I said earlier I seem to get less and less impressed with those as the album goes on...
Keep Talking B+
Well Stephen Hawking was certainly living the dream in the '90s... He not only got to appear in a Star Trek: Next Generation episode, but he got to appear in a freaking Pink Floyd album! Of course, all you hear is his synthesized voice communication thingy going off at times... but still! Stephen Hawking got to appear on a Pink Floyd album! Maybe I should become an enormously popular physicist! ........ Er, I suppose that would mean I would have to actually have to be interested in physics. Not to mention, I'd have to be a genius. (I took an online IQ test and I only scored a 122, so I'm screwed....) Well, I'd say as far as mood music goes, this is one of the better ones. Gilmour has that “Another Brick in the Wall” texture going up again, and I always welcome the shot at fully immersing myself in that atmosphere again. Oh, the guitar sound effects aren't as captivating as they could have been, but they're still pretty good. Wright comes in with a number of interesting synthesizer textures that absolutely floods everything. It's a little too cheesy and new-agey I guess, but it ain't bad. It's fun to listen to. By the looks of it, I'm alone on this one, but it's always good to be alone on pressing issues like this occasionally ...As I was listening to this album over the last couple of days preparing for this review, I seemed to take more interest in this than many of the others... (Well it might have been the Hawking-speech that was freaking me out, but I also liked the atmosphere!)
Lost For Words B
Back to the nice pop songs, although I start to get a little weary of the vocal melody that seems to repeat itself way too much. They do create a nice groove, though, and this is generally a pleasant thing to listen to. Gilmour solos on an acoustic guitar instead of an electric one, which is a nice change of pace. Of course, the sounds of the song are just flawless, as seems to be the case with anything Bob Ezrin has a hand in producing.
High Hopes A-
A buzzy fly! ... Man, this guy can't come up with a sound effect that wasn't used on an earlier Pink Floyd album, can he? ... Oh well. I like the sound-effect introduction anyway. A brooding clock chimes, and the buzzy fly goes by our speakers. It's pretty cool. ...Although I don't understand why the clock keeps on chiming like that. By the sound of things, it must be 30 o'clock! Even though this is an eight-minute composition, this one does what the other lengthy songs have failed to do generally: DEVELOP. That's right, this entire song doesn't only consist of a single mood or even a single melody. A few times, the instrumentals even explode a little bit. I particularly like that part early on when those insane militaristic drum beats pop up, which of course dramatically change the overall downbeat mood of this song. The melody and harmonies are also some of the finest things on the album. ...And of course there's the obligatory lengthy guitar passage, but since the overall song is more interesting than usual, I'm able to soak up his guitar acrobatics more than usual. All in all, this is quite a good song! It's not gonna split the universe wide open, but it's a much more successful “prog-epic” than the one that ended A Momentary Lapse of Reason.
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Shine On You Crazy Diamond A
Well... It was one thing for Gilmour to release another live album just seven years after the previous one, but it was a completely other thing to start them both with the same song! ...But it's a great song so I'm not exactly one to complain about it. I also have to say that they do a pretty dang good job obscuring the fact that this was recorded live. I mean, these instruments are as clear as a freaking bell. Gilmour's noodling is in good form, and even Wright gets a nice, quiet, extended solo in here. Gilmour's vocals sound great, and he's complimented will by those back-up singers. This is an enchanting song, of course, and this is a terrific live rendition, for all 13 minutes of it.
Astronomy Domine A
Ha! They're really reaching into their past for this one, and they're giving a real treat to anyone in the audience who gives a damn. They're playing Barrett's masterpiece extremely well, and of course Gilmour sounds a lot like Barrett did, so this is a very good rendition of it. It's quite a bit shorter than you'd expect—about as long as the original was. They don't take any extra time for unneeded jamming I guess! Well... there's only so much psychedelic craziness that you can take at a Pink Floyd concert if all you're expecting to hear is excerpts from Dark Side of the Moon! ...This is definitely a treat, though.
What Do You Want From Me B
One obvious advantage to this live album over Delicate Sound of Thunder was that the album they were touring around to support is a much better one! I actually like this song's melody, although it's definitely a lot weaker than the previous two songs, and that's even more obvious when you hear this pop up. I also get the impression that this should have flowed a little bit better... I like the dramatic female back-up singers, though. They're lurvly.
Learning to Fly B
David Gilmour sounds muuuuuuuch better with the lead vocal performance than he did with this song on Delicate Sound of Thunder. MUCH better. Although I still wish the guy would try to make his vocal performance seem to lift off. It's really lacking that certain magic that it could have because it's certainly good enough of a song. The extended sound effect bit in the middle probably could have been done away with probably, because it doesn't really sound that interesting. On the other hand, I'm not watching a DVD or anything. Something mindblowing could have been going on the stage for all I know. At any rate, I like listening to this. Except for the last 30 seconds.
Keep Talking C+
This is a song I'm a bit surprised to find on here. I sort of liked the original in its new-agey sort of way, but I would have figured that was strictly a studio creation that Gilmour wouldn't even try to recreate for a live concert. Well, it's not a terribly interesting song to hear them do live without all the studio embellishments, and Dave's incessant pig-tinged guitar noodling in here makes me want to laugh at him. ...Yeah, I'm sorry, that pig noise is completely destroying this for me.
Coming Back to Life C-
Once again, this wasn't a particularly great song to begin with... The first half of this is just a few steps above elevator music... And I can't say that I'm particularly thrilled to hear them do this. Gilmour begins it with a little bit of boring noodling, and then he starts to sing a boring melody. This song could have worked better if it had a more absorbing synthesizer texture, but it's just Rick Wright there playing long synthesizer chords. When they bring in that ultra-clunky rhythm, it sounds even more annoying than the original. ...Yeah, this is definitely something that didn't need to be on here!!!
Hey You A-
Such a pretty song, and it's a solid rendition too! Of course, it begins as that Medieval-style ballad that I'm sure you all know by heart. The “We Don't Need No Education” theme returns briefly in the middle and I guess I'm surprised at how much it wails! The lead vocals are pretty good, although Gilmour sounds a little bit too lethargic at the beginning, and Earl Courts' vocals are way overblown at the end.
Great Day For Freedom B
I know that they had to perform a lot of stuff from The Division Bell, but they do sound positively weak when they're up against comparison from their classic stuff. Ah well, I enjoy listening to this very thanks in part to Gilmour's noodling in the middle at they put together a pretty nice atmosphere for a live show. It's only four-and-a-half minutes, and that was just about the right length too.
Ouch! Here is a 10+ minute version of the song from A Momentary Lapse of Reason that few people are particularly hot on to begin with. As you'd expect, Gilmour starts it with that fat guitar solo that's kinda good I suppose, but also comes off as bloated and boring. Luckily, that familiar drum beat and bass-line groove eventually pops out, which basically makes this thing fairly likable for the whole time. I'll still get somewhat bored with it, however, depending on how closely I'm paying attention. Probably best to do something else while it's playing! Of course, if you love Gilmour's solos you're going to pretty much love this. There's no doubt about that.
High Hopes A-
Yet another non-classic Pink Floyd song, but I don't automatically object to this one, because the studio incarnation of this song was interesting enough that I would have actually been slightly disappointed if Gilmour didn't do it! It's a very absorbing song that develops in a very cinematic way and with a generally good vocal melody. It's certainly better than the vast majority of the stuff from A Momentary Lapse of Reason anyway! It's pretty clear this ain't a classic Pink Floyd song, but I've got to say that this is at least close.
Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2 B+
It's just a bit jarring to hear this song come out of the blue like this... It was like that on the previous Pink Floyd live album! They did such a good job of leading up to it in The Wall that it sounds really awkward popping up like this right after “High Hopes.” Anyway, Gilmour knew that basically performing this was obligatory... Of course, the people in the crowd were probably going crazy—possibly even strangling each other over the excitement—when they got to hear this. Well, it's a pretty good rendition. Those female back-up singers make lousy angry kids, though.
Speak to Me B
And here begins the second disc of the live album... An entire recreation of Dark Side of the Moon! I've got to wonder what the point of this was since you could just play the actual album again... I mean, it couldn't have been more perfect as it was! Anyway, I guess I'm missing out on some sort of laser show or something... since I'm just listening to the album. And ... I don't know. I like the heartbeat and everything, but hearing the audience noise and the conversation bits so clearly sort of ruins the whole mystique for me.
Hey, this is a good song! It's the one that came after “Speak to Me” in that album, remember? It does seem very rough around the edges. ...Given that this is a live recording it's obvious that this will be rough around the edges. I just wanted to make sure I *say* that just in case if someone thinks otherwise. The good news is that Gilmour's sliding guitars sound wonderful here, and of course they're playing to a very pretty song.
On the Run A
It's played almost exactly like the album this time. They might as well have just played the track on the album again! Oh well, it's live. I'm sure there's something neat going on stage. ...I don't really have anything else to say about this since I already reviewed DSOTM. The nuke explosion must have been cool. They used a real atomic bomb for that!
Clocks!!! And then a song. They really do a nice job on this song, anyway. It's a very solid rendition of a great song, of course. Gilmour's vocal performance does it justice, and so does his guitar solo. Again, it's got nothing on the original and most people are just better off playing that again... But I've got to say that I'm enjoying this very much.
The Great Gig in the Sky A-
Well, that scat-singing has nothing over Clare Torry's original, of course. It's not even close. She's trying to sing the same notes, and she's trying... She doesn't have nearly the amount of passion in it. Oh well. You really wouldn't expect someone to be able to recreate that too convincingly anyway! But of course, this is a great song also because of Rick Wright's very somber chord progression.
Another very faithful recreation. It's really hard to come up with words to type if they're just going to play these almost exactly like the originals! Ah... But at least they had the decency to bring in a saxophonist who did better improvisations than the guy who was noodling around in Delicate Sound of Thunder. They also decided to axe those all those “woowoos” from the back-up singers. Very good decision. Listening to this is about as much fun as the original, I think. That also goes to show how well they recorded this...
Us and Them A
My favorite song from Dark Side of the Moon is given proper and faithful treatment here. It's very enjoyable to listen to, of course, and it's performed nicely. I've probably mentioned this earlier, but the saxophonist is much better than he was on Delicate Sound of Thunder. He doesn't seem so freaking weird and awkward, so that's good.
Any Colour You Like A-
My favorite color is green, so I pick that one... This is a groovy rendition of the groovy song. This was a very noodly song in its original incarnation, and it's very noodly here too. It's fun to listen to, and I have nothing else to say about it. (Seriously... I can't even make up something else about it. This is the point I've come to.)
Brain Damage A
It's NOT AS GOOD AS THE ORIGINAL! (I'm getting sick of thinking that on all these track reviews. Very sick. Are these track reviews over yet?) And yet, it's very enjoyable and I like hearing it! Yes sir, I DO! ...I like that they even brought back those giggle noises.
It's the end of Dark Side of the Moon! Gilmour's not singing it quite as passionately as it was on the original album, but he does a fairly decent job with it anyway. I mean, he sounds somewhat lackadaisical at it, but that's fairly consistent with the way he's been singing throughout this whole disc.
Wish You Were Here A-
Encore!!! Gilmour performs this excellent folky song quite well... It has a very good melody, of course, and it's fun to listen to I'd say. ...No screw ups, just a good rendition. Yes, sir. (Once again, I have to apologize for the lack of quality in these song reviews! But what do you want me to write? I've already reviewed this song, and it's not a whole lot different.)
Comfortably Numb A
Oh yes, this is one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs, so it definitely deserves to be somewhere on this disc! I mean, since it's so freaking huuuuuuuuuge already, then why not make the room? Really nicely done, too, of course. I find myself mouthing the lyrics with it, so that's always a good sign. Gilmour's vocal performance is quite good too, luckily. He's definitely trying harder in the vocal department than he was on the previous live album. The guitar solo at the end is very good, too. That's what makes this 10-minute rendition very worthwhile!
Run Like Hell B+
I like this song, I swears I do, but it was never my favorite thing on the universe to begin with, so I'm naturally not going to be quite as thrilled to hear this as a 12-year-old who snuck into an XXX-rated theater would. It's a fun song, though, and of course the disco groove is danceable as always. Gilmour's guitar noodlings are as fun and inspired as always. ...Yes, indeed. (Have you noticed how often President Obama says “uh?” Yeah... 22 times, according to David Letterman. I should get Obama to write reviews for this site. ...Or maybe President Bush, since he doesn't have anything better to do these days.)
David Gilmour: David Gilmour (1977)
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Well, this ain't the most exciting way anyone could have opened an album, much less a member of Pink Floyd trying to flee the grasp of his oppressive band-mate. This song consists of one very neutral and fairly unmemorable groove and a very bland atmosphere. The chord progressions work fine even though they're hardly ground-breaking. ...So, if this song doesn't have a melody, atmosphere, or harmonies to speak of, then what's in here? ... Oh, right, GUITAR. How could I have been so dense? Yup, this is nothing but a showcase for Gilmour to prove to us that he could play the guitar as well as any of 'em. Typically he comes off as a better guitarist when the songs he plays them on express some sort of emotion. His skills are mighty, but this is veering in glorified elevator music territory.
There's No Way Out of Here B
Oh, good. David Gilmour finds time to sing on this one! Roger Waters wasn't a terribly great songwriter, and I think David Gilmour must be a little bit worse... Gilmour's vocal hooks are just a tad bland, aren't they? I mean, they're fine the first couple times he repeats 'em, but he drags them out well past their expiration date! Maybe if this song was two minutes it would have been an A-, but every time he just repeated the same old melody, it got even more tired and I had to keep docking points. I also noticed that he's extremely fond of those female back-up singers, which immediately take me back to Dark Side of the Moon. Don't get me wrong, the singers provide a nice dramatic texture and help liven up this chorus. It's just an observation!
Cry From the Street B
You could probably blame this for being a cheap knock-off of “Money,” and indeed it does use the same general bass-pattern and melodic style. I usually don't have a major problem with artists ripping off themselves (or even close band-mates) if they come up with something good out of it... And that's just what Gilmour did. He created something *good*. Not great, but *good*. The overall sound of this song is nice. It has all the Pink Floyd-isms except the instrumentals consist only of bare guitars and electric organs. It's interesting in a sense. I just wish that the vocal melody was more striking, and the guitars were playing a catchy riff.
So Far Away B+
Mr. Gleeful finally brings in a piano and gives us quite a nice little ballad here! Oh, I do wish the melody was nicer, but this one has a few hooks here and there. It sounds like an ordinary Joni Mitchell song from the early '70s I guess, and it's roughly as good as one too. Take that for what its worth! The piano is a nice texture, of course. Naturally, you can't expect a song to pass by without Gilmour taking on a solo, and he does a nice one here. The chord progression is nice although I wish it was a little more creative... I also wish he didn't elect to drag this on for more than six minutes. I know this song is generally good enough to be likable the whole time, but ... geez, yer just padding this thing, aren't you?
Short & Sweet C+
Geez, this album is boring. It's still very likable, though, and I can't ignore that Gilmour's complete refusal to use synths on here is pretty charming. I'll also state the obvious by saying that his guitar-work is so good that it usually makes these songs a lot more enjoyable than they should be based on their melodic/harmonic merits. ...BUT GEEZ. This guy keeps on repeating this same freaking melody line over and over and over that's not interesting even in the slightest bit. ...Dude. Come on.
Raise My Rent B
Alright, Mr. Gilmour. I'll raise your rent. I demand that you pay me $200 more a month!!! (Hey, I'm sitting through your album giving it a very polite listen... Don't I deserve a little something?) Anyway, he's writing yet another song with this extremely forlorn and downbeat atmosphere. It's an instrumental this time, which makes it worse, because I like the tone of his voice. Then again, I guess this means that I don't have to bear through another one of his dumb melodies! Once again, I have to say that Gilmour's guitar noodling throughout this is what saves this yet again. It's one of the better ones of the whole album; it's rather maniacal and dramatic, which means that it actually has some emotion locked up inside of it!
No Way A-
By far one of the more engaging melodies on here, and that's because it's a lot like one of those jazz melodies from Dark Side of the Moon. The ultra-smooth pacing is extremely repetitive, but this time it really starts to hypnotize me. Of course, Gilmour's vocals are deep and smooth as hell, which manages to hypnotize me some more. I hinted earlier that Gilmour's guitar noodles are typically only interesting if the song he's playing them to is interesting. Yup. That's true here. Most importantly, this is the only six+ minute song here that doesn't seem overlong!
This is another instrumental, and really the whole point of it is to showcase those ultra-wobbly guitar tones that Gilmour came up with at the beginning. It plays a repetitive seven-note “hook” of sorts, and it's not a particularly great hook... Hm. But at least the drum rhythm plays a rather ominous rhythm, and I do at least like that crazy guitar texture. That's good, because that's pretty much all there is to like about this song!!! ... And Gilmour evidently really likes it, too!
I Can't Breathe Anymore B
Oh, this is pretty good, I just wish that Gilmour would have worked a little more on his harmonies... Geez, this is pretty much a two-chord song, which goes to show that the guy really needed to spend just a little more time writing this material! Ah well. At the beginning of this, he comes up with another nice texture, and that rip-roaring solo in the last half is fun to listen to.
David Gilmour: About Face (1984)
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Until We Sleep B-
I can't say that Gilmour figured out how to write a more interesting melody since his debut solo album, but at least this one has a regular '80s/industrial drum beat and brooding synthesizers in the background. It has a pretty catchy bass-line, too, even though it pretty much repeats the same thing throughout this near-six-minute composition. (There's a little change-up in the middle, but it's nothing too notable.) I don't know what it is about Gilmour's chords... I usually notice that they're way too simplistic! The last thing to mention is that Gilmour sings through some sort of infinite-overdub machine. I don't mind that effect, although some people might, but I think he would have been better off just singing straight into the mic...
This is starts as an acoustic folk number (a severe and much-welcome contrast to the previous track) and it's a loud and bombastic rock anthem in the middle, and it ends with a bit of a shuffley groove. The development is very Pink-Floyd-ish, and it's nice to hear Gilmour try it out on his own. I'm not sure if it was a great idea for Gilmour to have soloed with a bass guitar at the beginning of this, but I really love his guitar at the end of this, noodling around like only he could. The melodies aren't very memorable... but they're not bad, either, and they certainly work.
Love On the Air B
I sorta hate to say this, but do you know what this reminds me of when it starts to play? ... A Dennis DeYoung ballad. Those synthesizers at the beginning of this are extremely '80s-reminiscent, but luckily the ultra-datedness of it escapes pretty much as soon as Gilmour starts to sing. His vocal melody is OK, but very indistinct. It's a bit weird hearing David Gilmour trying to do an adult contemporary ballad... (Oh no... I notice that Pete Townshend co-wrote this! Well, I don't think anyone was accusing Townshend of being particularly great in the '80s.)
Blue Light C-
You know, those disco rhythms and funk-horns are pretty good, but they can't completely disguise the fact that Gilmour's vocal melody is duller than a box of Paris Hiltons... The guitar texture he comes up with sounds a lot like the beginning of Alan Parsons' “Eye in the Sky,” and it's OK. All in all, that's some very flashy instrumentation, but this is a lousy song when it comes right down to it. ...It's also pretty weird picturing Gilmour doing generic disco music. ...Sheesh. Making it worse was this album was released in 1984 meaning that there was a zero percent chance that anyone liked this even at the time.
Out of the Blue B
Man... this is almost pretty good. Like any good Wall-era Pink Floyd song does, it starts out as a quiet and echoey piano ballad, but there's a moment in the end where it EXPLODES with organs and guitars going off all over the place. I certainly like how this is structured, but this melody is dull. I'm sorry to keep bringing it up, but I'm not very impressed with Gilmour's songwriting skills.
All Lovers Are Deranged B+
Another collaboration with Townshend, this one's quite a bit better. This has an industrial beat much like the opening track, but this one's slightly more exciting. The melody works a lot nicer, although it's still pretty far from where it needs to be, and he actually chooses a few compelling chords through this. The angry way he sings those reverb-ridden vocals are rather engaging, and of course he turns in a great guitar solo in the middle. This probably sounds too '80s for its own good, though. If you were born before 1950, there's a 98 percent chance you'll hate this.
You Know I'm Right B
Once again, this ain't altogether bad—I particularly like that Broadway style orchestral interlude here, which sounds exactly like something producer Bob Ezrin would have come up with. The melody really should have been more striking and memorable, though, and I still get the feeling that the purpose of all this instrumentation is just meant to mask its overarching dullness. Oh, give Gilmour extra credit for that wild, wobbly guitar solo at the end...
This is really one of the better melodies of the album, although it might have been good if they gave it a little bit of Celtic treatment, or something, because the pop-rock thing didn't seem to work that well. The sudden switch to reggae at the end REALLY didn't work, though. I had to decrease this song's rating from that easy-B for that weird misstep. I'll give them credit for that Pink-Floydian loud chorus, which I swear I'll never grow tired of. Even though this song is basically unmemorable, it does have a rather absorbing atmosphere. It should have been more absorbing, though.
Let's Get Metaphysical C
That's a pretty good pun! And this also sounds too much like a Bob Ezrin song... This is heavily orchestrated instrumental with plenty of super-polished glitz, but it doesn't really seem to do anything particularly special. Of course, Gilmour solos all throughout this, and I can at least get a sense of what he was trying to do. ...Unfortunately, this song doesn't seem to take off through me. I get the sense that the guitar, if anything, is dragging down all the cinematic glitz, and the cinematic glitz sounds like it belongs somewhere in a cheap adventure movie. Sorry, Gilmour, but this thing here is a DUD.
Near the End C
Zzzzzzzzzzzzz! Sorry I can't be any nicer about, but this extremely slowly paced song is about as freaking boring as it possibly gets. The verses section just consists of Gilmour singing a boring melody to a drum beat. It picks up a little bit in the interlude when he overdubs himself singing background vocals, but not by much. This is really a dull way to end this dull album.
David Gilmour: On an Island (2006)
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First of all, the guy who did the orchestral arrangements did a really nice job with this whole album. (I knew it wasn't Gilmour wasn't doing the arranging without even looking it up!) The very beginning of this instrumental contains melded together snippets of many of the songs that are about to appear in this album... I'm not sure I care for that, to be honest. They're not melded together very appealingly, and it comes off as a bit too jumbled. But the Gilmour guitar solo in the last half is pretty cool. It sounds really good, too. The guitar is very loud and well polished and it towers over that mellow orchestration very convincingly, and of course his licks are great to listen to. It seems like Gilmour tried something very similar to this in About Face, but he finally did it right.
On an Island B
Once again, this sounds really good. As predicted in Star Trek: The Next Generation, technology got really good in the 21st century, which was nothing but a good thing for ex Pink Floyd members. They could make albums sounding as clean and smooth as Dark Side of the Moon without all the fancy producers and being considered on the cutting edge. Also thanks to Gilmour's ultra-smooth vocals, this slow ballad couldn't sound more sweet and calming. The melody is even pretty good, too, and it's rather complicated. It's not the most memorable song, but I like sitting through it for the most part. ...But as you could tell, I only gave this a B. That's because this song is so freaking long! I really love it for four minutes... but it waits until nearly seven minutes has gone by before it ends. While this melody and atmosphere is good, this excessive running length is overkill.
The Blue A-
Really, really, really good this time. I think if The Beach Boys were young guys right now, they would probably make music that sounds a lot like this. It's a mellow and absorbing ballad with well-arranged vocal harmonies and well-arranged instrumentals. ...OK, the Beach Boys might have been a little more creative I expect, but this is still pretty dang good. The melody is very beautiful, and Gilmour delivers a lengthy and melodic solo in the middle. I suppose Gilmour could have stood to play a little bit with the mood of the song, since it's stuck in the exact same mood from beginning to end... But it's a good mood, and rather nice to listen to if you're going to take it easy on a beach somewhere.
Take a Breath A
Do you know what the best thing about this is? Gilmour took some time to work out these songs. There aren't very many chord changes in this song, but when he does change chords, it's usually quite dazzling, particularly in that really beautiful instrumental interlude. The main vocal melody is pretty good too! But, just like with everything here, its main strength is the instrumentation and how slick this whole thing sounds. I particularly like this song because it has a backing beat. (Hey! Drums tend to help me enjoy a song! This is supposed to be the rock age, after all!) but the string section in the background is very beautiful and of course Gilmour noodles with his guitar throughout to good fashion. ...And, lo and behold, there's even a sound-effects section in the middle of this featuring some chiming clocks and stuff that's worked in rather well! Yes, this is a very well-structured song! As an aspiring civil engineer, I give this song an A.
Red Sky at Night B
Well, Gilmour is not being particularly original with his sound effects, of course. That very subtle soundscape of kids playing on the playground sounds like.... well, you know... This track is a three-minute instrumental of a jazzy saxophone noodling around to very dreamy instrumentation. It's pretty good, I think, but I wish it did something to grab my attention better.
This Heaven A-
David Gilmour still writes jazz melodies! Ah, this is an aspiring Pink Floyd album, after all! You know, the melody isn't that great... but then again, neither were the melodies in Dark Side of the Moon particularly. What made that album great was way these melodies were presented, and I'll have to tell you that this melody is presented pretty dang well. First of all, those drums are very tasty and crispy! Second of all, the string orchestration seems to swell at just the right times. This is one extremely well-polished tune. Gilmour's guitar noodling throughout is also very fun to hear. It's very playful and quite expressive... just like a Pink Floydian Gilmour solo should sound.
Then I Close My Eyes B+
I like that banjo at the beginning of this and the traffic noises. I can't be too sure what Gilmour was trying to accomplish with that, but at least I like listening to it! ... In fact, I like the sound of the banjo so much that I wish that Gilmour had worked that into the main text of this song, which is a very low-key instrumental where Gilmour plays a very slow solo. For some reason it reminds me a lot of that Charlie Brown Christmas special instrumental “Christmastime is Here” except the melody comes from a guitar and a horn. ...Yes, this is a really nice song to just sit back and soak up. It's not particularly challenging, but it's not dumb either. If the instrumentation didn't sound so refined and engaging, it would be something similar to elevator music I suppose, but luckily these instrumentalists are good enough to have kept it from going too deeply into that territory.
Actually this sounds a lot more like Burt Bacharach or Sufjan Stevens (on one of his better days) than Pink Floyd... And I'd say that's a big reason why this song is so charming. Gilmour's melody here is fantastic. Not particularly original, of course, but he's really flashing some big hooks here with that simple melody. The atmosphere continues to be well-polished and very beautiful. I particularly like that orchestral swell in the interlude. It sounds like it should be in a romantic comedy or something. And I mean one of those good romantic comedies.
A Pocketful of Stories A
Ah yes, more of that mellowy goodness for people who love mellowy goodness. Me? I love mellowy goodness as long as it isn't boring. Obviously, that's a very difficult thing to do! This breathtaking ballad features a very bittersweet piano pitters along with a melody that's surprisingly strong that's beautifully delivered with Gilmour's deep and smooth vocals. ...I don't know what it is about these instrumental interludes, but they always seem to come to life. Particularly this one, which also sounds like it's right out of a movie somewhere. A good movie. ...If this song was only four minutes long, I'd give it an A+. But at six minutes, it starts to push its limit.
Where We Start A-
Guess what this song sounds like? It's very mellow! It's also very beautiful and a really nice and soaring way to close the album. Gilmour continues to turn in such nice melodies, I gotta ask: Why couldn't you have forced this out of you when you did A Momentary Lapse of Reason? Ah well, that was history, I guess. Once again, the ultra-smooth instrumentation is very beautiful and easy to really fall in love with. I like Gilmour's noodling, of course. I guess my main complaint this one in particular doesn't seem very far off from elevator music... I wish it challenged me just a *bit* more... But seriously, if all elevator music sounded like this, I might actually start to like riding on the elevator! Imagine that!
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