It is amazing how powerful an influence Syd Barrett had. Here Roger Waters is completely foreshadowed, save for a couple of songs, in Pink Floyd's first album. Barrett is supposed to have come up with the name Pink Floyd (though it comes from an amalgam of the names of the blues singers Pink Anderson and Floyd Council). He also ends up composing most of the songs in this album and designing the back cover. My favourite tune off of this album is Interstellar Overdrive, though it is Astronomy Domine which will be played as the first song during their 1994 tour.
Their second album, this group retains its psychedelic nature with new guitarist David Gilmour. Gilmour's guitar playing is still in its infancy, and this is clearly evident not only in the effects that are being used, but also in terms of the structure of the guitar leads---it is more experimental and broken. The songs all sound as a natural continuation of Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and this is surprising given the absence of founding member Syd Barrett.
This is the one following Ummagumma and it's one of the more self-indulgent Pink Floyd albums. This is especially evident in the suite with the same name as the album, consisting of weird sounds, organ, violins, some excellent guitar playing and a climatic Remergence.
This is a Pink Floyd classic which should be recognised just as much as Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. But it is mostly omitted when people try to evaluate Pink Floyd. It has a lot of political overtones and is one of the best Pink Floyd albums.
Big man, pig man, ha ha charade you are. You well-heeled big wheel, ha ha charade you are. You're nearly a laugh, but you're really a cry. ---Pink Floyd, Pigs (Three Different Ones)
I got this to "prepare" for their concert too. It has a few good tunes and Gilmour does do a decent job on some of them, though he completely massacres Comfortably Numb. He simply isn't as emotive as Roger Waters, though there is more emotion in his voice in that particular tune (perhaps because he sangit originally) than in other stuff he sings that were originally sung by Waters. When Gilmour sings, it's almost like he's doing it because it's his job (in great contrast to his guitar work which is simply some of the most goose-bump inducing music I've heard).
This is actually performed by the Royal Philharmonic, conducted by David Palmer. I find it interesting to listen to the orchestra versions of famous tunes, and this one's a lot better than the Queen performance by the same group. Not all songs sound good in the symphonic version, but Run like Hell, Money, Hey You, Wish You were Here, and Shine On You Crazy Diamond sound great! It includes a decent version of When the Tigers Broke Free.
I finally got to hear the Pink Floyd single Keep Talking, from the new album The Division Bell. All I can say is that it's not bad. I've heard it about five=six times and I guess it's somewhat fixed in my mind, but I don't see anything mind-blowing about it. I guess only time will tell.
The guitar is magnificient, as usual; Gilmour makes the guitar cry. However, his singing lacks the emotion his guitar has. The lyrics are a bit empty, but one could always come up with various interpretations out of it. I hope the rest of the album has better lyrics, but again, it's up to you to make it as profound as you want it. I guess the voice of Stephen Hawking, the physicist, is a plus---somehow it adds something to the song and makes you look for something deep. Maybe it's his image more than anything else. The keyboards are rather haunting too. I think this would be a cool song in concert, especially if they use lasers!!
This is not to criticise Pink Floyd---I think they are one of the greatest bands ever, but just think about it: if this song had come out by a band called The Morons, would you have paid as much attention to it? Would it have still "grabbed" you? I doubt it. As I said, time will tell. Every previous song of Pink Floyd has been popular in some respect except for tunes off of Momentary Lapse of Reason, even though a few of the songs seem to have withstood the test of time.
One interpretation of this song, I'd say, is about how technology alienates us from other humans, and how this suffocates our existence. But I see nothing wrong with the alienation---I think it's time to dump the idea that "man is a social animal". As Iggy Pop puts it so aptly: "That goddamn social life, it's torture dressed as fun". I think, as the some of the people do during the recent discussion of faceless-communication on the Pink Floyd list, that technology, if anything, removes physical barriers and while it is an alienation in a physical sense, it is not a particularly bad thing.
Another interpretation is that any vision of a pure democracy is being slowly eroded as the voice of the people is being drowned. It can be overcome, as Hawking says, by speaking out. I like this interpretation better.
The new Pink Floyd album is out on the stores. After experiencing much hype (pre-release parties, concert excerpts, and radio interviews) about it, all I can say is that it is by far the worst Pink Floyd album I've heard. This was my impression after the first listen a couple of weeks ago and it still holds.
Gilmour's guitar is excellent, but one wonders if he can play anything other than the Floydian style of music. The guitar still cries, though the wails sound not much different when compared to his playing over the last 25+ years. Similarly, the "mellow" quality so characteristic of Pink Floyd is preserved, however it seems very artificial. I've found Pink Floyd to be a group I could close my eyes and sway to when listening to their albums and this more true for their earlier albums than their later ones. I grow impatient when listening to The Wall or A Momentary Lapse of Reason. I think The Division Bell is an album that has been manufactured by Pink Floyd, rather than being any sort of a creation.
There's a pop-ish quality to the entire album. It's no longer Pink Floyd making music because they want to (this trend manifested itself with Dark Side of the Moon), but because the public wants to hear an album from Pink Floyd. Among all albums after Wish You Were Here, this is the album most tailored for the masses.
This is not to say that the album is bad. It is simply mediocre (as a friend of mine put it, the best words that describe it is "space music"). There are a lot of groups out there who have better stuff out who get a 10th of the attention that The Division Bell is getting. I think a lot of die-hard Pink Floyd fans would agree with this, especially those who have heard their early stuff.
Pink Floyd, as a style of music, is dead. I think Roger Waters realised this and left simply because he was uninterested. It's not to say he's better off on his own, but I think he's doing stuff he's really interested in instead of milking in on previous successes. That is not to say Pink Floyd, as a concert-experience, is over. I have no reason to doubt that their concert will be the most extraordinary show ever.
Coming Back to Life and High Hopes are some my favourite tunes. Keep Talking is one of the more mediocre tunes off of the album.
For those who are interested, the division bell is a bell that was rung to summon the British Parliament (I am not sure which house, if any) when they had to vote on a certain issue and those who were voting in favour of the issue lined up separately from those who voted against. Typical Pink Floyd conceptualism: the theme of the album seems to be communication.
This is the single version of the song from The Division Bell. The reason I got this is because it includes Astronomy Domine played Live, as recorded at the Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, FL. It's brilliant. Amazing how Gilmour still makes it sound just as good as ever. It's cheap and worth getting.
One would think this is an example of aging rockers cashing in on their earlier success and they would be correct, but still, it was hard to resist getting this once I saw the blinking light on the side of the CD cover. This is a live recording of the latter leg of their tour where they played the entire Dark Side of the Moon album, a set that hadn't been played live since 1975. The performance on this CD is technically excellent, and it can be best described by the concert reviews I've written in the past (see two reviews of this tour July 9 and July 10, 1995), even though those reviews were when Pink Floyd played a somewhat different set. But the recording itself is pretty lifeless. The first side of this CD contains songs like Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Astronomy Domine, Hey You, and a lot of stuff from the Gilmour-era Pink Floyd. The second contains the entire Dark Side of the Moon with Wish You were Here, Comfortably Numb, and Run like Hell for the encores. Gilmour does a fine job of singing Waters' stuff, and it's a decent buy if you want to have a memory of their show that you can repeatedly playback. If you missed the concert, however, don't bother with this one.