Pink Floyd
The Division Bell


4.0
excellent

Review

by red0 USER (14 Reviews)
March 8th, 2010 | 15 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Division Bell is an epic soundtrack for daydreams, reminiscent and introspective, and despite the flaws, it's a fitting closing chapter.

It seems, to me, that most of the hate surrounding The Division Bell is misguided. The discussion turns to “Roger Waters isn’t there, it sucks” pretty much immediately. A Momentary Lapse of Reason, the first post-Roger Waters album, was pretty awful, and Gilmour bringing in tons of guest musicians didn’t help that album’s case very much in the first place. However, The Division Bell was a bit different, as Nick Mason and Richard Wright have a massive influence on the album, and this album actually sounds like Pink Floyd. Much like many bands, greatness comes from the chemistry between the band members. Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright together had the uncanny ability to pretty much craft perfection. Roger Waters couldn’t do it alone (see The Final Cut), and David Gilmour can’t do it his own (see A Momentary Lapse of Reason), however, ¾ of that successful group teamed up on The Division Bell, and The Division Bell ends up being about ¾ perfect.

The compositions, atmospheres, and musicality of The Division Bell is as excellent as it always was. The lyrics, themes, and vocals aren’t-and that’s the album’s flaw. High Hopes, the album’s closing masterpiece is one of Floyd’s best tracks and Take it Back is one of the most enveloping Floyd performances on record. And while The Division Bell lacks lyrically and thematically, Gilmour’s prowess at creating beautiful atmosphere and songs is at top game. Its laid back, deep, layered, and has a very airy, spacey theme throughout the entirety of the album. Marooned, the Grammy winning instrumental from this album, is truly an experience through headphones. Wright’s keyboards are thinly layered in a lush backdrop as Gilmour’s piercing guitar moves through the track. All the tracks are very poppy and reliant on the ambience Wright’s keyboards create. And, outside of Gilmour’s bitter What Do You Want From Me, the songs rarely rise to levels that could be considered loud. This, could be another reason The Division Bell was so highly debated.

Floyd has carried a very distinctive sound throughout their post Ummagumma days, more than likely due to the combination of Wright’s keyboard work and Gilmour’s guitar playing. Many felt this album didn’t really sound like Pink Floyd, and I’d have to wholefully disagree. The intricate slow growth and the mournful piano mixed with the quiet, nearly-whispering vocals of High Hopes easily could have found it’s place on Wish You Were Here. Wearing the Inside Out’s slow quiet organ and saxophone is reminiscent of tracks from Meddle. Every track is instantly distinguishable as a track from this era of Pink Floyd, but it still sounds like Pink Floyd should. However, Gilmour seemingly went a bit overboard in attempt to make this album sound progressive-the entire middle section of Poles Apart nearly ruins the introspective beginning, and Steven Hawking’s talkbox vocals sounds stupid as hell in the classic rock groove of Keep Talking. The female choir that randomly returns throughout nearly dooms the album into the dreaded adult alternative genre. And not to mention, the sardonic, antagonistic yet thought-provoking lyrics Waters penned (classics like “And by the way, Which one’s Pink?” or “You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your ears closed) has been replaced with Gilmour’s less intellectual lines like “She [mother earth] can take it back some day”. Not to mention the incessant complaining about Waters’ departure and fan backlash gets old after a while. Gilmour's voice loses its magic too, as another perk to Floyd in the past was the uncanny singing duo of Waters and Gilmour.

The downfalls are forgivable because Gilmour’s guitar work is better than ever, so are his vocals, and Wright creates a soundtrack to daydreams. So many songs are anthemic to the core, itching for lighters in a concert venue like the sing-a-long Lost for Words. And High Hopes’ pure emotion is enough to inspire anyone. It comes in, pounding on the piano with reflective anger and lush instrumentation, complemented by Gilmour’s best guitar solo and the resurgent bell in the background, fading away like an allegory of Pink Floyd. The Division Bell is a fitting ending to the chapter of the band that turned music into an art. The beauty, self-reflection, and atmosphere rides up and down through every emotion as Gilmour croons mournfully through lots of the songs. Yes, it’s sad, but it’s also hopeful, reminiscent, and memorable; what else can you ask for from a Pink Floyd album? It’s just another one of Pink Floyd’s endless string of great albums, but is David Gilmour’s crowning jewel.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
BigHans
March 8th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Record is fucking gorgeous.

red0
March 8th 2010


248 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fixed some issues

BigHans
March 8th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

pos'd

TRMshadow
March 8th 2010


4982 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Great Review. Pos'd

I agree with you, when I checked this out (expecting something horrible due to all the bad word of mouth surrounding it) I loved it. Sure it isn't as great as some of the stuff done during their golden years, but it is a great one to leave the game on.

AnotherBrick1
March 8th 2010


712 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review, i disagree with 2 parts though..

" Roger Waters couldn’t do it alone (see The Final Cut), and David Gilmour can’t do it his own (see A Momentary Lapse of Reason)" i guess i could see what you mean but i love both those albums

"Steven Hawking’s talkbox vocals sounds stupid as hell in the classic rock groove of Keep Talking" haha thats pry my 2nd favorite track off this album
but anyways your closing paragraph was awesome and overall it was a good review. pos''d

shindip
March 8th 2010


3536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

High Hopes is such a great closer

BigHans
March 8th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The lyrics for Lost For Words are fucking brilliant.

Wizard
March 8th 2010


19644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Tribetros!!!!!

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

Piglet
March 8th 2010


4665 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

absolutely agree.

porch
March 8th 2010


8460 Comments


Not that good

Relinquished
March 8th 2010


25933 Comments


haha tribestos

The Computer
March 8th 2010


255 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

High Hopes is the only great song on this album. I found most of the other songs to be mediocre.

EVedder27
March 8th 2010


6088 Comments


The lyrics suffered on this without Waters but is still a great album. The guitar work is outstanding.

Jim
March 9th 2010


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

your intro sums up my thoughts very well, as does most of your review. have a pos' my good man.

such an underrated album.

Rowan5215
June 1st 2012


28835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Gilmour's voice loses its magic too"
"Gilmour’s guitar work is better than ever, so are his vocals"
What?

Digging: Sharon Van Etten - Are We There



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