Review Summary: There is no dark side of the moon, really.
Matter of fact, it's all dark.
Everyone has heard of Dark Side Of The Moon. Everyone has seen that album art, the ordinary beam passing through the triangle and coming out as a dazzling rainbow, set against a deep abyss of black.
Dark Side Of The Moon is one of the most famous albums of all time. The ideals and sound are instantly recognisable, and the idea of unusual sound effects use has been imitated by many progressive rock acts down the line. The greatest mood album of all time, and should always be a top 10 on countdowns. The atmosphere is nothing heard of before: it isn’t another time or place; it’s a space where time doesn’t exist, only sound and light.
The intro sets a trend: Pink Floyd’s greatest albums begin with a curtain raiser that clearly states the album’s tone and style.
The eerie da-dum, da-dum of the heartbeat, as chimes, voices and sinister chuckles circle around you in whispers, is a perfect intro.
The deep velvet of Walter’s voice-singing softly with a powerful echo to give him a long resonance-gives you an idea to the album: the power of these words and the effect they can have.
The lyrics of Speak To Me/Breathe identify one of the main themes of the album: wasting years of your life through doing nothing but work and focusing on the immaterial things on life:
Dig that hole, forget the sun
And when at last the work is done
Don’t sit down, it’s time to dig another one
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave……
On The Run is the only weak song on the album-an instrumental with nothing but sound effects and a spiralling vortex keyboard effect. On to Time…
The music crashes to a halt on Time. It restarts with an orchestra of chimes, tolls and bells, to signify the topic of the song: kicking around, not doing anything for years and suddenly…..
And then one day you find
Ten years have got behind you, no one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun
A massive solo from Gilmour, my fourth favourite guitarist ever, and the lyrics grow submissive and sad as the song’s character is beyond being able to do anything with his life:
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone
The song is over
Thought I’d something more to say….
Great Gig In The Sky is a beautiful torrent of passion and emotion. The vocalist Clare Torry unleashes a wonderfully primal array of cries, wails and calls at the start of the song, but grows quieter and softer as the song goes on. This symbolizes the attitude towards dying that many people have: refusing to submit, but going subserviently when they finally know that their time has come.
With the kick of a cash register, the shred of cheques and a jazzy, catchy bass riff, Money begins. About the greed and hypocrisy of people in businesses, this is one of Pink Floyd’s biggest songs. Money features a huge sax and guitar solo and brilliant lyrics.
Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today
But if you ask for a rise, it’s no surprise
They’re giving none away….
By the way, this was the only song off the album to be a top 20 hit on the charts. Sounds astonishing, but when you think about it, it isn’t. This is what makes Pink Floyd so remarkable: they don’t have countless radio airwave hits, but you do a list of the greatest artists and albums and suddenly you realise their true greatness.
Us And Them, the soft, beautiful ballad about the sadness of how war shatters morality, is the greatest song of the album. As the saxophone softly breathes in the intro, the whole calmness of the song envelopes you. The smooth piano, the sudden shine of the chorus and the tragically penned lyrics are unforgettable. Us And Them is a magnificent and absolutely heartbreaking song.
Us and them
And after all, we’re only ordinary men
Me and you
God only knows, it’s not what we would choose to do
Any Colour You Like is an instrumental. Driven by a pop electric keyboard and blasts of rippling guitar, it’s solid and worth a listen.
Brain Damage/Eclipse brings the final element together: insanity. Brain Damage is the poetic thoughts of a mind trapped in an asylum, staring at moonlight and living off childhood memories, with a cascading chorus:
And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout but no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon…
The list style Eclipse is a fantastic end to the album. Every line packs a real effort, a real meaning, a real dedication to something. As the song fades out, the heartbeat returns.
“There is no dark side of the moon, really. As a matter of fact, it’s all dark.”
So this brings me to the six million dollar question: what is dark side of the moon about?
Greed? Wasting your life? War? Death? Insanity?
The dark side of the moon is the dark side of humanity.