Review Summary: An orchestration of sounds that seduce the mind, and hypnotize us out of our conscious world, while leaving us lost in a musical haven.
It's an amazing feeling when we discover an artist whose music speaks to us in such a profound way. Whether we found them in the local record store, or some where in the countless webpages that make up the internet. It's such a surreal experience when we press play and the music that comes out immediately blows us away, and we say to ourselves, "How could I have gone this long in life without knowing this music exists?" And it hurts so much more when we discover that this artist was well before our time.
"Pink Floyd," the entire world knows this name and what their music sounds like, even if they've never actually listened to it. And when that name is mentioned, "Pink Floyd", most of the time the average mind goes to a certain image: a prism in a background of endless black and a thin ray of white running across it as it transforms into a rainbow on the opposite side. The Dark Side Of The Moon
is a classic and whatever I have to say about it in this review, has probably been said millions of times by a number of other writers and fans alike.
The music on this album is unbelievable. At times it's strange and obscure, in some moments it's purely ethereal, and in others it's just plain rock and roll. It's a classic and it will remain as such, forever to be enjoyed by generations to come. It's Pink Floyd's gift to the world. Although, if we look at the history of Pink Floyd, this album took the world by surprise. Everyone knows the story. After the release of their groundbreaking 1967 debut, The Piper At The Gates Dawn
, the band went through a lot of personal turmoil and all of it the hand of its former leader, Syd Barrett.
Syd Barrett, the tormented genius of our time and the protagonist mentioned in the track "Brain Damage"
. Barett began to grow mentally unstable at an inconvenient time, right at start of Pink Floyd's career. Just when they were beginning to garner worldwide attention for their debut album, Syd Barrett could no longer function as the head of the band and would gradually be replaced by David Gilmour during the Saucerful Of Secrets sessions in 1968. After the departure of Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd would take a long time to develop the sound that would later define them. The band would slowly departure from the Psychedelic sound that Syd Barrett had build the band upon with every record that came. Releasing several albums before The Dark Side Of The Moon, exploring new dimensions within their music and pushing themselves to even stranger realms. Though many of these albums are often overlooked by fans and even Pink Floyd themselves.
The music of Dark Side Of The Moon is actually much more accessible than that of their previous albums. The songs are much easier to grasp due to their short lengths and have a rather traditional orchestration than the avant-garde experiments found on albums like Atom Heart Mother
. But even still, a track like "Any Colour You Like"
, an instrumental piece clocking in at a little over 3 minutes, accomplishes a much more enriching experience than the 23 minute epic of Atom Heart Mother's title track. "Any Colour You Like"
, is not as experimental as "Atom Heart Mother"
, but that doesn't make it any less artistic, and yet it's much more cohesive. The atmosphere that the instruments create is like a dream, a surreal vibration of sounds that seduce the mind and hypnotize us out of our conscious world while leaving us lost in a musical haven. I suppose this is the reason why The Dark Side Of The Moon became so popular, the music is not as complex as in their previous efforts but it accomplishes so much more. The instrumentation in Dark Side Of The Moon are otherworldly. So engenius and innovative, and without even doing much. Pink Floyd is working on a whole other level here. Whether it's the fiery rock sound in the guitar solo of "Money"
, or the more restrained, soothing atmosphere found in "Us And Them"
. The music that embodies this album are arrangements of sounds that go far beyond something to simply listen to, it's music that takes you on a journey throughout the imagination realms of your mind.
But it's not just the sounds of the instruments that makes this album such an enriching listen, but the lyrics as well. Each song is like a look into the human psychology- the greed caused by personal gain, to the fear of what is uncertain like the future, and of course, our inevitable death. In a way, Pink Floyd is getting us to look deep within ourselves, our own psychology. The message that is spoken in "Time"
, for example speaks the following;
"You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you,
no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun."
They're speaking directly to the listener and having us reflect on our own lives, have we wasted our years? Or have we made use of the days that have passed us by? Leaving us to ask ourselves, if I was to die today, did the world lose anything of actual value, or just one less mouth to feed? I myself can admit that every time I listen to this song, that delivery gets me every time. There is a strong philosophical presence within the lyrical content of this album, and it's most evident in the album's finale, "Eclipse"
. Within all of the narcissism we humans seem to bury ourselves in, putting so much importance in superficial things like physical appearance, financial and sociological success, to even spiritual pressures from organized religion, or any other personal matters- "Eclipse"
, in all of it's Nihilistic and Existential nature, reminds us how insignificant we truly are. How all of our experiences on this Earth, all of our actions and all of our thoughts that we stress ourselves over, are in the end, all meaningless. We live and we die, and when the human race is finally extinct, new life will reign over the same Earth that birthed us. It's a continuous cycle. Life, and the order of the universe, carries on with or without us. To refer back to the lyrical message of "Time"
, we must make the best with our time on Earth, and to learn to not waste it.
But perhaps the greatest vocal delivery of the album is one that doesn't have a message or lyrics at all, just simply the sound of a human voice. Clare Torry's vocals in "The Great Gig In The Sky"
, is both haunting and outstanding at the same time. Instead of singing, she turns her voice into an instrument, while performing a solo with enough passion and soul to rival any guitar arrangements ever performed by David Gilmour. I've heard that the meaning behind Clare Torry's non-lyrical delivery and use of screams is suppose to reflect the pain in the experience of death, and when the song slowly starts to calm down and her moans become much softer, it is suppose to represent the final passing from the conscious world and into the mysterious realm of afterlife. It's a very intriguing piece, and like the rest of the album, a sophisticated work of art. The music that comprises The Dark Side Of The Moon are compositions that simply describing by mere words do them no justice. It's an album that must be heard by any admirer of not just Progressive rock, but music in general. Now as to whether this is Pink Floyd's greatest work- that's all a matter of opinion, though it certainly is among their finest.