Review Summary: If you're new to Floyd, and the record store is out of copies of Dark Side or The Wall, let this album be your Plan B.
Every band has an album that everyone considers a magnum opus- in Floyd's case, it's either Dark Side of the Moon
or The Wall
. But the trouble with Floyd is that they have such a large an comprehensive body of work. So it's really a shame that people often choose their Floyd collection to those two albums, as awesome as Roger Waters' ongoing solo tour celebrating the latter really is. And if any album deserves to be held in as high regard as those two albums, it's Animals
. It's an album that sadly doesn't get much mention from anyone but die-hard Floydians nowadays, and even tribute concerts seem to leave them in the dust.
follows a similar path that the previous album, Wish You Were Here
did- a little more upbeat musically, but very similar lyrically. The lyrics continue to attack organized systems, this time the focus is religion, politics and business. The first and last tracks ("Pigs on the Wing" in seperate parts) are more or less love songs, but nevertheless provide sweet bookends for the tracks in between. There's still the experimental/progressive/jazzy interludes that can be expected on a Floyd album, and when this album is experimental, it's really experimental. Most of the songs are over ten minutes, with only the first and last tracks being really short.
"Dogs" focuses on the world of finance and business, and the people who dare to work in such a field, allowing themselves to become victim to a form of sociopathy that is one of the "perks" of such a career. The song, like the other songs on the album, isn't very subtle in its attack (then again, if any subtlety was involved, it wouldnt be very Pink Floyd) and is downright blunt, in typical Floyd fashion: "And in the end you'll pack up and fly down south/Hide your head in the sand/Just another sad old man/All alone and dying of cancer.
". Interestingly, it's the most subtle attack on the album, because following is two Waters-penned tracks: "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" and "Sheep". The former has a beat and lyrics very similar to "Time", and Waters' nasal anger-singing couldn't be more fitting for the lyrics- attacking Mary Whitehouse, the politician that attempted to keep sexual content off of TV. Waters felt that Whitehouse had no business telling people what they can and can't watch, and such is highlight in lyrics calling her a "***ed up old hag", and accusing her of being "good fun with a handgun". Lastly, "Sheep" is a criticism of religion, and how people blindly follow it ("Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air.
"). The song labels the devout Christians as "sheep" and how Christianity leads them like lambs to the slaughter. In the middle of the song, there's a robotic voice that recites a parody of Psalm 23, which is not ony funny in a creepy sort of way, but also effectively reflects this theme and also exemplifies how Christianity can reduce people to "robots".
, at 5 tracks and 41 minutes, stands as Pink Floyd's finest moment; an album that keeps Pink Floyd moving in the same direction that made them a namesake, and simultaneously waves goodbye to said direction. Everything on this album stands in perfect shape- lyrics, music and production, all tight as ever, and is one hell of a way to lead into the band's more theatrical direction that they'd take on The Wall
. And so if you find yourself hoping to get into Floyd, and your record store is out of copies of The Wall
and Dark Side
, don't pass up Animals
, an album that deserves more recognition and stands as a defining moment in their career.