Review Summary: Home, home again.
As a wide-eyed, curious young boy, I was ravenous, devouring all music that I happened to cross paths with. I was infatuated with "best of" lists, and loved almost every album that had garnered a spot on these prestigious lists. For hours I would sit in my bedroom and drift away to bands like Radiohead, The Beatles, Arcade Fire, and Metallica. I had fallen in love with music, and it occupied much of my time. But I wasn't alway as obsessed with music as I am now and as I was when i was a teenager. When I was about nine or ten, my music taste was what my father blared through his speakers, which consisted of mostly new alternative rock. However, curious as I was, I wanted something more, and I had already known the behemoth legacy of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon
. So I decided to play the album to see what all of the fuss was about. I first heard it in the form of my father's extremely worn vinyl record, and from first glance I could clearly see he must have played it over and over again. Thus began my infatuation with music of all types. Dark Side Of The Moon
Was the first record I heard to strike me in a significant way--and boy, did it strike me. Maybe it was the simple beginning of a heartbeat on the first track, "Speak To Me," or the extended intro to "Time," or perhaps the jazzy bassline of "Money"--but somewhere in the crevices of the album, my mind was opened.
Aside from the nostalgic value this record has for me, it still blows me away every time I hear it. Every note still sounds crisp and perfect on my dad's vinyl, despite being played about one hundred times. Nearly every second of the album is perfectly orchestrated, whether it be on the lengthy, stormy, odd "Us And Them," the depressing hard rock classic "Time," or the jazz-tinged 7/8 saxophone workout "Money." The only moment of the album that really falters under the gargantuan sound of the other tracks is the boring "On The Run," a largely uninteresting song that consists mainly of a swirling synth riff. But besides "On The Run" the album flows beautifully, better than any other album. Each track melts into the next, and one of the most interesting techniques Pink Floyd uses on this album is a reprise of "Breathe," serving as the outro to "Time." This is done very tactfully, and doesn't feel at all like they are being lazy, as the effect of reprises often feel. Another fantastic, original idea to sprout out of the minds of Pink Floyd is the wordless vocals of "The Great Gig In The Sky." The very talented Clare Torry's improvised wails don't sound at all out of place, rather a wonderful addition to the album.
But the track leading to "The Great Gig In The Sky" is perhaps the greatest on the album, and one of the greatest of the 1970's. Not only does it have its clear, cautionary message about wasting time, but its very original intro is completely worthwhile. It also showcases the technical proficiency of the band, another one of their many talents. The songwriting is clearly top-notch, also demonstrated with perhaps the most famous bass riff ever on "Money," and the common time saxophone breakdown.
Pink Floyd toy with a number of different styles throughout the album--rock, jazz, funk, instrumental, and even the beginnings of electronic. Their most successful foray into straightforward rock is the second to last song, "Brain Damage." It's one of the simpler, easier to digest songs, but it's the absolute perfect lead-in to the magnificent two-minute closer, "Eclipse." All of the tension built up is released in a minute and twenty seconds, as the album then ends where it began--a simple heartbeat. This completes the cycle of songs, once again showing this is an album to be experienced and not listened to, an album to be dissected and pondered, an album to be immersed in.
Perhaps my love for the album blossomed simply because I hadn't heard anything remotely similar to it up until my first listen, but whatever the reason, Dark Side Of The Moon
changed my life. One of the most overlooked yet important things about this album is how brilliantly each song seamlessly drifts into the next like a long, fluid dream. This is Pink Floyd's masterpiece, showcasing all of the elements that make them a brilliant band--experimental-tinged progressive rock, laces with amazing guitar work, amongst other instruments. It's almost impossible to imagine a more perfect album than this one, except maybe if they had omitted what seems to be the only filler track, "On The Run." Other than that, Pink Floyd has created perhaps the greatest album of the last forty years. This album opened my ears, opened my eyes, and opened my mind. If there was one life-changing album for me, this would be it.
Overall Rating: 5