Pink Floyd
The Dark Side of the Moon


2.5
average

Review

by John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF
July 21st, 2006 | 189 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist


There are a few things in life that I absolutely love. Two of those that rank rather highly on my list are sleep and music. Sleep is really an incredible feeling. You've just worked for hours on end, doing whatever it is you do; yardwork, cutting steel, staring at a computer all day, working customer service, nearly any job will tire you out after 9 straight hours of doing it. You come home, take care of a few things, and fall into blissful sleep. In addition, not only do you get revitalized for the next day, you also get to slip into that wonderful world of dreams. Dreams, ah, if only they were real (at times), eh?

Then theres music. If you post on this site and don't have a love of music, you�re a rare breed. The love for music is almost universal, even outside of this site. There are an incredibly small number of individuals who find music to be un-enjoyable in all its forms; in truth, I daresay it would be impossible to find someone who dislikes all forms of music, whether it be pop, hip hop, classical compositions, metal, hardcore, or hell, even video game soundtracks. Listening to music is often a sublime experience similar to sleeping; if you like the band or song you're listening to enough, you can slip into an almost trance-like state.

However, if there's one thing I do not like, it would be the mixing of sleeping and music. Personally, when I sleep, I like things to be perfectly tranquil, with as little sound as possible, so that I may stir in my thoughts for a moment or two before I drift off into neverwhere. When I listen to music, I want to be fully aware of what I am hearing; it's just a waste to have it playing when you can't appreciate it at all. What's even worse than this is when an album is so mind numbingly boring, it makes me want to fall asleep. Thankfully, few albums do this to any extreme extent, and I have yet to actually fall asleep due to an album. One of these albums that has come the closest to accomplishing that goal, however, is Pink Floyd's supposed magnum-opus, Dark Side of the Moon.

I'm not over-exaggerating in any sense when I say that if you were to conduct a poll of every person in the worlds favorite album, Dark Side of the Moon would be very near the top. IT arguably changed the face of music forever; a flowing 'masterpiece' that stunned both critics and audiences alike with its scope and supposed majesty. Nothing like this had been seen before; a rock album that wanted to be jazz, but still knew that it was a rock album at heart. It's debatable that this has had more direct influence on the progressive genre than King Crimson's In The Court Of The Crimson King, despite the latter being the true birth of the genre.

It's quite unfortunate, then, that after over 30 years since its release, Dark Side of the Moon shows its age in spades. For all of the credit its due as an influential record, you must also take into account the numerous records spawned from its influence that are just better than it. The genres of psychedelic and symphonic prog have both been filled to the brim with excellent albums, many of which easily trump this. This leaves the album as something of a historical footnote, and its probably better left as such.

It's not as if the band itself is below par in any fashion. Well, at least the members of note. David Gilmour and Roger Waters are often referred to when determining a list of 'greatest musicians' for either of their instruments (electric guitar and bass guitar, respectively). Both would show marked improvement on later works, and thus, not surprisingly, both are generally not in the forefront for the album. However, it's a given that Waters must be specifically mentioned for his bassline to Money. While the song really shouldn't be enjoyable (that obnoxious opening cash register is horrific), he lays down one of the most recognizable basslines in history, and its undoubtedly one of the best of his career. Money itself is also the only wholly enjoyable song on the album; the jazz break featured here doesn't last too long, and just accentuates the mix of psychedelic rock and symphonic prog that Pink Floyd otherwise display.

In complete contrast, Speak to Me (Breathe/On the Run highlights what I find to be wrong with the album. Much of the first part is just general sound manipulation and a very light solo by Gilmour. None of this is quite enjoyable, though, as its just so mellow, it never really just catches your ears, and instead essentially asks you to get enthralled with it. When the vocals kick in, all hope of being caught by the music diminishes, as they�re just the perfect vocal embodiment of the music; boring, soft, and non-engaging. When the song transitions into On the Run, the albums true weakness is apparent. Admittedly, it is just a short synth and sound driven track, but it can easily sum up much of the rest of the album. It tries to build up to something that will never come, essentially giving the listened audio blue-balls.

Getting back to the vocals, however, they are truly mind-numbingly bad. You can't expect much from a band who lost its main vocalist and opted out of replacing him; but we would later see that Gilmour actually has a powerful voice. Where was that here? Completely untrained and generally boring. What should be a highlight of the album, the choir-like female vocals, ends up becoming incredibly annoying. When they first appear on The Great Gig in the Sky, it's a welcome addition to the album. However, in as relatively short a time as that track takes to run, the female vocals also run out of steam. It's unfortunate that they are once again brought to the forefront as a recurring theme for the second half of the album, but that will be explained later.

The one true highlight of the album is Gilmour's soloing. Even at this point, he held a certain playing style that, while minimal, still allowed him to run free when he wanted to. Time shows him at his best, with one of the most sweeping solos of his career. Its all too short, however, as the horrific vocals come in to ruin any feeling you had started to get.

Rather large highlight paragraph, to be sure. Well, why not discuss the faux-jazz qualities Floyd decided to implement here? While the first half has its moments of jazz breaks and jams, the second half is almost entirely comprised of one. Yes, the final four tracks are essentially one flowing track, and credit must be given, as Floyd were one of the first to accomplish such a feat in rock. However, at the time, they had not yet mastered how they would apply their jazz influences and/or parts, so the second half comes off as overwrought and self indulgent.

I am not a fan of jazz in any sense of the word. I can occasionally listen to the more accessible stuff, but as a general rule of thumb, my mind starts to wander. Pink Floyd have created a rather generic blend of jazz and rock for this album, one that instead of being truly exciting or ear catching, instead opts to be flowing. So, it's slow jazz, if you will. It also means slow bodily functions for me as I slowly fall asleep. There are occasional moments of sax brilliance, but in general, its so far deep in the pretentiousness that (as of yet) Pink Floyd couldn't support, it really matters not, and the second half becomes an organized mess of good to dumb ideas held together by the generally dreary feel that Pink Floyd would keep throughout the rest of their careers.

Dark Side of the Moon, then, is a masterpiece in the making you could say. Floyd had the right general concept, and in addition, had many good specific ideas as well. It's just generally not executed nearly as well as it should have been. The mixture they achieve in the first half is very solid and a great blueprint for things to come. The second half, unfortunately, was just a garbled mess of good ideas, and drags the album down in its closing moments to the point of dreadful boredom. Some may have seen it as genius at the time, and many still do; I find it to be pretentious tripe that would be markedly improved upon in spades by its follow up, Wish You Were Here.

Finally, the ultimate judgment is that Dark Side of the Moon is a must-listen album. Why? Because it holds the potential to be mind-blowing to anyone who listens to it, of course. I cannot take that away from the album. What I can say is, however, a good amount of people would just find this to be a tedious romp through a few already tedious genres, that ultimately amounts to nothing groundbreaking. It's original while being unoriginal, arguably classic while being nothing truly special in the grand scheme of things. As compared to the most self-indulgent works of the two most apparent progressive peers (Lizard by King Crimson, and Tales From Topographic Oceans by Yes), it's easily the weakest and the one without the grandest scope. In the end, I give this an average score; for while I find it to be a generally poor album at this time, there is no denying the impact it had in its heyday in popularizing progressive rock. It's just completely and totally wearisome.

However, if you absolutely must have an album to listen to while you sleep, I can recommend no better rock album than Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.



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user ratings (5537)
Chart.
4.6
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lawl I wanted to post this under my alt account because its gonna get negged to hell because A) look at the score and B) it isnt the best review and c)ppl luv pink floyd but meh whatever my approval rating got shot anyways.

Cygnus Inter Anates
July 21st 2006


721 Comments


You simultaneously win and lose with this review.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah. I had to reqrite the last thousand words three times, so this is the third draft of the review. The second was my favorite, but power outages suck.

Cygnus Inter Anates
July 21st 2006


721 Comments


God must've disliked your review.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

God hearts Dark Side of the Moon I guess.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Good review, I agree completely.

Zebra
Moderator
July 21st 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

[quote=review]I am not a fan of jazz in any sense of the word. I can occasionally listen to the more accessible stuff, but as a general rule of thumb, my mind starts to wander. Pink Floyd have created a rather generic blend of jazz and rock for this album, one that instead of being truly exciting or ear catching, instead opts to be flowing. So, its slow jazz, if you will. It also means slow bodily functions for me as I slowly fall asleep. There are occasional moments of sax brilliance, but in general, its so far deep in the pretentiousness that (as of yet) Pink Floyd couldnt support, it really matters not, and the second half becomes an organized mess of good to dumb ideas held together by the generally dreary feel that Pink Floyd would keep throughout the rest of their careers.[/quote]

This is interesting but you failed to say why you didn't like the second half. You basically said that its boring "slow jazz" yet you failed to back up your opinions.

With the exception of Us and Them I can't find many jazz influences in the second half. Sure, Any Colour You Like has a little bit of jazz in it, but the last two tracks don't even come close to being jazzy.

You did a good job analyzing the first half of the album, but never even mentioned a song in the second half. This Message Edited On 07.21.06

Patrick
July 21st 2006


1891 Comments


you obviously don't like pink floyd or are just overly critical. since this is iluvatar i choose choice A.

Rocksta71
July 21st 2006


1023 Comments


This is not Pink Floyds best release, wish you were hear is better. Im glad to see someone else is giving king crimson some credit. I got a little frustrated with the begining of your review, but overall you got your point across efectively.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Zebra, the whole point was that the second half is so incredibly boring, I can't sit through it. Thats criticism enough when it comes down to it.
pteck, I like the following 3 releases by them just fine. I think I even gave the Wall a 5. this album is just zzzz.
King Crimson :cool:

Zebra
Moderator
July 21st 2006


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

[quote=Iluvatar]Zebra, the whole point was that the second half is so incredibly boring, I can't sit through it. Thats criticism enough when it comes down to it.[/quote] If you think the second half is boring then that's fine, but you should at least state why you think it's boring. Plus you said that it was basically "slow-jazz" which is one of the most off the wall statements I've ever read on the site.

Cygnus Inter Anates
July 21st 2006


721 Comments


That's a bit of a hyperbole on your part, Zebra.

I agree though, Ilu should back it up a little better.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I DID THE FIRST TWO TIMES BUT GOD WAS WORKING AGAINST ME
argh I hate not saving my shit periodically. Whatever, when I don't feel so apathetic towards pink floyd after effectively writing 3500 words about this album, I'll touch it up.

slack
July 21st 2006


249 Comments


Average doesn't stay on the charts for roughly 25 years.

Cygnus Inter Anates
July 21st 2006


721 Comments


That really has nothing to do with the music.


Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Reading my review does though.

Honeymoon_Croon
July 21st 2006


297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, though I enjoy this album a lot more than you do. I actually am a fan of jazz, ftw. It just seems that it's not AS jazz-influenced as you lead the reader to believe. I always thought that The Great Gig In The Sky was a great song. Maybe I like them more because it's easier to meditate to than most prog bands. Meh. You still get a vote for 1.balls and 2. It wasn't a terrible review.This Message Edited On 07.21.06

John Paul Harrison
July 21st 2006


1014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes, the final four tracks are essentially one flowing track, and credit must be given, as Floyd were one of the first to accomplish such a feat in rock.


...the second side of Abbey Road?

Ah, but alas. Quite an audacious review. I don't agree with the rating, but this is one of the more interesting reads I've seen lately, Mr. Iluvatar. Indeed.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

There are only three flowing songs on Abbey road, and they're only maybe 4 or 5 minutes total in length. At least if thats what I remember correctly, I havent listened to Abbey Road in a while.
My favorite quote so far of the thread was "It wasn't a terrible review." kthxbai

slack
July 21st 2006


249 Comments


According to this guy Coheed and Cambria's latest is a classic, but not this. So much for objectivity.

This review makes as much sense as a fan of easy listening reviewing a black metal album.

Yes, it's well written, but anyone can top shi[font="verdana"]t[/font] with cream.



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