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Breathe, Breathe in the air”, Pink Floyd’s guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour quietly asks us on The Dark Side Of The Moon’s opening track, Breathe before we are launched into one of rock music’s true masterpieces. The bands first “concept album” deals with the pressures and hardships of everyday life which eventually lead to madness, while covering themes such as time, travel, money, war and death along the way. In essence, it is a metaphor for life, which any listener will relate to. Bassist and band leader Roger Waters’ beautifully crafted lyrics are just one of the numerous reasons behind The Dark Side’s success.
“ Ticking away, The moments that make up the dull day, You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way, Kicking around on a piece of ground in your hometown, Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.”
Another reason the album was and still is a success is it’s state of the art engineering/ producing by Allan Parsons, who would later form “The Allan Parsons Project.” Parsons was largely responsible for the sound effects heard throughout the album. Tracks such as Time, in which you hear a series of ticking clocks and alarms in the build up to the song and on Money when the song is introduced by a series of chiming cash registers are all evidence of Parson’s craftwork. A further element incorporated into the album that is almost bizarre is the inclusion of seemingly random bits of dialogue that add a human element to the album. "There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it's all dark," says Abbey Road doorman Jerry Driscoll over the albums final track Eclipse. These studio techniques, although dated, heavily influenced progressive rockers such as Rush and Yes.
Then of course there is the musicians themselves. Waters, Gilmour, Rick Wright (keyboardist, vocals) and Nick mason (per-cussionist) all shine, showing cohesion and skill across the entire album that begins with the two-part song Speak To Me/Breath. While merely mood setters for the album they do their job. We are then literally taken On The Run, a song relating to travel, that although not appealing to the ear is revolutionary due to the use of the synthesiser. Time is one of two epic tracks on the album, starting with the ticking of clocks and gradually working into a masterful piece of music. Lyrically this is Waters at his best as he appeals to the importance of time in everyone’s life and how it can just slip us by Gilmour also shows the world that he can play guitar with an eye-opening solo in the middle of the track. Following a brief reprisal of Breathe we are forced to face death, with a beautiful piece by Wright on The Great Gig In The Sky, that includes one of the finest vocal performances in rock history by session singer Clair Torrey. She wails to the heavens as if in pain then all ceases. Before long Money is thrown in our faces with Waters again displaying his lyrical talent. “Money it's a crime, Share it fairly but don't take a slice of my pie.” Money was Dark Side’s most successful single, with it’s catchy bass riff and odd timing. The theme of war is next considered on the albums second epic, Us And Them. A beautifully crafted piece, it is easily the most dramatic song on the album, helped by Wright’s and Mason’s deft touches. Any Colour You Like is a strange instrumental, rhetorical in ways that is asking the listener to take the song on board “anyway they like.” The Dark Side of The Moon concludes in spectacular fashion with the two parts of Brain Damage and Eclipse. Brain Damage is a wonderfully witty song with Waters putting the listener inside the head of a lunatic. “There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me,” he says, before the track leads is into Eclipse, a summary of ever day life. The album then finishes how it starts, the last thing you hear being the sound of a heart beat. After listening to The Dark Side of The Moon you realise that your not being told anything you don’t already know. The album is essentially life being thrown at us in the most incredible way possible. If you do not own this masterpiece proceed to nearest CD store and purchase it immediately.