Everytime a worldwide sensation announces a new album release, what does the world do? They scream, cry, cheer, prepare, download leaks...as of modern day, anyway. When Pink Floyd were still together there was no way to hear something pre-release for the simple lack of computers. If you were lucky enough to have befriended the actual band members, or if you were Syd Barrett and supposedly walked in on the rehearsel of arguably one of the most famous songs on the planet, 'Wish You Were Here', you were left empty-handed until the day came. Why do people listen to a leak of their future desire instead of contributing to further progress courtesy of the band themselves? Because they want to hear it first and buy later. This is if they even feel so after hearing the album. I know I would. Try before you buy; which is what I should have done with this record. Pink Floyd's hailed masterpiece of a dedication consists of a brief tracklisting all containing rightfully lengthy songs worthy of the PF standard. As formidable as these tracks may seem to a passing ear, in full, the songs do not deliver that signature Pink Floyd sound. You know the one; your sitting in front of a stereo and a cluttered ashtray at midnight and so begins playing 'Comfortably Numb', or 'Hey You'. Yes, both hits from their conceptual opus The Wall.
There is only one song from this album worthy of delivering that signature feel at that time of night, at that same level of relaxation. That very song would be its title track. If it were not for Wish You Were Here's
most popular, I doubt this would have been very popular at all. Not that thats a bad thing, the various overlooked PF albums usually are excellently surprising. But this one was a mainstream wall-liner, one that everyone knew. Perhaps its message was taken the wrong way? Doubtful. Maybe it's masterpiece was overplayed. Possible. But when it comes down to it I know that the music that this album gives us is the real predicament. Syd Barrett should be turning over in his grave, realizing what his former band mates have given him to ride out on.
Ride out on the minds of modern-day Floyd fans, mostly. The majority of you have taken it upon yourselves to educate your brains on the works of Syd Barrett. Does this represent his efforts at all? Well, forget the glance you spare the albums he played on and let's take an in depth look.
Syd was a fun-minded, music embracing individual.
Wish You Were Here
may be masterfully crafted, but it does not replicate that of Barrett's past. A proper dedication should result in something the subject would deeply enjoy, and accept as his or her own work. Like a tribute. I'm sure an album like this would never have been made if Syd would never have left. It is doubtful that the band would have ever evolved past 'Jugband Blues'. A ballad of sorts, when speaking from the acid induced haze that enveloped Syd Barrett's world. A pleasent escape from 'The Gnome' and 'Bike'. Wish You Were Here
is nothing of the sort, and proves ultimately to be a very boring, outlandish piece of epic proportion. A song such as Shine On You Crazy Diamond
clocks in with enough time to pass almost an entire class as you sleep through the scientific lecture. Let's not forget Have A Cigar,
you'll need a jumpy failed blues attempt to perk you up enough to pack your bags and actually leave your oh so comfortable desk. These two songs (all but the first part of 'Shine On') bring to the table a flat attitude and a so un-generic experiment that it implodes and records the ashes falling to the ground. You don't like watching grass grow, I assume? Well, the progress on the longest from the album doesn't stray from such standards. Perhaps engaging in a friendly race with a snail and a turtle would prove to be more exciting. Or maybe hiking across a fourteen mile plain? I think you get the point. This album is boring.
So was some of Syd's work, which was derived for drug use mostly.
This was not recorded for the sole use of drugs. Or any at all, to confirm it properly. Syd may have intended this in...98 percent of his songs, but in Roger Water's singing days that was never a theme. And certainly not on such an album, one that was made in remembrance of a person who had several problems with drugs. These songs were designed (if they had a blueprint other than the subject himself) for long live shows, with the audience sitting, staring, ready to take in whatever was thrown at them for the next twenty-seven minutes. Maybe on a bit of a cloud, but no - for many modern PF fans did not indulge in such activities. There is no cheap excuse as such for this side of the album.
Syd Barrett was a revolutionary.
And WYWH is not. Drawing influence on any work of a progressive band at that time and much of their past work, Pink Floyd recorded an album displaying the definition of progressive rock. Long, powerful songs, with both a sleepy side and a prowling distinction to it. Think King Crimson with alot less of the 'bum, bum bum-bum' drum beat and the wide showcase of instruments. So that leaves what? The background music. The stuff that needs to be there but that nobody notices unless they concentrate on it. You know you don't, its there, but not at the same time. Who wants to listen to a spine the whole time? Spines are meant to place a host for branches off into the rest of the world (or body). Wish You Were Here
is a man without limbs. The band concentrates on Syd's basic memory and did not elaborate the entire span of his life. The man led an interesting one, at that. WYWH should have been a dedication storybook, in memory of the lingering spirit of a challenged musician who was both alive and dead at once. Now that
would have been revolutionary.
If its no revolution, then what could have made it so? And what to expect when discovering this lack of depth when listening to Wish You Were Here?
Pink Floyd still employs what belongs, and makes WYWH out to be an easy fit under the category of the band. If I could I'd like to relate PF to the modern day alternative group Radiohead
. If you listen to Radiohead, you know that the band do not incorperate a signature on their contract and make very loose winded 'anything' music. Any one of their albums could be used to fortify that comparison...bring two together and try to add it up. You get an undefined number, imaginary and all. Now Radiohead liked Pink Floyd. They based their music around alot of PF's, and ultimately became a present form of the band. Something to continue where Floyd left off. A very experimental group that appealed classic progressive to music fans as of now.
According to many RH ballads the band took after this album, alot. Especially in their spacey atmosphere that was Kid A.
How can modern music relate to WYWH? How is it not a revolution and Radiohead is?
Shine On You Crazy Diamond
Out of body experiences can be both deathly frightening and immensly intriguing. Not at once, though; they take either detail based on the subjects current mood and expecations for such a condition. Thom Yorke experiences an OBE and writes an album for it. Maybe not lyrically, but emotionally, Kid A
explains the experience delightfully. The songs on the album employ a dreamy, nonchalant feel and tell the listener that its impossible to predict what will happen. Never knowing if the song will take a drastic turn and blast your ears with an electric growl, or continue on down the river silently and calmly.
That is what 'Shine On' misses, and what it defenitely could have used. You can tell the song will never come off its relaxing mood and dark-stage setting. Syd Barrett's life was not likely, and the song in memory of his own should have represented it. Unlike Kid A,
'Shine' forces you into an aware state of mind with both awake and asleep sides to you. Not an OBE. 'Shine On' is more of just a playing song, something you can hear on the radio for a few seconds or less and pass on. There isn't enough progression in the song at any point to render it an interesting car-ride, so who would stop for such a track? 'Kid A' would shift from your car stereo to the back of the seat, then into your ears. It would cause your conciousness to take a blow and fall onto the waterbed behind you. It will keep you awake enough to keep an eye on your driving (or actions), and still let your spirits down to rest. 'Shine On' can't be remembered or listened to as easily.
Have A Cigar
Beginning with a calm crescendoing Thom, and an eerie display from Jonny '2+2=5' begins and ends as if it travels from one side of a hill to the other. From the dark side of the moon to the light. Both of these songs cloud your reassurence with questionable but at the back of your mind, sure
judgement. But '2+2=5' undeniably does it much better. With an un-organized build-up and an explosion of sound to end the track, it increases the adrenaline rush tenfold you experience when listening to your typical engaging rock.
Pink Floyd's earlier take on this kind of music sounds like a flailing attempt at a Syd Barrett original. Something the mastermind himself would write, record and play, turns into a mutant of sorts and brings to life a failed experiment designed to play what Barrett would have played. The lyrics certainly pertian to his endavours, but the music conveys an attitude that was more funk than blues and strayed from Barrett's initial plans for Pink Floyd. Put yourself in Syd's shoes for a moment: your band breaks you off the chain that you formed, and tells you that you suffer from mental problems and drug addiction. You'd go through relapse from music while making what seems like it, and gaining little to no acclaim and eventually your band realizes their falter and forms a sort of 'thank-you' note to be delivered with the message that congratulates you for getting the band to the fame they enjoy at that point in time. Much the same is the musical presentation in 'Welcome To The Machine', still none as special as 'Cigar'. Just a dragging, guitar flicking, voice echoing drawl. So a dedication album is recorded in your honor, you, your
honor. Does it sound like you? No. Does it feel like you? No.
It does seem very heart-filled, though, with one of the greatest Pink Floyd tracks ever recorded.
Wish You Were Here
Fake Plastic Trees
Radiohead are without a doubt one of the many
products of the spheres of influence drawn out amongst modern rock music by the classic, and dreamy feel of progressive. 'Fake Plastic Trees' is the definitive piece that represents this influence. Radiohead forged Pink Floyd's signature in a different color ink. It was not a copy of carbon paper, but rather a child of the song Wish You Were Here.
The different color ink, same chromosomes and genes. DNA becomes a big theme when comparing two such recordings, and FPT copies it. Almost a tribute to a tribute, 'Fake Plastic Trees' uses up all the fuel initiated by WYWH:
Relaxing the listener; dreamy state
Conveying a powerful message in an 'all okay' attitude
Making it impossible for the listener to predict the soon coming
'Fake Plastic Trees' eventually triggers a more electric sound, whilst 'Wish You Were Here' keeps its original ring.
Syd Barrett can't say no to accepting such a meaningful performance. But in the back of his mind he can deny its effect, power, effort and general well-rounded sound. Which does not exist. A wide gap exists between the various sounds of this album, the three main, which do not mesh as well as imagined. They eventually become boring, overdone and entirely unnecessary. The band would likely have benefited greater from dedicating a single song from a future album (replace a specific tune with 'Wish You Were Here'). This is because as a full blown listen, Wish You Were Here
as an album falls short of the progressive standard and morphs into such a mainstream cautiousness too dreamy for its own good. Its like a fantasy gone wrong. Pink Floyd may not have been too involved with Syd Barrett's memory as they should have been, instead implying a distinct sound that represents something a band would keep on the down-low and incorperate a reknowned approach that everybody would enjoy. Not just their fellow member. If you will be so generous as to try and dedicate such a lengthy piece to a human-being of such effect on yourself you need to imply a reminding innuendo of that person. It needs to pertain to their effect on you. What would a Syd Barrett 'Greatest Hits' look like? Many assorted tracks with their own trippy sound on one record. Wish You Were Here
triggers various effects at once and cause a large overdose of the musical type. Too many notes on one piece of paper. It could have been short and sweet, and instead was epic and drawn-out...boring, uneventful and long.
The album was dedicated to former frontman Syd Barrett
Bass/Vocals: Roger Waters
Guitars/Vocals: David Gilmour
Keys/Vocals: Richard Wright
Drums: Nick Mason