Category: Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason

ARTIST: Pink Floyd 

TITLE: A Momentary Lapse of Reason

YEAR RELEASED: 1987

CHART ACTION:  #3 US, #3 UK

SINGLES: Learning to Fly (#70 US, #1 Mainstream), On the Turning Away (#81 US, #1 Mainstream, #55 UK), One Slip (#5 Mainstream, #50 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nah,

LINEUP: Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason. Richard Wright played some. There were lots of people helping like Bob Ezrin, Tony Levin, Jim Keltner, Bill Payne, Carmine Appice and others.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Roger Waters left the band, and amidst lawsuits and whatnot, David Gilmour and Nick Mason decide to be Pink Floyd again.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: You know, there was as much hype about this album as there was for The Final Cut, and for the most part people weren’t disappointed or sad about the result.

David Gilmour turned a third solo album into a Pink Floyd album by bringing along Nick Mason – somewhat to assuage the CBS suits and somewhat to stick a finger in Roger Waters’ eye. And the reconstituted group does…OK.

Gilmour’s guitar playing is exceptional, and some of the musical ideas catch your ear. Gilmour’s voice isn’t the same as it was in the 70’s. It’s a litter gruffer and tired, which could be expected.

But it’s not essential when all is said and done. There are nice moments like “Learning to Fly” and some that make you scratch your head as they’re heavy handed or meandering or <<shudder>> lapsing into Adult Contemporary land.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Rick Wright’s wife asked Gilmour if he could record some tracks, and he said, “Sure”.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Nah

 GRADE B-: That grade is for Gilmour’s guitar work, really.

Pink Floyd – The Final Cut

ARTIST: Pink Floyd

TITLE: The Final Cut (A Requiem for a Post War Dream by Roger Waters)

YEAR RELEASED: 1983

CHART ACTION:  #6 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Not Now John (#7 US Mainstream, #30 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Doubtful unless you just play Pink Floyd on repeat.

LINEUP: Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters. Michael Kamen and Andy Bown played most of the keyboards. Others were here and there.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Falkland Island War inspires Waters to re-visit his father’s death and war in general.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This is the Roger Waters Experience, for the most part. Taking some leftover songs from The Wall (yes, there were leftovers), enhancing the story, and then turning to the current (then) state of the world, Waters leads a stripped down Pink Floyd (really Gilmour with Mason on the record here and there) into the depths of melancholy.

This was highly anticipated, and for most people, it was a deeply depressing disappointment. Yes, there are some interesting musical ideas, but Waters arrangements and production re-treads most of the old Pink Floyd tricks of echo and sound effects.

It’s just…too much.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Gilmour really didn’t like the themes of this record and really didn’t want the leftover songs to be used. But he really didn’t have a lot of ideas, he admitted later.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, in a sense. “When the Tigers Broke Free” (#39 UK) was a single that was part of The Wall movie soundtrack, and it was added into the record as track four in the 2000’s.

GRADE C: I really can’t take this unrelenting bleakness. EXILED all but “Not Now John”

Pink Floyd – The Wall

ARTIST: Pink Floyd   

TITLE: The Wall

YEAR RELEASED: 1979

CHART ACTION:  #1 US, #3 UK

SINGLES: Another Brick in the Wall (Pt. 2) (#1 US, #1 UK), Run Like Hell (#53 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably all of them, in order.

LINEUP: Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright (though he’s not credited). They had a boatload of help, from Toni Tennille, to Bruce Johnson, to Jeff Porcaro, to Bob Ezrin, etc.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: One of the most famous rock operas of all time, both brilliant, and pretentious.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Roger Waters’ story of a rock star with abandonment issues and subsequent mental breakdown has been a double album, a concert extravaganza, a major motion picture, and a stage show. It’s a brilliant conceit, and in the right mood, a work that demands attention.

It’s also overlong, and some of the tracks don’t hold up that well in retrospect. Some tracks could use an editor for sure. Not to say it would work as a single album, but this is so densely packed (in fact they had to trim a couple of tracks to make it fit on a double LP) that the songs don’t breathe.

The highlights have David Gilmour’s hand all over the songs, whether he’s co-writer or not. And Richard Wright, maligned for his work and lack of creative input (and then fired), adds some nice keyboard touches and atmospheres. But Waters has stretched himself by being the lead vocalist on most of the songs (Gilmour and Wright have much better voices, to be honest) and he doesn’t come across as sympathetic in some of the tracks, thanks to his natural sneer in his voice.

All-in-all, it’s about mid-pack for me in the Pink Floyd pantheon, and an album I don’t put on that much anymore to be frank.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: There are so many stories about this album that one blurb won’t do justice. Suffice to say there are chapters of books about it.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

 GRADE B+: Some of this doesn’t work that well, and some tracks are problematic. Yet the highlights are definitely part of the rock pantheon.

Pink Floyd – Animals

ARTIST: Pink Floyd                 
TITLE: Animals
YEAR RELEASED: 1977
CHART ACTION: #3 US, #2 UK
SINGLES: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not many people know this one, really, since it’s basically three LONG songs.
LINEUP: Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright..
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: An ALLEGORY, just like George Orwell’s Animal Farm!

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Dogs, pigs, and sheep. Roger Waters has some thoughts about the human race, and they involve those animals and how people are just like them (well, everyone is one of them).

Yes, it’s an allegory! And before you think that Waters was totally ripping off Orwell, the criticism was over capitalism this time, and not Stalinism. The same capitalism that gave Waters, et. al. boatloads of money (and lost them boatloads too due to bad investments).

Now, before you roll your eyes, the music this time is more energetic and urgent than Wish You Were Here, and adds some heft to the proceedings. And while this is Waters’ baby, (only Gilmour has a co-writing credit, and just one), the band seems a bit more into it. Even though it’s just three long songs (and two little tidbits bookending the allegory), it’s not as ponderous.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: David Gilmour again complained about Waters splitting up a song, but this time it was suspected that “Pigs on the Wing” was split in two for royalties and not for artistic purposes. Some anti-capitalist.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE A-: They’ve got some energy that keeps the allegory from overwhelming the music.

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

ARTIST: Pink Floyd

TITLE: Wish You Were Here   

YEAR RELEASED: 1975

CHART ACTION:  #1 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Have a Cigar

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The title track, Shine On You Crazy Diamond

LINEUP: Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright. Dick Parry played sax. Roy Harper sang Have a Cigar. Venatta Fields and Carlena Williams added vocals.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A meditation on the loss of a friend and the music industry, which are intertwined.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Many love this album, even more than other Pink Floyd records. The playing is still impeccable, the sound engineering is top notch, and the concept one that can resonate (at least the concept about the lost friend – Syd Barrett).

Yet, to me, this is when Pink Floyd gets ponderous. Roger Waters starts exerting his influence over the group, being more of the first among equals instead of a collaborator. He shot down the idea of keeping “Shine On Your Crazy Diamond” as a whole piece, and while Rick Wright received some writing credit, his creative input was lessened.

The one track that really gets me going is “Have a Cigar”, where Roy Harper sings this diatribe against the music industry. This one has spunk and fire, where the other tracks (except for parts of “Wish You Were Here”) just seem to be there – they don’t compel you to listen.

It’s still a good to great album but it seemed flat

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Harper was in the same studio block at EMI recording an album and that’s why he was grabbed. No one else really nailed the vocal like him.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

 GRADE B+: Production and playing are great. But it’s kind of tedious at times.

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

ARTIST: Pink Floyd                             

TITLE: Dark Side of the Moon               

YEAR RELEASED: 1973

CHART ACTION:  #1 US, #2 UK

SINGLES: Money (#13 US), Us & Them (#101)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: What DON’T you know?

LINEUP: Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright. Claire Torrey did the vocals on The Great Gig in the Sky. Dick Parry played sax. Doris Troy, Lesley Duncan, Lisa Strike, and Barry St. John did backing vocals. Various around the studio contributed voice overs.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A pinnacle album for production, progressive rock, the 70’s, you name it.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Can I say anything about Dark Side of the Moon that hasn’t been said? Well, I’ll try to be somewhat original, I guess.

The production and engineering are stellar, probably the best sounding record I’ve heard (thanks to Alan Parsons even if some of the band won’t say it). The record was a pioneer on using sequencers to great effect, and the sound effects the band used were stellar and added so much to the recording.

But none of that would matter without the songs and the playing. This may be the last true record as a band where they all collaborated instead of one member rather much dictating what was to be played. The songs grew out of concerts they played in 1972 and 1973 where they workshopped the songs and got them just right. Every band member was on top of their game.

It deserves all of the accolades it received, and listening to it with fresh ears (with earbuds or headphones) will bring you delight. Oh, and it’s been on the charts for 957 weeks total in the US. So…yeah.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Parsons made the standard 35-pound sum as engineer for this record. And Claire Torrey received credit for “The Great Gig in the Sky” since she just ad-libbed those vocals.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. Why should there be?

GRADE A+: The apex of prog rock and Pink Floyd.

Pink Floyd – Obscured by Clouds

ARTIST: Pink Floyd 220px-Pink_Floyd_-_Obscured_by_Clouds

TITLE: Obscured By Clouds

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION:  #46 US, #6 UK

SINGLES: Free Four

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: You’re getting into deep deep cut Floyd here

LINEUP: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Richard Wright

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Pink Floyd interrupts some sessions to complete this soundtrack to a French art-house movie. It hangs together pretty well despite it all.

 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The director of More, Barbet Schroeder, had asked Pink Floyd to record the soundtrack for his next project. When he was ready for that, the band had moved on to start sessions for what became Dark Side of the Moon, but they stopped work in order to record some tracks for the movie La Vallee.

The result was an album that cohered much better than their other soundtrack work, and was made-up of rather concise songs that worked well for the film, but also was an album that worked as a separate piece (unlike their other soundtracks). While not as sonically adventurous or groundbreaking as their past work and work to come, they did use some new toys like a VCS3 synthesizer

It was a rush job from concept to completion, but only a couple of tracks are filler or just bland, and a few tracks, like the instrumental 1-2 to begin the record and “The Gold It’s in The…”, “Childhood’s End”, and “Wot’s…Uh the Deal?” need more recognition as songs in the upper echelon of their canon.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Childhood’s End” is the last song with lyrics by someone other than Roger Waters until the band splintered in the 80’s

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE B: It has its charms and it’s good to just put on and chill for the most part.

Pink Floyd – Meddle

ARTIST: Pink Floyd                         MeddleCover.jpeg

TITLE: Meddle

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: #70 US, #3 UK

SINGLES: One of These Days

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Echoes

LINEUP: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Rick Wright, Nick Mason

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After being in the weeds for a few years, Pink Floyd capitalizes on their strengths and create a record that fulfills the potential of the band.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: With the first ‘pings’ on side two, Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” moves from a moody instrumental theme, to a meditation on life on the planet, to one of the best psychedelic jams and David Gilmour guitar solo. Then, it gets weird, with the seagulls or albatrosses in the lyrics being heard. Back to the original themes with a dramatic ending.

This song is the precursor for every Floyd song in the 70’s and for better or worse overshadows the first side.

Yet, the first side is definitely an improvement over any studio record in 1969 or 1970. Every song is varied, and while they don’t 100% work all of the time, they make a nice cornucopia of the band’s styles – and the songs are better, as a whole, than anything since A Saucerful of Secrets.

All of the band members make excellent contributions, but this is really Gilmour’s album, with Rick Wright also shining. This is a must listen.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Echoes” was the centerpiece of the Pink Floyd at Pompeii film.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A:  A couple of cuts on side one aren’t as strong as they could be, but you gotta have this.

Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother

ARTIST: Pink Floyd                                          AtomHeartMotherCover.jpeg

TITLE: Atom Heart Mother

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #55 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The title track

LINEUP: Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Rick Wright, Nick Mason. The EMI Orchestra and the John Aldis choir was involved as well.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Audacious side-long suite shows the bands ambitions and weaknesses, while the individual songs on side two add a factor of meh to the proceedings.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There are some folks who think this record is the epitome of Pink Floyd’s early period, and I’d like to know why they think that.

The first side is the 23-minute long mega-suite with a choir and orchestral sections, making it another in a line of rock+orchestra releases from the UK around this time. It’s got some nice pieces and parts but seems bogged down in pretention, especially with the choir.

The other side features a song each from the band (well, everyone is credited with “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” but it’s really a Nick Mason joint), and they’re rather disposable songs to be honest – nothing that really excites you or causes you to throw the record away.

I can say the best part of the album is really the cover. Not that this is bad like More, or the solo sides of Ummagumma. It’s just pretension amping up mediocre art.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They tried to tour this bloody thing with brass sections and a choir, but they had to hire the brass on the fly and they lost money all in all.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C+:  Soon, Pink Floyd will find the spark they had from their early days. This is just treading water, though.

Pink Floyd – Ummagumma

ARTIST: Pink Floyd                         pinkfloyd-album-ummagummastudio-300

TITLE:  Ummagumma

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #74 US, #5 UK

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Live version of four early Pink Floyd classics

LINEUP: David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A fantastic live set, and then….

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: First, the live part of the double album. Even if it’s missing “Interstellar Overdrive” (recorded but not used), the four songs they chose (“Astronomy Domine”, “Careful with That Axe Eugene”, “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” and “A Saucerful of Secrets”) demonstrate early Floyd at their peak, showcasing their musicianship and demonstrating that they weren’t just a product of the studio.

Then there are the studio sides. Each member got one half of one side, and self-indulgent doesn’t cover it. There are a couple of real songs in parts and they’re BORING AS HELL. The others are just meandering, and in retrospect the band didn’t seem into it, either.

Stick to the live stuff, and forget about the rest.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Basically, everyone in the band has issues with the studio sides when all was said and done.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C+:  The live side gets an A (A+ even), but gawd…my brain hurst from the studio goop.