26 February 2011

pink floyd - the dark side of the moon

1. speak to me

c: a heartbeat thumping, cash register ringin', madcap laughing & screamin', english guy speaking, typewriter ditty instrumental opener sums the whole LP up in a minute and segues right into the second track... they probably could have stopped there. pretty boring stuff even when yer stoned. sounds friendly, nice mood to it, but that is about that, even for 1973.

j: There's a bunch of reasons this album was on the Billboard whatever chart for thirty years or whatever it is. One of them has to be the heartbeat that begins the album. So it's 1976 and you've just done three big bong hits and there's the sound of a beating heart and other sound effects while you start feeling weird. And laughing. Crazy madman laughing. Is that Syd? Could be! 

2. breathe

c: love the tune. these guys know how to set a mood musically, i have to admit, though it is one that lulls ya' into a rather listless one after a few listens. david gilmore's voice has always been pretty, but more importantly, his lyrics have ALWAYS been lacking & keeps me from taking him seriously, ever. high schoolish journal type shit here, such as, "breathe, breathe in the air, don't be afraid to care. leave, but don't leave me..." blah, blah, etc, etc... juvenile at best & ultimately incredibly boring.  

j: I'm going to try and avoid using the word 'pretentious' for any of these songs. But who is speaking here? Gilmour obviously, but it's this sage/deity-like point of view telling you that your life sucks. You're a running rabbit who forgets the sun and has to work and can't sit down when it's done. Gilmour has avoided all this because he's sitting on a pile of money in Abbey Road Studios twiddling knobs. It's such a breezy, laid back song you almost wish the lyrics were about spending the day at the beach or something.  

3. on the run  

c: the beginning of this song would fit perfectly in a 3 minute 70's porn loop. they should have added a wah-wah pedal guitar solo, roughly halfway into it. would have been quite choice & it could have set up the big money shot ending, which is non-existent on the final recording.

 j: They indulge the knob-twiddling quite a lot here. If you're really high you can imagine you, the rabbit, literally 'on the run.' Heavy footsteps for a rabbit, though. I'm happy when it ends.

4. time

c: the last thing i want to hear on an LP is alarm clocks. thanks, pink... nice bit of drum work on the roto-toms or whatever they are called. the song finally kicks in shortly thereafter. big teenage angst going on here lyrically, but, very heavy handed and i am not convinced gilmore has the
right to sing about this crap. kudos for him to make the effort though, i suppose. bit of a blistering solo that breaks down at the end rather poorly. lazy bastard. more lyrics about how fucked you are and yer gonna die soon in the midst of drudgery. he steals the most famous of thoreau's lines and then has the balls to say, "thought i had something more to say"... fuck you, you coke sniffing privileged asshole. my guess is that syd was rolling in his grave far before he actually croaked.

anyhoo, breathe reprise... unnecessary garbage. though i do have to admit it is nice to come home and warm yer bones beside the fire... everything else he says is pretty contrived crap, but i guess it fits with the rest of the LP so far. continuity is a good thing...

j: Pink Floyd assumes the listener is sleeping at this point in the record so they wake everyone up with ringing alarm clocks. Again, relief when the sound effects end and the music starts. I like the verses, I feel like I'm finally listening to rock music. The lyrics are an extension of the story from Breathe-you don't know what's going on, you're running behind, you missed the starting gun, you'll be dead soon, etc. Gilmour is using the second person but I really don't think he's talking about himself. He means YOU, you bloody idiot. He alludes to Thoreau at one point and then we get the Breathe Reprise, which is about religion maybe?

5. great gig in the sky

c: nice piano & slide guitar intro, ruined by some guy saying, "i am not afraid of dying, any time will do, i don't mind, why should i be? there is no reason for it".... pretty depressing stuff, especially if yer whacked out on acid and yer actually taking this stuff seriously, which i reckon many teenagers in the 70's and 80's and 90's and christ, fuck they still do, damnit... these poor kids. the "tune" moves right into some chick screaming and as far as screaming chicks go, i have heard yoko ono do better & it was a hell of a lot more honest & heart-felt. pink floyd could not have become more unemotional if they tried at this point. right about now, the listener should realize how well thought out and planned this LP is and that pink floyd became a true rock and roll corporate money making machine. no risks, no emotion whatsoever... just sales to unsuspecting kids with parents that have some cash. if you cannot hear this bleeding through these tracks, go back and start from the beginning again...

j: If you were a teenage girl in 1976 and your boyfriend was forcing you to listen to Dark Side while he molested you in the back of a van, this was probably your favorite part. There's a genuinely soulful, feminine element here in an otherwise coldly intellectual 'guy' record. So it's really just a tour de force vocal performance over some pleasant piano music. It's just so welcome at this point. I thought this tune was overrated for many years but listening to it now I think she (Clare Torry) should have sang the whole record.


1. money

c: this side kicks off with a cash register ringing over and over again, but they learned something & quickly moved into a guitar running through a vibrolux amp and some lyrics about money... now, we have pink floyd being honest for the first time on this record. even though they are trying to pass it off as something they do not support or believe in. i am certain they enjoyed every single goddamn minute of their rise to ridiculous fame with this LP... the amazing thing is, you still hear this song on classic rock radio stations on a daily basis. why has no one risen up and demanded this to stop? do individuals out there really relate to this song? shit... individuals.... pretty non-existent these days, sorry my bad. back to the song... ok, a sax solo that is not even worth talking about, why is it even here? a killer solo guitar follows for a bit afterwards, but gilmore never finishes things off properly, always leaving you wanting more... he is so, well, english. so reserved, in a bad way... hendrix, on the other hand, would have shredded things to bits & left you flailing on the ground... it was up to you to pick up the pieces. gilmore will certainly make a good cleaning lady in his next life. not much more to say about the rest of the lyrics or the song. yeah, we know money is evil... waters has been absent so far this whole album & i reckon he is pissed at this point, even though he supposedly wrote this song & most of the tunes on the second side. he certainly laid out his revenge with "the wall" though... i have to say, much like paul mccartney, waters is one of the most under-rated rock bass players of our time & deserves a ton of credit for holding down the line.... i do not think he even realizes what a good bass player he is. he'd rather hear how much you like "the final cut" or something...

j: Ugh. I didn't even like this when I was nineteen years old. How this became one of the most well-known songs of a supposed 'drug' band is beyond me. The asinine lyrics ("Money, get away get a good job with more pay and you're okay"), the turgid white guy grooviness, the bland session saxophone, the overlong guitar solo-I don't get this song at all. It doesn't even inspire any real hatred in me. It's awful.

2 & 3. us & them/any colour you like

c: dreamy guitar/organ intro & gilmore's pretty voice (though the bass & sax really pull things together on this one). i would give him a kiss for being sweet if i was gay, but i wouldn't sleep with him. he just doesn't excite me, even when the song blows up after the first verse. what a disappointing tease of a song... you think it would go somewhere & then they bring us back to cliched lyrics and a wandering saxomophone... "in the end, it's only round & round?" i just want to punch someone in the face, particularly gilmore's. i can't believe i have to listen to the rest of this record... jesus, here is the english guy again talking about short, sharp shocks or something... dig it? thank god for the crappy sax solo. the song builds up again, but... yes, i am already down & out... can't be helped if there is a lot of it about & i would rather do without it... my god this song is so fucking tedious. i cannot believe it hasn't ended yet. how long is it, 10 min? jesus, i am glad i am not on drugs right now...

towards the end, something changes, shit, a synth! things are getting trippy, and quite sleepy... though, i am beyond hope that this will turn around in a good way... yup, here we go... another gilmore guitar solo. couldn't they have done something else with the set-up? for the first time on this side, i was actually engaged & fucking all that pink floyd had to offer was a crappy pentatonic guitar solo & a phase shifter...

 j: I guess this isn't bad for seventies AM soft rock. There is some drama when the chorus kicks in, I'll give it that. But the more the song goes on the less I have to say about it. If you could take back all the 40 years of pot wasted listening to this record, you could probably spread it evenly enough to cover the entire dark side of the (actual) moon. Any Colour is an okay wanky jam. Mostly I don't even notice it.  

4. brain damage

c: yes, the lunatic is on the grass, or on grass and having a bad time of it...

i think it is shameless on how much pink floyd exploited the fact that syd went nuts from acid (or whatever) on this LP. he more likely went nuts from how his "friends" bought into corporate music and pushed him out of the way in order to make a buck... i wasn't there, so who am i to say? all i know is that if i was in a relatively successful band & my friend went nuts for any reason, i wouldn't make a hit record out of the subject matter & become ridiculously wealthy. i would be at his bedside trying to cheer him up... maybe, just maybe, i would write a song about him many years later... when all is forgotten.

j: This has always been my favorite song on the record. I think these lyrics are kind of inspired, or at least evocative. There's a bit of that Syd Barrett playfulness from the early Floyd records. Waters was clearly more in touch with that element than Gilmour. It's sequenced at the perfect place in the album, if only the songs that precede it were better. It towers over the
rest of the record.

5. eclipse

c: not much to say about this one... i am pretty pissed off at this point. what a crappy, exploitative LP & everyone loves it for some reason. my final rating? as bill hicks would say, "piece of shit." not once, during this whole LP did i get a chill down my spine. not once! after grudgingly listening to it over the years, under all kinds of influences. all good music will put a chill down yer spine at some moment. it is safe to say, i will never listen to this album again. yeah, the damn album ends with a fading heartbeat... like i said, at least they are consistent.

j: Basically part 2 of Brain Damage. It's more bombastic than it needs to be, like it's trying to blow away it's teen pothead audience, but it's not completely ridiculous. I'm happy when it finally ends. Will I ever listen to The Wall again? Sure, for a lark. But Dark Side? I can't see it. I'm done
with it.

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