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The Classics Revisited – Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon

by on August 28, 2010

10/10

It is very seldom that an album stays on the charts for 52 weeks, let alone 741; Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon achieved this monumental status over 30 years ago. Since its release in 1973 Pink Floyd have become recognized as one of the founding fathers of the progressive rock movement. It was the height of the band’s success: a mix of complicated song structures with just enough radio-ready material to be mass marketed. To the ears of the musically uneducated public, however, Pink Floyd altered the way they thought music could make them feel. A concept album, yes, but a story not quite. Dark Side takes on the monotony of life, critiques the faults of society, and takes the listener beyond the realm of earthly limits.

Before the release of Dark Side, Pink Floyd had little success with the general public. Their albums were spacey (A Saucerful of Secrets), bluesy (Meddle), and rock-y (Obscured by Clouds). But, after the success of Dark Side, the Floyd gained an enormous following, but were faltering as a working unit. As typical of great bands, success got the best of these four young artists. And as their egos started taking over, David Gilmour and Roger Waters began fighting over who was the main songwriter for the band. These arguments continued over the course of their next few releases, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall. Writing simply was not as fun as it had been for them. It was a struggle, and it was this struggle that caused Roger Waters to eventually kick Nick Mason and Richard Wright out from the band.

Dark Side of the Moon changed everything. It is almost unheard of for an album to be such a staple of a culture, of an era.  One can’t take it at face value, once the music passes through ears it touches a part of you that is not easily accessed. It does what music is supposed to do, but rarely achieves. It speaks to us at a higher level than most music ever does, and for that reason it is logical that Dark Side bridges the gap between generations and people. it means something different to me than it does to you, or our parents, or our children. It speaks so generally but hits key points so specifically that it triggers such an emotional response. It is impossible to make another Dark Side, you can try, but it just can’t be done.

Musically, Dark Side is incredibly sophisticated for its time.  It almost predicts the music that is to come in future generations. For example, “On the Run”, contains the first sequencer ever made. The sequencer would later go on to be a key player in modern pop music as we know it. “Money”, the first single off the album (and, honestly, Floyd’s first single) is in 7/8 time. It is certainly not often that a hit single is in an odd meter. Last but not least, Gilmour’s use of effects on his guitar, for that time, can only be compared to Steve Howe of Yes. His signature phaser on “Any Colour You Like” and “Breathe”, as well as his classic distortion in “Time” and “Money” all play a crucial role in singling Dark Side out as a unique sounding album.

This album means so much and truly cannot be described in only a few short words. This review could have continued on to multiple other topics and could have sparked more discussions on what the album truly means. The review could have mentioned so many more unique aspects of the music and history of the album, but that, unfortunately, we leave up to the reader to research. The final thing that must be said about Dark Side is that it deserves more than a 10/10 on any rating scale.

-Sonic & Flow

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