Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon Review

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Brian Dickson's review of Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon


Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon - Oooh I liked Dark...”

Written on: 19/10/2004 by Brian Dickson (4 reviews written)

Good Points
It's part of rock history, and worth a listen even if only for curiosity.

Bad Points
It gives new definition to the term "Overrated" And if you buy it, it will only add more to Pink Floyd's massive Swiss bank accounts.

General Comments
Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon - Oooh I liked Dark Side Of the Moon when I was 18. It was so slick and mysterious. You see at the time I was into bands like Queen that had poncey "melody" *shudder* and Iron Maiden who were just brainless Neanderthals. It was high time I listened to some REAL music. The Floyd. Yeah. Totally legendary. And Dark Side is their magnum opus. The pinnacle of intelligent rock. One of the defining moments in the history of popular music. The atmospheric hearbeats, the mellow, spacey guitar runs of Breathe. What a fantastic start. I'm truly listening to the sound of deepest space here. And the repeated electronic loop of On The Run, with its mysterious spoken passages. What is it? It sounds like a woman speaking over a PA system about flights to Rome. I can see the sheer GENIUS of that! And The great Gig In the Sky with its soulful wailings. Money too, the more mainstream track with Waters in fine vitriolic form about how corrupt the music business is! It's all about making money! Oh no! I'm with Roger in feeling outrage too! And it's so obvious that The "Dark Side of the Moon" is a clever metaphor for madness. And even the cover fits pefectly. A prism. The prism means both madness and the dark side of the moon. It's all so obvious! Pink Floyd really know how to churn out some clever stuff!

That's all great. But that's what I thought when I was 18. Hearing it more dispassionately 16 years later I don't think there's much good music on The Dark Side Of The Moon. The guitar run on Breathe is so mundane. The electronic loop on On The Run? You could do better these days on a music-making software program. The singing on Great Gig In the Sky has no form or melody to it. I can just imagine Waters saying to the session singer "Right make it loud and soulful, but none of this *melody* bullsh*t. That's for commercial bands" And Us And Them to me sounds like something you might hear on Sesame Street circa 1971. .None of the members are exceptional at what they do. Waters isn't the best singer, Gilmour isn't the best guitarist, Mason isn't the best drummer... you get the idea. In fact virtually nothing on Dark Side is MUSICALLY very good. For me Time and Brain Damage are stll quite good songs. So a band wrote some good songs, Whoopee. I could list a hundred bands who have written "good" songs. Dark Side Of The Moon ( and Pink Floyd in general) is mainly about EFFECT. The overall effect, the "sound landscape", is what makes it a noteworthy album. Some might find this reason to laud it. I don't particularly. And really, what's the dark side of the moon got to do with madness? The ideas which seem to obvious to impressionable 18 year olds don't really hold any water (no pun intended) to closer inspection. Dark Side to me is a clever album in that it can make you believe you're hearing a masterpiece, but really it is to pop music what Star Wars is to movies. Lots of cool efects to suspend disbelief, but not much else beyond that.

These days I don't take Pink Floyd seriously. I've outgrown Pink Floyd in the same way that I've outgrown watching The A Team. One entertained me at age 13, the other at age 18. In my opinion, Pink Floyd appeal to a specific age group roughtly 16-25 or so. Their themes of mystery, madness and whining about how life sucks when you've got a mountain of cash no longer appeal to me now, and there isn't really much good music backing it up. Most Pink Floyd bores me to tears now. Trying to find the substance behind the aural chicanery of their albums is like chasing a rainbow. Some might find this a worhtwhile pursuit. I don't. These days I actually prefer Iron Maiden and Queen to pretentious Pink Floyd. Things have turned full circle indeed. But I don't hate Pink Floyd now either. And really, people like Beethoven, Wiliam Byrd and Bach have written stuff better than any pop/rock group, and in much greater quantities than the most prolific band. The best pop music is something to entertain you. Some rave about "The greatest musical achievment in recorded history" when speaking about Dark Side Of The Moon. I can listen to arty pop music and enjoy it, but I don't take it all that seriously, unlike most Floyd fans. If you're the type who thinks Picasso was a genius then Pink Floyd are for you. Because while Picasso's paintings can draw attention for being odd, at the end of the day his paintings are from a technical point of view absolute garbage. I won't go so far in saying the same for Pink Foyd, but really the main appeal lies in the presentation, not the music itself. Similarly people like to eat caviar because it has such highbrow and classy connotations. But really it's just fish eggs. Prententiousness is seemingly part of the human condition.

I can cautiously recommend Dark Side Of the Moon to the listener, because it does have some worth, even if nothing more than a museum piece of popular culture. But I don't think that it's because the MUSIC is great. Some - and I mean SOME - Pink Floyd is quite good music IMO, but I need a lot of patience to find it amongst the overgrown sonic weeds of their albums. When people apply genius status to Pink Floyd it just makes me smile.

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Degbert's Response to Brian Dickson's Review

Written on: 26/07/2007

A really, really insightful review!!! It paints a very important picture on the meaning of music and its overall purpose to you and I. In the case of Pink Floyd, they were extremely self-indulgent, but at the time quite inspired in how they executed their indulgences. Barrett was Picasso in a later life, I would suggest. But I think also the music does still speak for itself, I'm lurching inexorably towards 40 years old and I remain steadfastly a Floyd proponent, if only because it remains a style that's never really been bettered as a style. The 'meaning' and some of the production, sure, are now laughably out of date, but actually some of the musicianship and sumptous presentation remains relevant and a sharp example of the genre. Listen to Radiohead's recent work and tell me they haven't tried to completely steal the idea and package up for a new generation!

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