Pink Floyd – The Wall (1979)

AllMusic Review: The Wall was Roger Waters’ crowning accomplishment in Pink Floyd. It documented the rise and fall of a rock star (named Pink Floyd), based on Waters’ own experiences and the tendencies he’d observed in people around him. By then, the bassist had firm control of the group’s direction, working mostly alongside David Gilmour and bringing in producer Bob Ezrin as an outside collaborator. Drummer Nick Mason was barely involved, while keyboardist Rick Wright seemed to be completely out of the picture. Still, The Wall was a mighty, sprawling affair, featuring 26 songs with vocals: nearly as many as all previous Floyd albums combined. The story revolves around the fictional Pink Floyd’s isolation behind a psychological wall. The wall grows as various parts of his life spin out of control, and he grows incapable of dealing with his neuroses. The album opens by welcoming the unwitting listener to Floyd’s show (“In the Flesh?”), then turns back to childhood memories of his father’s death in World War II (“Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 1”), his mother’s over protectiveness (“Mother”), and his fascination with and fear of sex (“Young Lust”). By the time “Goodbye Cruel World” closes the first disc, the wall is built and Pink is trapped in the midst of a mental breakdown. On disc two, the gentle acoustic phrasings of “Is There Anybody Out There?” and the lilting orchestrations of “Nobody Home” reinforce Floyd’s feeling of isolation. When his record company uses drugs to coax him to perform (“Comfortably Numb”), his onstage persona is transformed into a homophobic, race-baiting fascist (“In the Flesh”). In “The Trial,” he mentally prosecutes himself, and the wall comes tumbling down. This ambitious concept album was an across-the-board smash, topping the Billboard album chart for 15 weeks in 1980. The single “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2” was the country’s best-seller for four weeks. The Wall spawned an elaborate stage show (so elaborate, in fact, that the band was able to bring it to only a few cities) and a full-length film. It also marked the last time Waters and Gilmour would work together as equal partners. — Rovi Staff

Track Listing:

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “In the Flesh?” Waters 3:16
2. “The Thin Ice”
  • Waters
  • David Gilmour
2:27
3. “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1” Waters 3:11
4. “The Happiest Days of Our Lives” Waters 1:46
5. Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2
  • Waters
  • Gilmour
3:59
6. “Mother”
  • Waters
  • Gilmour
5:32
Total length: 20:11
Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Goodbye Blue Sky” Gilmour 2:45
2. “Empty Spaces” Waters 2:10
3. “Young Lust” Gilmour 3:25
4. “One of My Turns” Waters 3:41
5. “Don’t Leave Me Now” Waters 4:08
6. Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3 Waters 1:18
7. “Goodbye Cruel World” Waters 1:16
Total length: 18:43 (38:54)
Side three
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Hey You” Gilmour, Waters 4:40
2. Is There Anybody Out There? Waters, Gilmour 2:44
3. “Nobody Home” Waters 3:26
4. “Vera” Waters 1:35
5. “Bring the Boys Back Home” Waters 1:21
6. “Comfortably Numb” Waters, Gilmour 6:23
Total length: 20:09
Side four
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. The Show Must Go On Gilmour 1:36
2. “In the Flesh” Waters 4:15
3. “Run Like Hell” Waters, Gilmour 4:20
4. “Waiting for the Worms” Waters, Gilmour 4:04
5. “Stop” Waters 0:30
6. “The Trial” Waters 5:13
7. “Outside the Wall” Waters 1:41
Total length: 21:39 (41:48) (80:39)

 

 

Schill Score: 10/10

 

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Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

AllMusic Review: Pink Floyd followed the commercial breakthrough of Dark Side of the Moon with Wish You Were Here, a loose concept album about and dedicated to their founding member Syd Barrett. The record unfolds gradually, as the jazzy textures of “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” reveal its melodic motif, and in its leisurely pace, the album shows itself to be a warmer record than its predecessor. Musically, it’s arguably even more impressive, showcasing the group’s interplay and David Gilmour’s solos in particular. And while it’s short on actual songs, the long, winding soundscapes are constantly enthralling. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing

 

Side one
No. Title Music Lead vocals Length
1. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I–V)”
  • David Gilmour
  • Richard Wright
  • Roger Waters
Waters 13:32
2. “Welcome to the Machine” Waters Gilmour 7:28
Total length: 21:00
Side two
No. Title Music Lead vocals Length
1. “Have a Cigar” (featuring Roy Harper) Waters Harper 5:08
2. “Wish You Were Here”
  • Waters
  • Gilmour
Gilmour 5:35
3. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI–IX)”
  • Wright
  • Gilmour
  • Waters
  • (Parts VI–VIII)
    Wright (Part IX)
Waters 12:28
Total length: 23:11

 

Schill Score:  9/10

 

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Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

AllMusic Review: By condensing the sonic explorations of Meddle to actual songs and adding a lush, immaculate production to their trippiest instrumental sections, Pink Floyd inadvertently designed their commercial breakthrough with Dark Side of the Moon. The primary revelation of Dark Side of the Moon is what a little focus does for the band. Roger Waters wrote a series of songs about mundane, everyday details which aren’t that impressive by themselves, but when given the sonic backdrop of Floyd’s slow, atmospheric soundscapes and carefully placed sound effects, they achieve an emotional resonance. But what gives the album true power is the subtly textured music, which evolves from ponderous, neo-psychedelic art rock to jazz fusion and blues-rock before turning back to psychedelia. It’s dense with detail, but leisurely paced, creating its own dark, haunting world. Pink Floyd may have better albums than Dark Side of the Moon, but no other record defines them quite as well as this one. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing

Side one
No. Title Music Lead vocals Length
1. “Speak to Me” Nick Mason instrumental 1:13
2. “Breathe” (listed as “Breathe in the Air” on the original LP label)
  • Waters
  • Richard Wright
  • David Gilmour
Gilmour 2:43
3. “On the Run”
  • Waters
  • Gilmour
instrumental 3:36
4. “Time” (containing “Breathe (Reprise)”)
  • Waters
  • Gilmour
  • Wright
  • Mason
  • Gilmour
  • Wright
6:53
5. “The Great Gig in the Sky”
  • Wright
  • Clare Torry
Torry 4:36
Total length: 19:27
Side two
No. Title Music Lead vocals Length
1. “Money” Waters Gilmour 6:23
2. “Us and Them”
  • Waters
  • Wright
Gilmour 7:51
3. Any Colour You Like
  • Gilmour
  • Mason
  • Wright
instrumental 3:26
4. “Brain Damage” Waters Waters 3:49
5. “Eclipse” Waters Waters 2:03
Total length: 23:42

 

Schill Score:  10/10

 

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Pink Floyd – The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is the debut studio album by English rock band Pink Floyd, released 4 August 1967 by EMI Columbia. The only album made under founding member Syd Barrett’s leadership, it takes its title from chapter seven of Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 novel The Wind in the Willows, which refers to the nature God Pan, and was recorded at EMI Studios in London from February to May 1967 with producer Norman Smith. The band at the time consisted of Syd Barrett (lead vocals, lead guitar), Nick Mason (drums), Roger Waters (bass, vocals), and Richard Wright (keyboards, vocals). Barrett also served as the band’s primary songwriter, though two tracks on the album are credited to the band collectively and one track was written by Waters. The album was produced by Norman Smith, who would go on to produce two more albums for Pink Floyd.

In the United States, the album was released in October on Tower Records, with an altered track listing that omitted three songs and included the UK non-album single “See Emily Play”. In the UK, no singles were released from the album, but in the US, “Flaming” was offered as a single. Two of its songs, “Astronomy Domine” and “Interstellar Overdrive”, became long-term mainstays of the band’s live setlist, while other songs were performed live only a handful of times. Since its release, the album has been hailed as a pivotal psychedelic rock album.

In 1973, the album was packaged with the band’s second album A Saucerful of Secrets (1968) and released as A Nice Pair to introduce new fans to the band’s early work after the success of The Dark Side of the Moon (1973). Special limited editions of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn were issued to mark its thirtieth, fortieth, and fiftieth anniversaries, with the former two releases containing bonus tracks. In 2012

Track Listing:

Side one
1. “Astronomy Domine”
2. “Lucifer Sam”
3. “Matilda Mother”
4. “Flaming”
5. “Pow R. Toc H.”
6. “Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk”
Total length: 20:44

Side two

1. “Interstellar Overdrive”
2. “The Gnome”
3. “Chapter 24”
4. “The Scarecrow”
5. “Bike”
Total length: 21:08

AllMusic Review: The title of Pink Floyd’s debut album is taken from a chapter in Syd Barrett’s favorite children’s book, The Wind in the Willows, and the lyrical imagery of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is indeed full of colorful, childlike, distinctly British whimsy, albeit filtered through the perceptive lens of LSD. Barrett’s catchy, melodic acid pop songs are balanced with longer, more experimental pieces showcasing the group’s instrumental freak-outs, often using themes of space travel as metaphors for hallucinogenic experiences — “Astronomy Domine” is a poppier number in this vein, but tracks like “Interstellar Overdrive” are some of the earliest forays into what has been tagged space rock. But even though Barrett’s lyrics and melodies are mostly playful and humorous, the band’s music doesn’t always bear out those sentiments — in addition to Rick Wright’s eerie organ work, dissonance, chromaticism, weird noises, and vocal sound effects are all employed at various instances, giving the impression of chaos and confusion lurking beneath the bright surface. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn successfully captures both sides of psychedelic experimentation — the pleasures of expanding one’s mind and perception, and an underlying threat of mental disorder and even lunacy; this duality makes Piper all the more compelling in light of Barrett’s subsequent breakdown, and ranks it as one of the best psychedelic albums of all time. — Steve Huey

Schill Score: 3/10

Schill Comment: It’s an interesting album with how experimental it was. However, it’s one of those things that might be fun when you listen to it the first time. But more than once a lot of the songs turn into ambient noodling noise.

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