Dark Side of the Moon

 

So kinda like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd is another band that I missed the boat on.  I guess I was just too busy rocking out to the Doors and the White Album in college while everyone else was “experimenting” with Pink Floyd.  Actually, I remember mon frere being a big Pink Floyd fan when I was a kid, and I think he actually went into Cleveland to see the show where they floated the giant pink pig into the stadium.  And I cannot forget Lighting 101 playing his Pink Floyd mix en route on the Crazy Pittsburgh Trip Version 1.0 (more on that when I get to a Metallica entry), with special emphasis on his favorite song, “Money”, which was really fitting since all of us except for the Elusive One worked at Mickey D’s Evil Empire.  Other than that, my only other Pink Floyd experience has been the wave of irony I feel, considering my chosen profession, every time I hear “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2”.

At any rate, I had never owned a Pink Floyd album until I picked this up for $6.99 (minus my 10% teacher discount) at the Half-Price Books on High Street (did I mention I love irony?) back in  early winter after a traditional Saturday morning breakfast with the Princess.  And listening to it, I realize that despite its status as the quintessential space rock album, it is really blues rock at its core.  However, it’s blues rock elevated to almost a symphonic level.  The beauty of quality symphonic music is that it evokes images in the listener’s head, and this record certainly qualifies under that standard.  The careful craftsmanship of each song and the running connection of each song to the next elevate this record to a level of true artistry.  Add in the incredible musicianship of the band members, who showcase the ability to build and swell, ebb and flow, and who imbue each track, instrumental or otherwise, with emotion, and you can see why this album has been elevated to the status of a master work.

Of course, there has been much talk over the years about “The Dark Side of the Rainbow”.  I had never done it before, so I rented “The Wizard of Oz” and watched it while I listened to this record.  I think I got the sync right (I started it right after the MGM lion’s third roar), and while at times certain elements of the music do align in an uncanny way with the film (the alarm clocks when Miss Gultch arives and the transition from side A to side B right as the movie goes from black and white to technicolor), for the most part it’s just a more pleasant way to watch the film than enduring the original soundtrack.  Now, I must admit, I’ve never been a big fan of “The Wizard of Oz”.  They used to show it once a year on network television when I was very young, and mi madre would always make a big deal about watching it, but I think it gave me nightmares (those flying monkees are trippy, man) and I just never really dug it.  And I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen it in about 25 years or so, but I was impressed by how iconic it actually is, because even with Pink Floyd playing loudly in my ear andwatching with the sound on the TV turned off and the subtitles on, I could still hear the melody of every song and I remembered pretty much exactly how each scene plays out (always gotta watch out for those poppy fields, my dear).  But yeah, “The Dark Side of the Rainbow” thing seems entirely coincidental.  But it was fun nonetheless.

Other lists: Pink Floyd ranks #51 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists, and David Gilmour ranks #14 on the list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists.  And not surprisingly, this album ranks #3 on the newly created list of the 40 Greatest Stoner Albums.

My favourite track: “Us and Them”

Honourable mention: “The Great Gig in the Sky” (I have a feeling Thom Yorke has listened to this track quite a few times)

Quote: “Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain.  You are young and life is long an their is time to kill today.  But then one day you find ten years have got behind you…no one told you when to run…you missed the starting gun.”

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