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Pink Floyd - Meddle CD (album) cover

MEDDLE

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.31 | 1992 ratings

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The Whistler
Prog Reviewer
3 stars (Seamus, that's the 3.5)

Meddle was, of course, the album that shows the Floydsters FINALLY pulling themselves from out of Syd's shadow, and figuring out exactly what they wanted to do for the next decade. Gone are the experimentations with post-psychedelia, orchestral suites, and mindless avant-garde tuning. The Floyd formula is in place, a pleasant mesh of all of those elements (sort of psychedelic-art-pop, with an edge). And in that way, this album is even more revolutionary than Piper At the Gates of Dawn.

...Okay, I'm shitting you, I've NEVER heard any Pink Floyd albums before this one. However, I have glanced at some histories of the band, read some liner notes for Division Bell, and downloaded a "Wish You Were Here" ringtone, and I THINK that that makes me qualified to be a Floyd historian...I also own Barrett, but that's another review I guess.

Meddle contains arguably the worst opener of all time: "One of These Days," the ULTIMATE Pink Floyd song, in my opinion. The Floyd never got finer than this, an absolutely melody-less piece (I couldn't hum the tune if you put a gun to my head, save for a few slide guitar riffs) of pure, hard rockin' mayhem.

It starts slowly, the instruments unsurely meshing with each other. Then, it drops off for just a little while with some furious bass pounding, the track's infamous only line is uttered, and then it's a free for all, everyone playing their respective guts out. Truly amazing. And at the end, it all falls back to wherever the hell it all came from. Freaky, the whole damn thing. So what makes it so horrible you ask? Well, it's horrible because the album NEVER lives up to it. Tries though, gotta give it that.

But not for a while; ballad "A Pillow of Winds" is awful. A largely tuneless bore, the lyrics are okay, but why all that noodling? What, is this supposed to be lullaby-esuqe? It's putting me to sleep. "Fearless" is a better, if overlong, acoustic number. The tune is good, pleasant even. I like the descending riff; still wonder if those footballer noises were necessary though.

The lazy lil' "San Tropez" is actually a really fun number. Once the Floydsters crawl off their serious pedestal, the album gets a lot better! Well, a little at least. The tune itself is no great shake, but the lyrics are hilarious, the guitar solo is pretty solid, and I swear that the piano at the end is Rick's finest hour. Heh. And then there's "Seamus," obviously designed to be the set piece of the album. At less than two minutes, it's a furious example of nicely-if-not-astonishingly played, dog-based blues.

Of course, if you've got a short number, and you're listening to a prog album, odds are you've got an epic REAL close to it, and...OH! There's "Echoes!" "Echoes" is, of course, the very good, but still very overrated, epic that encompasses side two of Meddle. It's overrated because parts of it are horrible, in fact, some of the worst on the album. However, it's good because some of the best material on the album is here too (very "Supper's Ready" that).

Take the opening movement...well, actually, it's probably the second movement. This sucker supposedly contains about six million and twenty-two musical themes. I hear four or so. What? "Think Like a Brick" is WAY more complex than this thang.

Alright, alright, Floyd not Tull, sheesh...the first movement sounds like a bunch of silly twanging. However, it actually sets up a very nice, very cold, watery atmosphere (I call this movement "That Opening Part," or, "The Cold, Watery Part" on a good day). Then, when the actual SONG begins, it's really quite good ("Echoes"). I love the lyrical imagery, and I love the guitar solo that follows. One of Dave's best, actually.

But then, then it all turns into this ridiculous, crappy, funky organ solo (which I call, "Crappy, Funky Organ Solo"). What's up with that? I mean, on its own, it's not that bad, but it just lasts FOREVER! What, were they, competing with Iron Butterfly? And if you thought it couldn't get any worse, it magically transforms into this really stupid sound collage. Everyone tells me those are supposed to be whales, but it just sounds a bunch of doggies ("Dog Noises"). Sick doggies. VERY sick doggies. I guess it works from a freaky point of view, what with the screaming and the crow noises (okay, crows AND whales? Now you're shitting ME), but why does that part have to be so long?

Luckily, the lads are clever enough to pull us out of this with some bass trickery (which is also too long, but definitely more tolerable), a movement which I have dubbed "One of These Days Part 2," because, well, it sounds like "One of These Days." Then we get back to the main theme ("Echoes Pt. 2"), and then it all fades like it started. Good one lads, way to destroy a hopefully good song, then redeem yourselves slightly at the end. That's just what you did with the whole album.

And, all in all, it should be a fairly average album. I mean, "San Tropez" and "Seamus" ARE both filler, however pleasant and amusing they may be. And, c'mon, TWO ballads? No one thinks of ballads when they think of the Floyd! And one of them sucks too...

However, the better moments of "Echoes," and definitely "One of These Days" pull it out of that; the album is hardly essential, but any fan of the Floyd NEEDS that song. Unfortunately though, I think that that's the point. Does anyone feel like the lads wanted to do "Echoes" really, REALLY badly, so they cobbled together a first side? Thank God we got the first track out of that...

And, uh, that pretty much sums up the entire album in a nutshell. Pretty much all the emotional resonance, the sparkling musicianship, and the best material is located in the first track and the first (second?) movement of "Echoes." The two filler numbers are fun, and the two ballads are unnecessary at best, boring at worst.

You know what, I'm sorry, I'm listening to the album again. "San Tropez" is clearly the best song here. Screw that dreadful "One of" thing, THIS is the finest Floyd number...okay, maybe not, but it's better than "Echoes," right?

The Whistler | 3/5 |

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