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Pink Floyd - Animals CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.52 | 3379 ratings

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5 stars God, I am finding it VERY difficult as to what rating to give this one, and ultimately, I think five out of five stars is a very fitting one for this effort. The Floyd did better work, but not by much. The crowning achievement in Pink Floyd history as far as I am concerned is THE WALL, but trust me, folks, if you are wanting something in the same vein as their magnum opus, but something a little shorter and more direct, ANIMALS is for you.

We begin this journy with ''Pigs on the Wing Part 1'', an interesting little acoustic guitar soung which is only Roger Waters playing and singing. The tune is nice and simple, but completely misleading as to what will soon follow, because the listener is in for a special treat!

As soon as ''Pigs'' ends, ''Dogs'' begins, which starts out as a fade-in, and also the first appearance of Gilmour on guitar. This riff, which is played repeatedly as Gilmour sings the first verse, is oddly upbeat for Pink Floyd, but it just works, especial since the lyrics in this particuler entry don't necessarily scream 'happy thoughts'. Here, Waters' lyrics speak of people's need to take what they can when they can, and how the opposing forces at be lie and scam their way into having success, but in the end, it amounts to nothing, because the most important things in life were never obtained after all. I particularly like the line: ''Hide your head in the sand. Just another sad old man, all alone and dying of cancer!''.

At this point in the song, Gilmour plays arguably one of the greatest solos the guitar has ever had the pleasure of playing, once again proving (at least to me) that Gilmour is the greatest guitarist who has ever lived. At this point, the song goes into a very long, but pleasurable instrumental breakdown, yet again displaying Gilmour's genious on his instrument. Personally, I think the stuff he plays during this song is the greatest stuff ever done on a guitar, but that is probably a biased opinion, since I have clearly not heard everything done on guitar.

The song then becomes placid, and shifts gears to compliment Water's mournfull vocals, stating: ''And when you lose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown . . . '' This is my favorite part of the track, as the melody is particularly tasty. Gilmour then harmonizes with him, and the song builds again, ending this particular section of it with a resounding climax. The final line, ''Dragged down by the stone!'' leaves a trail behind it, as the word 'stone' continues to echo throughout the next breakdown of the song for quite awhile before ultimately fading away.

During this section, we get to hear some of the first truly space-rock sounds on the album, as the synths and fucked-out guitar truly give an out-of-this-world feel to the interlude. In the distance, we hear a collection of sound effects that are oh-so-fitting to the song, but you can find out what they are for yourself when you listen to it. Finally, the song seems to start over, with the same opening riff from before coming back into play, and the traditional verse is sung once again by Waters. This continues until the final shifting of gears within the song, and we are left listening to a series of short, similar lines of lyrics a la ''Eclipse'', backed by some truly heavy, poerfull guitar chords. The final lyric in this epic (and the best song on the album) is ''Who was dragged down by the stone?''.

There you have it; seventeen minutes and four seconds of Pink Floyd at their very best. Everything is there, trading of vocal duty between Waters and Gilmour, perfect balance of trippy ambience and straightforward rock, and no showoff-y moments from any members of the band. Really great.

''Pigs (three different ones)'' is the most 'cheeky' and aggressive of the songs in terms of the lyrics, basically slamming all of the people of importance in the world for being the way they are. This song is the most catchy and will most likely be the one to play first for the people who aren't all that familiar with this album, as it holds a sort of charm that appeals to most casual listeners. There is one profaine lyric in the song that some people may find objectional, but then again what are those people doing listening to good music anyway?

''Sheep'' - It's obvious to me what this song is about (Mindless flocking of the masses without foresight or individual thought), and the Dogs are even mentioned again, completeling the concept and confirming that all of the songs are inter-related. There is an especially nice section of this track that features a synthesized voice stating oh-so-subtly Waters' personal view on organized religion. There are certainly some of the most intense moments in Floyd history to be found in this track, including some passionate screaming from Waters, and once again some great playing from Gilmour. In all this excitement I forgot to give equal time to Wright and Mason, but trust me, they also shine very brightly on this album. Wright's real moment is during the synth breakdown of ''Dogs'', and Mason's skill is really prominent on this track. The outro riff of this song is one of my favorite moments on the album, and holds a sense of hope in it, even though the album's mood as a whole is very grim. This shows that there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel in life, and it is up to the individual to choose which way to go; toward the exit, or deeper into the darkness.

''Pigs on the Wing Part 2'' is more or less the same exact thing as part one, with only slight lyrical variation, and it works as a great way to close the album on a lighter note, which always leaves me drooling for more.

This album is Pink Floyd's second best as far as I am concerned, and it contains the least amount of filler out of any other Floyd experience. In fact, it has absolutely none to speak of. This album is what I like to think of as the appetizer before the main dish (The Wall), and it is even the very best in some people's minds. It is certainly the best Pink Floyd single album ever produced, but I have a feeling that had THE WALL not been a double album, it would be taking ANIMALS' place in that regard, at least in my mind. But overall this is a great piece of work, not to be overlooked by any progressive music fan. 5 Stars.

JLocke | 5/5 |


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