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Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here CD (album) cover

WISH YOU WERE HERE

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.62 | 2803 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars This is one of those albums where I’ve never quite understood how it came to be so revered among progheads (and potheads, but on that count the attraction is a bit more apparent). This one hit me mid- stride, sandwiched between the pubescent awakening that ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ brought and the multimedia teenage experience of a hundred midnight movie showings of ‘The Wall’. Compared to these ‘Wish You Were Here’ struck me in my teen years as sort of a mellow psych album with punk lyrical sentiments. It was probably better than the majority of prog albums released that year. But I was a young teenager and frankly Patti Smith’s ‘Horses’ and even Queen’s ‘A Night at the Opera’ blew me away a lot more than this one did at the time, and I have to say that it hasn’t aged as well as Dark Side or even ‘Animals’ (although neither did Patti Smith, but that’s another story). Just my opinion, but it’s my review so that’s the opinion that matters at the moment.

All the stoned kids were totally tripped out on the long, meandering saxophone and lazy keyboard forays, but for me Gilmour’s guitar work wasn’t nearly as amazing as on Dark Side. For the most part he was just playing a rather unexceptional form of the blues behind Waters’ tortured vocals lamenting whatever his problem was back then. And his weird, almost country lead-in to the title track seemed really out-of-place then and even now.

The fact seemed to escape most listeners that the nearly forty-five minute album contained only about 600 words of vocals (this review is longer than that), and the instrumental parts made up more than a half-hour of the music. This would be okay if the music were really complex or stimulating, but really the band seemed to have made this record simply to give potheads something to listen to while they cleaned their stash on the album cover. I wonder how many original pressings have tar stains and roach burns on their back covers?

It probably didn’t help that I had the 8-track version though, which was exceptionally muddled with tape hiss and had those annoying fadeouts and head clicks that appeared right in the middle of songs for every track. It’s really amazing those damn things lasted as long as they did, and it’s hard to feel too sorry for the music industry considering the hundreds of millions of dollars they made off that archaic technology.

The other odd thing is that my favorite track (“Have a Cigar”) wasn’t even sung by a member of the band. That always seemed very strange to me for a band that really didn’t have a history of that sort of thing. But then again, that one had a track click in the middle of it too and it wasn’t until I saw a vinyl version much later that I realized the end of track two and the beginning of track three were supposed to be one song. Makes a lot more sense when you here the thing on CD now.

But when EMI remastered the thing I bought it like everyone else, although mostly just because I didn’t have the 8-track anymore (or my original Submariner issue #1 or my Joe Namath football card) thanks to my parents’ ambitious summer garage sales. I’ve played the CD a number of times the past few weeks – not sure why, just for nostalgia’s sake I suppose, but it still doesn’t do much for me. Maybe some day I’ll throw it on and some faded memory will come around like a flashback and get me all excited, but I doubt it. I certainly understand people who grew up on Floyd would put this one up their on their favorites list if they find themselves reminiscing about memories of when they discovered it, but for me there’s no way this is a five star album. I’d almost give it four stars because it’s as good as other albums I’ve given four stars to. But then again the bar should be a lot higher for these guys because of what they showed they were capable of back then, and seven months in the studio should have been enough time for them to put together something that would knock my tonsils into my toes. But this album doesn’t do that, so I’ll go with three stars and just assume I must have missed something somewhere along the way. Oh well.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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