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

WISH YOU WERE HERE

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.62 | 2847 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars Enduring, masterful, powerful, unforgettable.

Wish You Were Here is one of the greatest prog albums of 1975 which seems to be the pinnacle for the golden era of prog, culminating in the artists best work. PF had released their master work DSOTM that stormed the prog world and remains one of the finest albums in the history of rock. How do you follow up on this success? A conceptual album with one of the most endearing songs of the PF canon and one of the most celebrated album covers of all time - Wish You Were Here.

These albums have left an indelible thumbprint for other artists to try and emulate. Wish You Were Here accomplished the monumental task of following up DSOTM with an incredible lengthy introduction preparing the listener for what is to come. The tranquility conveyed on "Shine On" is astounding and so aptly performed live with exquisite visual imagery. The track opens with a patient, ambience created by sounds of a peaceful stream, a rowing boat, and the distinct keyboard talents of Wright. The music takes us downstream as we enter Syd Barret's jaded conscious thoughts, echoed by the band members themselves. The track is an ode to the twisted genius of Syd and moves through several sections as a multi movement suite orchestrated to perfection. The echoing guitar represents a four octave motif that Floydians have grown to adore. Its pure beauty is complimented when Gilmour chimes in "Remember when you were young..." The fragmentation of the beat midway through alludes to the fragmented status of the group since Barret's departure. Indeed this is a beatific paean to the troubled artist who recently travelled to "the great gig in the sky".

"Welcome to the Machine" begins with the mechanized droning of a factory machine, and seems to be a more blatant stab at autocratic society than anything on "Animals" or "the Wall" where humans are forced to obey only to be grinded out as mincemeat; mindless autonomyns. The theme is simple and runs through most PF albums: Absence of a band member has led to success but at what price? The music business is likened to a meat processor, similar to the one in "The Wall" movie. They are grinded out under the pressure of the education system. In "Machine" the music industry processes and manufactures rock artists for their own means, but when they have fulfilled their purpose, the naïve artists are chewed up and spat out to make room for 'the next big thing'. The golden mechanized glove on the cover echoes this thought. The man catches alight as he shakes hands now that his deal with the devil has doomed him to extinction. PF kept attempting to rebel against the golden handshake of the music business, still somehow retaining millions of record sales. This is an achievement in itself. "Have a Cigar" continues this cynical examination of the music business; full of clichés and innuendos, the lyrics stab at the way the industry elevates artists to drain every cent out of them only to destroy them at the first sign of individual innovation. The rotting carcass of the music artist is left in a smoldering heap so that the new talent can rise out of the ashes in its place. PF likely felt like this after the success of DSOTM - suddenly a band that was shunned is sought after by every label. Thankfully PF refused to sell out on this album and it still managed to carve a place on the charts for a number of weeks.

Part of the reason for its success is the single "Wish You Were Here" with one of the most played, most recognized acoustic intros ever. The lyrics are as beautiful as the arrangement. Waters calls to the positive side of his dark nature. There are 2 sides to human nature.

The album closes with another segment of "Shine On" bringing the album full circle. The journey is complete making way for "Animals".

Wish You Were Here is a wonderful album that tends to grow on you with every listen. The album cemented PF's reputation of masters of the prog genre. No PF or prog fan should be without it - it is simply a masterpiece!

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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