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Pink Floyd - Apples And Oranges CD (album) cover

APPLES AND ORANGES

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.77 | 57 ratings

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patrickq
Prog Reviewer
2 stars "Apples and Oranges" / "Paint Box" was Pink Floyd's last release while singer-guitarist Syd Barrett was with the band (though he did appear on a few tracks on the group's 1968 album A Saucerful of Secrets).

One side of each of Pink Floyd's first three non-album singles is about a girl, and here it's "Apples and Oranges," an opposites-attract ditty in the psychedelic-pop tradition of celebrating the mundane. "Apples and Oranges" borrows some chord changes from the group's "Arnold Layne," but it lacks that song's inventiveness. Barrett nearly sounds bored in places ("she's on time again"), while in others (i.e., "I catch her by the eye, then I stop and have a think?") he sounds like he's aping the Monkees - - although one imagines a nod-and-wink sort of aping. The song is, of course, inane, and it seems that Barrett might've been at the point where he felt the whole business of making these records was inane. Indeed, within a month of this single's release in November 1967, Barrett's replacement, David Gilmour, was hired, and Barrett was out by the end of January.

Accordingly, as it seems, the b-side, "Paint Box" was the first song on a Pink Floyd single not to be written by Barrett; here pianist Richard Wright is the composer and lead vocalist. It's not terrible as a b-side, but it must've been clear that Barrett would be difficult to replace as a writer. Apparently the group originally hoped to retain Barrett as a non-performing songwriter, but his mental health continued to deteriorate. Prior to "Paint Box," the group had released fourteen songs on singles and LPs - - one written by bassist Roger Waters, two instrumentals credited to the whole band, and the remaining eleven written by Barrett. "Paint Box," recorded in a day, is wispy from a compositional standpoint, but in my opinion Wright handles the vocals well, and drummer Nick Mason is able to show off a bit on the tom-toms.

"Apples and Oranges" / "Paint Box" is a pretty pedestrian single, and sadly, not the best send-off for Syd Barrett, who may not have completely understood or accepted his dismissal; he occasionally showed up at the group's shows and recording sessions through 1970, during which time he made two solo records with substantial help from Waters, Gilmour, and Wright. He quit music for good in 1974. Meanwhile, Pink Floyd, decoupled from Barrett's songwriting, but also from his exasperating antics, embarked on its five-year journey to international rock stardom. [2 stars on the 4-star scale for singles - - see review page for scale]

patrickq | 2/5 |

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