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Pink Floyd - See Emily Play CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.35 | 101 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "There is no other day, let's try it another way"

"You'll lose your mind and games for May" It's a bit creepy Syd put these lines together when some felt that it was around this very time in '67 where he finally went beyond the edge and went blank. Gilmour saw him a couple weeks after the Queen Elizabeth show and claimed the lights were out. Of course there is a lot of speculation and room for debate about the true story of Syd, and how much of his "worn-out welcome" was random, and how much was precision. I take the latter view that Syd was much more lucid than the myth-building magazines crow about, as does his family, but those stories don't make as much cash for other people. Like Morrison, Barrett is worth more as a tragic mythical figure than an eccentric musician or troubled person who desired a simpler existence out of the spotlight. There were problems, but both life stories have been sensationalized and abused by others.

The second single (Emily/Scarecrow) has to be one of the greatest singles ever, I'm not kidding when I say it rivals Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields as the most sumptuous psych-pop ever laid down. A swirly and dreamy song of impressions and memories about "a hung-up girl", it again finds the band pretty edgy and tight, Syd's raucous slide guitar squeals, Roger's up-front bass and Nick's brisk pace. What makes it is the combination of the whimsical melody and the lovely harmony vocals, here bringing a childlike nostalgia to the listener. It's not all fantasy. Waters recalled that the woods from the song were a very specific wood on the road to the Gog Magog Hills, an area where both he and Syd (and lots of other kids) played as children.

Scarecrow as well brings an absolute dream state to vivid life. I recently turned a friend on to Piper and it was Scarecrow that knocked his socks off. The song is so whimsical and weird. It features Barrett strumming a jangly guitar along to this clicky percussion that is supposed to be the Scarecrow moving or a horse trotting? All of this features an "airy" organ drifting over the top, Wright really making an important contribution to the vibe. These tracks are little hallucinatory storytelling pop masterpieces in my opinion, yet I don't feel 5 stars is appropriate for singles. "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play" are not on Piper, but you can find them on Relics along with other rare tracks.

Much of Barrett's music and his thoughts were tied up in his Cambridge childhood, which he clung to for security. One night in London he asked a friend if she was going home for the weekend and she said Yes. He replied "you know, that's all I want to do. I just want to go home." He got his wish and lived the life he wanted, according to his sister Rosemary. For those interested in Syd, read her take sometime. It differs quite vastly in some of the conclusions made about him:

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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