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Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs CD (album) cover


Syd Barrett


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3.63 | 181 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Produced from torturous sessions - with much help from fellow Floydians Roger Waters and David Gilmour, as well as the Soft Machine guesting on a couple of tracks - Syd Barrett's first solo album conceals within its fairytale lyrics a harrowing insight into mental illness. In the themes of isolation, alienation, and separation pervading songs like Dark Globe or Late Night, Barrett acknowledges - if obliquely - the stresses and torments that had overtaken his musical career, and in doing so offers an insight into that strange and troubled place his mental state had brought him to.

Whether Barrett was schizophrenic, deeply depressed, or simply stressed out and confused from a drug-filled and frenetic lifestyle will be a matter of speculation for as long as his career is remembered; what cannot be denied, though, is the genuine feeling communicated in these simple, stripped-down, beautiful songs. It is tremendously difficult to understand, for those who have not experienced issues similar to Syd's, exactly how mental illness feels from the inside, and it's often extremely difficult for sufferers to express it. There are those who would consider this album exploitative of Syd's condition, but I think on balance it would have done Syd a far worse disservice to silence him by discouraging the production of the album. If it sometimes makes for uncomfortable listening, it's because it opens our eyes to ideas and issues which we all too often prefer not to acknowledge. I think it's Syd's finest musical statement.

Warthur | 5/5 |


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