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Pink Floyd - Animals CD (album) cover

ANIMALS

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.52 | 2381 ratings

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riesling
5 stars This is not only a "concept album" in itself - it is the culmination of a long-running Pink Floyd theme. The seed of "Animals" was planted in "Dark Side of the Moon" with the song "Money" - more specifically, with the lyric "Money is the root of all evil, so they say, but if you ask for a raise, they're giving none away!". This seed subsequently grew into a plant in "Wish You Were Here" with the song "Welcome To The Machine" - heavy lyrics about a young, innocent person who is just entering the evil corporate world (as illustrated by the album's cover art). Finally, this plant reached fully flowering adulthood as the "Animals" album.

Its first and last tracks - "Pigs on the Wing" - define the concept: the life of a married man in the corporate world. In Part One, the opening track, the man talks to his wife about their mutual oppression by "Pigs on the Wing" - a representation of society's most powerful elites, the CEOs and politicians who create and maintain the rules of society (as illustrated by the album's cover art - a high-flying pig overseeing a spirit-crushing, heavily polluting coal-fired power plant) - he is deeply thankful that the love that he and his wife share is enough to keep them both happy and sane, despite the evil situation that these "Pigs on the Wing" have created and in which both husband and wife are trapped. In Part Two, the closing track, the man reaffirms the deep love that he and his wife share and reaffirms that despite the dark, heavy situation detailed in the album's central tracks, he doesn't feel alone or dragged down - instead, he feels safe. Even though he is one of the "Dogs" (middle managers & supervisors) described in a central track, he has a "place to bury his bone" (this is a metaphor for the sexual comfort his wife provides), and the marital home is his "shelter from Pigs on the Wing". Properly analyzed, "Animals" is an extremely powerful affirmation of the resilience of the human spirit.

The second track, "Dogs", analyzes life in the brutally competitive "dog eat dog" corporate world - it is the direct sequel to "Welcome To The Machine". Incisive, highly critical, and painfully accurate, it illuminates the life-destroying nature of a corporate career. The third track, "Pigs (Three Different Ones) turns the microscope on powerful social rulemakers in England (American listeners may easily be confused by the reference to "Whitehouse", which refers not to the residence of the President of the United States but rather to a female social conservative in England named Mary Whitehouse!). The fourth track, "Sheep", focuses finally on average low-level workers and envisions that they will ultimately realize the evil nature of their situations and the strength in numbers that they have, and thus rise up in revolt to attack the Dogs and the Pigs with the goal of overthrowing the evil corporate system. The "Animals" album is most likely Pink Floyd's serious attempt to inform the "Dogs" and the "Sheep" (the "Pigs" are viewed contemptuously - anyone who is a "Pig" is considered unreformable) and thereby incite them to create a more humane world in which everyone can live happily, free of oppression. The alternative to such a revolution is the situation described in "Pigs on the Wing" - the deep love between husband and wife is enough to keep people safe and happy, despite the evil world that surrounds them.

Musically, in addition to the well-known awesomeness of Pink Floyd's post-Syd musical style, "Animals" forcefully reminds me of early Black Sabbath work, in that it employs the bass to very powerful effect, especially in "Sheep".

Although its heavy, radical lyrics turn off some listeners, Animals is THE masterpiece of Pink Floyd's discography. This is admittedly a thinking person's album - there is some intellectual heavy lifting involved in truly understanding it. But even if one buys it only for the music, it's awesome work. "Animals" is unquestionably a world-class masterpiece that everyone can and should enjoy, with the possible exception of "Pigs" like England's censorious Mary Whitehouse!

riesling | 5/5 |

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