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Pink Floyd - Meddle CD (album) cover

MEDDLE

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.30 | 2165 ratings

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RedNightmareKing
5 stars 1971 was a landmark year for progressive rock. Keith Tippett released two groundbreaking albums, one with his personal group and another with his monstrous 50 piece big band, Centipede. Yes released one of their best albums, Fragile, easily seating them as a prog powerhouse. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer unleashed the keyboard-laden Tarkus upon the masses, exposing Emerson's virtuosity and musical abilities. King Crimson hit a turning point with their release of Islands, splitting their fanbase. Genesis began their short-lived foray into progressive rock stardom with Nursery Cryme, which contained fan favorites The Musical Box and Return of the Giant Hogweed. But, one album stood out... and that was Pink Floyd's newest album, Meddle.

Meddle truly marks a turning point for the Floyd. The previous year, they experimented with avant-garde music and longer suites with their release of Atom Heart Mother. The psychedelia from their years with Barrett are quickly becoming a thing of the past. However, Meddle was the "stepping stone" from their poppy psychedelia and avant-garde experiments into legitimate progressive rock. This really has embedded Meddle as one of my absolute all time favorite progressive rock albums, and number one Floyd album. Onto the tracks!

The thunderous bass of Waters creates a heavy atmosphere in One of These Days. Wright's ominous organ chords truly add to the mysterious and dark nature of the track. Strange effects from Gilmour lead into the garbled mumbling of the famous threat (which was actually Mason's processed voice) "One of these days, I'm going to cut you into little pieces". Gilmour then proceeds to lay down a ripping slide tone, while the band still jams around Waters's bassline. After a few seconds, the band stops quite abruptly. An excellent track!

A serene guitar line opens the next track, A Pillow of Winds. The dark atmosphere of the previous track is all but gone. Gilmour's soothing voice and peaceful guitar playing relax the listener. A different, more sad sound comes in near the middle of the song, but it quickly moves back to the peaceful sounds from earlier. Not the best track (especially preceding One of These Days), but would not have been out of place on an album like More or Atom Heart Mother.

Fearless opens with one excellent riff after another. The guitar work from Gilmour here is superb! The football audience saying "you'll never walk alone" in the background adds to the hopeful nature of this track. The lyrics deal with stepping out of your shell and facing authority without fear. The only drawback to this great song is the last minute of the football audience again, this time a little more raucous. A better ending would have made this one of the all time best Floyd songs, but it's still very good nonetheless.

San Tropez runs back to the relaxed nature of A Pillow of Winds, with a nice acoustic opening. Waters's unique voice really drives this track, creating an atmosphere similar to sitting on a beach and basking in the sun. Many Floyd fans pass this song off as "a Barrett ripoff" or "a novelty track", but I humbly disagree. I really consider it to be one of the first Waters solo works (which I adore), and somewhat laying groundwork for the future of the Floyd and Waters himself.

Seamus is one of those love/hate tracks, but mostly hate. It's a more bluesy recording, with Gilmour at the helm. A dog named Seamus (which belonged to one of the producers, if I recall correctly) is howling along in the background. This gives the song a more "sitting on the porch with my guitar and dog" feel, giving it a humorous and down-home feel. It may seem out of place on this album, but it shows the more down-to-earth side of the Floyd.

Echoes. Oh my god, Echoes. This song is my personal all-time favorite. The 23 minute monster opens with a submarine-esque piano sound, played by Wright. It sets the mysterious tone for the song. The note is played a few more times, with Gilmour eventually adding in some smooth guitar work. The whole band eventually joins in, creating a soaring melody before going back into a slow jam. The melody comes flying back in, and the verse begins. Gilmour's smooth voice tracked along with Wright's angelic tone creates a wonderful feeling, and so much emotion. The chorus begins, and the main riff comes crashing down, adding to the lyrics and making one feel like they are truly in the ocean. The verse returns, and the chorus comes again. The main riff falls upon us again, and after a few plays... the magic starts. Gilmour proceeds to lay out one of his best and most emotional solos ever. After Gilmour's spot, the main riff is played a few more times. Suddenly, the band begins a jam session. The group is playing so tightly around Gilmour's second solo, with Waters's funky bass and Mason's precise drumming. After a few minutes of jamming, Gilmour starts to slide down into a darker area. The band fades out, and all that's left is a wind sound. Gilmour starts to create his iconic seagull effects, which are layered with the wind and crow sounds. After a while, Gilmour starts (again) up a straight riff. He continues strumming a few different notes, while Wright brings back the opening piano notes. Mason eventually joins in. At about 16 minutes into the song, one of the most iconic Floyd moments happens. Gilmour launches into another emotional riff, signaling the end of the second jam and the outro of the song. After the riff, the band goes back into the straight-note jam for a little. Suddenly, the final verse starts up again. The chorus arrives, and the main riff is played once more. The jams pretty hard on these last few riffs, and eventually slows down. Gilmour begins his final solo with emotion, almost with a sad tone for the ending of the song. The band jams once again to the end. A spacey/launch sounding effect closes the song, and the second side of the record. An amazing journey.

5 stars to the best Floyd album ever. This album is truly the milestone of Pink Floyd's extensive career, showing their maturity into progressive rock icons. From heavy bass riffs to soft guitar, and hopeful lyrics and lengthy jam sessions... this is the essential Pink Floyd record.

RedNightmareKing | 5/5 |

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