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Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.62 | 3752 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The only PINK FLOYD concert I ever attended was during their tour to support "Momentary Lapse" (Before then, I was too young; afterwards, I didn't really see any point). I and my bandmates, and respective girlfriends, got a late start because we were slow packing up our instruments from a typically sloppy performance that afternoon at a 'battle of the bands' across town. When we finally got to the show (Carrier Dome, Syracuse NY, 1987), we were afraid we'd missed the opening and were feeling very rushed and worn out. Suddenly, as we were picking our way through the crowds in the halls, the first sweeping synth notes of "Shine on you Crazy Diamond" faded in. There was a silence from the crowd, and then a frenzy to get to the seats. Anyway, whenever I hear the opening to the album, I get nostalgic for those times. I think it is the single most perfect beginning to any album (one that I want to really LISTEN to, not just put on while I'm doing something else) and it draws me in every time. The album itself is an astonishing evolution from "Dark Side", even more so than that album was from it's predecessors. The clarity of the production allows you to hear everything that is happening; from beginning to end, never blending into a 'wash of sound' the way previous releases had (sometimes in a good way, sometimes not). There are fewer musical ideas here, the band instead concentrating on improvising around a few central ideas- a tactic that worked here much better than on "The Wall", but like every band under the sun, single albums always seem to turn out better than doubles. The overall sound here is more synthetic, with the good old VCS3 getting a workout- and not just for weird sounds this time. Gilmour's guitar sounds less spacey and more bluesy on this album, providing an organic counterpoint that keeps everything from seeming too synthetic (except, appropriately, on "Welcome to the Machine"). The vocal harmonies are tighter, and a bit more impassioned; Roy Harper sounds right at home in the band on "Have a Cigar" (in fact, I always assumed it was Gilmour the first few times I heard it, before reading the credits). Was it planned out or just ironic in hindsight that in a work about Barrett's self-imposed exile from reality they employed the vocals of another musical 'crazy'? The title track has been played countless times (on the radio, but also by legions of guitar players, including me) and yet is so perfect a song that I never get tired of it (again, unlike "The Wall"). Then they dive back into the main theme, getting a little funkier with it, eventually transforming into a slow, sad, spacey jam, and then the album concludes as it began: a sweeping synth sound, but this time in a major key to dispel some of the dark mood. I hate to say it's not my favorite PF album- there's way too much competition- but it is a flawlessly realized and completely satisfying experience from start to finish.
James Lee | 4/5 |


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