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

WISH YOU WERE HERE

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.62 | 2918 ratings

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FloydWright
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I recognize that part of what I have to say will be unpopular--but I would like to start off by saying that I do have a high respect for this album, even though there are two significant flaws that I can't just ignore. With that out of the way, I'd like to say that this album is a fantastic listen on headphones, especially for those who enjoy rich and varied keyboard work. RICK WRIGHT shines here, and if you enjoy his work, you're in for a treat. Minimoog, Rhodes, Clavinet, all the way to good old fashioned acoustic piano--it's all here.

First, I'd like to say that "Welcome to the Machine" is totally flawless. Although extremely unnerving (especially the final part, to any of you who live in areas where there is a tornado siren!), the machine-effects are a wonderful opening and closing to the song, as well as providing an eerie bassline throughout. The chord structures are quite innovative here, helping to set the oppressive mood, and is it possible to say enough about the synthesiser effects? The delay just makes it sound all the more impressive. One has to wonder if (given the beginning friction in the band) RICK WRIGHT perhaps should have had a credit on this song. Of course, ROGER WATERS does earn a credit honestly--the excellent lyrics reflect the ensnarement of the young victim (SYD BARRETT) in the world of stardom, a role for which he is completely unprepared.

This theme is continued well into "Have a Cigar", a much more traditional rock number that has, perhaps, even better lyrics. Given the continued disintegration of the music industry in the 21st century, this song seems just as current...the only difference would be that instead, the slimeball record executive (sung excellently by Roy Harper, the only non-Floydian ever to lead on a PF song with the exception of Clare Torry) would be creating a "star" out of a no-talent hack, rather than by abusing a talented band like the FLOYD. David Gilmour is really in his groove here, and when it comes to the missing credit on this song, I'd put my bets on him--it seems like he had a lot to contribute here.

"Shine On You Crazy Diamond" is both the location of the most wonderful work on the entire album, and one of the most significant (to me) flaws. I should first say that everyone's playing is superb here, but most especially the guitar and keys. Every note is gorgeous. Parts 6-9 in particular are an absolute keyboards extravaganza. Almost every conceivable sort of keyboard gets in there, and even the bassline is almost totally taken over by a keyboard--that stacatto sound is a Clavinet. In fact, it's my suspicion that everything from 6:30 forward on the second half of SOYCD was almost entirely written by RICK WRIGHT. (If you're interested in more of his laid-back, jazzy approach, so underused by the FLOYD, I suggest trying to track down a copy of his first solo album, entitled Wet Dream. You won't regret it.)

The one trouble with SOYCD, in my opinion, is the vocals. Part of my bias may be due to the fact that I'm more used to the versions sung by DAVID GILMOUR (both the PULSE and David Gilmour in Concert versions). It just seems to me that ROGER WATERS is far too snide for a song that calls for a more wistful, melancholy touch--this is a remembrance of someone absent from their lives, not a bitter-at-the-world song like "Pigs", and WATERS does not seem to (at this particular point in his career) be able to adapt successfully to it. The other--and in my opinion much more serious--flaw on this album has to do with the studio version of "Wish You Were Here". I simply can't stand to listen to it most of the time. While the song premise is good--pleasant chords and melody, and effective lyrics, I think the problem is in the mixing. The song is simply too dry in the studio version...the vocals sound so tinny that you'd think the "radio" section never stopped, and the acoustic guitar also lacks a certain warmth. Furthermore, I think this is a song that desperately needs the intimacy that a live performance can offer. Yes, I do understand that this coldness may be due to the intended "theme of absence" in the album, but this version is still not my preference.

While it hurts to give an album with so many impressive parts this rating, I still have to do it in the interests of honesty. These aren't the kind of flaws I find myself able to "acquire a taste for", as I ended up doing for the SYMPHONY X masterpiece V: The New Mythology Suite in a matter of only a few months. Years have passed and my opinion has not moved an inch.

However, I must say to you--this IS a must in any respectable record collection along with The Dark Side of the Moon. Especially if you are at all an audiophile or keyboard enthusiast, don't pass this up!

FloydWright | 4/5 |

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