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Pink Floyd - Animals CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.52 | 3745 ratings

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3 stars Where The Wall had weak music and a strong concept, Animals is the reverse: music that is for the most part excellent, but a concept that really should not have been bound together so tightly, or perhaps even foregone completely. This is where ROGER WATERS, to my ear, first made a highly aggressive attempt to force music (and certain band members) to the back burner, and it seems to, lyrically and conceptually, have done more damage than good. The internal friction within the band ultimately cost them dearly. Their previous work, Wish You Were Here, would be their last truly balanced album until The Division Bell.

I should mention, though, that this IS a very nicely done album from a musical standpoint, despite the places where WATERS seems to begin the trend (brought to fruition on The Wall) of stripping out the mystery and the ambience of the music, no longer allowing it (or its writers) to speak for itself. Easily, "Dogs" is the most spectacular of the songs on this albums. In fact, I credit GILMOUR's fascinating acoustic guitar playing here for inspiring me to take up the instrument--that is just how good he is here. The chord sequence is mesmerising...and that's putting it mildly. Also, despite the fact that WRIGHT isn't even granted a single credit on this album (even GILMOUR only gets one!), he does utterly jaw-dropping things with a synthesiser in the interlude of this song, which may in fact be the best segment on the entire album to listen to. THIS is what makes Animals worth purchasing--no doubt in my mind.

"Pigs" is an interesting, though somewhat less innovative number that (IF you totally believe the credits, which I don't) was written by ROGER WATERS. Perhaps its most notable features are GILMOUR's talk-box solo. There's also the uncharacteristically blunt, angry piano work from WRIGHT, which makes one imagine him fuming silently in the background over the course the band was trying to take without him. "Sheep" is notable for the Rhodes intro by WRIGHT, for which, along with other synth and effect contributions on this song, I think he really ought to be credited. Also an interesting sonic trick is the blending of WATERS' voice into the synth. But ultimately, the pre-Animals concert version, "Raving and Drooling", was far superior...which gets to the root of the problem with Animals in the lyrical and conceptual department.

Animals, I believe, is the concept that never should have been. Following the success of The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, WATERS seems to have felt compelled to follow immediately with a third album in the same vein. Not yet having envisioned The Wall, he seems to have had a lot of very adolescent angst with nowhere to go. Since an album consisting simply of pure ranting and venting would not do, he tried to cobble together a concept by assigning the categories of people he didn't like the names of animals, a move that would appear to parallel Orwell's Animal Farm. Unfortunately, this only succeeded in showing just how contrived the "concept" really was--it may in fact have been better for him to just leave the animal references out, and wait a bit longer for a more innovative concept to come along...or best of all, just relax and jam. The lyrics become laughable, in their display of blind, immature, and pointless anger...and yes, I admit I am biased because of what that anger did both on and off the stage. And I also admit to bias because of the bastardization of the 23rd Psalm during "Sheep"--the centerpiece of the song, no less...that went one too far and I think it was gratuitous, to say the least. He could've made his point without actually perverting a text that many, in two religions, hold sacred.

Probably the worst thing that could've happened to Animals was "Pigs on the Wing". These annoyingly simplistic guitar songs attempt to tie the album together, giving it the same cyclic nature as the previous two concept albums. But instead, they come off as nothing but bookends...and not even impressive ones, at that. The second one, especially, is a problem because it turns around and completely flies in the face of the entire atmosphere WATERS has been building over the course of the album. It's a syrupy-sweet love song, of all things, which is very clearly just tacked onto the end of the album.

In my opinion, Animals did have potential, especially with the great music in the middle three songs, but in his obsessive haste, ROGER WATERS instead started the process of driving PINK FLOYD into the ground, which culminated in the breakup after The Wall>. This is an interesting album in many regards--but make sure to pick up Meddle, The Dark Side of the Moon, and Wish You Were Here first, to understand what the four-member PINK FLOYD was at its finest.

FloydWright | 3/5 |


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