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Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.60 | 4194 ratings

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5 stars Hey everybody, look at me – I’m writing a Pink Floyd review! Go figure.

This is one of those albums where the memories and social and cultural significance probably matter as much as the album itself. It’s hard to imagine that anyone who is reading this right now does not have many, many fond memories of special events or times of their life or relationships or epiphanies where this album played a part. It’s been re-released God knows how many times in different formats and on different media. It set an unbreakable mark of more than fifteen years on the Billboard top- selling albums charts. Let’s put that in perspective: when this album released and first hit the charts it was the spring of 1973. I was just approaching puberty and hadn’t yet discovered facial hair or girls. By the time it finally dipped just below the charts, I had been through college, a tour in the Marine Corps, married, and brought my first son into the world. And that was nearly twenty years ago. It is still one of the top-selling albums for EMI and on Amazon.

We had gone from Richard Nixon being reelected U.S. President to George H.W. Bush succeeding Ronald Reagan in that post. The Vietnam War was winding to a close in 1973; by 1989 the Soviets were rolling out of Afghanistan and the Americans were rolling into Iraq (the first time). The week after this album released the World Trade Center officially opened in New York City, and the U.S. and China had just agreed to establish formal relations. Today the towers are gone and the U.S. and China are the largest trading partners in the history of the world. The laptop computer I’m typing this review on is 1,200 times more powerful and has 1,000 times more storage capacity than “supercomputers” used by NASA in 1973 that took up an entire floor of a building and required a whole team of engineers to maintain it (and which are now on display in the Smithsonian Institute’s science museum). Bruce Lee was still alive, and Sam Tyler had appeared.

In the latter seventies my friends and I flocked to “laser-light” shows at our local planetarium, which were nothing more than crappy laser lights fixed to an analog turntable and spun around while being flashed through paper plates with oddly-shaped holes cut in them, all while we sat in the dark and listened to this album being blasted over the P.A. system. This was high art, in every sense of the word. (I'm a first-roar guy myself, by the way - it's much more clear than the third one).

I still have my old Harvest vinyl edition, purchased in the summer of 1973 as a daring challenge to my Anabaptist parent’s authority. I kept it hidden in the garage for the most part, and mostly only got to listen to it when I could sneak it over to a friend’s house. There was no way in hell Pink Floyd ever heard of Montana, U.S.A., let alone ever considered touring there, so this was as close as I would get.

The foldout cover has held up well all these years, wrapped in a sturdy plastic sleeve and carted around these thirty-four years through family moves across the Midwest; back across the Heartland when the time came for college; into my brother’s closet while I toiled through boot camp; in a footlocker during a twelve-year military career; and across five states and three moves nestled in an apple crate since then. I’m playing it now for the first time in years, although the Mobile Fidelity CD version I purchased several years ago gets rotated a fair bit, especially on driving trips. That son who was born around the time this album left the charts? He’s now off to college himself, and has his own copy tucked away in his collection. The next son after him has it on his iPod, and the little one will get his copy soon. How many albums can you say that about?

This music requires no introduction – every single soul reading this knows it by heart. My favorites? There’s no such thing with this album. But I know that “Us and Them” changed my life when it opened my smoke-filled eyes to the possibilities in the world around me more than thirty years ago. Is this an anti-war song, or something more? Yes and no, of course; it’s what you make of it, as is the rest of the album.

“Brain Damage” is almost certainly Syd Barrett-inspired, and it introduced a whole generation of us na´ve suburban-types to the concept of strife and anguish and madness. And we thought everything was fine beyond our trimmed green lawns…

But “Time” is the one that blows me away still. The others were larger than life when they were new, helped of course by plenty of testosterone and adrenaline and recreational stimulants. They’re still amazing, especially when compared not only with their contemporaries, but also against anything being put out today. There is no comparison. But “Time” is still as relevant and poignant and powerful and thought- provoking to this middle-aged dreamer as it was to a barely-teenaged dreamer all those years ago. Maybe the “dreamer” part accounts for the continuity. It’s probably even more relevant today, as time has become so much more significant then back when there was plenty of it to spare. David Gilmour is freaking amazing on this song, by the way.

And “Breathe” pretty much wraps up the story for all of us. Kind of makes you wonder what kept these guys inspired to go on with the rest of the album after summing things up on the first track.

I don’t need to actually state where this album ‘ranks’. Just everyone who reads this go look in your collection. Then go look in the collection of everyone you know. If any of those people doesn’t have this album, check them for antennae and green blood. Maybe suction cups on their fingertips. They are not one of us.


ClemofNazareth | 5/5 |


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