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

WISH YOU WERE HERE

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.63 | 3977 ratings

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Open-Mind
5 stars Although "Dark Side of the Moon" might have become more iconic, "Wish You Were Here" to me is the peak of Pink Floyd's achievement. "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", in particular, sums up all the qualities that made me a hardcore Floyd fan for years. I first heard it on the Saturday night rock show on Radio 1, wondering what on earth was that bluesy guitar solo floating through the air, over a dreamy wash of synth. Then there were those four notes, resounding into silence, and the four notes again. It was David Gilmour of course, and the whole band's playing is spaced and timed to perfection. The song itself, when it eventually arrives, is a powerful and deserving tribute to their original lead singer Syd Barrett, filled with nostalgia for the times before his mind disintegrated. After the song, as if it couldn't get any more perfect, it finishes with not one, but two exquisite sax solos over a glittering layer of guitar arpeggios.

The central songs are filled with cynicism. Embittered with the ways of the soulless, money-obsessed music industry, Roger Waters comes up with some distinctively acerbic lyrics. On "Welcome to the Machine", Rick Wright's keyboards create a sinister industrial throb, insistent and creepy. "Have a Cigar" is a great example of Floyd's funky blues-rock style, propelled by wah-wah organ. After the bitter ranting of the previous two songs, the beautiful ballad "Wish You Were Here" is a reflective comedown. This must be the most suitable Floyd song for one man with a guitar to sing and strum along to, simple and wistful.

The most often overlooked part of this album is the second half of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". This is not just a reprise, but a fully fleshed out piece. Starting with an impressive build up of tension that recalls their earlier masterpiece "Echoes", with the whole band putting everything into it. This blends smoothly into one last verse of the song, this rousing final tribute followed with some funky jamming and plenty of keyboard whizzes from Wright.

There's a sad tale associated with the recording sessions for "Wish You Were Here". The band and their hangers-on wondered who the dishevelled stranger was sitting in the corner of the reception. He turned out to be the very subject of the song they were recording, who they had not seen for years - Syd himself had briefly come out of seclusion to pay them a visit.

Open-Mind | 5/5 |

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