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

WISH YOU WERE HERE

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.63 | 3992 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

R-A-N-M-A
5 stars Wish You Were Here is a tightly crafted and genuinely heartfelt masterpiece of rock music. It is the definitive psychedelic album, and easily one of the greatest albums ever recorded. My distain for Rolling Stone Magazine was strongly reaffirmed when they placed Wish You Were Here at a paltry 209th on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

There are two main concepts behind the album; the first and most evident being, the loss of cohesion within the band and the longing for better days now gone by. As most of us know Shine on You Crazy Diamond is a tribute to Pink Floyd founding member Syd Barrett. Roger Waters was good friends with Barrett, who sadly suffered a mental breakdown which forced him to leave the band. In addition, the great of egos which made Pink Floyd had begun to clash seriously. The tracks which lean more towards this concept are Shine On, parts one and two as well as the title track.

The second concept which is also quite apparent, but not spelled out right in the title of the album is the hallow nature of the recording industry. Welcome to the Machine and Have a Cigar err more towards this concept.

Musically, Wish You Were Here is not a very happy album. It is dark, atmospheric and steeped in lament. The lead track is the first half of Shine On You Crazy Diamond. It begins with an extended instrumental introduction. It sets the tone immediately. The dominant sound is Keyboard player Rick Wright, and with the exception of the shorter middle pieces he remains ubiquitous. The intro piece is mostly sombre and has an atmosphere like a thick, cold and wet blanket.

Following the fade out from Shine On, we are confronted by a number of frightening mechanical effects. This is the introduction to, my personal favourite track of the album Welcome to the Machine. It is dark, sparse and foreboding and captivating from the mechanical clicks through to the dinner party.

Have a Cigar is probably my least favourite track on the album. Not because it's bad or anything of the sort, but because it doesn't really seem to fit in as well with the other tracks. It serves to break the album out of its drifting malaise. It has a much harder edge and rather than being dominated by Wright's expansive synthesizers, it is mostly a showcase for Water's bass and Gilmour's Guitar. Gilmour's soloing is particularly good in the latter half of the piece. The song is a cynical portrayal of music executives. It is exceptionally well written.

Usually when a single as excellent and heavily played as Wish You Were Here appears on an album it serves as an elephant in the room. In reality the album is so good, the title track is but one piece of a larger masterwork; certainly an important piece, but actually a very small one by comparison. It is by no means the only reason you should have this album. I don't think I really have to describe it to anyone. If you don't know what it is you live under something much heavier than a rock. Personally I love the imagery in the lyrics and the incredibly strong emotions which it conveys.

Rounding out this already fantastic musical collection is the second half of Shine on you Crazy Diamond. It is slightly longer than the first half and if I'm not mistaken it's has an even greater proportion of instrumental to lyrical. It begins in a shallow sea of synthesizers from which Gilmour's wailing guitar towers. Things slowly turn noisier and the long journey gets into full swing. It isn't quite as atmospheric as the first half and at times much jazzier. Aside from the repeated lyrics it's really its own beast. Much like the many differences which exist between the two parts of Thick as a Brick tied together by similar themes.

Wish You Were Here is raw and emotional and the playing is superb all the way through. If you haven't yet heard it, you really ought to get on that. I don't think I could really give such a well realized album anything less a perfect five out of five.

R-A-N-M-A | 5/5 |

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