Saturday, December 5, 2009

pink floyd wish you were here

Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) - The album begins with Pink Floyd's best song musically (in my mind). Pink Floyd was the best band at making long, slow songs drawn out to epic proportions. Yet at the same time, they never got boring. They always sounded fresh and spacey. You never know what's coming next in a Pink Floyd song. This journey starts off with some simple guitar work, very peaceful and inviting. We then have a haunting little riff being repeated in-between little patches of silence. Even when the song gets going, both guitars do their magic and the drums beat harmlessly in the back, it's still very soothing. This is the kind of music you close your eyes and relax too. That's to once again say that it is not boring. At about 6:10, a searing guitar line comes in. It jumps out and into the ears of the listener. David Gilmour is much underrated as a guitar player. He gets labeled as too slow and safe because of Pink Floyd's music. But he has some mind-blowing moments. Once again almost at the 8 minute mark, just when you think the song is going to branch off and lyrics will start, another Gilmour showcase stretches out the song. The lyrics are depressing, yet hopeful at the same time. I guess the perfect word would be melancholy.
"Remember when you were young,
You shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there's a look in your eyes,
Like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire
Of childhood and stardom,
Blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!"

This is Pink Floyd talking directly to Syd. Explaining his potential and goodness, but also showing the "dark side" of him. What went wrong with him. And in the end, pleading with him. After this sad explanation and dedication, the song slowly drifts away at the accompanying sound of a saxophone as the trippy guitar looms in the background. The last 30 seconds are rather odd. The saxophone tends to go berserk. It seems to be playing louder and faster as it fades away. And eventually, it gets overshadowed by the sound of some machine grinding.
Welcome To The Machine- Pink Floyd has to have at least one creepy track on everything. And this song fits that bill perfectly. The actual sound of the mechanism, The "Machine", sounds like some chaotic, heavy machinery of some sort. The sounds it makes are unnerving and frantic. The "Machine" is the music industry. A relentless vehicle that takes people in and spits them out just as fast. This song (along with the next song) is Pink Floyd attacking the music industry. They have done this many times throughout their career, but this is the most blatant time. They have always especially hated the American music industry. And when you think about it, it makes sense. They are the opposite of what has ever been mainstream. Slow, deep, mood music. This is the darkest and bleakest track on Wish You Were Here. It almost sounds a little like techno. I'm sure if Pink Floyd ever went techno, this is what they would sound like. While this CD is pretty listener friendly, this is the track that will take some time to swallow, much less actually enjoy. The song closes with the same rumblings of "The Machine". I think that the sax at the end of the first track kind of represents Syd. The sax goes all over the place and is quickly swallowed up by the relentless machine (just like the sound of the sax getting taken over by the humming of the gears). That's what happened to Syd and the music industry. It swallowed him up. The only problem with this song is it's a tad too long. And the cheering of a crowd at the end doesn't really fit in at all nor has it any purpose.
Looking through glass
Have A Cigar- Pink Floyd had very few moments when they sounded like "normal" (whatever that means) rock. This was one of them. This lick is upbeat, catchy, and pretty funny. This song has the same meaning and message of the last track, the cutthroat music industry, only this one seems to take a different point of view. The basic outline is a music executive kissing Pink Floyd's @@s. It plays to the fact that the bottom line it always money. The main objective, or the name of the game, is "riding the gravy train". Pink Floyd showed some light humor here, with the famous line:
"Oh by the way, which one's "Pink"?
I also think that they put some sarcastic humor in the style of the song relating to the subject matter. This song sounds different for Pink Floyd's taste. Maybe they made it upbeat because that's what the nameless music executive wants. Something for everyone so he'll get the name of the game. Maybe this was Pink's version of selling out and sticking it to the man at the same time. Or maybe this was just them trying to spice things up on the album. Either way, it's a great song. And the guitar part which makes up the whole last minute and a half is one of Gilmour's best moments with Floyd.
Wish You Were Here- One of Pink Floyd's most recognizable and most noteworthy songs, the title track summarizes the whole album in 5 minutes. They miss Syd deeply, and they wish he was there. The first thing you hear is a radio switching between stations, symbolizing the album changing it's gears and focusing on the main theme. The most simple and straightforward song on the record, it's not forceful or shocking. Everything about this song is to the point. The acoustic guitar in the background, the laid back lyrics, and the short time. 5 minutes is long for most other bands, but for Pink Floyd it's short. This is a quote from Roger Waters:
...Either the music comes first and the lyrics are added, or music and lyrics come together. Only once have the lyrics been written down first - "Wish You Were Here". But this is unusual; it hasn't happened before
Pink Floyd knew what they had to say so they just added a sweet, slow melody to it and there you go. It gently sweeps away as the sound of winds picking up for the last 30 seconds. This is an essential Pink Floyd classic.
Selling Records...
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX) - To connect everything together; this 12 minute track eventually closes out the album. This almost sounds like an alternative version of track 1; it's got the same general feeling. Only it sounds more edgy and the lyrics are different. The faster sound is completely different than the first part. The guitar seems to be going in all different directions in this song. No set rhythm or clear path. After the lyrical portion of the song, it gets kinda weird. The song calms down big time and transforms into a kinda jazzy funk, something entirely different from Floyd. And the somewhat techno sound of "Welcome To The Machine" makes its return, travailing along in the back. I would say this is the weakest portion of the album. I guess Pink Floyd knew they had to somehow end the album off, but this tune seems to long and it never really goes anywhere. Is it a bad song? Not at all. It's a good song. But it's a fairly disappointing closer.        
Overall, I give this album a 4.5/5. It's one of Pink Floyd's best. It's definitely their most accessible work. After this, they would follow with 2 more classics: "Animals" and "The Wall" And in every album since, they would always make some reference to Syd.
That's it. I'm done.


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