MadMan’s Favorite Albums Presents: The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd, 1973)

After some thought, I’ve decided to cover my all time favorite albums. Starting with my current all time favorite: Pink Floyd’s legendary The Dark Side of the Moon, released in 1973. It quickly became one of the albums of the decade, and feature’s the bands notable psychedelic rock and roll infused sound. Furthermore this is a concept album featured mostly around death and fear of dying, the end of one’s life and the passing of time. In addition to metal illness, a theme that popped up in many of the band’s works. Plus that famous album cover, which has a picture of prism recombining the spectrum of light with the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple being featured.

Pink Floyd’s classic opens with “Speak To Me,” a track that begins with the sounds of madness and possibly torture followed by a really depressing sound, as the song deals with failing to escape and becoming something more as time quickly and rapidly proceeds and death follows on the wind. “Breathe,” which has a reprise at the end of “Time,” notes religion and aging together, and is showcased after “Time” because the track fits more with “Time” than it does with “Speak to Me,” even though on my copy it lists the two tracks as “Speak To Me/Breathe” anyways.

“On The Run” is the next track, and it does not have any vocals or lyrics, existing instead as a weird piece that according to the band deals with fear of travel. Its my least favorite part of the album, and yet there’s something about it that keeps me listening to it each time I go through the album. I can’t quit explain my feelings on “On The Run,” although I’ve grown to appreciate the song more.

After “On The Run” the album dives into one of its biggest hits: “Time,” which opens with sounds of clocks and has the eerie famous lyrics “No one told you when to run/You missed the starting gun.” Too bad this song has been overplayed a lot on classic radio over the years, because that fact almost clouds its greatness. “The Great Gig In The Sky” is an excellent follow up, a mediation upon death and dying, with Clare Torry’s magnificent pipes on display. Its a rather fatalistic song, and I love the working in of the following quote, as spoken: “And I am not frightened of dying. Any time will do, I don’t mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There’s no reason for it – you’ve got to go sometime.”β€” Gerry O’Driscoll, Abbey Road Studios janitorial “browncoat,” which is followed by the response of “I never said I was frightened of dying,”β€” Patricia ‘Puddie’ Watts, wife of road manager Peter Watts. Oddly enough “The Great Gig In The Sky” then is followed by “Money,” which is more about materialistic greed and attempts at gaining as much wealth as possible. Rather different from death and dying, although maybe the desire for meaningless “stuff” that one could gain with money fits in well with the album’s conveying of letting time slip by and not achieving one’s full potential.

The following track after “Money” is the classic anti-war track “Us And Them,” which sports a fantastic saxophone performance by Dick Parry-one of my favorite uses of horn in any song, be it classic or modern. Naturally death by war is discussed, and I love the following lyrics: “Listen son, said the man with the gun/ There’s room for you inside,” which makes me wonder about the soldiers who fight wars waged by nations. There is something depressing about how men are sacrificed for silly things such as land ownership, natural resources, and or such foolish ideals as national pride. I’ve always felt the song covered World War I for some reason, although the band never said that or implied it was about any particular war to my knowledge. The 8th track, “Any Colour You Like” is another instrumental song, one that I’m a big fan of due to its synthesizer driven sound-I’ve featured it and many other songs off the album on CD mixes due to their high levels of repeatability and because some of them are actually good driving music, funny enough.

The last two tracks on the album are always played together on the radio for an obvious reason: they go well together. “Brain Damage” fits its title particularly well, existing as a nightmarish descent into insanity and madness while also featuring a lyric referencing the album’s title. “Eclipse” is fittingly epic while also being quite strange, and acting as a sort of coda to “Brain Damage.” Thus closing out the album with faint echoes and a rather quiet fadeout-going out with silence instead of a bang, something that I’ve always liked about Dark Side of the Moon. The album was one of the band’s biggest successes, and its my favorite album partly because it was the first one I ever bought.

Incidentally though it’s also my all time favorite due to being so engaging, causing the listener to try and sort out the album’s meanings and what the band was trying to say, although granted Pink Floyd’s members have commented on many of the song’s themes since its release. Oh and I remember the entire track listing by heart, although that’s rather easy since there are only ten songs. While I don’t think this is the band’s best effort, its certainly a monumental achievement, one that still remains popular to this day.

Favorite Song: “Us And Them”

Worst Song: “On The Run”

Best Song: “Time”


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