“Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd Album Review
A blast from the past, this culturally significant album of the ‘70’s still makes its way into today’s headphones
“Speak to Me” : The album begins in this exhilarating, one-minute sequence of an initial pulse that sounds very much like a heartbeat. One must listen very closely to hear and understand all of the very important elements introduced in this first piece.
As it progresses, the ticking of a clock, several coin clinks, and the sound of a cash register booms. Various voices chanting strange, yet relatable mantras such as:
“I’ve always been mad, I know I’ve been mad, like the most of us…”
It becomes even more clear about what much of the album was inspired when we hear the last phrase:
”Very hard to explain why you’re mad, even if you’re not mad…”
This helps define that perhaps the word “mad” in British dialect, means “crazy.” And even more so, this could also be making them angry as well.
The song shifts with echoes of screams, haunting laughter, and at the last phrase, the flow into the next piece.
Although short, “Speak to Me” is an example of what the album encompasses; much like the “theme” of its music.
“Breathe (In the Air)” : In general, the piece is quite relaxed, and includes vibes of something that could almost be imagined in a serene vacation spot like Hawaii.
The lyrics are a foreshadowing of the album’s last song, “Eclipse,” when Pink Floyd’s lead singer, bellows: “And all you touch and all you see.”
Truly this song emphasizes the importance of living and life itself; experiencing all of its “ups and downs” and “balancing” on its waves in the moment.
“On the Run” : “On the Run” is Pink Floyd’s interluding instrumental. The band’s creativity allowed what couldn’t be said with words, to be said even better with its music. This piece takes the listener on a storytelling journey that could be best described as a “mash-up” of psychedelic and mental running.
This piece includes the faint sound of what seems like an airplane preparing for take-off, a flight attendant describing its destinations, and a person’s footsteps running to make the plane on time. One is lead to feel almost as though they too are physically in the plane–turbulence and all–amongst that familiar stirring laughter.
The song fades with the same patter of footsteps and a couple of seconds of ticking clocks.
“Time” : Perfectly introduced and crafted together from the previous track, “Time” continues with the different chimes of the clocks, and shortly after, their blasphemous alarms all at once. (Note: this may cause a bit of anxiety for the listener; however this most definitely stresses the effect of the song’s meaning)
The ringing dies down, until the sounds of the clock’s ticking gradually turns into the rhythm of the piece and collides with powerfully written lyrics.
The track’s subtle nuances towards the begin beautifully turn into a passionate classic rock-n-roll song fading back into its subtlety between bridges.
The unfortunate message:
“The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older.
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.”
“Breathe (Reprise)” : Placed on the last stretch of the song “Time,” the purpose slightly changes. This quick outro is a nice bridge between the intensity of the next piece.
“Great Gig in the Sky” : Arguably the most emotional piece in the album, the combination of solid musicianship and incredible vocal talent is both soothing and haunting. Pink Floyd truly allows you to use your imagination regarding the grand creation the featuring vocalist, Clare Torry, depicts.
Simply put, this piece is far more than the “oohs” and “ahs” that are sung; it is the strife, pain, passion, and beauty that can be experienced.
“Money” : The sounds of clicking change and cash definitely create an image in the listener’s mind. This song isn’t necessarily “The Floyd’s” deepest work, which is fine if you just want something to rock to.
This song’s brassy saxophone solos can really get your foot tapping, but yet again, the message is unfortunately all too real for even today’s time.
“Us and Them” : Out of all of the tracks out of “Dark Side of the Moon,” the lyrics and meandering back-and-forth stories from “Us and Them” seem to be the most unique out of them all. The clearly spoken lyrics such as:
God only knows it’s not what we would choose to do” ,
Are easier to understand in contrast to the intermittent story describing a battle in a war, the propaganda that goes into such a thing:
Haven’t you heard it’s a battle of words,
and an old man’s sad end that reflects the true cost of war.
The song itself is beautifully written, including all and more of the elements introduced in the album’s previous songs. The piece has an interesting, brief interlude of a recording of the band’s manager talking about a fight he’d gotten into previously, which adds to the meaning of the song. In addition to the touch of the piano, “Us and Them” has a very sophisticated feel going for it.
“Any Colour You Like” : This song really puts a person back into the stars. A creative instrumental with a laid-back guitar solo from Roger Waters. The title gives way to letting the listener truly let the song be anything he or she wants it to be with a definitely underlying creativity through it all.
“Brain Damage” : If you didn’t get the memo “Pink Floyd” was implying throughout the entire album of “Dark Side of the Moon,” surely you’ve got the idea now. The band really emphasizes the idea of “going crazy” amongst some of the band members (and they’re not kidding!) with phrases sung like:
“The lunatic is in my head…”
“There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.”
If Pink Floyd is truly crazy and metaphorically living on the Dark Side of the Moon, they’ve never made it look so creatively good.
Overall: Different–in a good way
The lyrics on this final track are relatively simple, describing “all that” a person is and a amalgamation of their experiences. The song ends with a growing heartbeat similar to the one in the beginning of the album.
In a book regarding Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, writer of the song, wrote: “The line ‘I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon’ is me speaking to the listener, saying, ‘I know you have these bad feelings and impulses because I do too, and one of the ways I can make direct contact with you is to share with you the fact that I feel bad sometimes.’”
Truly, not something too “far out” that we can’t reach it.
Album’s Total Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
4 out of 5 stars