Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pink Floyd

Look around and choose your own ground.

I learned a great deal about Pink Floyd today that I'd like to ramble about here. Rolling Stone wrote a fantastic article about them in their April issue of this year. Fantastic.

I knew that the band consisted of four men: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright. I also knew that Syd Barrett, an original band member later replaced by Gilmour because of a mental deterioration from extreme drug use, basically formed the band and gave it its initial sound. I couldn't imagine losing such a core to something so fundamental like a band. It's no wonder that they coped with their loss of Barrett by writing various songs to him, like "Wish You Were Here" and "Shine on You Crazy Diamond:"

"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 skies."

The band members had to cut ties with Barrett, for his energy was becoming harmful and disturbing. Pink Floyd wouldn't have lasted with his strange energy. Instead, they used it as a source of inspiration. Within the past year, Barrett has passed away. Rolling Stone even featured an article on him during that time. The band members never remained in contact with him, so his passing must have felt extremely strange and distant.

After Syd was forced out of the band, they put out Dark Side of the Moon , a tribute to him (especially the title itself). Saying that it's one of the greatest albums of all time is not really an original statement, but I do believe so. I wish that more albums had such unity, such creativity and originality. I feel that, lately, we're losing that in music.

Anyway, I was interested when I learned how Dark Side of the Moon originated. The album focused around one central question: What are the forces in modern life that alienate people from one another and from their hopes?

The answer? Look at the tracks on the album. Look at the lyrics. Mikal Gilmore (writer of the article) writes "Together they came up with a list of disturbances that included aging, violence, fear of death, religion, war, capitalism, and madness."

This album has such a drive behind it, such great ideas that they want to convey and express to others. I wish that more music had such a purpose. I love the drive for Pink Floyd to get us to think and question the world around us, not just venting on a break-up with an ex. Not only do the lyrics deeply engage the feelings and ideas, but the sounds really evoke a reaction. Such a beautifully crafted album... No wonder it has sold over 35 million copies and lated on the Billboard charts for 591 straight weeks after its initial release.

If anyone gets the FUSE channel, watch the hour special on the creation of Dark Side of the Moon. It's really trippy, and it's intense to see how something so brilliant was actually created. Gilmour walks you through how it was recorded--those crazy sounds and beats... It's such an experience.

Maybe what draws me the most to Pink Floyd is the incredible lyrics. They are such talented writers; their words are so wise that it inspires me to want to create something so profound. Maybe. Here, I'm ending with "Breathe," for I think the lyrics really illustrate their gift as lyricists:

Breathe, breathe in the air.
Don't be afraid to care.
Leave but don't leave me.
Look around and choose your own ground.

Long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.

Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don't sit down it's time to dig another one.

For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave.


Andreuccio said...

One of my favorite parts of that documentary was Gilmour. Something about him while he was sittting on the stool in his recording studio playing. He sang like he still felt the music. It was still alive after countless concerts.
I kind of liked how he talked about the realizations he came to about future and present. And how he had understood the complete control he has over right now. He seems so contemplative and humble. Contrarywise, Wright kind of shows his super OCD at the piano. Thought and detail.

coobyjr23 said...

dark side of the moon = my childhood.

i've always loved the album and i always will. it flows together so perfectly. i find it impossible to put a song from the album onto a mix cd, they never flow right with other songs.

Dave said...

Being "old school", I was lucky enough to hear the album when it first came out. I was in college and the guy who lived across from me in the dorm invited me in to hear it. Scott Klasik, (sp?) was his name, had a stereo system that was top of the line at the time, (1973). I was completly blown away with it and had to have it. I have gone through 2 albums, own the CD and have a DVD on how it was made. Jami is dead on about the words going so deep and no makes anything like that any more. Who writes rock and roll in 7/8 time? (Money.)I remeber David Gilmore saying he wished he could have heard the album all the way through for the first time not knowing what was comming, "It must have been an extraordinary experience." It was, to say the least.
Watching my girls go from toddlers to graduation from college it will always amaze how time flies and how you do not want to miss out.

And then one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun.

I promised myself when my girls were born I would not miss the starting gun.