All right Pal, gun to your head time. You gotta answer quick. Superfast. Or else your a goner. What is the best Pink Floyd Album?
What was that? Dark Side if the Moon, you say? BLAM!!
Many would say that. Some might say The Wall. Others might even say Wish You Where Here. All amazing albums, but sorry to say they would all be dead wrong. Figuratively. No no no. In order to stay alive, the right answer is…..
Oh, you disagree? Well let me explain why you are wrong and I am right. Next time it might save your life.
Long and Sprawling
In today’s musical landscape this is unheard of now. Musicians today just want to get out the beeps and the boops. The insipid hooks. It’s rare now to have a song that takes you on a 14 minute journey. Maybe you are the reluctant musical Hobbit Palbo Baggins. You don’t want to go on this journey. Well, I am your musical Wizard Paldalf the Grey. Come with me as we make our way to Mount Floyd. Along the way we must take shelter from the Pigs on the Wing. It may seem daunting I know. At times you may wonder “why am I on this journey? I should leave this strange place”. And then a moment in the song will remind you of why you must forge on. These songs are so long that earlier parts act as sort of memories that inform and give context to later parts. This is classical music structure. Animals has long song galore. Three 10 or so minute long songs bookended by pretty acoustic diddys. It is perfect in its grandiosity. Songs like those don’t really exist anymore. And they should.
Animals was made in a time when Prog bands were coming out with terrifically epic songs. Rush did it with loud often dissonant hard rock. Yes did it with technical percision. Pink Floyd was all feel. They were masters of placing musical moments at the perfect time to have the most emotional impact to the listener. Floyd will grab you by the emotional nards and pull at them until you look like a grandfather clock. If you want musical feeling bang for your buck, Pink Floyd is your band and Animals is your album. Animals is a masterwork of sonic emotional landscape building.
This ain’t Old MacDonald. We ain’t going “oink oink” here or “oink oink” there. There is no farm. This is evident immediately. loosley based on George Orwells’s “Animal Farm”. “Dogs” is about the business world. “Pigs” is about the police. “Sheep” is about revolution. I am still trying to figure out the meaning of “Pigs on the Wing”. I think it is about humanity, the human spirit and fighting our way through the “animals”.
But why do we need shelter from these winged creatures? What does that mean? Pink Floyd has always portrayed rich imagery but nowhere has it been so cohesive with such a singular purpose. “What about The Wall?” you might say. I would say “ya, but still”.
From the hypnotic chord changes on “Dogs” to the grinding funk rhythms on “Pigs” to the delicate keyboard intro leading to the violent rock of “Sheep” to the acoustic beauty of “Pigs on a Wing”, Pink Floyd has merged all that makes them great into one of the most epic rock albums of all time. Kids like to say epic nowadays. But they don’t know from epic. They’ll open a pop bottle and say “that was epic”. I’ll tell you what is epic little boy. The musicality of Pink Floyd. That’s epic. And the most epic epics that were ever epicced is Animals.
Music doesn’t blow peoples minds any more like they used to. As a kid, my mind was constantly being blown by these long songs. If you want to dive into more rock music journeys, then here is a quick list of my personal faves.
Close to the Edge by Yes
This is a master class in progressive music making.
Hemispheres by Rush
This is geek rock orgasm music at its best.
Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands by Bob Dylan
A long folk rock song that I forget is twelve minutes long.
Machine Gun by Jimi Hendrix
This is like if a guitar was going to murder you, it would sound like this.
Listen to them and consider your mind blown. Let’s all embrace the musical journey.