Music for the Week – Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd

dark_side_of_the_moon

My first encounter with this album was in my parent’s basement when I was 15.   Curious as I was, and craving a visit to the past, I uncovered this album.  The defining pyramid on the front, which became an emblem in classic rock history, was so new to me.  I thought I would be turning on a more electric sounding album.  Indeed it has electricity in its energy and its intentions, but it was soft.

I put it on the record table, fiddled with the record needle.  Finally after struggling, placed it on the first track.   There was no sound, but the record was moving and turning.  What?   No sound.  Suddenly, heartbeats.  What is this?  Boom boom.  Boom boom.  It got louder and louder, and finally as the sound heightened, it broke through and eased into this serene relaxed and airy track, Breathe.  I still exhale when I hear the song.  Breathe, breathe in the air.   This was like nothing I had ever heard before.

The really cool thing about Dark Side of the Moon is that the album is really one song.  Each song turns into another song and there is no stopping.  From the minute you start it, you end it.  It’s hypnotic and takes you literally on a journey.    In one respect, as stated by Roger Waters, it takes you on a journey into the unconscious.   As each track invites you in, you don’t know what you will feel during the album, but you will feel something – yourself and your own emotions.  The album gained a reputation and often was accompanied (and still is) by smoking weed to enhance the sounds of the album…to try and make sense of it, but I found in my own experience you don’t need anything or any substance to let the music affect you.

Each track is followed by a different paced, different emotion than the previous track.   “Great Gig in the Sky” screams liberation, power, and is a song that means much to me.  The strong voice of a woman singing so loud, screaming at times is a song that I could always envision a woman breaking out of a cage.  The song erupts into a climatic point.  The woman is tired, has made her point and is done. “Money” is high-paced, all out rock ballad then tags after with a more peppy cocky sound, but is then followed by “Us and Them”, highly sentimental,  endearing and hopeful, but really sad.   “Us and Them” is a song that always lets me slip away into memories, experience strong pangs of nostalgia, followed by tears.

So many themes about society emerge and are so apparent.  War, the individual, escape (“On the run”), liberation (“Any Colour you Like”) conformity (“Us and them”), consumerism (“Money”), freedom (“Great Gig in the Sky”), and so much more.   There is this impending feeling throughout the album that screams “things have to change” both worldly and musically.    The approach taken to writing the album is unorthodox as it integrated heavy synthesizing sounds with light guitars.  As mentioned before, it really is like one song because there is no ending.   The album is also a musical.  The many moods combined with the pauses of silence, heartbeats, ticking clocks resembles that of a musical journey.   There is path, but we are to stay on the path because it will take us somewhere but we have to listen to it all to find out where it will take us.

Contrary to what many speculated, especially given the time-period, the Dark Side of the Moon was not the creative result of substance or drugs.  David Gilmour once said that they were sober when making the album.  He continued to say that Dark Side of the Moon would not have existed if they had used drugs during the writing, composition and production of Dark Side.

As it was and is my father’s favourite album,  I find so much emotional connection with it and attachment, as it bonds my dad and I.   It’s a family heirloom.  A gift passed down from my father to me.  Since I was 15,  the album is a huge part of my life.   I never get tired of it, and it comes with me everywhere.  There is a song that fits the many emotions.  Whether I am feeling angry, excited or depressed, the album is there and used to accompany those moments.  In the end, the album is all about you.

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One thought on “Music for the Week – Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd

  1. Nicely put. Dark Side is tremendous and effective as an enhancement, and its follow up, Wish You Were Here, grows on me daily (but I’m still unenthusiastic about The Wall–can I be convinced otherwise?). By the way, Pearl Jam do a nice job with “Wish You Were Here”. Analogous to your comments is my experience with Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery, although it wasn’t my parents’ record but a best friend’s in my grade school days–curious, since all I recall musically from that period is Alice Cooper.

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