Landmark Album Reviews III

Hello, TGWTG fans. JotaKa here speaking again, for one more of the series:


The show where one of us can collaborate with another music reviewer to look at an album that defined a group, a type of music or an era and helped inspire the music world.

Today’s Landmark Album is none other than Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd

Joining me today is the probable son of Colin Mochrie and Laura Hall: NOTYETUSEDNAME!

JK: Sorry for you being busy, bro. But hey, thanks for letting me take care of this one too as it is my favorite album of all time.

NYUN: LOL, we’ll discuss my lineage on another blog….moving on. It’s no problem letting you do the first draft, my friend. It’s one of my all time favorites too so let’s review this masterpiece shall we?

Pink Floyd was already doing great when this album was released, with several psychedelic rock albums, even though the major mastermind behind the band in the beginning, Syd Barrett, went to a mental institution, giving the reins to Roger Waters, who continued to be the creative force in the band until the separation after the Final Cut. When the Dark Side of the Moon, their eight studio album, was released in 1973, no one realized it started a whole new genre, the Progressive Rock.

This album is known for being one of the best ones ever and a big commercial success, being the recordist of time on any charts: exactly 741 weeks on the Billboards 200 and is the third most sold album worldwide, trailing over Thriller by Michael Jackson and Back in Black by Ac/Dc, even though it only stayed in first for one week.

So, is this album worth the hype and accolades it gets? Let’s take a listen and find out.

To review this album, we’re going to be looking at 5 criteria: Music, Lyrics, Production Quality, Hooks you can’t get out of your head(in a good way) and overall cohesion of the songs for the whole of the album. Ratings on a scale from 1-blow this record up with a 12 gauge to 10-I want this album with me if I’m stranded on a deserted Island with only 1 choice of what to listen to for the rest of my life(well, OK, maybe not THAT great, but right up there).

Even though they come from a long line of giant solos and instrumental songs, they tried to down it up a notch from the noisy times of the “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” times. However, the guitar solos are still immense throughout the entire album and they try to use whatever they have in hand, from the overuse of the Echo effect to some recorded sounds and noises.

JK: The music in this album specifically is just great. The instrumental parts fit in with the whole mood and the music is just complete awesomeness. To talk about the guitar solos would make another gigantic review, but all I can say is that every each one of them is full of energy and creativity. Even some minor instruments played by the band in some songs, like the Sax in “Money”, is so well played that it would make even the most experienced listener think that they use Saxophone all the time. My Score – 10

NYUN: Agreed. Not to mention the groundbreaking synthesizer work they used in the songs On the Run and the segue between Us and Them and Brain Damage. This Album must be heard on a surround sound system or with the headphones on to fully appreciate the wonderful textures and stereo effects they used. For my money, David Gilmour produced the greatest Guitar solos ever recorded on this album they’re soul-stirringly beautiful. Listening to this record is almost a spiritual experience. My score – 10

All the lyrics were written by Roger Waters: which can mean a good thing as it can mean a bad thing. He is known to dwell in some common places and tropes here and there making allusions to the war and remembering about the lunacy that took away the first creative force off of the band.

JK: Roger Waters’s lyrics are just pure genius. The way he works under the themes that are given to him and mostly proposed by him are just so well written that it wouldn’t fail as pure poetry. The songs are evocative when that is needed, like in the masterpiece “Time”, and are just bat shit crazy whenever the hell he like, like the great “Brain Damage” and the greatest finale ever “Eclipse”. My Score – 10

NYUN: Absolute POETRY. I’d also add the brilliance of Money and Us and Them for just plain AWESOME lyrics. If I could write a song with half the mastery demonstrated on this album, I could die a happy man. My Score – 10

The engineer this time around was Alan Parsons, who already worked with the band previously, he worked on a 16-track and said that the overall recording was a huge dissatisfaction, because he never had the time to work on the demanded quadraphonic mix of the band.

JK: In comparison with the latter review of A Night at the Opera, the overall effects of this one are so well recorded that it sounds that it was recorded on a new technology. When you think that the “Money” intro was a tape recording of coins dropped on a pottery bowl or that the “Time” intro was they all pressing play on various walls of tape players, you can see that it was superbly done to the limitations of the time. My Score – 10

NYUN: This is the cleanest example of flawless recording. There’s no hiss anywhere, the empty spaces are clearly heard and everything else is so perfectly mixed that all the smallest details and musical riffs shine to add to the whole which is just gorgeous. My Score – 10

Even though this album wasn’t blessed on having the most earworm songs of the band (which I believe are Another Brick on the Wall Pt. 2 and Wish You Were Here), it has their own stock of huge successes and some concert favorites like Time and Us and Them.

JK: Even though their most commercial singles weren’t on this album, the great earworms are, for me, definitely on this album. There are some times when I just can’t stop humming. I learned how to play “A Great Gig in the Sky” just to sing it out load on a hold school concert and embarrass myself in front of other human people. Whenever I can, I remember this album fondly and how it always will be in a place of my mind and my heart. My Score – 10

NYUN: I can’t get these songs out of my head. That’s for DAMN sure! Additionally, many of the hooks are musical without words. The guitar, the sax or the voice of Clare Torry belting out the wailing line on the Great Gig in the Sky. My Score – 10

This album dwells on a very strange concept: each song represents something that ails humanity since the dawn of time: Breathing, Time, Money, Death, Loneliness, Love and even the end of the world. So, as a concept album, it emends one song on another and you can hear it all in one cycle.

JK: I really believe that this is the type of album you HAVE to listen to in one go so that it can be properly heard. It is just awesome how it mood swings, but not in an uncomfortable way. The way the songs connect and how the album starts and ends with a heartbeat which is nowadays a cliché on the concept albums but in their time, it was just revolutionary. If you like any specific tracks of this album, you must hear it in context to get the real thing out of it. My Score – 10

NYUN: Agreed. This album absolutely goes listened to completely. Whenever I hear single songs played on the radio, it sounds wrong! Quite simply, this is the greatest record with an evolving score as one song melts into the next and the next until the very end and the final heartbeat. My Score – 10

NYUN: Thanks, JotaKa. This was fun. And thanks TGWTG fans for giving us some of your time to read. Peace.


JK: Your welcome, NYUN. So, any suggestions are well received, as always. This is JotaKa, signing off.

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