07 July 2014

Dark Side of the Moon

Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon was the first album I ever bought, and though I haven't listened to it straight through in years, I'm sure that will go to my grave having listened to it more times than any other album.

When I bought it (on cassette!) in 1983, it had appeared on Billboard magazine's “Hot 200” list of best-selling albums without fail for a decade, far longer than any other album had. It would eventually drop back off ... only to reappear for years more.

The Wikipedia entry for the album quotes Robert Christgau calling it a “kitch masterpiece” in 1981. That's about right. A few years later, I would write a half-sincere, half-kitschy appreciation of it in the form of a science fiction story in which universal language translation software given the fundamental physics of the Cosmos as input, and told to render it into English, produced the album as output. By that time, Pink Floyd had long been my first rock ’n’ roll love, as I would write in a eulogy for Syd Barrett when this blog was still young.

I recognize that my love for the album reflects, in large part, having discovered it in a moment of imprint vulnerability. But if you don't recognize that the mix of simple piano, Clare Tory's passionate improvised vocals, and odd little miscellany on “Great Gig In The Sky” is a little miracle, expressing something inarticulable and true about the connection between eros and thanátos, then I pity you for being unable to truly hear one of my favorite things.


Tristan Salazar said...

Recently I realized I need to put together a playlist each of the long instrumental tracks that appear on early Pink Floyd albums; all together, they make fantastic incidental/background music for RPG's. Not to intrusive, very atmospheric. Perfect.

Jonathan Korman said...


I used "Atom Heart Mother" as the "title music" for a steampunk game for a while.

Anonymous said...

Clare Tory's vocals still give me chills after all these years. Yes, a miracle.