The composition on side two has its moments. Not enough for 23 minutes of your time, but decent background music. The songs on side one include a very moving “Fearless” (with some help from “You’ll Never Walk Alone”) and a scary/funny/very bass-heavy “One of These Days”. So they go 3-for-6, with a single, a double, and an inside-the-park home run. Not bad.
Obscured By Clouds (1972)
Thoroughly relaxing and potentially sleep-inducing most of the time, this album mainly serves to illustrate how much Roger Waters and Company eventually improved from as writers. It’s not horrid, it’s not even bad, really…just nothing special, nothing of particular interest with the possible exception of “Free Four”.
Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)
I’m not sure exactly what the concept here is, but all the guitar noise and bass and synth hooks and strange, unexpected sound effects merge together quite nicely, thank you very much. Since it’s made to all blend and work together, single songs maybe don’t have as much chance to stand out from the rest quite as well as one might like. But I’ve heard this album a million times, and I can still get into some songs more than others, either disregarding or enjoying the effects around the tune.
Wish You Were Here (1975)
From all accounts that I’ve heard a tribute to former leader Syd Barrett, this is a good album bookended by “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (Parts 1 and 2) and featuring a great guest vocal on the vitriolic “Have A Cigar”. Roger Waters is taking over here, and thus the cynical and depressed will find a nice pleasant place to hang their hat. He’s a bit of a downer, but the man can write. And, more importantly, the other Floyd members can’t, unless you count the lessening and lessening contributions from lead guitarist David Gilmour. Nothing here to knock your socks off…the peaks aren’t all that high, to be honest. But the only real failure is “Welcome To The Machine”, which fails musically and as an album cut that fits well with the others. I mean, I’m a big Roger Waters fan…and he always will be Pink Floyd to me. But “Machine” makes no attempts at commerciality or even listenability. Perhaps Roger just did it for himself. If so, he has really bad taste.
(“Have A Cigar”)
2010: (Andy Kaufman was never anywhere near this entertaining when indulging his whims) Grade: B+
2011: “Machine” isn’t really all that bad…the sound effects are decent and the lyrics are good, I just don’t care much for the music. But with subject matter as depressing as this, it’s not really a good idea to have a lot of catchy hooks, I suppose(?). The whole album is sad, and besides “Machine”, it’s really good. Sort of like ‘Animals’ except thankfully “Machine” doesn’t go on as long as “Dogs”, but without a “Sheep” to really push it over the edge. Very borderline, but…Grade: A-
It was a bit difficult for me to grade this one. I knew its approximate grade, I just had to decide exactly how much damage David Gilmour’s “Dogs” did to the overall proceedings. In the end, though, I decided that even that song had its moments, and then my decision became clear. Based loosely (I think) on George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, or at least an homage to it, it commands attention to the lyrics even as the hooks come out and grab you.
(“Sheep”, “Pigs On The Wing(Part Two)”)
The Wall (1979)
I enjoy a fair amount of these songs, but Roger Waters sounds so pretentious and self-pitying that I’m turned off enough to skip a track unless interesting music accompanies said track. I mean, I still think Waters thinks way too much of himself, but he does produce results the majority of the time (‘Animals’ and ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ both attesting to that). So perhaps his pretentiousness is justified by his results…in the past, that is. Here we see a sharp decline in the quality of his material…I never thought I’d say this, but here at least, David Gilmour is the best songwriter. He’s got the first writing credit on no less than five of the best songs here. Without him, this album sinks into a murky, bloated Roger Waters experiment. Sad as it seems, Waters may have run out of material. The decline here only hints at the poor quality of the next Floyd album and the subsequent splintering of the band. From what I’ve read and heard, Waters doesn’t even approach a quality Floyd-ish album in the 25+ years since. All that being said, this album has quite a few good tracks/moments on it that I can’t help but enjoy…I refuse to listen to the album all the way through, but I occasionally enjoy it in limited doses.
(“Run Like Hell”, “Comfortably Numb”)
2010: (Limited by concept, it exceeds the boundaries) Grade: B+
A Collection Of Great Dance Songs (1997)
The choices are good, if not perfect for me (I’ve found very little use for the Syd Barrett tribute song “Wish You Were Here”). Even there, though, it has its moments, and there isn’t a bad section on the album.
(“Sheep”, “Another Brick In The Wall(Part Two)”)
Echoes: The Best Of Pink Floyd (2001)
What a waste. What could have been an absolutely fantastic 2-part release is reduced to a pretty great one. The reason? The inclusion of Syd Barrett songs, most notably for their awfulness: “Jugband Blues” and the indescribably bad (or insane, you pick) “Bike”. Most of the material is Roger Waters-era material, and is consequently quite good. I hate to say this, but Barrett’s insanity may have been the best thing for this band. The way he was leading them was most certainly not towards stardom, or even competence. Anyways, with that said and my mind cleared from a rather pissed off state, this is a great Pink Floyd album to own if you only want one. But don’t take the bait…go out and buy their individual albums from ‘Meddle’ up until ‘The Wall’, excluding ‘Obscured By Clouds’. Then you’ll have all you really need, and have it in the correct context.
(“Sheep”, “Time”, “Money”)