Oct 4, 2010
#30before30: Listen to a Classic Album
So I asked for suggestions for a “classic” album I could listen to, and then ran a poll. Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon was the clear winner with 37 per cent of the vote, beating AC/DC’s Back in Black on 11 votes (17 per cent), followed by The Beatles’ Revolver with (15 per cent), and Metallica’s Kill ‘em All (14 per cent).
I do at least know a reasonable amount of Pink Floyd’s more famous songs, such as The Wall and Comfortably Numb. But the only song I knew for certain from TDSOTM was Money, so I was interested to see if any others would ring a bell.
Now if this was any other self-respecting groovester with a healthy love of 1970s experimental prog-rock – they might dust off a vinyl edition, throw on The Wizard of Oz, drop a tab of acid and chill out in a bean bag while letting their minds be blown.
Me? I downloaded it off iTunes, threw on my headphones and did the ironing. That’s right, kids. You’re looking at a hipster, right here.
Released in 1973, The Dark Side of the Moon had actually had its genesis over a year earlier, when the band decided to do a concept show about “things that make people mad”. Greed, conflict, the passage of time and insanity are all strong themes, and the album’s 10 songs run continuously as one almost-uninterrupted piece of music.
(Apologies if this is all “Basic Rock 101”. I just don’t know the lingo, so please bear with me!)
Speak to Me acts as an overture, with some snippets of conversation about madness, and many of the sound effects that return in later tracks. It moves into Breathe, a mournful, slightly bluesy tune that seems to appeal to the listener’s humanity (“don’t be afraid to care”).
On The Run is a frenetic change of pace, with a synthesiser kicking in to create a tune that supposedly reflected lyricist Roger Waters’ fear of flying. It’s definitely got a psychedelic feel to me, and the only thing I’m on is half a bar of Cadbury TopDeck. It ends with the shattering sound of clocks, that heralds the arrival of track 4, Time.
Time's s opening chords remind me of a western, a gunfight at high noon. When the lyrics eventually kick in, it’s the first time you really hear “rocking” on the album. It has a melancholy chorus of sorts, but then some really cool wailing guitar from David Gilmour. This is where I start to notice the lyrics – and they’re really very good, ruminating on the way life can slip away from you (“No one told you when to run/You missed the starting gun”), and is a call to seize your own destiny.