Sound — 9
Pink Floyd finally established as one of the greatest bands ever. Emerging from the English art rock scene, the band released the "supposed-to-be" (after all, remember Sgt. Pepper's) greatest album ever, The Dark Side of the Moon. Hey, wait a minute, that's what everybody has said about it! It was their first US chart-topper album, and stayed there for decades. Statiscally, it is almost played either in it's entirety or in sections (like say the first or last two songs) everywhere, at any time, in the world. Is the best selling rock album (40 million copies), it gained hours of radio airplay, it contained the first US Top 20 single ("Money") in a few words, it was a massive breakthrough. If you haven't heard about it, or seen his iconic album cover, you know nothing about rock. It's one of the quintessential rock albums. OK, I suppose you know. But know, this is when we start analyzing the album to see how it is. Let's start. The album's kicks off with a sample of a LOT of special effects, basically, that's the "backing track" of most of the songs here. This "overture" is called "Speak to Me", and features a bass drum simulating a heartbeat while the register cash from "Money", the clocks from "Time", and talking people are playing over it. The best thing from it is that if you own the 1993 CD issue, it's not separated from the second song, but I actually own the 2003 SACD issue, ah, but that's not important. The important thing is that "Speak to Me" just can't stand as a track in it's own, but just assisting the following one, the atmospheric, evocative, and reminder-of-newborn-children "Breathe", with it's beautiful slide guitarwork courtesy of David Gilmour. "Breathe" is followed by a, er, "song" called "On the Run" which is basically an "EMS VCS 3" sythesizer playing along Nick Mason's hi-hat and lots of special FX. An interesting experiment, but not the type of song you'll really want to enjoy, after an explosion that gives an end to the track, clocks are waiting for you. A singular alarm explosion introduces easily the best passages of the album. First comes "Time", with a lot of great percussion on the rototoms and a pulsating bass simulating the sound of clock for the introduction. Then the song starts, with both powerful and reflexive verses, and your average great solo by Gilmour. After the fourth verse, we hear a reprisal of the themes of "Breathe", but this time more powerful but resigned. Seven minutes of genius. Perhaps the best song of DSOTM, but then, after a the reverberations of Rick Wright's organ play, you hear four of the greatest minutes ever produced, recorded, or heard in human history. "The Great Gig in the Sky" is absolutely gorgeous, beautiful, perfect, from the first B minor piano note to it's final G minor one, with heavenly vocals from a guest called Clare Torry. Is one of the standout single achievements on the album. End of side one. That is, of course, if you own an LP, which I don't, so the whole album is a 43-minutes epic suite. "Money" starts with the register cash loop, and then I have a question. Could even the song reach No. 13 on the US without the effect? It's not annoying, but it's just to distract you from the music. it's bass riff is catchy, and features a weird but effective tempo, plus, it features a great saxophone solo by a friend of the band, Dick Parry. Unfortunately, the jam section is boring. I mean, the solo is good, but this middle part is not particulary impressive and partially ruins the song. This sixth track it's not bad, but not so "classic" as many claim, either. After "Money" we have the relaxed piano shuffle of "Us and Them", that it's defnitely a highlight. It was based on "The Violence Sequence" a piano piece created by Wright as far as three years ago, for the soundtrack of "Zabriskie Point". it's slow-paced tempo, beautiful arrangement, nice rhythm guitar, and amazing sax solos make this another definite highlight. Then, a jam called "Any Colour You Like" comes in; it's a straight rip-off of the "Mother Fore" section of the "Atom Heart Mother" title suite. But, compared with the other one, I can't find something special about it. It's sometimes even skippable. But it's not really bad. Finally, we have a memorable ending, with another two-song medley that close one of the most memorable albums in history so well as only "Echoes" can surpass it as best Floyd album closer, I'm talking about "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse". They merge so well, that you might think of them as one. Period. OK, you thought when getting at the middle of the review that I was going to give this aspect less than 8 or something because of some tracks (particularly "Speak to Me", "On the Run", and the middle section of "Money"), but I gotta say that it's a BOLD artistic statement and an accumulation of previous musical succeses that surprised anyone at the time of the released. In three words: a great album. But there are three other better albums by the band. Hear them. Use your head. Don't overrate things. But please don't get anti-hyped either and give this a 3 or 4. It deserves this rating.
Lyrics — 10
"Lyrics by Roger Waters". It's their first conceptual album, and then we would see another 4 ones by the band and some others by Waters. Is a great concept I got to say, and if there's a good reason by which the album was so succesful, it was for the lyrical effort. The themes? One, basically: life. From the desperate passages on "Time", to the violent themes of "Us and Them" or the thoughts on mental illness (pretty inspired by Syd Barrett), the people in 1973 knew that they needed an album about life and related themes. And, still, it's not Waters best lyrical effort! But is amazing from beginning to end.
Overall Impression — 9
As I said it previously, DSOTM is an artistic and musical statement of sorts. You'll be trapped by it and it's inner "person", it's themes are timeless, heck, I just don't have the words to define it. It's basically one of the most obligatories purchases of classic rock. And it's great. But please, don't get obsessed by it. There are a bunch of Floyd releases that easily are better than it. Don't underrate (as some has done) or overrate (as nearly everybody has done) it. Please, just enjoy it.