Sound — 10
This is usually considered an odd album to put on a very guitar-orientated site, since the album itself is not very guitar-orientated. Many people yell 'Pink Floyd, rock on bro!!' and do the devil horns. These people are usually the posers, the kind of people that heard that Pink Floyd is pretty popular and therefore must be a metal band, and they decided to cash in. The majority of these people are mindless sheep who have never even heard this album, and what a pity it is. While it's been said many times, I'll say it again; this is one of the greatest albums of all time. You'll probably ask why. After all, there's no hard-driving riffs a la Rage Against the Machine, no material that will likely give you whiplash and party all night. But that's the brilliant part about it; this album proves that to be good, it doesn't have to be straightforward, in-your-face rock 'n' roll. 01. Speak To Me/Breathe: starts out quietly... then you hear the incoming roar of the noise, until you drop into a part that can only be described as light, blissful. Roger Water's vocals pierce through: 'Breathe....breathe in the air...don't be afraid to care...'. It's really beautiful, and haunting at the same time. 02. On The Run: hurry. That's the message thing song leaves you with. From the speeding keyboard to the airport announcement samples, to the ambient noises, you really feel a little disturbed. But the climatic moment comes in near the end of the song at around 3:00, when the laughter is too much, and you hear a plane fly by, only to crash in the biggest boom you will ever hear in your life. The song slowly fades out to the explosion, and in a way, the quiet sound is almost deafening... 03. Time: one of the greatest songs ever. Words can't describe how well this song is constructed. The fading boom is suddenly torn to shreds by a wall of alarm clocks. Then, a single bass note accompanied by guitar and toms. Then an eerie sequence is played.... the notes are seemingly random, but as you keep listening to it, I swear, the notes begin to make sense, as if you just understood an immensely complex story. The whole line just makes you think. You don't even realize it, but there is a keyboard meandering in between the bass. You only become aware of it when the final keys of the intro are played, like the sorrowful words of a very tragic poem. The song breaks into a kind of realization, one that really gets you thinking: time really does seem to slip away. When the guitar solo comes in, you can imagine yourself aging: the guitar sings in its own fashion, it cries and wails as if it has a soul of its own. After another haunting verse, the song breaks into a the reprise of Breathe. In a way, the only way the moment can be described is a gulp of fresh air, where it just hits you like a bucket of cold water. The song ends on a lingering B note, stretching on and on... 04. The Great Gig In The Sky: The B note hovers for a moment, before one of the greatest piano lines ever floats in. Similar chord playing as in Breathe, just as easy, laid-back... 'I am not frightened of dying, anytime will do. I don't mind, why should I be frightened of dying? You've got to go some time...'. The words linger for a moment... two drum hits, and a wave of sound hits you. It is not possible to say no words at all, but to say so much. Clare Tory just tries to emulate an instrument, mimicking the wailing of a guitar, as the song weaves a complex and beautiful story. 05. Money: starts with the melodic clinking of cash registers, then one of the most famous bass lines in history, supplied by Roger Waters. The song slips into the amazing verse, and as you try air drumming, you realize that you can't drum to the beat. You listen closer, and it comes to you that the song isn't the usual 4/4 time signature, it's something else! You figure out that the time signature is 7/8, and you wonder who invented such an unorthodox drum beat. The lyrics mock corporate greed and consumerism. The sax solo in this song is brilliant. 06. Us And Them: a very quiet song, with two brilliant saxaphone solos in it. There's a lot of great piano work in here by Rick Wright (R.I.P.), beautiful work. The song construction is very interesting too, with the somewhat rare D minor with a major seventh chord. 07. Any Colour You Like: the song drops in immediately with the keyboards, creating an incredible soundscape. Rick Wright and his keyboards put on an unbelievable performance in this song, creating images of swirling colors, changing endlessly. It's hard to describe, but if you close your eyes and imagine any color, it just seems to fit together. It really is amazing, the color that the song fits together with is different for everyone. For me, the color blue works best. The guitar solo after the keyboards is just as good as the one in Time, but this time, the guitar is happier, more relaxed. It just makes you feel good. 08. Brain Damage: the guitar solo segues into Brain Damage. The song is faint and quiet, and once again, the band somehow manages to encapsulate two feelings at the same time: weariness and a kind of happiness too. The lyrics tell the story about losing your mind. In a way, the story is a kind of epitaph for Syd Barrett, one of the original founding members of Pink Floyd. Sadly, Syd died in 2006 from pancreatic cancer. The song's chorus is moving, too: "And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear...You shout and no one seems to hear...And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon..." 09. Eclipse: two words describe this song perfectly: rousing and philosophical. The lyrics are simple, but they make you think. It's quite an end to one of the greatest albums ever.
Lyrics — 10
Pink Floyd is definitely not the quintessential rock band, in terms of both their music and lyrics. The lyrics of this album generally deal with insanity, as the album's title may lead you to assume. Roger Waters is, in my opinion, one of the best lyricists of all time. When you listen closely to his lyrics, they really tell a complex story. You can tell that a hell of a lot of time was spent on writing the lyrics.
Overall Impression — 10
This album is often voted one of the best albums of all time, and I have to agree. It might take a bit of a spin for fans of heavier music, but in the end the decision is almost universally unanimous: this album is a masterful work of art. I think the weakest track on the album is 'On the Run'. It's probably the least moving, because it only instills a feeling of being in a hurry, nothing else. There isn't really any deep meanings in it, which after all this time, is generally what people have come to expect from Pink Floyd. If this album was stolen from me, I would definitely buy it again.