Sound — 9
Here we have everything of Pink Floyd ranging from their first album in 67 to their last one in 94. As a result the sound and style varies considerably depending on each era and the changes are mainly due to different members; technology and quality and also the relationship between members when the various songs. Without beeting around the bush by far the best era is the 1970's classic line up of Gilmour, Mason, Waters and Wright between the albums "Meddle" and "The Wall." Here the sound and music quality is a great balance of epic and subtle, complex and simple, clear yet falable. In contrast the other ears before and after leave a little more to be desied but depend on taste. This is where the title "The Best of Pink Floyd" becomes a little debatable (apparently when some of the group briefly met to discuss the tracks personal pride and ego towards certain songs was more important than musicality and quality). Pre "Meddle" we have Syd Barrett songs and then the transition towards prog where the Floyd sound a lot like the Beatles though just plain wierder. The transition period certainly features a little bit of over experimentation. The post "Wall" era features firstly stuff off "The Final Cut" which is not very good and is Water's tribute to his father. It isn't musical. The post Water's era features tracks from "A Momentary..." which in my opinion sounds a little comercial and "'80s." However tracks from "The Division Bell" are of great improvement sound wise and songwriting wise. Despite some of the over done rubbish the pure genious and brilliance of everything else makes anyone overlook this.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics must also be divided up into the 3 lyric writers - one for each era. Barrett - the Floyd's singles and first album feature Syd Barrett's lyris which can be summed up as just plain wierd. Syd is likely to have been on some sort of acid at the time of writing or just the plain imaginative flow he could get when music was involved. They are certainly the highlight of the songs written by him. His voice reminds you a little of Mr Lennon, yet it is great and a good lesson. Waters - the best and most of the lyrics are written by Roger Waters. Simple and poetic whilst to the point you have to love them. How Waters manages to create lyrics for songs that could easily stand on their own as spoken poems is a mystery. Of note is also I the singing quality of David Gilmour and Waters himself. Gilmour has a soothy and relaxing voice that totally fits his guitar playing whilst Waters has a slightly more alarming voice that makes you listen ("Sheep" is a good example). Gilmour - well certainly has the weakest lyric writing skills but someone had to do it. I think his were done with help from someone called Anthony Moore. They are adequate and quite good in places but weak on songs like "Sorrow."
Overall Impression — 9
Pink Floyd are unique. You know (or should know) them when you here them and only Radiohead have come close to creating a sound like them. However you have to think that their could be better representations of "The Best Of." However the real gems have not been missed out but less songs from "A Momentary Lapse..." and "The Final Cut" would not have hurt if exchanged for "Run Like Hell," "Breathe" and "Have A Cigar." Here are some of the best tracks: Echoes - this is where PF became PF as we know it. Everything is on this track: the slow moving melodies; the restrained guitar solos; funky jams with dirty hammond organ on stand by; the sound effects; lots of delay. What more do you want in 16mins? Pity the full version was not used here. Comfortably Numb - solo. It's epic. You have to love it and this is a song that really is perfect in every way. Shine On You Crazy Diamond - PF's tribute to Syd Barrett in 1975 this is only parts 1-5 out of 9 parts in total, and even that has been cut down (it still makes 17 mins). This is my favourate song ever and though I prefer the full version its still great. Other songs of note include the Dark Side Of The Moon classics: "Time," "Great Gig In The Sky," "Money" and "Us And Them" which make the middle section (almost half) of my favourite album ever. For an introduction to Pink Floyd I would suggest a few listens to "DSOTM" and "Wish You Were Here" because they are allround near perfect. This album I would more class as an expansion into more Floyd territory; love "Shine on..." Want to know how good "Echoes" is? Although flawed in some areas and perhaps not entirely fulfilling the role og "Best Of" this is still worth more than a listen or two - or a hundred simply because of the gems and moments of genious that no one should ignore.