Sound — 8
After the abrupt departure of one of Floyd's most important members, Roger Waters, the band made the decision to record 2 more fantastic albums despite this occurence and it might have been the wisest decision Pink Floyd made their entire career. 1994's "The Division Bell" was one of those great albums. Riddled with the spacey quality and stoner-esque musical elements that were embroidered in previous albums such as Meddle and A Saucerful of Secrets, Floyd chose not to change their sound according to the grunge movement that was happening during this time. Most of the album was written by David Gilmour and his, then girlfriend, Polly Samson, meaning epic guitar solos, as evident in "Marooned", atomospheric keyboard arrangements such as the ones in "What Do You Want From Me" and "Cluster One", accompanied by sub-par lyrics which, in truth, were not half bad. The music no longer had the hard rock quality that The Wall and Animals had; it was basically the exact opposite to be honest, but regardless, it worked and it's one of the best Floyd albums to date. No longer was Floyd's music balanced out lyrically and musically. Each aspect of their music on "The Division Bell" carry you somewhere different and you're not really sure how to digest it.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics, as a whole, were more average than great. Over the years the lyrics' prestige came, in part, from the lyrical mastermind that was Syd Barrett. On "The Division Bell", as stated above, Gilmour and his girlfriend wrote a vast portion instead. By doing this, the whole entire focal points of Floyd lyrics were slightly altered. In each of the 10 songs that actually contain lyrics, the specific points aren't really understood at first; again, adding to the spacey quality of the songs. However, on this album, one song that had interesting, but somewhat cocky lyrical content was "Poles Apart." I just cannot get past it. In this song, Gilmour is speaking to former bandmates Syd Barrett and Roger Waters, telling them that everything "has gone wrong wrong for them" and how "everything is in his favor." He also makes several references in this song about how everyone is "running from him." Regardless on how exactly you interpret it, Poles Apart is still an amazingly creative song and is one of my favorite ones written by David Gilmour.
Overall Impression — 8
This is it, folks. The last studio album from one of the greatest bands of the last century. If you don't want to listen to it because it lacks Syd and Roger, well, your loss. You're cheating yourself out of a great listening experience. Although I've mentioned several songs earlier, my absolute favorite song off of this album is "Marooned" (which eventually won a Grammy). It is just an amazing piece of music and it's slowly become one of my favorite songs of all time. This is almost a back to basics album, if you will. I love the fact that Floyd recycled the spacey elements that they encorporated in their music in the 1970s. It's really hard to hate it. However, most importantly, this album signifies that a band can succeed without its "main" members, and, by eventually breaking 3 million copies sold, I think "The Division Bell" was successful.