The Division Bell Review

artist: Pink Floyd date: 02/01/2008 category: compact discs
Pink Floyd: The Division Bell
Released: Mar 30, 1994
Genre: Rock
Styles: Prog-Rock/Art Rock, Album Rock
Number Of Tracks: 11
The Division Bell is vaguely about levels of separation with more than one not-so-opaque lyrical jab at the estranged Waters.
 Sound: 8
 Lyrics: 8.7
 Overall Impression: 8.7
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reviews (3) 11 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8
The Division Bell Reviewed by: someone_not_you, on july 26, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Seven years of criticisms later, David Gilmour-led Pink Floyd released what is the most recent Floyd studio album: The Division Bell. Oh yeah, it got an advantage: the lot of studio musicians and drum machines used for "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" were almost gone, and we finally have the priviledge of hearing Richard Wright playing those keyboards (oh, and contributing in sonwriting), and Nick Mason having a good time behind his drum kit. Oh, I'm sorry, but it also had a disadvantage: apart from two tracks ("Poles Apart" and "High Hopes"), there's no a single original idea on the album. Let's see: Opener "Cluster One" is an improvement from 1987's "Sings of Life", a weak imitation of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", "What Do You Want from Me?" recreates "Have a Cigar", "Marooned" seems a melodic version of "Echoes" middle section, "A Great Day for Freedom" is a weak response to "The Wall", "Wearing the Inside Out" has definitely something to do with the atmospheric numbers on "Obscured by Clouds", "Take It Back" ripoffs both "Run Like Hell"'s riffage and "One Slip"'s feeling, "Coming Back to Life" is the third (! ) "Shine On" ripoff, "Keep Talking" borrows the talkbox noises from "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" with more "Run Like Hell"/"Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)" riffs, and finally "Lost for Words" guitar riff sounds very similar to "Wish You Were Here"'s one. So, for the previous reasons, am I ready to give this a one? No way. I'm forced to get off two points because one of the main resons of the existance of music is originality. And for the stupid "A Great Day for Freedom", which anyway contains a good guitar solo. The rest ranges from "pleasant" to marvelous. "What Do You Want from Me?" is catchy "Poles Apart" is beautiful, "Marooned" is an epic 5-minute solo in which Gilmour explores all the possibilities that a Whammy pedal can give to such an incredible guitarist, "Wearing the Inside Out" (the best song if it weren't for the last one) is incredibly beautiful, and unfortunately underrated. It even features Dick Parry, the sax player from "Money", "Us and Them", and "Shine On". "Take It Back" is great, "Coming Back to Life" is good (but I prefer the live rendition from Pulse), "Keep Talking" is OK, not exactly a highlight, but is not bad anyway, "Lost for Words" is a good 'folk' song, and finally we have the amazing closer "High Hopes", as I mentioned above, the best song, it's so beautiful, moving, great acoustic and slide guitars. Oh, and a delayed coda by manager Steve O'Rourke. Hey, this might sound funny, but with this coda, the Floyd, just as their most famous concept albums, are a giant song cycle! After all, remember that "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" opened with the first manager, Peter Jenner, talking through a vocoder or something. But that's not important. "The Division Bell" is underrated, beacuse the amount of filler is little, and the gems are abundant. A very enjoyable album. // 8

Lyrics: An eight, too. Even Gilmour stated that he wasn't exactly the greatest lyricist of all time. But fortunately, he gets some assistance of his soon-to-be wife, writer, and journalist Polly Samson. And, apparently, we seem to get a sort of a concept here. Two themes are predominant within the album: a response to "The Wall", and some answers to Roger Waters. The former is just noticed in "Keep Talking" and "A Great Day for Freedom", but many of the songs ("What Do You Want from Me?", "Poles Apart", "Wearing the Inside Out" indirectly, and "Lost for Words") may discuss the later. Some people have even made an analogy: "Wish You Were Here" is to Syd Barrett as "The Division Bell" is to Waters. "Take It Back" is not a love song, is an ambientalist track, about the damage man does to Mother Earth, and "High Hopes" is the band's autobiographical track, narrating the story from the start to the success to the split-up, etc. A swan song? I don't know. But has great lyrics. Finally, a question. Was Waters the definitive lyricist? Of course. But Samson is very far from being bad. // 8

Overall Impression: After "The Final Cut" and (mainly) "Obscured by Clouds", this is another underrated great album by the band. OK, I admit that I'll hate if they produce another album that ripoffs previous succeses, but I feel so warmly received into the album's atmosphere, that even with the criticism late-day Floyd has received, I adore it. A fantastic record that the average Floyd lover (and non-Waters mega-lovers/Gilmour detractors) may like. // 8

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overall: 9.3
The Division Bell Reviewed by: unregistered, on april 21, 2005
1 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sound: I know this album is not rated as even one of the best among Floyd albums but it definitely makes an impression and it is quite a good one. The albums start with songs cluster one and poles apart. These are good songs sound-wise but once one hears the rest of the songs these will be totally elipsed. Then the song Marooned which is an instrumental one is absolutely fantastic. It isn't as long a song as Shine on you crazy but one can feel the psychedelia in it. Overall the sound is fabulous. // 8

Lyrics: Can anyone beat Floyd at lyrics. I think not. Even if Roger Waters is no longer a part of Floyd in The Division Bell, yet Gilmour does his part and comes out with flying colours. Coming Bak To Life, Lost For The Words and High Hopes are the highlights of the album in terms of lyrics. // 10

Overall Impression: Ok, now I think this is one of the best Floyd albums ever. This album will stand third among Floyd albums of which first two will be, Wish You Were Here and Dark Side Of The Moon (yes I will rate it more than The Wall and a Momentary Lapse Of Reason). Floyd is my definitive favourite band of all time. But their songs like Comfortably Numb or Wish You Were Here will not be my favourite track! That favourite song will be High Hopes. The song is about the pain one feels after quitting doping and how the life when they doped. And that is indeed quite hard to imagine ('cause one does not quit doping). The thing about this song is that one will not like the song in the first 3 or 4 hearings but once one likes it he can't stop the song from listening. I can listen to this song back to back say a million times! The final solo by Gilmour in the song is the best solo ever by any band ever! After this song, it left Stairway To Heaven a distant second! The other songs to watch out for are Marooned, Coming Back To Life, Lost For Words, Keep Talking, What Do You Want From Me?, Great Day For Freedom - more or less every song. // 10

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overall: 8
The Division Bell Reviewed by: DownInAHole., on february 01, 2008
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 8

Lyrics: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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