Sound — 10
Pink Floyd created multiple sounds on this album. From the "manufactured" sound in "Welcome To The Machine" (not as in over-produced, as in actual machines working) to the epic-rock sound of "Shine On Your Crazy Diamond Parts VI-IX", Pink Floyd finds the perfect sound to each song. So they have the right sound for each song, that doesn't mean that the songs are good, right? Wrong. The album moves seamlessly from song to song, using innovative bridges between songs (the sound of sand blowing in the wind, zooming out of the sound, etc.). The guitar parts are probably the best sounds on the album. From the simplicity of the acoustic guitar on the title track to the wavy guitar on "Shine On Your Crazy Diamond Parts I-V", David Gilmour shows that he took some time to make sure that all the guitar fits together with the lyrics and other sounds.
Lyrics — 10
It's rare that I'll ever find lyrics that make me think and feel the song. Emphasis on feel. It's one thing to understand what the singer is saying, it's another to feel what the singer's singing about. Every song on this album gives a much deeper look at seemingly innocent things. Roger Waters' lyrics are insanely brilliant on this album. From the poetic descriptions in both sections of "Shine On Your Crazy Diamond" ("You were caught in the crossfire of childhood and stardom, blown on the steel breeze.") to the beautifully painted picture in "Wish You Were Here" ("We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl..."), every song has it's shining points of brilliance, rare on an album. The highlight, of course, would be the title track.The song gives a sense of mystery, with the guitar adding to the intrigue. The song pulls you in with the first line ("So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell..."), and continues to question your reality in a sense of an alternate truth, leading up to the wonderful final verse. As each song passes, it seems that it would've been impossible to write lyrics this profound and deep, and yet, here they are. A true gem in Pink Floyd's career (as a group and all the solo careers).
Overall Impression — 10
Perhaps nothing, this is Pink Floyd's best album. The lyrics are extremely strong, and the guitar/piano/bass/drums are brilliantly woven together. This doesn't show one person conducting a group, this shows a band that put some effort into making a great album. When I first looked at this album, I was very suprised. There were five tracks that added up to about 44 minutes. I was a bit worried at first that the songs would die down midway and sort of drift through the remainder. However, I was pleasantly suprised to see that each song stood strong through it's 5+ minutes. This is a must-buy for any fan of psychedelia, rock, ballads, great lyrics, or great guitar work. The album is worth the cost for the title track alone. Highly recommended.