Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon

Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon
Published in 1973

I know, I know.  It's so easy.  It's one of those albums everybody likes.  It's that album that everyone says will 'change the way that you hear music'.  It's like shooting fish in a barrel.  Even people who don't like music that much will enjoy Dark Side.  My mom listened to it in High School.  You're taking the easy way out, Matt.

I hate to say it, but the voices in my head up there are all right.  This is in no way an edgy or relatively unknown pick.  In fact, you could say that it is one of the most common albums to ever grace a best of list.  I know some people think that it is over-rated, and some think that those people 'just don't get the music, man.'  I will say this, in defense of the over-rated crowd, this isn't the second coming of Jesus Christ in album form, however, in the defense of the people who 'get the music' I can't think of many albums that are better.  From an objective standpoint.  I mean, personal albums, the ones that mean something to me, those are untouchable.  But in terms of interesting, facinating music, that is a joy and pleasure to listen to, it's going to be my goal of finding those in my brand new feature!

This is the first entry in what I'm going to call Classic Wednesdays.  When I first put out the call for Albums, I requested that it would be someone's favorite album.  This was a good system, and I liked it.  It meant that I got to listen to a bunch of newerish music, and could really get inside some of my good friends picks.  I like that method, however, it meant that I was listening to a bunch of incredibly new works all at once.  Which makes it very hard to not be comparing one to another.  It also means that I am investing somewhere between 2-3 hours on a single piece and then 2-3 hours on a totally new one.  I was able to pump out 7-8 entries in a couple of days, because I knew some of the albums enough to actually just sit down and listen to it.  I'm going to try to intersperse albums that I know well, or that everyone knows well, or regular classics that I should know well, so that I can increase the time between having to listen to new, pay attention carefully music, and great, excellent, but I've heard it before music.  If you have any suggestions for Classics that you want to see me talk about, please suggest some in the comments.

So, The Dark Side of the Moon.  As a classic album, I've known for a long time that this is one of those albums that really changed the face of music.  It's one of the albums that everyone has heard, and everyone has really liked.  So I'm not really going to talk about the way I feel about the album, however, I will talk about the way that I came to be a part of the group that enjoys the album.  I took a kind of strange road to liking the album, and I think that is actually the more interesting story.

My whole life, I've been an alternative rock kid.  I don't really know why.  I think it has something to do with my dad being in a rock band, and the fact that we listened to a ton of rock and roll in the car.  I never really got into pop music, because I was, at the age of five, proclaiming that Rock the Casbah was the greatest song of all time, because it had laser noises, and the Clash would be my favorite band forever.  I believe I told that to my Kindergarden Teacher.  So it's suprising to find out that I didn't ever actually listen to the whole of this album until my Junior year.  Of college.

What can I say?  I mean, I'd heard Time and Money, of course.  I'd liked everything I've heard.  I'd listened to bits and pieces of Dub Side of the Moon, a future album project candidate.  I knew everything about the album that one could without actually listening to it.  I just figured that I had actually heard all of it, and that I just wasn't that interested in it.  Until my junior year, I just never really thought about it.  I downloaded it, and I'd listen to parts, but it never really caught fire for me.

So, cut to junior year, interior, 73 MD ave, my room, recently renovated by having Clint Richardson's head put through a wall, wrestling on an air mattress that was damaged beyond repair by the incident,  I was bored, hanging out, smoking hookah in the room, and on a whim, I turned on the album.  No, the hookah had no pot in it.  No, there was nothing else going on really.  I just sat there, at my computer, smoking slowly, and listening to the album.  I wasn't overwhelmed, or overcome with a great deal of emotion by it.  I just felt, for the first time with that particular album, "Ah-ha."  I finally got it.  I finally had sat down and listened to it, and it actually had gotten through to me.  When the album finished, I just started it over again, and sat, listened and thought.

This is not an experience that you can have with just any album.  I have had a bunch of experiences with albums that I downright disliked on the first listening that grew and grew as I listened to them more and more. I've had albums that I immediately thought were the greatest, and only get better with age.  I've had albums that were so linked with a moment in time that I can't even hear them without the connection of the events that I heard the song in.  This was the musical equivalent of a good friendship.  You just end up finding that thing or that person that you connect with, without needing to work for it, or try to find it.  It just makes sense at that moment, and you know that no matter what, that person or thing will always be there for you, without regard for the distance between or the shit that happens.

After that moment, of course, I became the idiot who listens to it over and over, trying to find something deeper or more exciting or more interesting, and of course, had to tell people how amazing it was.  I wish that I hadn't done that actually.  I think that the album should be discovered the way that I discovered it, as a personal thing that you can just find on your own.  I can understand why I did it, and why people talk it up after they hear it for the first time, but this isn't something that you have to be forced to listen to, it's something that speaks to you as you go along, without the need for forcing it.

Anyway, I should thank a couple of people for this post, even though it was an unsuggested album.  First off, I need to thank Peter for starting his blog, which you can find here.  I considered it a shot across the bow, and I think that without his inspiration, this blog would have died an uninspiring death.  Second, Sam Porter should get a shout out, for being one of the people who talked with me a lot about Dark Side, and made my fandom somewhat acceptable.  And Micah Beck is the other side of that coin, who would just listen, smoke, and play Civ IV in my room with me.

Oh, we all know Sanchez was a Loose Cannon!


  1. Put me in the "overrated" camp. I purged my iTunes of all Pink Floyd several years ago, I think around my junior year of college when I fully committed to being an indie rock douchebag. I have no regrets. I think Floyd and some of its sister acts (no pun intended on the horrible Whoopi Goldberg films) are too self-indulgent for my tastes. I don't really like sprawling and self-indulged in my newer music, either. I like to keep things tight.

    Now, you want a good, classic concept album? How about The Kinks's The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society? There's a classic.

  2. It's on the list now, motherfucker!

    Yeah, I can understand the Overrated claim, but I for some reason really like it. Maybe because it's an album that deals with disconnection and the way that the mind is separated from the world in weird ways. I've been listening to it a lot since I've gotten here, but that was because it was one of the few albums I had with me. It's actually dropping on my most played, but I for some reason can't quit it totally. I like it, it's a great album, but ... I don't know. I do agree, there are more albums out there.


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