The Dark Side of the Moon Review
By Rachel Brown
Recognized by this musical aficionado as the most flawless record of all time, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon took the world by storm the moment it hit the airwaves. From its catchy single “Money” to the more obscure “Any Colour You Like”, the album flows seamlessly from one tune into the next. The musical perfection of such an accomplishment cannot be denied and should never be overlooked. Though the group has been synonymously linked with the rather unsavory culture of potheads because of its somewhat psychedelic nature, one does not have to be high to appreciate the brilliance of Pink Floyd.
The familiar heartbeat that opens the record – soft and foreboding – gradually crescendos into a maniacal laugh, finally erupting in the primal shriek of humanity that jumpstarts “Breathe (In the Air)”. The breath of life gently lulls its listener from a state of infancy to adulthood, and by the end of the short piece he seems to already be standing on the precipice of death – a common strand that runs throughout the entirety of the album. Following the vein of lost time, “Breathe” quite appropriately transitions abruptly into “On the Run” and “Time”.
Dark Side also explores the topics of madness and greed, delving deep into the audience’s psyche to paint unsettling portraits of insanity and the inevitable end. But, despite their eerie content, the beauty behind Pink Floyd’s lyrics is undeniable – the perfect blend of severity and security. Roger Waters is so sharp and David Gilmour is so delicate that together the two have written some of the most beautifully potent lines in musical history.
However, while the poetry in such selections as “Time”, “Us and Them”, and “Brain Damage” is groundbreaking, the band clearly demonstrates the redundancy and even triviality of words in their instrumental numbers, none of which could be more iconic than “The Great Gig in the Sky”. Seen both as a lament and an ode to death itself, the desperation of the female vocalist’s cries are all that can be heard above the beautiful piano. Her performance is awe-inspiring and would certainly be minimized if lyrics had been added. Here the elegance of the music speaks for itself.
The most unique element of Dark Side, though, is the spoken word segments that the band included at intermittent points throughout the album. Interviewing studio employees and others involved with the project on subjects ranging from food to insanity, Floyd selected the phrases they wanted to use and fused them into the music. A minor detail, perhaps, compared to the lyrics and melodies that comprise the record, but without these clips the album would not be the same.
Pink Floyd mastered the art of blending melodic and lyrical genius, in which words literally become one with the music. Their ability to turn a phrase while still giving ample attention to the instrumentation is dumbfounding, and Dark Side is certainly the crowning glory of their superior artistry – a precursor to tunes like “Wish You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb”. The album has become one of the best-selling albums of all time and sat on Billboard’s Top 200 chart longer than any other record in history, so give a little credit where credit is due and listen to The Dark Side of the Moon again for old times’ sake. It is a rock n’ roll staple that will never leave you dissatisfied.