Album Reviews- Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd- The Dark Side of the Moon

Progressive Rock (prog rock) is a subgenre of rock music, emerging from the psychedelic genre. The genre evolved during the late 1960s/early 1970s pushing the boundaries of rock music regarding rhythm, instrumentation and structure.

Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon from 1973, although released during the development of this genre, still stood out and brought progressive rock to the mainstream. The album was a huge success, with an estimated 45 million copies sold, standing as Pink Floyd’s most popular album.  The band focused more on the technology aspect, using innovative recording methods instead of live performances, introducing new sounds, psychedelic effects and a prominent use of synthesizers.

“It seems to deal primarily with the fleetingness and depravity of human life, hardly the commonplace subject matter of rock.”- RollingStone.

The album explores heavy themes such as greed, conflict, morality, and mental illness. These were partly inspired by the mental deterioration of Syd Barrett, the founding member of the band, in particular, Brain Damage; ‘The lunatic is in my head, you raise the blade, you make the change…you rearrange me til I’m sane’

The themes can be found in other tracks such as Money, one of Pink Floyd’s most famous songs. The track includes a rhythmic looped sound effect of a cash register to match the 7/8 blues bassline which follows.  Here, the track explores the theme of greed and morality; ‘Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today’.

What I found most effective about The Dark Side of the Moon is how each track glides into the next, almost like a narrative told through the music more so than the lyrics. As well as the effective use of continuity, I was also fascinated by the use of reprise in the album, as I feel it gives a sense of familiarity to its audiences, especially for a first-time listener.  E.g. Breathe in the air, and Time.

Album Reviews- Kate Bush

Kate Bush ~ Hounds of Love

After the unsuccessful performance of her previous album, The Dreaming, Bush made a huge comeback with Hounds of Love released in 1985.Bush built her own recording studio behind her family home to speed up the recording process due to concern caused by the length of time it took to complete her previous album.

The album contains the hit single Running Up That Hill, with other immensely popular singles such as Cloudbusting. Bush wrote this song about psychologist and philosopher Wilhelm Reich and the close relationship with his son, Peter. After reading Reich’s memoir, A book of dreams, Kate drew inspiration from this and decided to contact him, explaining her motives for writing the song and hoping for his approval.

The second side of the album, ‘The Ninth Wave‘ which included Under Ice and Waking the Witch were the most interesting songs on this album in my opinion as they vividly connect with each other.  Bush described these as being ‘lonely’ and ‘nightmarish’ pieces of music. I feel Bush effectively captures the realness of the transition from a nightmare to waking up through the use of the gentle piano and voices of familiarity in Waking the Witch.

“These sort of visitors come to wake them up, to bring them out of this dream so that they don’t drown. My mother’s in there, my father, my brothers…Brian Tench- the guy that mixed the album with us is in there.” – Kate Bush on ‘Classic Albums radio interview with Richard Skinner,1992.

Although perhaps not a fan of all of Bush’s work, I deeply admire the versatility she presents within her music. This was also Bush’s first fully realized album, done completely on her own terms. (Allmusic.com)  For me, this portrays a lot of Bush’s character as the eccentricity in her music is apparent from all aspects; lyrics, instrumentation and use of voice all contributing to the importance of this album.