Wish You Were Here

Pink Floyd

EMI Records, 1975


REVIEW BY: Riley McDonald


Two years after their phenomenally successful Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd released this gem as a tribute to founding member Syd Barrett. A more poignant rememberance could not have been written.

The album starts and finishes with the epic "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," a song which many people consider to be the greatest one Pink Floyd ever created. Countless planetariums have used the opening theme for their shows, but the slow-build of the keyboards is worth every minute, even after the guitar comes in. The explosion of the vocals finally breaks up the track ("Nobody knows where you are / How near or how far / Shine on you crazy diamond / Now that's that look in your eyes / Like black holes in the sky.") The second part is a bit more jam-oriented in the beginning before seguing into more vocals, a cool guitar arpeggio and then two closing jams. Words don't do it justice, though -- you just need to hear it. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In between fit three other excellent tracks, two of which are great rips on the music business. "Welcome to the Machine" takes a more personal look at Barrett's life and how the music biz machine ruined him, so to speak, set to dominant keyboard soundscapes and a moody acoustic strum. "Have a Cigar" is more of a straight-ahead rock tune with a great guitar line and vocals by Roy Harper that are a scathing indictment of record company greed and anonymity toward its subjects (classic line: "The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think / Oh by the way, which one's Pink?") But the highlight of the album is the flawless title track, as ever a beautiful ode to an old friend as there ever was set to a melancholy acoustic guitar.

However, the 45 minutes are a bit long for five tracks, especially the closing "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" segment, which seems like it could have been cut down. And while it's a Floyd trademark, the odd asides like the radio at the beginning of "Wish You Were Here" and the whirring noises that bookend "Welcome To The Machine" get old fast.

To me, Wish You Were Here is in the pantheon of the great Floyd albums, next to The Wall and Animals. If you haven't heard this, do it now, and if you have, listen to it again and be reminded how great it is.

(P.S: I would've written a longer review, but I zoned out while listening to this album…)

Rating: B+

User Rating: A-



© 2003 Riley McDonald and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of EMI Records, and is used for informational purposes only.