The Dark Side Of The Moon

Pink Floyd

Capitol Records, 1973

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


Much like May's Genesis retrospective, our look at Pink Floyd this month has prompted me to plow through Floyd's catalogue, something which I have never done. At this point I'm only up to Atom Heart Mother, however even after a few albums my appreciation for The Dark Side Of The Moon (hereafter referred to as DSOTM) has grown considerably.

One word describes what Pink Floyd was lacking though most of their earlier works: focus. While there are many stellar moments to be found from A Piper At The Gates Of Dawn to DSOTM, there was not one album that consistently "wowed"(though from what I hear, Meddle comes close). I mean, maybe five minutes of talking chipmunks strikes some people as compelling listening, but not on my iPod.

The actual concept behind DSOTM is somewhat up for grabs, depending on whose interpretation you believe. The general belief is that the focus of the album is the human mind, and what drives it. You've got the slow passage of time, pure greed, and instability all covered at some point on DSOTM. This wouldn't be the last time these subjects were covered on a Floyd record either; arguably the next four albums from Roger Waters and co. would take on this material.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Of course, the ideas behind DSOTM would mean nothing if the music itself was not up to par. This is easily the Floyd's best sounding album, thanks to wonder-engineer Alan Parsons. As the years have passed since DSOTM's release, the record refuses to sound dated, something that cannot be said for records like Ummagumma or A Saucerful Of Secrets.

Ironically, it is the beginning of the album that features the weakest moment. While "Speak To Me/Breathe" is classic, spacey Floyd; "On The Run" ruins the mood by giving the listener 3 and half minutes of repetitive noodling on the synthesizer. Had this number been cut out, it would have been hard to find a flaw with DSOTM. Immediately following "On The Run" is the absolute classic, "Time." Sporting some memorable David Gilmour guitar work and strong Waters lyrics, this number practically blows away anything Floyd had previously recorded.

The rest of DSOTM plays out as a pick-your-favorite-Pink-Floyd-track compendium. "Money", "Us And Them," the closing suite "Any Colour You Like/Brain Damage/Eclipse"… these songs often get singled out as the best of Pink Floyd, and with good reason. Personally, "Us And Them" gets my vote as quite possibly the greatest Pink Floyd number ever. The epic sound Floyd was capable of is brilliantly condensed into roughly eight lush, ethereal minutes. The chorus particularly hits you hard, after the somewhat lethargic pace the song originally opens with, suddenly a cacophony of voices, sax, and synthesizers appears from out of nowhere. Gives me chills every time.

What else is there on DSOTM? Plenty more. With every listen I find something new to enjoy. Along with "Us And Them," I love the bass riff to "Money," definitely one of the best in rock history. The dueling guitar and synthesizers of "Any Colour You Like," make this instrumental successful, as opposed to the empty "On The Run." And of course, the climatic ending of "Eclipse," with the infamous lyrics, "And everything under the sun is in tune / But the sun is eclipsed by the moon," send out the whole concept of DSOTM perfectly before fading to the heartbeat that also opened the album.

This album has achieved legendary status, and rightfully so. Pink Floyd would never again reach this platform of creativity, though they would come close with The Wall, and maybe even Wish You Were Here. The music, the message, none of it has aged one bit. That is what makes Dark Side Of The Moon a classic, and a work that everyone who loves music should hear.

Rating: A

User Rating: A-



© 2005 Jeff Clutterbuck 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 Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.