Echoes: The Best Of Pink Floyd
Capitol Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/29/2005
Where it succeeds is its portrayal of all side of Floyd as equals. The early psychedelic material is intermingled with classic tracks and songs from 1994's The Division Bell, and amazingly it all works well together. If all you know is the classic Floyd they overplay on the radio, you will be surprised at the quality of the band's entire catalog -- hearing "Hey You" blend into "Marooned" and "Us And Them" segue into "Learning To Fly" works perfectly. It helps that the songs are intertwined like a real Floyd album, with space effects and careful editing leading one song into the next.
No one album is given emphasis, although a few early ones such as Atom Heart Mother and Obscured By Clouds are rightly forgotten. All the best-known songs are present, although a couple have been slightly edited for space, such as the title track (7 minutes are lost, but you won't notice) and "Marooned" is shortened as well. Unfortunately, the two final sections of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," the band's best moment, also are dropped for no reason.
Taken out of their context, the songs that people have forgotten seem stronger. "The Fletcher Memorial Home," "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun," High Hopes" and "Sorrow" all sound better than they have before, and the addition of "When The Tigers Broke Free" is welcome. The only weak points are some of the early Syd Barrett items, such as "Jugband Blues" and "Bike," but they are dwarfed by the strong compositions "One Of These Days," "Sheep," "Money" and "Astronomy Domine."
One final note -- the first CD starts with the band's first song from their first CD, "Astronomy Domine" and ends on the second CD with the last song from their last CD, "High Hopes." But then, "Bike" is thrown on at the end, and since that song is also from the band's first CD, one can assume the producers meant this release to imply a cyclical state of mind. That is, the Floyd in 1967 was the same Floyd in 1994, regardless of personnel changes or musical direction. It's a neat little trick.
If you've never heard Floyd or want to have the songs you love in one place, this is the perfect disc for you.