A Foot In The Door

Pink Floyd

EMI, 2011


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Up until now, there had been no single disc overview of Pink Floyd’s career, only the superb double disc Echoes set.

This is not strange. Floyd has many studio albums, each of which has a particular sound and style, none of which sound terribly similar to each other. One is compelled to view Dark Side Of The Moon, Meddle, or Wish You Were Here as works of art, not collections of songs, so cherry-picking the “best” of these is like taking a chapter out of a book; it may be good on its own, but it loses something without the context.

Echoes did a fantastic job of at least trying to condense Pink Floyd’s diverse and wonderful catalog into a balanced overview of the band, making it hard to quibble with the finished product. A Foot In The Door condenses that release even further by sticking with only the top classic rock radio hits, the ones you hear at any time on every station. If all you know or care about by Floyd is “Comfortably Numb,” “Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2,” and “Money,” then this is for you.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This collection doesn’t even try to be balanced. As far as it’s concerned, Pink Floyd did not exist until 1973’s Dark Side Of The Moon, so only one song of the 16 here predates that period (the dated single “See Emily Play”). It keeps with the theme of the compilation – one never hears “One Of These Days” or “Astronomy Domine” on the radio anyway – but it’s disheartening all the same.

Half of Dark Side is present (expected culprits “Time,” “Money,” “Brain Damage/Eclipse,” and the female vocal gyrations of “The Great Gig In The Sky”), and three songs from Wish You Were Here (the title track, “Have A Cigar” and the band’s best song of all time, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”) do that album justice. “Shine On” is present in its first part (parts I-V) with two minutes edited out; only longtime fans of the song will really notice where the cuts were made, and it doesn’t hurt the piece.

Nothing from Animals appears; the two aforementioned songs from The Wall are here as well as “Hey You” (which inexplicably starts off the set), with radio hits like “Young Lust” left off. Of the latter-day tracks, “Learning To Fly” and “High Hopes” are probably the best from their respective albums, while “The Fletcher Memorial Home” makes an appearance to, yet again, try to remind people that The Final Cut was a band album and not a solo Roger Waters disc, although it clearly was.

No doubt this release is little more than a cash grab, since three-quarters of the songs come from the band’s three biggest albums and nearly all of these get constant radio airplay. And, of course, all of this is quite good music (except for “The Fletcher Memorial Home” and “The Happiest Days Of Our Lives,” the oft-heard lead-in to “Another Brick”). If you are one of those who simply wants those radio hits and nothing more, or if you’re a Pink Floyd neophyte who is curious, this collection does the trick.

But because it ignores the first seven albums by the band as well as Animals, and because “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is here in an edited form, Echoes remains the definitive and balanced overview of the Floyd canon…although, more than most others, the individual albums remain the place to truly discover the essence of the band.

Rating: B

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