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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, so I wrote a music review and I need some feedback on it. It's long yes, but it's intended as a script/guideline. I had to edit some stuff out because of the character limits here as well.

I also need a title for the Youtube channel should I go through with one. I have idea but I'll post them separately.


I don't feel I need an introduction to what I am reviewing today, instead I think I'll let the album cover speak for itself and hopefully you'll recognize exactly what it is. (Hold up DSoTM.)

No, it's not the bloody refraction of light, it's Dark Side of The Moon everyone. This is perhaps one of the most iconic album covers of all time, and is noted as a mainstay of the best seller list thanks to its fifteen year run on the Bilboard charts. This, ladies in gentlemen, is the album that made Pink Floyd a household name.

So, what can be said about this album other than that it supposedly syncs up with Wizard of Oz? Well, there isn't much that hasn't already been said: the album cover is iconic, the songs themselves are fantastic, the album has a unique flow, and so on and so forth.

But I can't help but feel it's overrated. I was first introduced to this album out of my own curiosity, and I began to listen to it on the internet until I purchased a copy on CD. It's certainly a bit of everything, in terms of genre and topic, encapsulating life itself by taking simple concepts like insanity, money, time, death, and so on, but I can't help but feel there are better records than this, even better Pink Floyd records. Maybe it's because I've played it to death that I consider it overrated, though to be fair overrating a perfect album to god-like status in music is only a slight step upward anyway.

Notably, the album isn't as progressive in length as it is in concept, it's t about life and it's diversity. Roger Waters is said to have wanted a singular theme or idea. As opposed to simply taking the songs as they were and refining them themselves, the band went so far as to take the album on tour prior to its release in order to refine it, to take a break for Obscured By Clouds, and just anything you can imagine to ensure they were content with it musically.

With that said, let's begin.

The only song on this album worth skipping is Speak To Me, an opening sound collage taking the effects from later songs and putting them all together in this sort of nightmarish piece that honestly gave me nightmares the first time I heard it. The only other thing of note is that it contains two bits of dialogue, the first of many on the album. Apparently Waters interviewed staff, fellow artists, and others in order to get these answers and enhance the music.

The album's first real song is Breathe, which has light and airy vocals as well as a very dreamy synth and guitar. It's tune gives way to poetic yet foreboding lyrics like "All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be." David Gilmour and Rick Wright harmonize so well, I admittedly thought it was only one of them the first time I heard this track. Bluesy,dreamy, and airy, it's like a lullaby until that final chord.

Dream turns to nightmare when On The Run starts, a song not only giving a taste of proto-electronica with its fast synthesizer and unique sound effect, something that reminded me of a starship passing through gates in a tunnel at high speed or a man running through a futuristic spaceport to escape something. This song gives off this feeling of fear and anxiety enhanced by things like sirens, wicked laughter, and a plane crashing in the background. There's also the first appearance of spoken word over music. However, the song itself gets repetitive and overstays its welcome at nearly four minutes, though the effects and idea of it make it worth listening to every so often.

It then fades into this still nothingness for a few seconds, then the ticking of clocks segues into the ringing of Time. The opening guitar is a bit foreboding like the rest, supplemented by dreamy and almost child-like piano and Old Western sounding drum fills until the track opens for real in a very rhythmic sense. Wright's lyrics are perfectly emotional and therefore, unmatched as always, and give a cynical look at life as it passes one by, stating "hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way." Gilmour is wonderful as well, his solo and vocals fitting in perfectly with the rest of the track and giving this sort of feeling that one is being immersed by the monotony of life and its ups and downs.

Next, The Great Gig In The Sky is a melancholic yet perfect Rick Wright composition: it contains melodic and skillful piano combined with passionate vocals to create a feeling of sadness, struggle, then calm ambiance as the track concludes. Despite this, I feel that Claire Torry's vocals ruin what is musically a masterpiece, as the music here speaks for itself and needs no wails to tell its message. Perhaps the greatest piece of spoken word on the album is here as well, "I'm not frightened of dying, any time will do. Why should I be afraid of dying, there's no reason for it. You gotta go sometime." And honestly, I feel that was all that was needed because instrumentally, the piano was sad and powerful enough. Yet, if the track had to have vocals I think Torry did an excellent job, her wails showing resistance as the chords of the piano swell and die down, until she gives lighter vocals as if resigning to death.

I have neglected to mention at this point that the entire album flows seamlessly from song to song, all of them fading together as one perfect piece until Side 2 on vinyl and then side 2 doing the same. This sets DSoTM away from its contemporaries, as the album is really meant to be listened to as a whole instead of just track by track, and this effect really sets it apart and allows a person to immerse themselves in the music.

On CD, however, Time goes right into "Money", a satirical look at greed. Gilmour's vocals, Rick Wright playing a very catchy dance beat, Roger Waters' immortal bassline, a sax solo, and the interesting use of cash machines as a sound effect make this very... groovy. The song sort of speaks for itself, it's very groovy and because of that it became something of a black sheep hit, a song that was a departure from the band's roots but introduced many to them when it got airplay. There's also something about the guitar solo in it, something that makes me want to play it over a montage of purchasing expensive things.

Money in turn goes into "Us And Them" with more spoken dialogue in a fadeout. It starts with a long synth note, then the guitar and piano both come in. It's melancholy, a recurring theme throughout the album, is highlighted by remorseful saxophone as though it was straight out of a film noir, and Gilmour's vocals addressing war in typical Roger Waters fashion, though honestly it also feels like it could just be about a gap between two people or a contrast, a sort of thoughtful version of The Beatles' "Hello Goodbye" with more jazz and blues influences.

Us and Them is probably my favourite track on the entire album, it's thoughtful without being pretentious, catchy and complex. It also has two sax solos and an echo on the vocals as if showing the distance between Gilmour and the listener. It's perfect in every sense, and emotional enough that it almost brings a tear to one's eye upon first hearing the final line.

But this final line is cut short by quick and ambient synth and psychedelic guitars, which flourish around in a very trippy sort of way as they pan from side to side. It's a very relaxing tune, then it turns into what I guess is Classic Floyd by this point due to the overdriven solo.

Regardless, the song has this really interesting solo bit where Gilmour effectively duels with himself on different channels as notes are played back and forth. It ends on winding down guitars and synth flourishes, which die down into the penultimate track almost immediately.

Brain Damage contains a very catchy guitar riff in its opening, then Waters brings echoing vocals that would seem almost serene if not for the dissonance caused by what he's actually singing. This is only in the verse though, as the chorus is more hectic by comparison and this may be highlight the theme, there's madness in each of us.

It's quite a sad song lyrically, though considering it touches on insanity and is a reference to the band's former member Syd Barrett it's probably the only way to truly play it and sing it. I can't help but love the chorus, for both its sleek vocals and the actual statement of seeing someone on the dark side of the moon, something thoughtful but meaningless.

This song seamlessly moves into Eclipse, as the two are essentially one song. It's a list song, each line beginning with "all" until the finale. It's a perfect counterpoint, referencing Breathe's "all you touch/all you see," and contrasting Brain Damage. To me it's about life as a whole, contrast like Us and Them but not in the sense of conflict or opposites, merely taking the good with the bad.

Finally, the album comes to a close with Gerry O'Driscoll's famous "there is no dark side of the moon quote", and a true bookend, as the album ends with the heartbeat that started it.

This record brought the band untold success, which in turn influenced their later works through both their work here musically and personally, as well as the obvious things like the members' relationships with one another and so on. Maybe money isn't such a gas as the band describes.

But I must leave you here for now, so I'll see you on the dark side of the moon.

I had an idea where the opening/closing lines are generally lyrics from the album or a single by the band from that time period.

Super Moderator
33,900 Posts
OK. This album is close to the top of my favorite albums list (which isn't long anyway but whatever). As soon as you say it's overrated, I'm like WTF?

At least you have listened to it more than once and you know what it's about. I've read reviews trashing this album just for the sake of trashing it and the reviewers clearly didn't know much about the actual album.

If you're not a huge fan of it, you probably never will be. The review is good but I don't agree with it.

Super Moderator
33,900 Posts
i agree with you OP

while an incredibly influential album, i don't think it lives up to the hype
Well, I heard it before I ever knew there was any hype. Maybe a lot of people go into it expecting too much. If you already like a lot of what's available from a lot of other artists, I can see where you might be underwhelmed. Getting into music has always been a bit of a struggle for me. If I didn't like it right away, I usually didn't listen to it again. Darkside was kind of an exception. I hated it initially but was compelled to keep listening because there was just something about it.

That's how I initially experienced it. I hadn't heard anything about it. I just liked the cover. I didn't know anything about the hype until I had been listening to it for a few years. This would have been probably around 1989 and since I don't listen to everything I can get my hands on, if it hadn't been for this album, I might not have ever listened to anything else by PF.

Then again, I'm not a huge music fan and Pink Floyd is my favorite band now after about 25 years of listening to everything by them I could get my hands on. There's a lot of very popular music that I just despise so we're coming from vastly different perspectives.

he's not trashing it in any way, shape, or form?
I don't know if I meant that he was. I just said I've seen a lot of people trash it without bothering to put the work into their listening and review that he obviously has.

i'd agree with him that it is overrated, though, and definitely not the best in their discography
I'd say Meddle is better, just for Echoes. That's to say I think Echoes surpasses Darkside, IMO. Musically, anyway. Lyrically? Probably not. WYWH is maybe different but I don't know about better. Animals is spicier and probably better musically. The Wall is definitely superior in many ways but as good as it is, I hardly ever listen to it anymore.

Frankly, the one song on Darkside that I often skip is "Money". I just hate it. Always have.
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