Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
Dark Side of the Moon - A personal reflection
Out of the library of music that Pink Floyd has gifted to us over the last many years, one can argue that any one of their albums qualify as a "Best" album. Their musical lineage crosses the generation gap with fans from the 1960s right up to the present day.
Of these albums, I have a hand full that I consider to be truly inspirational in the flow, meaning and overall message that is woven into the work. One of these, for me, is "The Dark Side of the Moon".
Image courtesy of EMI and Storm Thorgerson
When DSOTM first came out, in 1973, I was a little too young for that kind of music, still being a student of shows like Sesame Street and Electric Company and listening to songs that included my ABCs and 123s.
So I was not able to enjoy this while it was "Fresh". My Pink Floyd experience would have to wait a little more than a decade until I had a chance to hear this music. But growing up, I was not sheltered from the style of music that would lead to my love of Pink Floyd.
My house was constantly filled with the sound of everything from the Beatles to James Brown, KISS, The Who, as well as many others. I was lucky enough to have a mother that loved these sounds and made sure that I was aware of these groups as well. While I did not appreciate it much at the time, I now look back on those days with great pleasure. That was where my appreciation for music came from that would lead me to what tastes I have today.
It would be nothing to wake up on Saturday morning, and while my friends would be watching their Saturday morning Bugs Bunny, I would be listening to things like Space Oddity or All Along the Watchtower while helping my mother clean house.
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Dark Side of the Moon
One day I was listening to the radio and I heard this great song. It was, I would later find out, called "Money". The way I found out what it was called was when I rode my ten-speed to the mall and went into the Sam Goody and asked the guy behind the counter about this great song I heard. But I did not know the name.
He asked me to tell him how it went, and then, looking rather like a fool, I am sure... I sang the few lines I could recall.
He walked me over to a rack of vinyl, and pulled out this record with a prism and a rainbow. Being that I was also a big nut about science and had just finished reading a story about Isaac Newton, I was instantly hooked. I asked him how much it was and he told me it was $9.99.
Too much. I had only $5 on me at the time.
As a testament to how times have changed, and the way people have changed, he asked me how much I had. I told him and he said something like, "Wow... it happened to be on sale for JUST that much." So I got the album and took it home, where I proceeded to play it again, and again and again.
And thus my love affair with Pink Floyd started. Since then, I have never had such an affinity for a group or any single album as this one.
The Album and the Music
The best way to listen to Dark Side of the Moon is in a quiet room with a good sound system. One that will balance the weight of the lows and the highs and provide just enough sub woofer to feel it when it is needed. Lacking this, a good set of headphones will work as well.
I suggest a dark room and a comfortable chair, a glass of scotch and then prepare yourself for a musical journey.
As if anticipating your own expectations of the music, the album opens with a subtle, yet strengthening heartbeat, and end in the same, albeit reverse, manner. One might feel that the music is helping you get ready for the ride, and then, once you have been through the music, it eases you back down again.
Between the heartbeats, you will hear songs that will cause you to think about who you are, where you are going, what you are doing and, in all, will cause you to achieve a level of introspection that I cannot recall finding in any other album I have ever listened to.
Each of the songs offer something to the listener to think about. Love, Life, Mortality, Spirituality, etc... you need only listen to the music and you will find it. And while I am sure that there are those out there that may and will disagree with me, I would have to say that Dark Side of the Moon was and is one of the finest, post Syd Barret, works that they put out.
What this Album does for me
For me, music has always been a central point in my life and I have always had to have a "soundtrack" for what I do. I have always had to have music playing where ever I happen to be, whether at work, driving, sleeping, etc. I have to have something to provide that background music to my life.
DSOTM has become, for me, what I call my "Thinking Music". Any time I am in the office, working on a story or article, I will have this album playing. It inspires me to think freely and to explore ideas, opens my mind to new thoughts, you might say. A friend once told me that I was channeling Syd Barret's acid trips from the 60s and that is why I think so freely when I listen to it.
I will not go that far, but there is something about this album that does provoke me to thought and allow me to write freer. If by some chance I am channeling Syd... all the better.
When I put on my headphones and start this, I feel my mind starting to drift with the first thumping sound of the heartbeat as the music begins, then I feel a certain sadness as the heartbeats fade at the end of the album, letting me know that the trip is over and the time has come to rejoin the real world.
If you are new to Pink Floyd or want to get a feel for them at their best. I strongly suggest buying this disc. It is a good starting point for the newer sound of the group. Most people will agree it is one of their best albums, though I would say that is it a close contender with Animals and Wish You Were Here.
You really cannot go wrong with this one and I am sure that no matter your musical tastes, as long as you do like Rock, Jazz or Electronica, you will like this albums and might just become hooked on the rest of their library as well.