Tuesday, September 6, 2011

#47: Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

Release Year: 1975

Pink Floyd had a pretty awesome run there in the 70s, with Meddle (1971), Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), and The Wall (1979).  Dark Side and The Wall are easily the two most well-known, but to me, their best album is Wish You Were Here.

This album borrows a format that has become a mainstay in progressive bands throughout the decades, where they sandwich a few standard-length songs in between two extended, and usually related, song suites (the earliest similarly structured album I can think of off the top of my head, without doing any serious effort, is King Crimson's 1973 album Larks' Tongues in Aspic).  Here, it is the excellent "Shine On, You Crazy Diamond."

But it's not "Shine On" that makes this album a winner... In fact, it's rarely those extended bookends that make these albums work... It's actually the three middle tracks.  I cannot think of a more diverse and enjoyable mix of songs than "Welcome to the Machine," "Have A Cigar," and "Wish You Were Here."  "Machine" has an aura that no other Pink Floyd song achieves, "Cigar" features one of The Floyd's greatest grooves and guitar solos, and the title track is brilliant in its simplicity.

I've been listening to Pink Floyd since I was in high school.  Twelve years after I first heard Dark Side, this is the Pink Floyd album I like the most (and writing this review is really making me wish I had placed it higher than #47).

Standout tracks:
  • Welcome to the Machine
  • Have A Cigar
  • Wish You Were Here
  • Shine On, You Crazy Diamond
  • (yes, that's the whole album) 

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