Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Sound of Music - Part 4

Welcome to the fourth installment of the Sound of Music - My Top Five Albums Of All Time. 

Think of this as a "deserted island" list of albums I'd want to have with me if I were stranded and these were the only albums I had on my iPod at the time (assume a solar charger and necessary waterproofing).

As a reminder, I present my main decision-making criteria:
  • Number of songs I like on the album (the fewer songs I skip over, the better)
  • Composition of the album (are the songs arranged in an order I find pleasing?)
  • Memories invoked when I hear a song from the album
  • Emotional impact of the album (how does listening to it make me feel?)

In no particular order thus far we have:

Today we will add a fourth album to the list:

Source: Wikipedia
Released 1973
Track Listing:
  1. "Speak to Me" - (Intro-Instrumental)
  2. "Breathe" (8/10)
  3. "On the Run" (Instrumental, 8/10)
  4. "Time" (8/10)
  5. "The Great Gig in the Sky" ("Instrumental", 9/10)
  6. "Money" (8/10)
  7. "Us and Them" (8/10)
  8. "Any Colour You Like" (Instrumental, 8/10)
  9. "Brain Damage" (9/10)
  10. "Eclipse" (9/10)
While the sixties were a time of peace, love, music, and marijuana (and acid, and whatever else those crazy kids could get their hands on). If they were giving out awards for whose fans were the highest it's no secret that Pink Floyd was likely the first band to hold the title across the Atlantic. With the Grateful Dead having formed around the same time they were leading the way by a country mile in the United States.

The only track I'll skip on this album is the opening instrumental intro. Quite frankly, the composition is nothing short of perfection. Opening with a psychedelic instrumental reminiscent of something Monty Python would have written, the album sets the tone with "Breathe" and then moves seamlessly into an instrumental that finishes with a resounding "boom" before we get a jolt of surprise with the sounding of dozens of alarm clocks in "Time", one of many instances where Floyd makes use of samples to augment their musical stylings. "The Great Gig in the Sky" was the first song where I noticed and really began to understand that a person's voice was an instrument. The woman singing on this track doesn't use a single word from the dictionary as she winds her voice up and down with "ooooohhhhhhh" and "ahhhhhhhhh" and "ooooooooooo" and it's positively hypnotic. "Money" brings more distinctive sound bites and "Us and Them" sits in a natural spot as track seven, leading into another instrumental. The final two tracks, especially when played back to back without interruption, might be the greatest ending of all the albums in my library.

This album cover is probably one of the most iconic pieces of musical artwork ever created. Every kid who has heard of this album has tried to recreate this effect the first time they got their hands on a prism in science class.

For years growing up in Thornhill I would drive past the "Becker's" convenience store on Aileen Road and there was this big green electrical box with the Dark Side of the Moon album cover spray painted in white on the side. The box has long since been replaced and is now obscured by a collection of overgrown tree but thanks to the fine folks at Google Maps and Microsoft Paint I've been able to recreate the image forever burned into my memory (that graffiti stayed on the side of that electrical box for years):


Aileen Road Electrical Box with Modified Graffiti Courtesy of Andrew

In 1994, I was fortunate enough to see Pink Floyd play at Exhibition Place with a lifelong friend, Jon, as well as a newly formed friend, Riaz (and a bunch of his buddies). As part of their Division Bell tour, Floyd played the entire Dark Side of the Moon album and to this day that remains one of my most memorable live concert performances. 


How does hearing this album make me feel? Nostalgic, calm, peaceful, relaxed, poetic, introspective, and blissful. Which, I suspect, is just what Pink Floyd was going for. 

~ Andrew


Coming Soon: 
The fifth addition to round out the list and then a post where I put them in order, explain why, and list a bunch of honourable mentions.

6 comments:

  1. Nice post; I enjoyed reading it and will come back and read a lot more. I have a little something for you. I think you'll like it!

    https://youtu.be/1LK_7VwuK6E

    Not sure if that'll display in a comment, but you can cut/paste. It's Beck's "Midnite Vultures" (the song, not the album. It's not even on the album of the same name.)

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    1. Thanks for reading, Grapes! I'll definitely give that song a listen.

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  2. Definitely up in the top for me as well. Top albums of all time is a difficult thing when one enjoys so many different genres of music. How do I put Dave Brubeck up 'against' Public Enemy? How do I do the same with bootleg Rolling Stones albums with The Kingston Trio? I dunno - seems like an impossibility.

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    1. Ah, but Roland, the genres don't matter. How do they make you feel? That's part of my criteria. Also, if you were to listen to each album, which of them have songs you're not a big fan of. Certainly you'll whittle the list down that way. My top 5 all have a ton of songs I really enjoy hearing and each album invokes a certain feeling or memory - the kinds of things that if it's all I had left would keep me sane (and mostly happy) for a long time. Thanks for reading and happy listening!

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  3. The 5th better be Moving Pictures. You know, Butters, you're the reason I'm a rush fan!

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    1. It's on the bubble. Picking #5 is causing me much consternation. There are a handful that are all right up there. There can be only one, though. I will have an honorable mention list for sure. Thanks for reading :)

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