The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd

I almost didn’t include this essential album because it’s very well known, but I feel like it needs to be included. Let me reiterate one of the central ideas of this little blog: the album is a good and important form within music, and there is something unique you can get from sitting down, focusing, and listening to an entire album that you can’t get from listening to the songs alone. This is the quintessential example of that type of work, a record of clearly different musical pieces which fits together perfectly and intentionally. The emotions that each song makes one feel are calibrated to put the listener on a personal journey, even without the use of psychedelics; it feels so good, for instance, when “Breathe (In The Air)” resurges at the end of “Time”, or when “Money” transitions into the beautiful organ sounds of “Us and Them”. I have been fortunate enough to have the experience of standing in someone’s dorm room while they play this on a vinyl record through booming speakers; I will heavily recommend sitting down with close friends and immersing yourself in the beautiful sound of this album on vinyl, but don’t put it off if you can’t get that. Of course, I should probably get to talking about the actual music- just let me say that it is incredible. Every chorus is a cool harmonic climax, devised out of VIbmaj7 chords and IIb chords that set a permanent standard for psychedelic rock. Clare Torry’s phenomenal wordless vocals on “The Great Gig In The Sky” make that track the obvious standout, and yet it’s incredible in completely different ways when similar backing vocals hit in the choruses to “Us and Them” and “Brain Damage”. “Eclipse” may be my favorite track on the album, but its bombastic excellence works because of all the incredible sound and fury that came before it. “Time” and “Money” have this really cool early-rock Hendrix-style harmony going that comes from sticking close to the tonic chord and integrating the tension buildup with the groove of the song; the solo on “Time”, by the way, is legendary, almost matching their later achievement in “Comfortably Numb”. Just- let me convince you to listen to a 43-minute album that conjured up its own place in our culture through sheer quality and originality alone. If you like music, you’ll probably like it!

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