THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON – PINK FLOYD –
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS ALBUM
It was March 1, 1973, when Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason released in the United States this revolutionary album, full of sound and compositional experiments that helped to make it a point of reference.
Recorded in the famous Abbey Road Studios in London, the album was produced by the most advanced techniques of the time: analog synthesizers, loops, multitrack recording.
The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd (whose title would be A Piece for Assorted Lunatics), the album’s most popular and sold in music history: 50 million copies sold, this month celebrates 40 years.
It was an album that we listened to in one sitting, derived from the obsession of the four musicians looking for perfection and who created a perfect record, although a little cold, but after so many years it still is a pleasure to listen to it, maintaining its charm.
A strategic choice, an album more “commercial” because at that time the progressive was setting as the band itself were becoming unfashionable. After Syd Barrett‘s psychedelic phase and the unbridled experimentation (which gets its apex in Echoes), the middle phase of the history of Pink Floyd begins, the one of concept albums and formal perfection, which all the crazy musical experiments of their previous career flow into, and it sees the rise of Roger Waters’ paranoid genius, who was to become the first leader by Animals and The Wall onwards.
The dark side of the moon is a concept album still open to psychedelia, to progressive and experimental with some quirks with which the group develops the theme of life, with five tracks on both side representing the various stages of human life, where among other things is talked about greed, aging, death and insanity.
Many critics attribute to the title of the album (with the Moon seen as the mind of man or his dark side) a greater connection with human folly, in a world where man appears as the element that ruins the perfect cohesion of the environment in which they live.
But let’s start from the A side, what should be the “enlightened” one, and not the dark. It starts with Speak to me that reflects the origin of existence with the sound of the heartbeat, which also ends the final track of Eclipse, and where the sounds, more and more obsessive, ending in a crescendo of screams (symbolically attributable to a mad people or to a mother at the time of birth). Breathe is then introduced (also reprised at the end of Time and Any Colours You Like), which represents the birth of a hypothetical character of the album or of any listener. These two songs put an accent on the trivial and mundane elements of life that accompany the ever-present threat of madness, with the importance for everyone to live their lives.
“Don’t be afraid to care“.
Unexpectedly then On The Run starts, which seems to leave pending the previous piece and is meant to represent the haste that characterizes the life of the human being, evoking the stress and anxiety caused by modern travel, in particular Wright’s fear of flying. Follows Time, classic rock setting, introduced by the sound of clocks and reiterates the concept of life that passes fast, admonishing those who waste time: you start as young with a lot of time to waste and, without even realizing it, you find yourself with a lot of old unresolved things behind and little time left to live.
“And then one day you find | Ten years have got behind you | No one told you when to run | You missed the starting gun.”
Unresolved things that are repeated with the resumption of Breathe, interrupted by the “haste” of On The Run, and which finds its end here.
Finally, The Great Gig In The Sky, which closes the A-side and which is a profound metaphor of death, whose Roger Waters’ sarcasm is revealed by the presence of some voices, giggles and quotes from Heidegger in the background. These are the voices of the technical staff who answered a few questions, in the form of philosophical aphorisms related to the theme of the album, as << What is the last time you were violent? … were you right? …. Are you afraid of dying?“, which Roger had given them on some slip of paper. In this wonderful melody of the poor Rick Wright, Clare Torry was taken as a female voice, who, placed in front of the microphone, she was told to improvise. She invented and her voice seems an orgasm that flies over Wright’s notes. At the vocalist the 4’s Pink Floyd gave 35 pounds, but she will sue years later, asking (and getting) to be recognized as co-author of the song, which will guarantee her a peaceful old age.
“I am not frightened of dying, any time will do, I do not mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There’s no reason for it, you’ve gotta go sometime.”
On the B-side, the real dark side of the moon, the 5 songs are stuck with no pause in an unstoppable crescendo starting with Money, a jazzy song whose rhythm is given by the sound of a cash register. They talk about money, the material existence, making fun of greed and consumerism.
“Money, so they say | Is the root of all evil today. | But if you ask for a raise it’s no surprise That they’re | ninth giving away”.
Another set of sampled voices introduce the theme of alienation of society by the song that made this album a musical masterpiece, and that is Us And Them, that speaks of ethnocentrism. This song does not have time to finish that begins Any Colours You Like, in a similar way as it happens on the A side, and here it also is an instrumental piece, but this time less electronic with keyboards that make it more psychedelic. After the alienation and before the total madness, a last memory of life by a short Breathe, after which Brain Damage begins. Track that leads us through the maze of madness purest, as the result of placing the fame and success in top of the list of an individual’s needs (obviously referring to the mental state of their friend Syd).
“I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”
After that, the tenth and last track explodes, Eclipse, a song that is a continuation, from a melody viewpoint, of the previous track and which ends by saying: “All that is now / All that is gone / All that’s to come / And everything under the sun is in tune / But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.”
The song also serves as a key to understanding the whole concept album. In fact, the last and almost inaudible voice, as if it came from far away, a few seconds from the end of the album, says: “There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact it’s all dark. ”
How to say all is not as it seems, in fact the visible side of the Moon appears to shine on his own when in fact “the entire Moon is dark.”