808s / The UK's Greatest Hits

The UK’s Greatest Hits: 7. The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd

Dark_Side_of_the_MoonThe Dark Side of the Moon  – Pink Floyd – 1973

First listen?: No

The Dark Side of the Moon is a lot more simple than I remembered. Maybe it’s listening to it in between current pop albums that owe a huge debt to The Dark Side of the Moon, the blueprint for the concept rock album. We’ve seen acts on this list that simply wouldn’t exist with Pink Floyd pushing the boundaries like they did on this album, full of innovative sounds and electric excitement at the time, it’s telling that some of this album sounds commonplace in 2015. Songs blend and seep into one another, it’s difficult to know exactly when songs begin or end. The 2 minute floaty intro to Time is indistinguishable from the Beatles-esque main portion of the song for instance. The spacey jams are definitely the peak moments for me, songs like Any Colour You Like and Breathe In The Air using layers of sounds just busy enough to let the odd guitar or vocal note pierce through. The most striking moment of this and probably my favourite track on the whole album is The Great Gig in the Sky, which manages to tell a fantastical story without a single full word sung. The wailing heard throughout is more thrilling than most songs manage with a full lyric sheet, it’s a wonderfully weird and exciting track. Biggest hit Money stands out among these songs though, it’s just too ‘normal’. The fact you can hear it on daytime radio without any bother is telling of how striking a departure it is from the rest of this often baffling, but never boring album. Given its place in the top 10 of this list, one of the most surprising things I learned was that The Dark Side of the Moon peaked at #2 on the chart. It has never been the number 1 album in the country. It’s a diverse record but with a strong focus though, with big sweeping strings sat alongside distorted guitar riffs as if they just appeared there out of nowhere. As someone who didn’t grow up in the 70s, it does sometimes feel like albums like this have always been around. Like they weren’t created, they just landed on Earth after floating across space just waiting to change the music industry for good. If that analogy seems a step too far, have a listen to The Dark Side of the Moon and tell me this isn’t an otherworldly record.

Rating: 8/10

Will I listen again?: Maybe. Though the next time I hear it will probably be at my parents’ house.

Best Track: The Great Gig in the Sky is a wonderfully bonkers track.

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