Pink Floyd, an English rock band, has attained global success with their classic rock type of music after doing a number of great songs and selling many successful albums worldwide. Originally from a modest beginning, the group successfully grew into a more popular band unlike other bands from the same era. According to |Blake, “Most of Pink Floyd’s works are full of live shows, philosophical lyrics and sonic experimentation, which escalated them to be amongst the most commercially successful rock music bands of all time”. It originally consisted of students Nick Mason (drummer), Syd Barrett (guitarist, singer and songwriter), Richard Wright (keyboardist), and Rogers Waters (bassist).
According to Mabbett, “Some of the albums that led them to realize worldwide success include the concept albums The Wall, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Dark Side of the Moon, which is the eighth studio album released in March of 1973. Known for their lavish stage shows, Pink Floyd are looked upon as pioneers in the field of live music. They used innovative sound and visual effects to accompany their pieces, which set high standards of music in sound quality.
Despite the group’s huge success and following, very few percentage of music followers really understand the band that much. Most of the group’s fans, if asked, would only know of three albums: Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and The Wall, the rest are less-known. However, the historical background of the band has been distorted in some ways by the classic radio community as they rarely play singles from other lesser known albums. As a band, Pink Floyd rose to attain several achievements despite the deep flaws they had. This paper talks about the album Dark Side of the Moon from a philosophical angle. In my view, the greatest achievement was when the band showed they could still make marvelous music. I chose to review the way D.A.N of The Soul of Rock ‘n’ Roll views the album from a philosophical point of view.
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The Philosophical View of the Album Dark Side of the Moon
The philosopher has a number of albums in his music collection, with Dark Side of the Moon being the first album of the band he listened to. He vividly remembers the mixture of the fine and screeching lead guitar together with the space blues and rock anthems, which always evokes his memories of childhood. According to him, Dark Side of the Moon is a profound LP that has been coupled with myth and legend, involving the well-known myth ‘Wizard of Oz’. While it might be a coincidence, the album still teems with philosophical maneuver.
Philosophy as a Feeling
Dark Side of the Moon has the sensation of heartbreak from the beginning notes of the first tracks. It is not one of those records that contain lyrics that are very much philosophical, but don’t have the sound; it has both. Sound layers have been ideally crafted to generate a kind of dynamic symphony that has a lot of space that allows listeners to hear everything in detail. Its combination with a space rock feeling gives it a sound that calls for higher understanding and thought. Mabbett also noted that, “the layers of sound actually are made for new things to discover when listening.”
Casually, a listener might fail to notice the many sound effects and details but they are effective in improving the mood for people curious about looking for minute details. Firstly, it has a drum effect that actually is similar to a heart beating echoing throughout the album which gives the record a rhythm and an organic feeling; however, it can be noticed profoundly at some times, specifically in the beginning and the end.
Secondly, there is also a feeling of queries and responses where there are a number of verbal phrases in every part the album, though they might be a bit retold. At times, it is difficult to catch the audible words over the background music. There are phrases that might look ridiculous in any context, but sound like restrained comments about perception, life and death over the piece of music. Below are some examples:
“There’s no dark side of the moon, in fact it’s all dark….”
“….I don’t know I was really drunk at the time….”
“….I’ve always been mad, I know I’ve been mad, like most of us have. They have you explain why you’re a madman even if you’re not mad….”
The third feeling is that of footsteps, which will be clear if one listens to the music using headphones. At the start and the final part of “On the Run”, noise of a man on the run can be heard, which crosses from one earphone to another one. His footsteps and breathing are very obvious. It might seem misplaced but it fits perfectly with the flow of the music as well as the philosophical character of Dark Side of the Moon album. All these effects combined with the band’s unparalleled mixture of blues and mystic create a thorough product that portrays an imaginative utterance more than just a rock LP.
The Philosophy behind Dark Side of the Moon
The philosopher associates Dark Side of the Moon to a presentation of life and death in that the album begins with the heartbeat; a well-known life illustration. Harris notes that “the second song “Breathe” speaks about life in a poetic way”. It seeks to explain how an individual has to choose his or her own path in the long event of life. Three songs in the album (“On the Run”, “Breathe” and “Time”) also imply ineffectiveness in life. Our daily hustles and bustles are just as pointless as the mundane activities of an ant. Despite it being a grim statement, the philosopher feels the album portrays it philosophically without telling people not to take care. Lyrics to the song “Time” appears to be the darkest as it says openly about time that has been wasted and time ticking past endlessly. The philosopher views it as a reminder about the fact that life is too short and so time should not be wasted.
His favorite track in the album is “The Great Gig in the Sky”, which speaks directly to the philosopher as the gentle piano plays, the opening question is “….Why should I be frightened of dying, there is no reason for it, you got to go sometime….” Emotional women’s vocals then follow sounding as if answering the question. It states that it is because of the outflowing of sentiment that happens after the passing of someone we know. While grief might not be enough reason for one to fear the decease the D.A.N understands that “it is partly the reason for our fear as it involves loosing of the people we love”. “The Great Gig in the Sky” is an awareness of the sorrow that accompanies death as it declares that people should not dread the death, move on and live life without restrains.
There are other songs that follow “The Great Gig in the Sky”, which state how people don’t live their own lives wasting it instead while being anxious about things that don’t matter. On the other hand, the track “Money” talks about the capitalism which is bent towards making huge amounts of money that we will not be able to even carry. “Us and Them” speaks of war, conflict and differences of our opinions as well as perception. The song “Any Color Your Like” also talks about differences of opinion and perception with back and forth guitar parts sounding like bickering.
The track “Brain Damage” refers to early death, perception and madness. This is a point that marks the inception of something inevitable; that “I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon” very soon no matter what. The song “Eclipse” seems to confirm the statement of early death. Its lyrics portray the idea that we all die in the end no matter what we do and then end up being forgotten in the end. This is the best utterance to close the album that speaks of life and death. The statement reminds us that death cannot be avoided. It is the only thingone can be sure of no matter what happens.
All the ideas about life and death are carried out through many parts of the LP. The lyrics remind people of the two incongruities in sensing, and that they shouldn’t fear what others think; everyone has his or her own life to live. Experiences like getting drunk, grieving, or becoming insane are what complete our life. The favorite quote “that there is no dark side of the moon, it’s all dark” exhibit the fact that death is just another step in the cycle, and that it doesn’t exist even in the end. The philosopher thinks that all the quotes in the album are fine as they show the different ways of perceiving things as they are like snapshots of the different parts of life.
The heartbeat reminds us of how delicate life is; it passes quickly and each hit is just as the clock ticking. His favorite part of the whole album, the panning tread, shows how we could run away from events like death, and still we are moving towards it. There is no point of us living our lives in fear. The uselessness in running is clearly brought out when the running footsteps fail to escape from one side or the other of the speakers. The mentioning to insanity reminds us of Syd Barrett, who was lost due to LSD-influenced psychosis. It also reminds us that the only thing that separates us from madness is a different perception, and also the perceptions are lost in the end. All these effects are deliberate in enhancing the feeling of Dark Side of the Moon, thereby creating a complete work of art.
D.A.N concludes by stating that “the Dark Side of the Moon is a huge philosophical statement in which nature dictates that we will die in the end.” Therefore, we should not waste our lives living in fear of being judged. It should then serve as a reminder to spend each day like it is the last. One should spend their lives doing the things they adore, and with the people who matter the most. They should not always live for the future, but for the present while still maintaining the people they are.
This album remains to be a classic because it has a number of various philosophical viewpoints that one can think of without it falling apart. It also works as a nice piece of rock music despite being open for interpretation. Dark Side of the Moon is musically great as it is philosophical and deeply talks about life, death and purpose in life. It is among the best definitions of art because it makes people think about life. Having spent many weeks on the Billboard music charts, Dark Side of the Moon was and is still loved by the people as it speaks sense into them. Even after its writers David Gilmour, Richard Wright, Roger Waters and Nick Mason are long gone, the album will continue being one of the most influential works of all times.
This philosophical point of view makes a lot of sense. The philosopher has analyzed everything in detail, from the way the music and album has been arranged to the lyrics. While we cannot hide the fact that it will eventually fade into the past, we should enjoy its music while we live. The philosopher still loves the album despite its release being about twenty years ago. In my view, the theme of the album touches on conflict, death, greed, insanity and the passage of time. I think the lyrics were partly inspired by Syd Barrett’s deteriorating mental health at the time.
I give credit for its use of conceptual and philosophical lyrics, which add up to a continuous piece of music. All the tracks reflect the different stages of human life. Whiteley, an author also noted that “the Dark Side of the Moon begins and ends with a heartbeat before exploring the nature of human experience”. “Brain Damage”, “Breathe”, “Empathy”, “Us and Them” and “Speak to Me” together talk about the common threat of madness and the fact that one should live life without fear of being judged. “Stress”, on the other hand, speaks about stress and anxiety while “Time” looks at how it can control a person’s life. “The Great Gig in the Sky” acts as a soulful metaphor for death. I found “Money” interesting in the way it starts with the sound of cash registers and loose change as well. The track speaks about greed. The album then ends with the track “Eclipse”, which touches on the need for unity amongst humanity.