In these days where a band creates a song just to become a hit on MTV, artists who intend to make complete, flowing albums are a dying breed.
The latter does, in fact, represent Pink Floyd, who emerged in London’s music scene in the mid-1960s. Rarely do you put in a Pink Floyd album and skip ahead to your favorite song. Instead, you put it in your CD player and let it ride from start to finish, listening to a complete flowing masterpiece.
Pink Floyd has made its living off the concept album — an album with one continuous meaning that all the songs revolve around. So it’s very hard to trust a Floyd greatest-hits album, since these songs are taken out of their original context. Still, some of the most beautiful songs ever recorded are on Echoes.
A variety of songs with poetic lyrics, coupled with riveting jams, imaginative electronic sounds and complete precision, which have been created by Floyd, are now available as a double-disc greatest-hits album, Echoes. This album features songs from nearly every record, from their earliest, Piper at the Gates of Dawn with Syd Barrett, to Roger Waters’ last album, The Final Cut, to Floyd’s final record, Division Bell.
Roger Waters, Floyd’s main songwriter, vocalist and bass guitarist, left the band in December of 1985 because of political differences between him and the band. Since then, he has gone on with his own solo career, while the other three members — Nick Mason, Richard Wright and David Gilmour — have created two albums under the name of Pink Floyd.
Since Waters does not converse with the other three members of the band, an intermediary took both parties’ suggestions to choose the songs for this double album.
Unfortunately for Floyd fans, this album will likely be their last. David Gilmour said in a recent interview with Rolling Stones magazine that this will be the final piece that Floyd will ever produce and that the band will never tour again. (Waters, on the other hand, plans to go on.)
If this is indeed Floyd’s last album, they put together a very good sample of their career. Despite leaving off classic songs such as “Dogs,” “Have a Cigar,” “San Tropez,” “Young Lust” as well as the entire Obscured by Clouds and Atom Heart Mother albums, Echoes does have a number of Floyd’s most popular songs — “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Money,” “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2),” “Time” and “Comfortably Numb.”
Also, there are a variety of quality songs which are much less mainstream, including “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” “Arnold Layne,” “One of These Days, ” “See Emily Play” and, of course, the timeless classic “Echoes,” which is reduced for this album to about 15 minutes. One of the best choices Floyd made on this album was “When the Tigers Broke Free,” a song never previously released from a scene from the movie “The Wall.”
Even though these songs are taken out of their original context, Echoes does flow surprisingly well from start to finish much like Floyd’s albums do.
Still, to fully appreciate Pink Floyd, you must first listen to the original concept albums. Purchase The Wall, which depicts alienation and rebellion through the eyes of a rock star who builds a wall around himself, separating himself from the rest of the world.
Then, listen to Dark Side of the Moon, an album which expresses the fears and ambitions of everyday people and how those can ultimately drive someone insane.
Don’t forget the underappreciated Animals record, which is a symbolic album, with dogs representing business men, sheep as a pacifist population and pigs as conniving political and religious leaders.
Nonetheless, Echoes produces a solid sample of Pink Floyd’s career, ranging from the early-psychedelic Syd Barrett years, to the height of Floyd’s success, to the end of their career. But to get to what Pink Floyd is really about, listen to the concept albums that Floyd has produced masterfully over the years.