. . .
The Home Office gave me all kinds of shit for only doing a couple of posts on The Dark Side of the Moon, figuring that it would be total and complete clickbait, and maybe even drive my readership into triple digits, but I told them to fuck right off, not because I have any kind of integrity, but I want to get to writing about Wish You Were Here.
Of course, if side one of Dark Side of the Moon was somewhat sparse in terms of actual, you know, songs, I’ve come to realize that side two is probably why it became so incredibly beloved.
Side two started off with the outlier “Money,” which not only somehow managed to be funky while sporting a 9/4 time signature, it also became an incredibly massive hit single — making it to #13 on the U.S. pop charts — no doubt benefiting from massive airplay on both sides of the AM/FM divide, with the album version (featuring another getting airplay on the free-form FM stations while the shorter single rose up the top 40 charts.
And indeed, “Money” was definitely the first time I heard any Pink Floyd song, during the spring and summer of 1973, and I didn’t really know what to make of it, given that at that point, Pink Floyd were hardly household names unlike, say The Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin, so I really had no reference point.
That, of course, changed with The Dark Side of The Moon, which eventually became a massive reference point, though I didn’t buy it until the CD era, only partially because I was contrary. But also because I found even some of the better songs on side two a bit, er, lush. I’m looking at you, “Us and Them,” with your easy-listening Dick Parry sax and overuse of backing vocals.
It’s fine now, as is the instrumental follow-up “Any Colour You Like,” but mostly I listened to them to get to the majestic ending, “Brain Damage / Eclipse,” which starts off with Roger Waters singing over just a couple of jangly guitars.
The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path
Of course, given that this is Pink Floyd, the quiet part only happens for a short period of time, and “Brain Damage” alternates those quiet verses — the second one featuring spooky laughter that I seem to remember reading or hearing was by Syd himself (SPOILER ALERT: It wasn’t) — with loud choruses, featuring Waters and the plethora of backing vocalists that have been MVPs throughout this entire album, finishing off with:
And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon
After that, there a bit of a break for more of the spoken word mutterings that have decorated The Dark Side of the Moon — and indeed, kinda humanize it, reminding you this etherial music was made by real people — a Wright organ fanfare introduces “Eclipse,” where Waters continues with what, for him, almost passes as optimism.
All that you touch
And all that you see
All that you taste
All you feel
And all that you love
And all that you hate
All you distrust
All you save
As Waters lists all the things you do – give, deal, buy, steal create, destroy, etc — the music builds and builds, piling on layers and layers of instruments as he piles on layers and layers of meaning, until he gets to his seemingly conflicting points: everything matters and everything is futile.
And all that is now
And all that is gone
And all that’s to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon
It could totally be construed as ALL TOO MUCH, but luckily, there’s a pisstake at the end, which as become as much of a meme as anything else on the record. It stemmed from an idea of Waters, where he asked various folks hanging around the studio questions via flash cards, and recorded their answers, which are strewn around the record. And so at the very very end, you hear the studio’s doorman, a guy named Gerry O’Driscoll mutter “There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark,” which will remain a meme until the moon finally explodes.
“Brain Damage / Eclipse”
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