Saturday, September 06, 2008

All that is now, all that is gone and all that's to come

This may be the perfect album. Perfectly crafted and meant to be an album. To take a song outside of context would be murder, yet when you hear one of the songs off of this album, it's still great. At this time, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon is more ceremoniously their best album than my favorite. However, it is the most memorable and probably the most influential to my life than maybe any other album. That and Tommy and maybe one or two others from this list. Floyd was a band you always heard about. They were the first band I ever heard having a "cult following." As a kid, that seemed kind of imposing and scary, but it turns out I am a part of many a cult following. Floyd especially. It's been a part of my life from day one. This really is the mother of all albums.

And day one was back in the end of Grade School. I bought the record finally after some time hearing the songs out of context and my young mind was immediately expanded and blown to bits. Just as many of the other classics discussed before getting to this one, it was just insane hearing the kind of sounds and music a band could conjure up. This album is timeless. It's of an age and place not yet seen or heard. As much as other bands tried, no other record really sounds like this one. It flows from track one to the end, minus the small break in between "The Great Gig in the Sky" and "Money" which is, of course, because the vinyl needs a flippin'. It's this constant flow of music that struck me as the most impressive. I was used to song after song rather than a continuing flow of sounds and visiuals that blur the lines of track titles and track numbers. It's the perfect album for vinyl. Obviously, the band knew how to use this medium and obviously other bands had been doing this before 1973, but this is one of those mystical records that transcends that. It's a hypnotic record.

This hypnotic nature made it perfect for reflection, night listening and just sheer headphone magic. The reflective nature of it has the best memories attached to them. One early summer after my first year of high school, a group of friends sat around on a shore front deck whilst staring out over the cool summer waters of the Atlantic and played Dark Side of the Moon and mostly were in a prayer like silence. It was a moment in my youth that I remember so well and love so much that it transcends the greatness of the music to the greatness of being. I used this in my "Nostalgia Trip" article I wrote senior year of college to set in motion some events that will make up a trance-like state and get the nostalgia juice flowin'. I spent some nights at my parents abode after both my sisters were away at college and I was in high school sitting on the back roof staring up at the night sky and listening to Dark Side of the Moon. In darkness and surrounded by minimal stars in the suburbs of Philadelphia, even then it evoked a cosmic greatness. The music just helped show the beauty and fragility of reality. It all could be taken away at any time. These moments were usually the ones I associated with headphone magic, but my mom had these amazing studiolike headphones that had the best sound and listening to the tape I made of Dark Side with other stuff on the other side of the tape was sweet greatness.
Lord knows I love the band as a whole. Listen to these guys!

To break the album track by track is almost futile, but I will say that "Time" is one of the only classic rock songs that can bring a tear to my eye. Why? Not because of some attached memory or because it has some sad subject matter, but because the music itself moves me. After the clamour of the bells and the doomy single note guitar and percussion intro, the music gives way to the main verse with it's intense vocals care of Gilmour. The chorus is laden with a choir and brilliant harmonies. Then at 3:28, David Gilmour's classic guitar work juices up the tear ducts. It's a simple solo, but one that sends shivers down my spine every time. Doesn't matter what I'm doing, this music makes this man get all watery in the eyes. Especially when the guitar hits the high notes. Warmth runs through the body and melancholy in my soul. It doesn't help that "The Great Gig in the Sky" may be the most beautiful moment on the album followed up by this song. It's the best one track into another up with "Amazing Journey/Sparks." It's a musical, spiritual and nostalgic experience that definitel redefined my life as a music lover.

This whole list, these 25 albums deserve even a little more praise. So, in usual fashion, I will be making a playlist of one song from each album (unless the double songage is needed to emote the meaningful nature behind the album.) So here it is, the final list of albums and then the playlist will be posted after careful crafting.
1. The Who - Tommy
2. Beck - Odelay
3. Television - Marquee Moon
4. Weezer - Pinkerton
5. Brian Eno - Before & After Science
6. Wilco - A Ghost is Born
7. The Beatles - Rubber Soul
8. Grand Funk Railroad - Closer to Home
9. Foo Fighters - The Colour & The Shape
10. Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection
11. Interpol - Turn On the Bright Lights
12. King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King
13. Jeff Buckley - Grace
14. Warren Zevon
15. Black Mountain - In The Future
16. XTC - Skylarking
17. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
18. Nick Drake - Pink Moon
19. Stone Temple Pilots - Purple
20. The Clash - London Calling
21. Arcade Fire - Funeral
22. The Velvet Underground and Nico
23. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
24. Queen - Greatest Hits
25. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

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