Pink Floyd, The Dark Side Of The Moon

Dan Epstein

By Dan Epstein

on 06.08.11 in Reviews

The Dark Side Of The Moon (2011 - Remaster)

Pink Floyd
Turning Pink Floyd into international superstars

Honed to absolute perfection over a year of live gigs and recording sessions, 1973's Dark Side of the Moon was Pink Floyd's most concise and song-oriented work to date — no side-long journeys into space here — but it was also their most "progressive," in the sense that all of the album's songs revolved around a single unifying theme. It was also the album that turned Pink Floyd into international superstars; one of the best-selling and most critically-acclaimed albums of all time, DSOTM has sold upwards of 45 million copies worldwide, over half of its tracks continue to receive regular airplay on classic rock stations, and it's been remade in full by both the Flaming Lips and 8-bit musician Brad Smith. As with Michael Jackson's Thriller, the sheer cultural omnipresence of DSOTM can make it difficult to fully appreciate. To really absorb its brilliance, the album has to be experienced in full, rather than heard served up in chunks between Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Recorded at London's Abbey Road Studios with engineer Alan Parsons (and mixed with the help of Chris Thomas), DSOTM is truly an audiophile's wet dream — even nearly four decades after the fact, it still sounds gorgeous and timeless, and the band's innovative weaving of sound effects and spoken word snippets into the songs still sounds seamless rather than corny. But it's the songs themselves — which give full voice to lyrical themes and musical elements that had only briefly appeared on previous Floyd albums — that really give DSOTM its lasting power. "Time," "Us and Them," "Breathe," "Brain Damage" and even "Money" all examine the challenges of human existence with considerable, even surprising, empathy; and the tension between the inherent humanity of the material (perhaps best expressed by Clare Torry's wordless wailing on "The Great Gig in the Sky") and the flawlessness of the album's production still makes for an endlessly fascinating and rewarding listen.