Essentially a Playlist

In the last Essentially A Playlist, we took a trip to the moon courtesy of Pink Floyd and the deluxe remastered editions of their complete catalog, recently released by EMI. As we concluded that playlist the moon was Obscured by Clouds, but pushing forward we’ve arrived on the Dark Side of the Moon — which hopefully has nothing to do with the latest Transformers film.

Pink Floyd – “Breathe In The Air” [from Dark Side of the Moon]

I started with this track because it’s the first one that pops into my mind when I think of Pink Floyd. That’s because the song was used to great effect by director Jean-Marc Vallée in his 2005 film C.R.A.Z.Y.. If you haven’t seen that movie, I strongly recommend you check it out, and if you have, well then you know exactly what scene I’m thinking of by selecting “Breathe in the Air.”

Pink Floyd – “Money” [from Dark Side of the Moon]

Pink Floyd did some pretty awesome stuff with found-sounds and sound effects on their record — the type of thing that rewarded getting stoned and putting your headphones on to listen. The beginning of “Money” begins with the sound of coins clinking and registers ringing. It seems random at first, but quickly coalesces into a rhythm that sets the tempo for Roger Waters’s bass as it comes in. Great stuff.

Pink Floyd – “Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Pts. 1-5” [from Wish You Were Here]

Proving they hadn’t quite left the long-form suite style of songwriting behind with Atom Heart Mother, the band returned to it on this track and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Pts. 6-9” (which was originally supposed to be paired with Pts. 1-5 as an entire side of the LP but was instead split to bookend the album). The song cycle was written as a tribute to former member Syd Barrett. Wish You Were Here is also memorable for the dude on fire giving a handshake on the cover — which, contrary to urban myth, was not the original “Winnipeg handshake.”
Pink Floyd – “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” [from Animals]

It’s a bit of a disservice to Animals to pick just one song off the album since it’s really a record meant to be digested in its entirety. A dark, ruminative excursion into space-rock and the blues, it’s probably the band’s least accessible but most rewarding listen.

Pink Floyd – “Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. 2” [from The Wall]

. . . In which our hero takes a cinematic inspiration for a double-album opus, stages an operatic live recreation of said album that threatens to topple under the very weight of the idea (much like the titular wall) but instead remains upright and along with Dark Side Of The Moon solidifies the band’s place in a certain reliquary storage facility in Cleveland.

Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb” [from The Wall]

Re-reading the lyrics to “Comfortably Numb” before writing this playlist, I’m left wondering if Waters was telegraphing dissatisfaction with performing in Pink Floyd ages before he left the band. Consider this passage: “O.K. / Just a little pin prick / There’ll be no more aaaaaah! / But you may feel a little sick / Can you stand up? / I do believe it’s working / Good / That’ll keep you going through the show / Come on / It’s time to go.”

Pink Floyd – “Two Suns in The Sunset” [from The Final Cut]

The title of this album may be rooted in the album’s attempt to address the topic of war, and Waters’s grief over his father’s death, but it also serves as the perfect coda to Pink Floyd as listeners had come to know it. This would be Waters’s final album as a member of the band and “Two Suns in The Sunset” is The Final Cut’s final cut.

Pink Floyd – “Learning To Fly” [from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason]

Sadly, this is not the Tom Petty song of the same name. I would be very curious to Petty and Pink Floyd do a musical version of the wife swap show and do each other’s “Learning To Fly.” I’m not sure which one would be more revelatory and/or effed up.