Review Of Pink Floyd’s Album Dark Side Of The Moon

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Music is a pastime that generation after generation has come to enjoy, whether it be consuming or producing. Most songs and albums come and go, fading with time, however that’s not the case for all. Take Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album, Dark Side of the Moon, it is one of those exceptions. Officially released in 1973, compiled on ideas stemming from previous work. “Dark Side” is celebrated as being one of the best-selling albums of all time and possibly the greatest rock album of all time, selling over 45 million records. After its release the album topped the charts for only a week however it then remained in the billboard charts for 14 consecutive years.

The album was also known for being one of the first that used “concept” art and recording, meaning that the album was built upon experiments Pink Floyd attempted in past live performances in which all the songs revolve around a story or theme. You will also notice when listening, that each side of the album is a continuous piece of music never breaking from song to song. Few bands have left an impact quite like Pink Floyd has. Their unique sound and conceptual art as well as their deep meaningful lyricism are just a few of the reason’s listeners continue to tune in after all these years.

Growing up music was always a part of my day, whether it be my Mom playing the Tragically Hip to put me to sleep as a toddler or my Dad blasting Tom Petty through his car speakers on the open roads of north eastern Ontario while heading to the cottage. Music is in my blood, and listening is an activity I engage in on a daily basis. Pink Floyd is a band I was officially introduced to early on back in elementary school. On the last day we would listen to Another Brick in the Wall as opposed to the traditional School’s Out. As a young kid I did not quite fully grasp a lot of their lyrics until years later, even now I’m still uncovering new meanings. When hearing new music, it is almost purely audible attraction that draws you in and most lyrics are overshadowed. Sitting down and listening to the lyrics and trying to uncover the story being told is the ‘challenge’.

With Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon it has a perfect blend of both audible elegance, and lyricism abstract to any other. When I first listened to the album fully it really caught me by surprise. It was a shift from a lot of their previous projects in terms of sound and representation. Each song was a story and had a message, some of which resonated deeper with me for certain reasons. The first song off of the B side, Money, has an emotional connection to me. It just so happened to be my grandfather’s favorite song. He was a man who grew up as a trucker and later became a father of 5, so it was safe to say he was not ‘well off’. It wasn’t until after he had passed away until I truly took in some of the powerful lyrics offered up in the song. Break down verse 3 for example, “Money, it’s a crime. Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie”. People generally like to think that giving money to the homeless is a good idea, if it was not their own money. Similar to how many people are in favour of more government spending in areas such as healthcare and education, however nobody thinks their own taxes should be increased.

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“Money, so they say Is the root of all evil today. But if you ask for a raise it’s no surprise that they’re giving none away.” Money is a drug, you understand its consequences, but you could never give it up. Certain people put themselves on a pedestal mighty by saying money is “the root of all evil” and no one should place value on material wealth, but if push came to shove those same people would never willing give it up themselves. It ultimately symbolizes the greed and hypocrisy in present society. Whenever I listen to this song I think of my grandfather and I remember when he taught me this lesson, however I did not know that it was Pink Floyd who had taught him.

In order to delve deeper into what this album actually represents, you first have to understand the title and its iconic album cover art before even looking at a lyric. In its simplest terms the moon revolves around the Earth at the exact same speed at which it rotates. Because of this, on Earth, we only can ever see one side of the moon. The other side of the moon is sometimes referred to as the dark side of the moon, as it is never visible to us. From a metaphorical perspective however, it could represent a wide variety of possible themes and interpretations. There are many, and all of them are potentially correct. A work of art like the Dark Side of the Moon does not have a single “point.” Its meanings are essentially numerous and individually subjective. With regards to the cover art which in and of itself is popular culture. Visually, it depicts white light passing through a prism to form the bright colors of the spectrum against a stunning black field. It is simple yet so complex, it calls for listeners to dig deeper and look beneath the surface to uncover truth, just as the album does.

From beginning to end this album is filled with themes we see in everyday life some of which include, alienation, schizophrenia, death, madness and greed. Dark Side is a wakeup call to society. The first half of the album tells the story of a person’s unfulfilling life, one cluttered by long days of work and travel until death puts an end to the cycle. Side B, on the other hand, seems to leave the initial storyline, leaning instead to an abstract description of society’s downfalls and insanity. A large portion of the inspiration for the songs was said to have been credited to the late Syd Barret. Syd was a founding member of the band who had developed mental illnesses diagnosed most likely as schizophrenia which was believed to be triggered by significant drug use as well as the stress and pressure of his career as a young rockstar. The themes prevalent throughout the album were sensitive topics back in the 1970’s and still to this day mental illness is looked passed in popular music and culture. This is a statement from an article discussing the death of Mac Miller – “It is clear now, as it has been for some time, that the music industry needs to implement proper safeguards and support for those who power it, be the issue mental illness, addiction conflicts or something equally damaging.” Even after all these years mental illness is still something that is not talked about and dealt with among the popular music culture and industry. If you take this concept for what it was, you will see that it is centered around the circle of life and human purpose. Through each song you are taken on a lyrical rollercoaster discussing topics humans encounter every day such as the urge to have money, the endless passing of time as well as touches on violence and aggression. Ultimately, I believe that Pink Floyd is bringing to light the dark side of human nature, our bad tendencies and corrupt psyche. “And everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.” These are the ominous closing words of the album. It leaves listeners with questions however it also leaves a simple answer. The statement is saying that all the good things life can offer are there for the taking, but that the influence of some dark force in our natures prevents us from seizing them.

Simply put, all the dark issues, temptations and urges that you have, I also have too. Pink Floyd’s project does not necessarily contradict or challenge todays prevailing relations of powers, in turn rather it states the issues in a factual way. The last song closes out “with a heart-beat that starts out loud, and then slowly fades away. The heart-beat symbolizes life and how it flies by so live life while you can.”

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