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Rock - Released July 27, 1969 | Pink Floyd Records

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Rock - Released November 11, 2016 | Pink Floyd Records

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A double-disc distillation of the massive box The Early Years 1965-1972, The Early Years 1967-1972 condenses that 28-disc set into a 27-track compilation. Naturally, most of the real rarities remain exiled to the big box, but that's fair: only the diehards will recognize the importance of Floyd's collaboration with artist John Latham. Instead, The Early Years 1967-1972 tells the same tale as The Early Years 1967-1972 but in an easily digestible form. The double-disc relies relatively heavily on familiar songs -- it opens with "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play," perhaps the two best-known Syd Barrett songs, and finds space for "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" and "Free Four" -- but what distinguishes 1967-1972 is that it's the first early Floyd compilation to trace their journey from Barrett's warped psychedelia to the majestic art rock of the early '70s. Some essential songs are missing -- this doesn't sample the albums, after all, so songs as varied as "Astronomy Domine," "Let There Be More Light," and "One of These Days" are all absent -- but the repetition of "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" and "Embryo" illustrates how the band rapidly gained confidence and ambition, which is essentially the story of this compilation and its parent set. Certainly, the details of the box are missed, but on its own terms, The Early Years 1967-1972 is absorbing: it illustrates how Pink Floyd became Pink Floyd. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 3, 1972 | Pink Floyd Records

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Obscured by Clouds is the soundtrack to the Barbet Schroeder film La Vallée, and it plays that way. Of course, it's possible to make the argument that Pink Floyd's music of the early '70s usually played as mood music, similar to film music, but it had structure and a progression. Here, the instrumentals float pleasantly, filled with interesting textures, yet they never seem to have much of a purpose. Often, they seem quite tied to their time, either in their spaciness or in the pastoral folkiness, two qualities that are better brought out on the full-fledged songs interspersed throughout the record. Typified by "Burning Bridges" and "Wot's...uh the Deal," these songs explore some of the same musical ground as those on Atom Heart Mother and Meddle, yet they are more concise and have a stronger structure. But the real noteworthy numbers are the surprisingly heavy blues-rocker "The Gold It's in The...," which, as good as it is, is trumped by the stately, ominous "Childhood's End" and the jaunty pop tune "Free Four," two songs whose obsessions with life, death, and the past clearly point toward Dark Side of the Moon. ("Childhood's End" also suggests Dark Side in its tone and arrangement.) As startlingly advanced as these last two songs are, they're not enough to push the rest of Obscured by Clouds past seeming just like a soundtrack, yet these tunes, blended with the sensibility of Meddle, suggest what Pink Floyd was about to develop into. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 29, 1968 | Pink Floyd Records

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A transitional album on which the band moved from Syd Barrett's relatively concise and vivid songs to spacy, ethereal material with lengthy instrumental passages. Barrett's influence is still felt (he actually did manage to contribute one track, the jovial "Jugband Blues"), and much of the material retains a gentle, fairy-tale ambience. "Remember a Day" and "See Saw" are highlights; on "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," "Let There Be More Light," and the lengthy instrumental title track, the band begin to map out the dark and repetitive pulses that would characterize their next few records. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 7, 2014 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released November 11, 2016 | Pink Floyd Records

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Rock - Released November 21, 1988 | Pink Floyd Records

In one respect, it's hard to fault David Gilmour for retooling Pink Floyd as a neo-oldies act with Momentary Lapse of Reason, since Roger Waters took the band over the brink with his obsessive, nonmusical The Final Cut. Fans were eager for an album that sounded like classic Floyd, which is what Momentary Lapse was. But what they really thirsted for was a live spectacle from Floyd, where they could hear the old tunes and see all the old stunts. That's what they got on the 1987/1988 Pink Floyd world tour, which is documented on the double-disc set The Delicate Sound of Thunder. Gilmour's reunited Floyd was intent on recreating the sound and feel of classic Floyd, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the oldies feel like the classic records, only with Gilmour taking each vocal. He and Floyd deliver well, but this is a recreation that makes less sense on record than it did on-stage, where the nostalgia was justified. Here, it feels passable but never compelling. This is professional, competent, and, often, even enjoyable music, yet, like many souvenirs, it never once feels necessary. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 11, 2016 | Pink Floyd Records

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Rock - Released November 7, 2011 | Pink Floyd Records

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Rock - Released November 11, 2016 | Pink Floyd Records

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Rock - Released September 26, 2011 | Pink Floyd Records

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The second post-Roger Waters Pink Floyd album is less forced and more of a group effort than A Momentary Lapse of Reason -- keyboard player Richard Wright is back to full bandmember status and has co-writing credits on five of the 11 songs, even getting lead vocals on "Wearing the Inside Out." Some of David Gilmour's lyrics (co-written by Polly Samson and Nick Laird-Clowes of the Dream Academy) might be directed at Waters, notably "Lost for Words" and "A Great Day for Freedom," with its references to "the wall" coming down, although the more specific subject is the Berlin Wall and the fall of Communism. In any case, there is a vindictive, accusatory tone to songs such as "What Do You Want From Me" and "Poles Apart," and the overarching theme, from the album title to the graphics to the "I-you" pronouns in most of the lyrics, has to do with dichotomies and distinctions, with "I" always having the upper hand. Musically, Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Wright have largely turned the clock back to the pre-Dark Side of the Moon Floyd, with slow tempos, sustained keyboard chords, and guitar solos with a lot of echo. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 11, 2016 | Pink Floyd Records

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Rock - Released November 11, 2016 | Pink Floyd Records

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Rock - Released November 7, 2014 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released April 23, 2001 | Pink Floyd Records

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Anyone who knew anything about Pink Floyd knew that a dance band they were not, so this profit-taking, holiday-season compilation, courtesy of Columbia Records, was intended ironically. Arguably the quintessential album band, Pink Floyd is not well served by compilations, especially one on which four parts of "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" are edited together and there's a re-recording of "Money." Stick to the full-length versions. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 29, 2019 | Pink Floyd Music

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Rock - Released March 10, 2021 | Rhino - Parlophone

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Rock - Released March 26, 2021 | Rhino - Parlophone

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Rock - Released November 16, 2016 | Pink Floyd Records

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Rock - Released March 24, 2017 | Pink Floyd Records

Originally released as part of the mammoth 2016 rarities clearinghouse The Early Years 1965-1972, 1972 Obfusc/Ation contains all the previously unreleased video from that year, along with a new mix of that year's Obscured by Clouds. The lack of unreleased music -- the compilation also contains a stereo mix of Live at Pompeii on CD -- makes this a comparatively underwhelming set in the Early Years box, but the video makes up for it. There's footage of the recording of Obscured by Clouds, a live performance from Brighton Dome in June, several French news reports, and a 5.1 remix of Live at Pompeii. Even if this doesn't carry the same revelations as the companion sets, it nevertheless has plenty of treasures within its box. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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