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The Final Cut

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released March 21, 1983 | Pink Floyd Records

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Four years separate this album from its predecessor The Wall which placed Pink Floyd at the height of its success. A well named Final Cut (a requiem for the post war dream), which will be the last disc with Roger Waters, solitary author of this concept-album which he interprets in its almost entirety — and the only one where keyboardist Richard Wright does not appear. Like a first solo opus? No doubt... His grandiloquence, put at the service of a frenzied anti-militarism (England and Argentina then clashed in the Falklands), is reminiscent of The Wall of which he reworked certain compositions that were discarded at the time. The result is an essay, lyrical at will.
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Atom Heart Mother

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released October 2, 1970 | Pink Floyd Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Appearing after the sprawling, unfocused double-album set Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother may boast more focus, even a concept, yet that doesn't mean it's more accessible. If anything, this is the most impenetrable album Pink Floyd released while on Harvest, which also makes it one of the most interesting of the era. Still, it may be an acquired taste even for fans, especially since it kicks off with a side-long, 23-minute extended orchestral piece that may not seem to head anywhere, but is often intriguing, more in what it suggests than what it achieves. Then, on the second side, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, and Rick Wright have a song apiece, winding up with the group composition "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" wrapping it up. Of these, Waters begins developing the voice that made him the group's lead songwriter during their classic era with "If," while Wright has an appealingly mannered, very English psychedelic fantasia on "Summer 68," and Gilmour's "Fat Old Sun" meanders quietly before ending with a guitar workout that leaves no impression. "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast," the 12-minute opus that ends the album, does the same thing, floating for several minutes before ending on a drawn-out jam that finally gets the piece moving. So, there are interesting moments scattered throughout the record, and the work that initially seems so impenetrable winds up being Atom Heart Mother's strongest moment. That it lasts an entire side illustrates that Pink Floyd was getting better with the larger picture instead of the details, since the second side just winds up falling off the tracks, no matter how many good moments there are. This lack of focus means Atom Heart Mother will largely be for cultists, but its unevenness means there's also a lot to cherish here. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released August 5, 1967 | Pink Floyd Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The title of Pink Floyd's debut album is taken from a chapter in Syd Barrett's favorite children's book, The Wind in the Willows, and the lyrical imagery of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is indeed full of colorful, childlike, distinctly British whimsy, albeit filtered through the perceptive lens of LSD. Barrett's catchy, melodic acid pop songs are balanced with longer, more experimental pieces showcasing the group's instrumental freak-outs, often using themes of space travel as metaphors for hallucinogenic experiences -- "Astronomy Domine" is a poppier number in this vein, but tracks like "Interstellar Overdrive" are some of the earliest forays into what has been tagged space rock. But even though Barrett's lyrics and melodies are mostly playful and humorous, the band's music doesn't always bear out those sentiments -- in addition to Rick Wright's eerie organ work, dissonance, chromaticism, weird noises, and vocal sound effects are all employed at various instances, giving the impression of chaos and confusion lurking beneath the bright surface. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn successfully captures both sides of psychedelic experimentation -- the pleasures of expanding one's mind and perception, and an underlying threat of mental disorder and even lunacy; this duality makes Piper all the more compelling in light of Barrett's subsequent breakdown, and ranks it as one of the best psychedelic albums of all time. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Obscured By Clouds

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released June 2, 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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More (Original Film Sountrack)

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released June 13, 1969 | Pink Floyd Records

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A Momentary Lapse Of Reason

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released September 7, 1987 | Pink Floyd Records

After a protracted legal battle over the rights to the Pink Floyd name, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright released 1987's A Momentary Lapse of Reason despite Roger Waters' protests. Retaining collaborators from Floyd's past (like producer Bob Ezrin), this Gilmour-led version of the band crafted a number of songs that were as cerebral and introspective as anything Floyd had done in the past. The first single, "Learning to Fly," served as the unofficial anthem for this latest chapter of Pink Floyd. The Andy Mackay/Gilmour-penned "One Slip" uses the requisite bells and whistles along with Tony Levin's impressive stick solo to guarantee it a prominent place in the band's canon. "The Dogs of War" and "On the Turning Away" are perfect commentaries on the conservative mindset shaping the '80s at the time. The former is an ominous screed composed at a time when the Cold War was still a reality, and the latter is a swipe against the self-absorption of the Me Decade. © Rovi Staff /TiVo
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The Division Bell

Pink Floyd

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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A Saucerful Of Secrets

Pink Floyd

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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A Foot in the Door: The Best Of Pink Floyd (2011 - Remaster)

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released November 7, 2011 | Pink Floyd Records

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Relics

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released May 1, 1971 | Pink Floyd Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For
Since Relics is a compilation and not a regular studio album, it tends to be overlooked when thought of as one of Pink Floyd's better releases. It might not be regarded as a classic psychedelic masterpiece in the manner of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and it certainly won't ever achieve the multiple platinum status of Dark Side of the Moon, but it's a pretty good place to start with the band's early catalog. Originally issued in 1971, Relics culls from the band's first five singles (two A-sides and three B-sides, including the non-album pop classics "See Emily Play" and "Arnold Layne") and picks album material that capitalizes on the band's versatility while making it a thoroughly palatable listen. From Piper, you get the goofy childishness of "Bike" and the mesmerizing "Interstellar Overdrive," one of the band's trademark instrumental freak-outs; "The Nile Song," taken from the More soundtrack, is one of the heaviest songs the band recorded. A little bit of everything that made early Pink Floyd can be found here. Without a doubt, the disc is an essential part of the band's discography, not to be disregarded due to its overlap with studio album material. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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A Collection Of Great Dance Songs

Pink Floyd

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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Pulse

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released May 29, 1995 | Pink Floyd Records

Pink Floyd claim they had no intention of recording another live album when they began the Division Bell tour, but performing The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety convinced the group to release another double-live set, called Pulse. There's no question that the group is comprised of talented musicians, including the number of studio professionals that augmented the trio on tour. Whether they're inspired musicians is up to debate. A large part of Pink Floyd's live show is based on the always impressive visuals; on the Division Bell tour, they closed each show with an unprecedented laser extravaganza. In order for the visuals and the music to coincide, the group needed to play the sets as tightly as possible, with little improvisation. Consequently, an audio version of this concert, separated from the visuals, is disappointing. Pink Floyd play the greatest hits and the new songs professionally, yet the versions differ only slightly from the original recordings, making Pulse a tepid experience. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released November 12, 2001 | Pink Floyd Records

Being the quintessential album rock band, Pink Floyd hasn't had much luck with "best-of" and "greatest-hits" compilations, like A Collection of Great Dance Songs and the bizarro follow-up, Works. Since both of those were released in the early '80s (and time travel being unavailable even to Pink Floyd), they obviously left out any tracks from the post-Roger Waters era albums. While countless hours in dorm rooms have been spent laboring over whether or not the post-Waters recordings should even be considered the "real Floyd," the later albums nonetheless stand as a further progression in the band's evolution and warrant recognition. The 2001 release Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd does just that, sequencing the tracks non-chronologically in an effort to place more emphasis on the individual songs as opposed to the era they're from. Unfortunately, the effect is rather jarring when the songs transition from the clinical mid-'90s sound of "High Hopes" directly into the psychedelic groove of the much earlier "Bike." Interestingly, as is the case with most of their albums (but a rarity in "hits" compilations), most of the tracks fade into one another; the hum of "Keep Talking" segueing into the bleating of "Sheep," making for an intriguing listen from one song to the next. There are many highlights on this collection: the inclusion of the Floyd holy grail "When the Tigers Broke Free," a sweeping Waters military dirge that has only appeared in the film The Wall, and the fascinating "Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Pts. 1-7," which has never before been released without the break in the middle (but conspicuously missing parts eight and nine). The confusing inclusion of "The Fletcher Memorial Home" (possibly just to cover something from The Final Cut) and three songs from the decidedly mediocre Division Bell stand out as obvious head-scratchers, making the die-hard Pink Floyd fan wonder if compiler James Guthrie was really clear on what this album should represent. Guthrie's job was unfortunately doomed from the start; since Pink Floyd's strength has always been in the band's rich, sprawling albums, listening to selections cut and chopped from here and there makes it almost like watching three-minute segments from Citizen Kane, Gone With the Wind, and Apocalypse Now, knowing full well that they hold together much better as whole works. Still, Echoes is nearly the best possible assembly of the band's individual songs one could hope for, and collectors and completists should be overjoyed. That being said, anyone just getting into this group's fascinating sound would be much better off starting with Dark Side of the Moon, then working forward, then backward from there: the time honored system of hungrily consuming the Pink Floyd catalog that has stood for generations. © Zac Johnson /TiVo
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The Early Years 1965-1967 CAMBRIDGE ST/ATION

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released November 11, 2016 | Pink Floyd Records

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The Early Years 1967-72 Cre/ation

Pink Floyd

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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The Early Years 1972 OBFUSC/ATION

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released November 11, 2016 | Pink Floyd Records

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The Early Years 1969 DRAMATIS/ATION

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released November 11, 2016 | Pink Floyd Records

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The Early Years 1972 OBFUSC/ATION

Pink Floyd

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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The Early Years 1965-1967 CAMBRIDGE ST/ATION

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released November 11, 2016 | Pink Floyd Records

Originally released as part of the mammoth 2016 rarities clearinghouse The Early Years 1965-1972, 1965-1967 Cambridge St/Ation collects all of the group's unreleased music and film from Pink Floyd's early years with Syd Barrett. Crucially, this contains several legendary rarities that have never seen the light of day, including a set of improvised recordings the Floyd recorded for a film by artist John Latham. Other highlights include the first release of "Vegetable Man" and "Scream Thy Last Scream," but everything on this set is fascinating, whether it's the exploratory live set from Stockholm in 1967 or the stilted blues the band played in 1965 under the name the Tea Set. The visual material -- which is presented as both a DVD and a Blu-ray -- is highlighted by promo clips for "The Scarecrow" and "Jugband Blues," a Top of the Pops performance of "See Emily Play," and the Floyd playing "Apples and Oranges" on American Bandstand with Barrett and Roger Waters being interviewed by Dick Clark afterward. Of all of the Early Years volumes, Cambridge St/Ation is among the best because it fills out portions of their beginnings in a way no other Floyd album does. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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The Early Years 1967-72 Cre/ation

Pink Floyd

Rock - Released November 11, 2016 | Pink Floyd Records

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