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Rock - Released September 26, 2011 | Pink Floyd Records

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Rock - Released November 30, 1979 | Pink Floyd Records

The Wall was Roger Waters' crowning accomplishment in Pink Floyd. It documented the rise and fall of a rock star (named Pink Floyd), based on Waters' own experiences and the tendencies he'd observed in people around him. By then, the bassist had firm control of the group's direction, working mostly alongside David Gilmour and bringing in producer Bob Ezrin as an outside collaborator. Drummer Nick Mason was barely involved, while keyboardist Rick Wright seemed to be completely out of the picture. Still, The Wall was a mighty, sprawling affair, featuring 26 songs with vocals: nearly as many as all previous Floyd albums combined. The story revolves around the fictional Pink Floyd's isolation behind a psychological wall. The wall grows as various parts of his life spin out of control, and he grows incapable of dealing with his neuroses. The album opens by welcoming the unwitting listener to Floyd's show ("In the Flesh?"), then turns back to childhood memories of his father's death in World War II ("Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 1"), his mother's over protectiveness ("Mother"), and his fascination with and fear of sex ("Young Lust"). By the time "Goodbye Cruel World" closes the first disc, the wall is built and Pink is trapped in the midst of a mental breakdown. On disc two, the gentle acoustic phrasings of "Is There Anybody Out There?" and the lilting orchestrations of "Nobody Home" reinforce Floyd's feeling of isolation. When his record company uses drugs to coax him to perform ("Comfortably Numb"), his onstage persona is transformed into a homophobic, race-baiting fascist ("In the Flesh"). In "The Trial," he mentally prosecutes himself, and the wall comes tumbling down. This ambitious concept album was an across-the-board smash, topping the Billboard album chart for 15 weeks in 1980. The single "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2" was the country's best-seller for four weeks. The Wall spawned an elaborate stage show (so elaborate, in fact, that the band was able to bring it to only a few cities) and a full-length film. It also marked the last time Waters and Gilmour would work together as equal partners. ~ Rovi Staff
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Rock - Released March 1, 1973 | Pink Floyd Records

Rock - Released September 26, 2011 | Pink Floyd Records

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Rock - Released March 30, 1994 | 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
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Rock - Released November 29, 2019 | Legacy Recordings

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Rock - Released September 15, 1975 | Pink Floyd Records

Pink Floyd followed the commercial breakthrough of Dark Side of the Moon with Wish You Were Here, a loose concept album about and dedicated to their founding member Syd Barrett. The record unfolds gradually, as the jazzy textures of "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" reveal its melodic motif, and in its leisurely pace, the album shows itself to be a warmer record than its predecessor. Musically, it's arguably even more impressive, showcasing the group's interplay and David Gilmour's solos in particular. And while it's short on actual songs, the long, winding soundscapes are constantly enthralling. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Rock - Released November 7, 2011 | Pink Floyd Records

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Rock - Released January 23, 1977 | Pink Floyd Records

By 1977 England was in the throes of punk, a musical revolution that held hugely successful "dinosaur" rock groups in contempt. So Animals, the album Pink Floyd released that year, found the band as musically stripped down as they'd ever been. The overabundance of soundscapes, ethereal synths and lush textures of the past gave way to a leaner, more guitar-driven Floyd. Yet thematically, Waters and co. still reached for the sky. Inspired in part by George Orwell's classic novel, "Animal Farm," Animals divides humans into three categories--dogs, pigs and sheep--and features each classification in song. The dogs are merciless opportunists, grasping for success at any price; the pigs are pathetic, self-righteous tyrants; and the sheep are the mindless followers, being used by the dogs and pigs. This anthropomorphizing was Waters' view of the dehumanizing side of capitalism. And befitting such a lofty theme was the length of the album's three main pieces--none shorter than ten minutes. "Dogs" was co-written by David Gilmour, and it features some of his most inspired playing. The greed driving these dogs towards grander heights of materialism eventually leads to a solitary death from cancer, cloaked in an air of self-importance. "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" overflows with biting lyrics that scorn high-minded censors in general, and Mary Whitehouse (a self-appointed guardian of British morality) specifically. The grunting of pigs precedes Waters' venomous delivery of each word, as Gilmour's scratchy playing and unsettling use of a Vocoder box become effective conduits for the song's malevolence. "Sheep" starts out with the herd grazing peacefully, blissfully unaware of the dogs lurking nearby. The sheep are led to the slaughter, before staging a revolt and killing off the dogs. The soundtrack of this defiance opens with Richard Wright's effect-free electric piano leading a galloping rhythm, before Waters' bass eases the group into a momentary lull. The pace picks up again, and Gilmour's slashing leads drive the song into a rousing climax, fading out with the peaceful sound of chirping birds.
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Rock - Released November 7, 2014 | Columbia

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Rock - Released September 8, 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
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Rock - Released November 7, 2014 | Columbia

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David Gilmour sang about an endless river on "High Hopes," the last song on what appeared to be the last Pink Floyd album, 1994's Division Bell. Twenty years later, the same phrase became the title of The Endless River, an album designed as Pink Floyd's last. Assembled largely from Division Bell outtakes initially intended as an ambient project dubbed The Big Spliff, the record was sculpted into shape in 2014 by Gilmour, Youth, Andy Jackson, and Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera by adding guitar and Nick Mason's drums to original tapes that were laden with keyboards from the late Rick Wright. He's not the only missing member of Floyd, of course. Roger Waters is absent, as is the long-gone Syd Barrett, but their ghosts are present throughout the primarily instrumental The Endless River. Mortality is on the mind of the two remaining Floyds, mentioned obliquely in "Louder Than Words," the only song with lyrics here, but felt through allusions to all their possible pasts. A song unfurls with washes of synth pulled from "Welcome to the Machine," the four sides are structured like an ongoing amorphous suite à la "Shine on You Crazy Diamond," snippets of Atom Heart Mother slide against guitars that beat to the rhythm from "Run Like Hell," creating an impression of a band in a state of repose: they're not indulging in their past so much as reflecting on it, watching a tide of memories repeatedly roll in and out. Although very little about The Endless River is risky by design -- it is one of the most popular bands of the 20th century returning to slowly pulsating aural waves that characterized their biggest albums -- the very shift away from vocals realigns the band with not only Wish You Were Here (which this often resembles) but their pre-Dark Side records for Harvest, undercutting the arena-pleasing aspirations of the Gilmour-led reunion while underscoring how Pink Floyd always were an arty band at their core. Instrumentals are also a savvy solution to the trouble of working with uncompleted tapes -- it's easier to turn them into an ever-shifting suite than to graft on melodies -- but the comforting sway of swelling synthesizers and the soaring Gilmour guitar are sometimes unexpectedly moving. Gilmour and Mason know this is their farewell, so they're saying goodbye not with a major statement but with a soft, bittersweet elegy that functions as a canny coda to their career. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released November 11, 1971 | Pink Floyd Records

Atom Heart Mother, for all its glories, was an acquired taste, and Pink Floyd wisely decided to trim back its orchestral excesses for its follow-up, Meddle. Opening with a deliberately surging "One of These Days," Meddle spends most of its time with sonic textures and elongated compositions, most notably on its epic closer, "Echoes." If there aren't pop songs in the classic sense (even on the level of the group's contributions to Ummagumma), there is a uniform tone, ranging from the pastoral "A Pillow of Winds" to "Fearless," with its insistent refrain hinting at latter-day Floyd. Pink Floyd were nothing if not masters of texture, and Meddle is one of their greatest excursions into little details, pointing the way to the measured brilliance of Dark Side of the Moon and the entire Roger Waters era. Here, David Gilmour exerts a slightly larger influence, at least based on lead vocals, but it's not all sweetness and light -- even if its lilting rhythms are welcome, "San Tropez" feels out of place with the rest of Meddle. Still, the album is one of the Floyd's most consistent explorations of mood, especially from their time at Harvest, and it stands as the strongest record they released between Syd's departure and Dark Side. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released May 29, 1995 | Pink Floyd Records

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Rock - Released March 21, 1983 | Pink Floyd Records

The Final Cut extends the autobiography of The Wall, concentrating on Roger Waters' pain when his father died in World War II. Waters spins this off into a treatise on the futility of war, concentrating on the Falkland Islands, setting his blistering condemnations and scathing anger to impossibly subdued music that demands full attention. This is more like a novel than a record, requiring total concentration since shifts in dynamics, orchestration, and instrumentation are used as effect. This means that while this has the texture of classic Pink Floyd, somewhere between the brooding sections of The Wall and the monolithic menace of Animals, there are no songs or hooks to make these radio favorites. The even bent of the arrangements, where the music is used as texture, not music, means that The Final Cut purposely alienates all but the dedicated listener. Several of those listeners maintain that this is among Pink Floyd's finest efforts, and it certainly is an achievement of some kind -- there's not only no other Floyd album quite like it, it has no close comparisons to anybody else's work (apart from Waters' own The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, yet that had a stronger musical core). That doesn't make this easier to embrace, of course, and it's damn near impenetrable in many respects, but with its anger, emphasis on lyrics, and sonic textures, it's clear that it's the album that Waters intended it to be. And it's equally clear that Pink Floyd couldn't have continued in this direction -- Waters had no interest in a group setting anymore, as this record, which is hardly a Floyd album in many respects, illustrates. Distinctive, to be sure, but not easy to love and, depending on your view, not even that easy to admire. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released March 24, 2017 | Pink Floyd Records

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Rock - Released June 3, 1972 | Pink Floyd Records

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
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Rock - Released August 5, 1967 | Pink Floyd Records

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

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 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 unless you just want a quick introduction. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Rock - Released November 22, 1988 | Pink Floyd Records

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