When I think back to some of my earliest and most vivid memories, some of the most influential rock music plays in the background. This isn’t because I like to imagine my life as some sort of montage, but because I grew up on classic and experimental rock. I remember sitting in my parent’s car and staring out the window, lost in thought because the music I heard made life feel particularly dramatic and interesting.
In hearing one of Pink Floyd’s earliest albums; Animals, I was amused at all animal sounds interjected into the songs. I found Pink Floyd more amusing for their strange antics than anything else, especially in a song like “Another Brick in the Wall” where the band spoke of evil teachers and rebellious kids. However, even as a child, I knew the theme of songs like “Money”, “Brain Damage”, and “Time” touched on some pretty serious issues. I wasn’t as entertained by their musical genius as I was by their wit and humor until much later in my life.
Now that I’ve gone through phases of listening to almost every genre of music, I have more of an admiration for Pink Floyd than ever before. The album that speaks to me most is Dark Side of the Moon, one of the 25 best selling albums ever. It is meant to be a concept album, revolving around a certain theme, though the band has never explained what this theme is. My own interpretation of the album is that people can be pulled in all sorts of directions, and that it is up to us whether we want to be distracted by “good” things that can ultimately lead to our downfall.
In some ways it seems as though the album is a bit cynical and takes a sort of depressive look at life. This is hinted at by a voice in the end of the album that simply states “There is no dark side of the moon. Matter of fact, it’s all dark.”
In a way, I think this is meant to remind people that life is not always sunshine and rainbows and that many times people are blissfully ignorant to the dark truths in life. I also believe it is a cautionary tale, one that warns people about the aspects of life that may seem good in some light but detrimental in others. There’s a verse in the song “Money” that says “Money, it’s a crime. Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie. Money, so they say. Is the root of all evil today. But if you ask for a rise it’s no surprise that they’re giving none away.” In 1973, Pink Floyd expressed views about society about the hypocrisy and evils that come with greed, which are views that are still strongly prevalent to this day. Even more of these cautionary, bleak messages can be seen throughout the album on songs like “Us and Them” which is especially relevant today in observing the social hierarchies that still exist in modern society. However, the album still offers listeners a glimmer of hope in the form of the sun.
The final song on the album, “Eclipse” is the song that touches me the most. Almost every line starts with “All that you (touch, see, taste, feel, love etc).” This seems to summarize that the human life contains many experiences, and many positive ones at that. However, the final few lines, “All that’s to come and everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.” refers back to the central theme; that it is possible to live an enjoyable life, but because of this, we will always live with the possibility of darkness.
What we do with this concept is what’s important. Perspective is key, and as the album art might suggest, shedding light on the dark can open our eyes to see all of the colors of life we never realized were there.