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Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.62 | 3779 ratings

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3 stars In 1975 the progressive movement was still at its peak. Hundreds and hundreds of progressive albums were being released all over the world, falling to the ground like gifts at Christmas. Yet 99% remained buried beneath the oppressive snows of FM radio, which was, unless you were hooked into the coolest friends or had an esoteric subscription and unlimited funds, the only channel for dissemination of serious rock music. "Wish You Were Here" was a great album made almost ordinary by the type of overexposure even an OCD and, yes, lonely, young teenager wouldn't shower on his pet turtles, bowling alley, pool hall, local baseball team, or oblivious romantic interest. It was under those conditions that Exhibit A lost any and all of its mystique.

There are those who will cry foul. After all, surely this is not PINK FLOYD's fault. The music must be judged on its own merits and its ultimate influence. The "Shine On" suite that brackets the disk is its most enduring aspect, but even then long stretches of aimless light blues could only mesmerize via monotony. The three shorter tracks are all good to very good, but the synthesizers in the ominous "Welcome to the Machine" outlast their invitation by whole minutes, and the faux balladry of "Wish You were Here" is pleasant enough but also rather ordinary. The true survivor here is "Have a Cigar", if mostly because it is so much more inventive than the horrid "Money" on the previous album. In fact, WYWH's biggest success is how it improved on DSOTM at a time when PINK FLOYD really didn't have to. Aural fatigue aside, this stands as a far superior collection even if there is nothing as good as "Time" herein. But it's all academic. The price of popularity is the loss of the very underground appeal that made them so popular in the first place, and the revelation that the last new sentiment coaxed out when listening to WYWH occurred in about 1979, give or take.

Is it only the hype, the fact that so many FLOYD fans only came to progressive rock via this group, and can't discuss any aspect of prog without mentioning this group, and feel like any group influenced by FLOYD is extraneous, that trumps positive associations? Not only, for it is also the absence of positive associations in the music itself. FLOYD at its most popular never even paid lip service to optimism, which, while admirable in one sense and possibly explaining their mass popularity in another, denigrates their work in comparison to more multidimensional groups that followed. With their influence, the bountiful prog world got its own wish. 3.5 stars rounded down.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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