Good old Dark Side Of The Moon, without its massive influence, would we have to put up with the legions of gloomy and pretentious rock bands that see every note they perform as a statement of loneliness and alienation? Probably not when you think about it.
There’s no two ways about it, The Dark Side Of The Moon was a ground breaking album, and with it Pink Floyd effectively changed the way that we listen to rock music. Like the other huge band of the era, Led Zeppelin, Floyd managed to conquer the charts without the aid of hit singles, and suddenly the underground was overground, and we were all wombling free. It was no longer cool to listen to music that was released in the seven inch single format, and to enjoy a single that actually charted could get you laughed out of the student common room. Even four and a half decades later, there are those that still cling to the notion that the more obscure something is, the better it gets, which of course is absolute rubbish.
With its use of samples, loops, fiddly electronics, and lyrics on the human condition, The Dark Side Of The Moon sounds a world away from the universe of orcs, goblins and wise old men that the majority of other progressive rock bands were obsessed with, which inevitably made Pink Floyd a damn site more progressive than most other bands that carried the same tag. Sure, occasionally their pretensions would get the better of them, and there are certainly times that they would obscure a great song with all kinds of instrumental experimentation, just so it wouldn’t sound like a ‘normal’ rock song, but you can’t deny the quality of the lyrics. For me the best tracks on The Dark Side Of The Moon are “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse”, where there seems to finally be some kind of compromise between the great tunes and the desire to sound as experimental as possible.
Of course The Dark Side Of The Moon has suffered the same fate as Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, in that its heavy weight reputation as ‘an important album’ has ultimately been its undoing, and that it has now become so familiar to so many music fans, that it has lost almost lost all of its impact and its ability to surprise unless you’re somehow hearing it for the first time.
The Dark Side Of The Moon is unarguably an important album, and one of the key milestones in rock music. It’s also an album that has been re-released every time there has been any microscopic improvement in audio technology, which means that it is promoted yet again. As good as The Dark Side Of The Moon is, there are better Pink Floyd albums out there that don’t get a quarter of the airplay or press coverage that the material on this album has had. Personally it would be no hardship to me if I was restricted to hearing The Dark Side Of The Moon just once a year.
Oh, and if you try and synch The Dark Side Of The Moon up with The Wizard of Oz, you really should get a life.