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Pink Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)

Awesome Artist of the Week logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming
Infinitely inferior Fuss about Floyd logo by yours truly

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[Album 527/1001]

I’m a little disappointed with Pink Floyd.

Specifically, with The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

Though not because the musical experience was inherently disappointing.

For you see, a part of me was secretly hoping that The Piper would be a disappointing listen, that it would be a bit of a let down.

Alas, it exceeded my expectations and ruined a perfectly good narrative.

Which is a shame, as the “We have a piper down” scene from So I Married An Axe Murderer would have fit so nicely with a ‘thumbs down’ review of The Piper!

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I can see how people might view this album as an uneven listen.

It doesn’t exactly flow seamlessly but I found that the eclectic mix was a selling point.

Following up a nearly 10-minute instrumental jam with a 2-minute ditty about a Gnome?

I’ll take it!

I’m not sure if it’s the best Pink Floyd album I’ve heard, but it’s certainly the most intriguing.

I’d say The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is an interesting intro to an interesting group, released during a particularly interesting year for music.

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In hindsight, the title, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, feels like a bit of a metaphor for albums from the year 1967.

Bagpipes are an acquired taste.

For many, the noise is unbearable (ye olde joke about the difference between onions and bagpipes? nobody cries when you chop up bagpipes).PinkFloyd-album-piperatthegatesofdawn_300

For other listeners however, there’s no substitute.

Some might say the same for psychadelic music, which arguably peaked in 1967.

Many fans happily play psychadelia to this day, others would rather not hear it again for (at least) another 50 years.

I find the visual of The Gates of Dawn even more striking.

Though I’m a big fan of the albums in the chart above, it feels like 1967 was the start (or at least an early part) of a really special musical era.

A strong year on its own, but even more interesting when you consider the new directions of the music that it would inspire.

Which is also probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned about Floyd this week: while each PF album has its stand-alone merit, the records are more interesting as a part of a career set.

A discography worth fussing over.

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Verbalize the Positive

A tip of the hat (or three) to my friend Bruce for his weekly 1967 series, for always striving to appreciate albums in their proper context & because of both of the above, for being a catalyst in the creation of this review!

Pink Floyd – The Wall (1979)

Awesome Artist of the Week logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming
Infinitely inferior Fuss about Floyd logo by yours truly

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[Album 526/1001]

“Did not catch the picture show”
– The Good Lovelies, Oh, What a Thing

Do you need to see the picture show to appreciate the movie soundtrack?

Well, like most things, that depends.

When in doubt, a 2×2 matrix to help explain.

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Scenario 1: Didn’t see the movie, didn’t immediately ‘dig’ the soundtrack

In this case, I’m talkin’ ’bout Shaft.

I didn’t really immerse in the score as a stand-alone.

But then I watched the film, I really enjoyed it, and my enjoyment of the score climbed accordingly.

So technically it wouldn’t be in the same spot in the matrix any more (now it would be YES/drifting towards HIGH) but the NO/LOW would have been its original placement.

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Scenario 2: No movie, no problem

As was the case with Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly.

The song lyrics advanced the plot, I felt like I’d seen the movie after the soundtrack.

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Scenario 3: Saw the movie, an already awesome soundtrack became even awesome-er

As with Purple Rain.

I just wish my copy of the soundtrack had the Morris Day & The Time songs as bonus tracks!

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Scenario 4: Will I enjoy The Wall soundtrack more if I see the movie?

What say you, Floyd fans?PinkFloydWallCoverOriginalNoText

Is it imperative to see the film to fully appreciate the double album?

Or if I see the film, would my enjoyment level be the same, causing the album to end up in its projected matrix position?

The enjoyment score of ‘Low’ is a bit misleading, as I don’t necessarily dread re-listens.

But I also don’t look forward to re-listens, the way I did with Wish You Were Here.

Is my Floyd marathon this week perhaps too ambitious, have/will I inevitably hit the…point of exhaustion, like runners in an actual marathon?

Maybe there’s a play on words with running into some sort of an insurmountable brick barrier in there somewhere?

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Verbalize the Positive

My wonderful wife & I had the privilege of seeing Purple Reign, a Prince tribute show, in Vegas last week.

*Spoiler alert* It was spectacular, they really did their homework!

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

Awesome Artist of the Week logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming
Infinitely inferior Fuss about Floyd logo by yours truly

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[Album 525/1001]

“They say it’s a sight that’s quite worth seeing
It’s just that everyone’s interest is stronger than mine”
-Elliott Smith, Rose Parade

I gather that Pink Floyd’s a band that’s quite worth hearing; it’s just until now, virtually everyone’s interest has seemed considerably stronger than mine.

But I’ve often wished I was there, in that state of Pink Floyd adoration.

So their 1975 album, Wish You Were Here, felt like an appropriate starting point for this week’s journey.

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1. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I – V)

There’s a scene in an episode of How I Met Your Mother, where Ted finally asks a girl (played by Katie Holmes) to go on a date, 10 years after their initial meeting. I can’t recall the exact quote (or find the clip) but her reply was along the lines of, “now that’s a slow play, I respect that.”

Now they didn’t wait 10 years for the vocals to make their first appearance of the album.

They did hold out until just before the 9-minute mark though!

I echo Katie’s reaction: waiting 9 minutes for the vocals? Now that’s a slow play, I respect that.

 

2. Welcome to the Machine & 3. Have a Cigar

Didn’t significantly affect me either way.

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4. Wish You Were Here

Do Pink Floyd fans like this song?

Or have they grown to resent it somewhat, à la Stairway to Heaven or Bohemian Rhapsody? The song casual fans latch on to, at the expense of more deserving tracks?

By naming the album after it, I presume the band saw value in the track (and considering they were permitted to bookend the album with a 9-movement, 26-minute composition, I think it’s fair to assume that the band had the artistic freedom to do as they wished).

In any event, it’s a great track.

The song structure is brilliant, the ‘walk-on part vs. lead role’ line is equally so, and the vocal harmony on ‘two lost souls’ is right up there as well.

5. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI – IX)Pink_Floyd,_Wish_You_Were_Here_(1975)

After listening to the final four movements, I immediately wanted to hear the entire album again.

So I did.

And to my surprise, there wasn’t any evidence of diminishing marginal returns.

Maybe that’s why people seem so enamoured with this group?

This one really is an album that’s quite worth hearing.

Perhaps the gap between my interest level in Floyd & everyone else’s is starting to shrink too.

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Verbalize the Positive

It’s nice to start hearing the magic instead of just hearing about it!

What’s all the fuss about Floyd?

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Awesome Artist of the Week logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming
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“My loneliness is killing me (and I)
I must confess”
– Britney Spears, Hit Me Baby One More Time

Like Britney, I have a confession to make.

Also not unlike Ms. Spears, I’ve felt quite lonely keeping this to myself, lo these many years.

Saying that it’s killing me…would be hyperbole. But I think you’ll know what I mean.

Once I finally work up the courage to say it.

Here goes.

Please forgive me…I don’t love Pink Floyd.

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Infinitely inferior Fuss about Floyd logo by yours truly

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To be clear, I don’t hate Pink Floyd, not at all.

I’d even say I like them.

But ‘liking’ them feels insufficient.

When I reviewed Dark Side of the Moon favourably but not fawningly, it somehow felt like I was being blasphemous.

It’s an isolating feeling when (seemingly) the world understands/appreciates/reveres something much more than you.

For years, I’ve just struggled to understand how (seemingly) everyone loves them and I haven’t been able to move beyond liking &/or admiring them from a distance.

So this week, I’m setting out to find what I’ve somehow missed.

And I’ll do so in a series-within-a-series (whoa): What’s all the fuss about Floyd?

Will I love them by the end of the week?

It would make for a heartwarming tale &/or convenient story arc!

But I suppose only time will tell.

So stay tuned for reviews of Wish You Were Here, The Wall, and The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, as I try to figure out just what all the fuss is about.

Enjoy!

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Verbalize the Positive

A genuine thank you to all my fellow bloggers for bringing discourse & the celebration of opinion diversity back to the world wide web.

I always feel comfortable being allowed to enjoy/not enjoy different music without fear of name-calling, this quest is more out of curiosity for me, a fun search for what I might have missed that others seem to have discovered long ago.

Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted (1992)

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Fabulous logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

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[Album 524/1001]

Objectivity’s overrated.

Or at least it was well out of reach for me this past week.

1) My wonderful wife & I spent most of the March Break in Las Vegas. Sunny skies, 30 degree weather, wonderful wife, I was incapable of complaining.220px-Slanted_and_Enchanted_album_cover.jpg

2) On Saturday, I had the privilege of seeing my brother perform in the titular role of Pinocchio in the National Ballet of Canada’s production. No chance of an unbiased review there either.

3) Attempting to review a long-beloved album, Pavement’s Slanted & Enchanted, with at least a trace of impartiality.

I put it off throughout the week (I even missed getting it done during Pavement’s week as Artist of the Week), hoping to distance myself from the album a bit, trying to approach it from a different angle.

But it’s simply not going to happen.

Inevitably, any Pavement review of mine will be slanted; I’m unable to be anything less than enchanted by their debut album.

Three strikes, I’m out.

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Verbalize the Positive

Wendy/Robert/Pavement?

Now that’s an objectively great trio!

Artist of the Week – Quiz #11

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Magnificent logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Artists of the week (so far): Brian Eno, U2, Stevie Wonder, Everything But The Girl, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, CSNY, Bob Marley, Miles Davis, Pavement

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My thanks to all who have participated in the “Artist of the Week” quizzes so far.

Congrats to all those who correctly identified Pavement last week.

Here are the results after 10 quizzes:

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10 weeks

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Ready for Quiz #11?

Anybody out there?

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Quiz Rules/Format
(feel free to skip to the quiz if you know the rules already)

Your Task: Name the mystery Artist, ideally with as few clues as possible.

Correctly guess the artist on the first clue? 500 points.

After scrolling down to the second clue? 400 points.

Still don’t know after the fifth clue? 0 points, but a crisp high-five for participating.

I’ll use google translate to put the correct answer at the bottom in Arabic (if you read Arabic, that’s fantastic, but no cheating by reading ahead!) and you can translate it back to the language of your choice to confirm your answer.

In the comments, please enter your POINTS earned (not the artist name) and I’ll keep track of the running totals in a spreadsheet.

In addition to eternal bragging rights, the winner at the end of the year may even get something as prestigious as a digital certificate.

Here goes!

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Artist of the Week #11
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

500 points………………..Surely the bass player from the band on The Muppets was a tip of the hat to this British group, formed in 1965

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400 points………………..Have 4 albums on the 1001 list, including a 1979 double LP

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300 points…………………They’ve been helping young scientists learn about light refraction since 1973

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200 points………………….The band name is comprised of a colour and an eventual Nirvana song about a barber

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100 points………………..The band is P_____ F______

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Answer: لويد وردي
(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

I appreciate the wonderful world of translation. When I attempted a google translate of this band’s name to Arabic & then back to English, it returned as “Home Country.”

So I dropped the “F” in the translation above to make it more useful for this quiz – but maybe that bonus translation was a part of the reason they chose their name?!

Artist of the Week – Quiz #10

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Magnificent logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Artists of the week (so far): Brian Eno, U2, Stevie Wonder, Everything But The Girl, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, CSNY, Bob Marley, Miles Davis

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My thanks to all who have participated in the “Artist of the Week” quizzes so far.

Congrats to all those who correctly identified Miles Davis last week.

Here are the results after 9 quizzes:

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week 10

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Ready for Quiz #10?

Wowee zowee!

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Quiz Rules/Format
(feel free to skip to the quiz if you know the rules already)

Your Task: Name the mystery Artist, ideally with as few clues as possible.

Correctly guess the artist on the first clue? 500 points.

After scrolling down to the second clue? 400 points.

Still don’t know after the fifth clue? 0 points, but a crisp high-five for participating.

I’ll use google translate to put the correct answer at the bottom in Arabic (if you read Arabic, that’s fantastic, but no cheating by reading ahead!) and you can translate it back to the language of your choice to confirm your answer.

In the comments, please enter your POINTS earned (not the artist name) and I’ll keep track of the running totals in a spreadsheet.

In addition to eternal bragging rights, the winner at the end of the year may even get something as prestigious as a digital certificate.

Here goes!

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Artist of the Week #10
Record POINTS Earned (Not Artist Name) in the comments
(scroll down for additional clues)

For:

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500 points………………..Name of the band in the speech bubble on my t-shirt above (speech bubble also found on the front of their 1995 album)

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400 points………………..Indie Rock/Lo-Fi band formed in Stockton, California in 1989, they have 2 albums on the 1001 list

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300 points…………………Following the group’s dissolution in 1999, the lead singer went on to record several albums as “Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks”

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200 points………………….The band name is a synonym for a durable road surface

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100 points………………..One of my favourites, the band name is P___________.

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Answer: رصيف الشارع
(Please post your points earned in the comments section)

Thanks for playing!

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Verbalize the Positive

I appreciate that the 1001 editors acknowledged this artist’s first two albums as being list-worthy!