Atom Heart Mother (1970)


 
1. Atom Heart Mother Suite 2. If 3. Summer '68 4. Fat Old Sun 5. Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast

 

Generally regarded as the least liked and/or least known Pink Floyd album, and for good reason. In their defense, they were still trying to find a new direction at this early phase in their career, and they seemed to be prone to recording music that didn't have to appeal to a mass audience. They were simply trying to be, well...weird, and sell some records to an audience that was just as odd.

Unlike the strange studio sound effects the permeate the studio album in the Ummagumma set, they at least sound like they're trying to create some sort of music here. Yes, there are actually songs on this album. Problem is that most of the music is rather drab and insignificant. They haven't abandoned their penchant for strangeness, so, quite often, some decent melodies and opportunities are wasted since the band feels obligated to take us on a drug trip by forcing cacophonous sounds that serve no purpose. If they would just play music they could succeed in taking us to these places that they're so intent on reaching. A perfect example is Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast. It's a thirteen minute piece that actually has some of the finest music that these guys ever made at this point. The problem is that throughout the track, we hear "Alan" actually making the breakfast in addition to mumbling to himself "mmmm....coffee. And eggs, I like eggs....mmmmm". During these ridiculous interludes, the music actually stops in order for us to hear these interruptions. Had the band just went with the music and kept the song title, it would have had a much better effect.

Then there's the entire side one of the album that is devoted to only one song - the twenty-four minute Atom Heart Mother Suite. There trying so hard to fill an entire side with something that will last the length of an entire album side, that they forget that, well, no one is going to actually waste twenty-four minutes of their life unless the music sounds good. I'll bet most diehard Floyd fans have only ever actually listened to this piece maybe five times during their entire life.

So the above two tracks take up 37 minutes of space on the album. The other 15 minutes are devoted to the three most normal songs on the album. Roger Waters, Richard Wright and Dave Gilmour each pen a tune and, to be frank, they're all pretty good. They're buried so deep in this muck, however, it's not a wonder that most Floyd fans don't even know they exist. As a matter of fact, for the most part, these songs have virtually been ignored by the band in the decades following (although David Gilmour did resurrect his tune Fat Old Sun on his latest live solo album). The best of the lot is Roger Waters' If which sounds somewhat of a sentimental love song. Although, remember, this is Pink Floyd, so the "love song" features lines about going insane with wires in the brain. Never mind.

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