Meddle (1971)


 
1. One of These Days 2. A Pillow of Winds 3. Fearless 4. San Tropez 5. Seamus 6. Echoes

 

This was the album that signified the rebirth, or rebranding of Pink Floyd. They manage to get everything right on this record, and seemed to now be clearly headed in the right direction. That's not to say they were ever necessarily in the wrong direction, but ever since Syd Barrett's departure, they seemed a bit scattered - trying to find that special sound that would be relevant for the fans, and, more importantly, the band members themselves.

Yes, there is still multitudes of weirdness, strange sound effects and erie musical interludes. That would remain consistent throughout the course of the band's career. What we have now discovered (and perhaps they, themselves, discovered) is that they were brilliant musicians and very gifted songwriters. The songs here are a joy to listen to, and not a collection of sound effects that would emulate a nightmare or a descent into insanity. To be honest, the songs are quite a variety. They don't seem to be trying to necessarily produce consistency. That could be a part of what made this record so special - the fact that they were good at a variety of things.

In many ways, this album has become synonymous with the twenty three minute cut Echoes that is one of the finest piece of music these guys have ever put together. It has all the elements of a classic, epic, Floyd piece. It's mostly keyboards delivered in a variety of fashions over the length of the song. It manages to be bizarre and freaky, but never loses the element of being a great piece of music. You can actually hum along to portions of the song. Fortunately, they were able to replicate pieces similar in quality, style, and even length throughout their career.

In what could possibly be described as the complete opposite end of the spectrum, is the other Floyd favorite, the leadoff track One of These Days. It manages to maintain all of the Floyd characteristics, yet this song actually rocks, quite possibly harder than anything else in their entire catalog. Yes they were starting to get things right in a big way.

Other tracks are not as well known (there are only four left), but for the most part they excel. A Pillow of Winds, is a nice, dreamy acoustic piece that fits well in the overall theme of the album. Fearless is a quite bizarre track - but blends with the style of Pink Floyd. I think that's an English Football team singing in the background. I'm not sure what, nor why. But it works.

Roger Waters, in an attempt to sarcastically placate the record labels ongoing demand to "produce something commercial", sings the swingy San Tropez which sounds like an advert for a holiday. Yes, it's tongue in cheek, but the irony is that if you hadn't known what Waters was up to, it still would somehow fit in with the album even though it's very polarizing in its style - you can make the same argument for everything else on this album as well. This was, after all, Pink Floyd. The only dog here (literally) is the barely two-minute song Seamus about, well a dog. It lacks in substantial quality, but at that short of a length, it's easily forgivable.

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