How would a millennial react to hearing a classic album like it’s something brand new? We believe that music discovery isn’t just about up-and-comers—new music is any music that’s new to you—so we decided to find out. Today is the anniversary of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, released March 1, 1973. Here’s what she said.
I plugged in my headphones, pressed play and started running, but I didn’t hear anything. I checked my phone and that black cover with those rainbow streaks stared back at me. There I was, jogging along a river bike path on a low hanging cloudy day, waiting for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to wash over me. Thirty seconds passed and a sound that I thought was my own heartbeat got louder until there were screams coming through both ears. All of a sudden the low, smoldering guitar of Breathe (In the Air) came through my headphones like wind, pushing me to run faster. Rarely do albums make me take action like Pink Floyd’s iconic release did for me this weekend. Rarely do albums fill with me a fire that makes me want to go faster.
Dark Side of the Moon is one of those albums that seems to burn as it plays. It requires all the focus that kindling a bonfire does. If you stay with it, it glows and warms up the space you are in. If you tune out for one second and it burns out, you have to start over from the top.
At the start of the album, songs like Time and Money seem to wrap you up in their all-knowing lyrics and crooning guitars. The vintage clocks at the beginning of Time are disorienting in the best way possible. I wasn’t in a particularly existential mood when I started listening, but by the time I was done, I thought about time in the way Roger Waters sings about it, “You’ve missed the starting gun.”
After Time fades out and Water’s voice disappears, The Great Gig in the Sky slowly crescendos itself into being. The second half is my favorite part of the album with its operatic, grand, and unapologetic existentialism. Water’s screams ricochet over warm piano and then songs like Us and Them provide a chance to breathe. Every time I listen to The Great Gig and the songs that follow, I am reminded of why I do things like run and obsess over music. It’s that release that happens after everything builds up, that catharsis that comes with sticking with something for that long, experiencing it from beginning to end. The whole album is cathartic, but it’s a journey to get there.
There is a sense of deterioration and darkness in Dark Side of the Moon’s trajectory. Now these are sad things, but when put together within the context of life, they are just as important as all the good stuff. Listening to it is like witnessing one long inhale in album form. Pink Floyd is a band that understands that sometimes going inside of yourself is the only way out.
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