Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2007
I generally find Pink Floyd fans to be obnoxious. They tend to represent this fleet of young men who have just copied their dad's taste in music. It's an interesting phenomenon. They tend to smoke a lot of weed and usually can't tell me why they like Floyd beyond it being “fucking cool.” These young men also wear Led Zeppelin shirts and tend to look like they could be in the Marines. They also probably like the Beatles, Steely Dan, and the Eagles. I know I'm being judgmental, so I will say I like these dudes way better than the dudes listening to modern rock. The dudes who like Kings of Leon or whatever, fuck those guys, because at least Pink Floyd is fucking good. Yes, this is coming off as incredibly snobby, and I think my main problem is just casual music listening in general. Again, a very snobby view, but I have this wild notion that if people knew why they liked what they like, or at least gave a passing thought to it once and a while, music might get better. People could realize that modern rock is a load of bullshit and maybe radio would try harder. But then again, have people ever thought about why they like music? That's why pop music is so successful. You don't have to think about it. You hear a catchy melody and it gets stuck in your head and it sells records. It's just pleasant to listen to music. No one cares about Phil Spector developing the “wall of sound” technique or anything, it just sounds good. Anyway, I think this record is amazing. When I was in high school I had it on cassette tape and it was in my car stereo for a good couple of months until my dad came one day around Christmas while I was in class and had a CD player put in. After school, I was pissed because I couldn't listen to my Wish You Were Here cassette, and I went out and got it on CD. As an album, it's one of the more scathing critiques on the music industry, and I don't think casual fans know this. Or know that “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is about Syd Barrett's decline into drugs and departure from the band a few years before this was recorded. The guitars sound fucking sad as hell and the solos wail without being flashy. The synthesizers are actually rather refined for 1975. I mean, it sounds a little like the score for Blade Runner but the way it blends in with the guitars is really beautiful and surprisingly not cheesy or dated. However, the real reason this album is amazing is the title track. It's one of my favorite compositions of all time. Instantly memorable, sad as hell, and played with such passion. David Gilmour sounds absolutely fucking weary, and it's that sound of his voice that the whole record is supposed to feel like tonally. It's sort of the ultimate song for everyone you've ever lost in any sense of the word. The people who once inhabited your life and are have been phased out or simply vanished. Anyway, “Shine on You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9” seems to be where modern stoner rock came from, and I can't really think of any other bands off the top of my head who would cite Floyd as a direct influence. I'm sure there are myriad. Like Radiohead, that kind of epic scope, that brilliant ear for composition. The Mars Volta, obviously, but got pretty awful after their first record. Regardless, this is a gem.