Pink Floyd - Animals
Already one of the most popular bands in the world, Pink Floyd were seemingly not ready to rest on their laurels. Their previous release, Wish You Were Here, had given them a collection of tracks that would be almost impossible to top. Dark Side Of The Moon was still charting, and all things seemed well. Behind the scenes, however, the bad blood was turning to stone (find that lyric in one of Animals' tracks!) between Roger Waters and the rest of the band. But, in what I've always considered to be a truly professional sense, the four musicians were able to combine their abilities and agree to disagree on all the rest. Animals is perhaps the most overlooked of the 70's Floyd albums, but for my money it is the absolute best of them as well.
The album is wrapped with a false sense of calm and reflection with the "Pigs on the Wing" duality. Roger tells us over softly-strummed acoustic guitar that he knows that we care for him, and that we know he cares for us too. But it doesn't seem to compute...there's some overriding message at play here. Further along into the heart of the record, we find that Roger has divided humanity into three subsects of individuals, the greedy, power-starved "Dogs", the fat, bloated, selfish "Pigs", and the blissfully unaware and ignorant "Sheep". The lyrical concept is of course inspired muchly by the classic novel "Animal Farm" by George Orwell, but you have to give Roger credit for melding the concept into lyrical form. "Dogs" has a bit of a grimy feel to it, and is predominantly a platform for David Gilmour's incredible ability to express a varying amount of emotion via his guitar work. Richard's work adds a constricting aura to the song, and the lyrics that shift from arrogance to the realization of impending doom, deep-set regret, are mostly riding the high the music has already put into play. "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" is somewhat opposite, with the music for the most part acting to parlay Roger's sometimes snarling, mostly insulting tribute to the upper-class swindlers, careless and unfeeling politicians and the like. This track is like a playful, sarcastic middle finger at the haves from the have-nots..or in this case, from the high road of artistic credibility. Catchy, potent, and some clever vocal melodies. After the quiet, funky intro Richard Wright provides, "Sheep" kicks into the highest gear out of the three core tracks on Animals. Another biting take on perhaps the most common and overwhelmingly generic cross-section of mankind; those who walk through life blindly, uncaring to what happens around them until it happens to them directly. The ignorant masses are given tribute with a wonderful array of guitar runs, punctuating percussion and atmospheric keyboard work.
Each track is over 10 minutes in length and not one minute of them feels undeserved, unnecessary or out of place. This was one of the most enjoyable conceptual rock albums of it's time and, while overshadowed by what had come before and what was yet to come (The Wall was already being conceived, in fact), Animals can more than easily stand on it's own merits. This would mark the last time the classic Pink Floyd lineup would take on a project, front to back, as a cohesive band.
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on 2007-07-23 blueandyellow Said:
1. Pigs On The Wing 1 (4/5)
2. Dogs (5/5)
3. Pigs (Three Different Ones) (5/5)
4. Sheep (5/5)
5. Pigs On The Wing 2 (4/5)
Total Score: 4.60/5.00
* This is THE album if you like getting high.