Is There Anybody Out There?

Oh man, where do I start?  I’ve been listening to Pink Floyd since I was a kid.  It started as an obsession over Dark Side of the Moon (go figure) but once I started looking into the songs and the meanings I really, and I mean REALLY, got into Pink Floyd.  I can honestly say there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t listen to a Pink Floyd song at some point or another.

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The members are (In no specific order):

(former: Syd Barrett: vocals/guitar)

Roger Waters –vocals/bass

David Gilmour –Guitar/vocals

Nick Mason –Drums

Richard Wright –Keyboards/other

The first two albums (Piper at the Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets) are good, weird, but good; honestly, it’s hard for me to get into them.  Atom Heart Mother is better, but still has that super trippy feel to it.  I don’t know, maybe I’m not giving those albums enough credit.

Meddle.  Yes, Echoes is an amazing song, the rest of the album is great, such as Fearless and A Pillow of Winds, but really what better way to end an album than with a 23-minute piece like Echoes.  If you didn’t know, David Gilmour makes the squeaks and weird noises by plugging in a wah peddle backwards, (fun fact of the day).  Also, if you haven’t seen Echoes Live in Pompeii, you need to watch it now.  BAM! link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGwPSPIhohk

I know a lot of people who don’t care for Obscured by Clouds, but I love the album.  I haven’t seen the movie that it was the sound track for, but I have been looking for a copy if anyone knows where I can get one (…assuming people read this…) Anyway, Stay is one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs and The Gold it’s in the… is a good one as well.  I really think more people should give this album a good listen.

Onto Wish You Were Here.  Classic.  Amazing. Beautiful.  I can go on, but I assume you’ve all heard it before so you know what I’m talking about.  I love this album because (other than Animals) it sticks it to the man.  Have a Cigar is obviously about the music industry.

“And by the way, which one’s Pink?”

            Welcome to the Machine is a fantastic song.  I believe it’s about… well, the machine.  The government and the corporations, man.  I don’t want to rant so I’ll leave it at that.  The song Wish You Were Here always elicits a good amount of emotion from me, even though it’s about Syd Barrett, it’s not hard to think about a woman while listening to the song.  It’s not that hard of a song to play, but it seems as if it’s hard to capture the emotion that David Gilmour puts into the song through the guitar.  (Especially when you’re some dude on campus playing under a tree trying to pick up chicks, no that’s not me, but I have seen this spectacle before.)  Lastly, Shine on you Crazy Diamond (all the parts I-IX) are great songs, but personally I like Echoes more.  Shine on is a lot more laid back though, I love the use of other instruments.  Pink Floyd has always been really good at incorporating other instruments into their music.

Animals really sticks it to the man, for lack of a better term.  The album has an underlying theme that seems to be (and correct me if I’m wrong, really) pigs which represent corporate fat-cats, sheep which represent the overall masses, and dogs which represent the strong people.  Dogs is probably my second favorite Pink Floyd song, even though the whole album is f***ing phenomenal.  Dogs just really speaks to me.  It’s about a guy who is… Well this pretty much says it…

“Who was born in a house full of pain
Who was trained not to spit in the fan
Who was told what to do by the man
Who was broken by trained personnel
Who was fitted with collar and chain
Who was given a pat on the back
Who was breaking away from the pack
Who was only a stranger at home
Who was ground down in the end
Who was found dead on the phone
Who was dragged down by the stone.”

The stone is NOT referring to drugs, it IS however referring to bad blood.  Don’t ask me for an explanation, go LISTEN to the song!

Dark Side of the Moon is epic.  Don’t argue, you know it to be true.  It was mainly written by Richard Wright and it about Syd Barrett.  (Some background on Syd Barrett: He was in the band before David Gilmour and was kicked out, went crazy, and spent the rest of his life gardening, painting pictures of flowers, and destroying the paintings because he felt that beauty was transient.)

NOTE: I mean no disrespect to Syd Barrett, if I’m wrong about any of that info, comment and correct me so I can correct it.

I’m gonna come back to The Wall, just you wait.

The last three Pink Floyd albums I have are The Final Cut, which is a little depressing, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, which is good, On the Turning Away is a fantastic song, but it’s also one of the more popular songs on the album.  And lastly, The Division Bell.  The Division Bell is definitely my favorite of the aforementioned three.  With Keep Talking and High Hopes on it, it definitely is worthy of a good listen a couple times through.  But A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell both have something missing… Roger Waters.  It’s really just not the same, still good, but not the same.

Okay, onto THE WALL.

My all time favorite song is Comfortably Numb, not just my favorite Pink Floyd song, but my ALL TIME favorite song… ever.  Yeah it’s stereotypical whatever, bite me, you don’t know me well enough to get into that.  The Wall is a story about Roger Waters’ life pretty much.  If you haven’t seen it, go watch it right now.  The movie is fantastic, the first time I saw it I was in high school, so of course I didn’t understand what it was about, but now that I have a much better understanding of things I cant get enough of it.  It’s not just a movie; it was an album first (clearly).  It came out in 1979 and is on two records (or discs).  As I said, it’s about Waters’ life, how he felt like a Nazi on stage, his school days, a pet rat, his overprotective (to say the least) mother, his father dying in WWII, sex, going crazy on a groupie, drugs, suffering, loneliness, his wife, and coming out of his shell and tearing down the wall.  Something people may have wondered, Vera is about a singer who was known as “The Force’s Sweetheart.”  She had a famous song in which one of the lyrics goes “we’ll meet again,” referring to the soldiers fighting the war, ergo when Waters sings “Remember when she said we will meet again…”  The outro to Bring the Boys Back Home into Comfortably Numb is another amazing part of The Wall.  It cycles through clips of other parts of the songs; “are you feeling okay?”

As much as I like the studio album of The Wall, I have a live album “Is There Anybody out There?” part I and “The Wall Live 1980” which is part II, which has my favorite recording of Comfortably Numb on it.

Here’s another link, BAM! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sFyXb8Q9s0

Listen to the studio recording and this recording back to back and you’ll see why I’m obsessing over it.  I’m listening to it now and I can’t really focus anymore, so on that note.  Thanks for reading another opinionated blog post by yours truly, go turn on that dusty lava lamp, sit back, and turn on some Pink Floyd.

Aces High

For my first blog post (ever!!) I decided to write about Iron Maiden.

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For those of you who don’t know, Iron Maiden has six members;

  1. Bruce Dickinson- vocals, world renowned swordsman, pilot for the bands plane
  2. Dave Murray- guitar
  3. Janick Gers- guitar
  4. Steve Harris- bass
  5. Adrian Smith- guitar
  6. Nicko McBrain- drums

Iron Maiden has been around since about 1975 and since then the band has released 15 studio albums (of which I have all but one,) and every single one is epic in its own way.  They have a bunch of live albums and best of albums, but I’m not really going to get into those.  The band really started catching a lot of attention when Bruce Dickinson (former Samson vocalist) joined the band and they released The Number of the Beast in 1982.

That album was the start of the Iron Maiden that most people know and love today.  The first two albums Iron Maiden and Killers with Paul Di’Anno on vocals are great of course, but they’re not exactly my favorite.  Same with the albums with Blaze Bayley.  To me Blaze Bayley is to Iron Maiden what Gary Cherone was to Van Halen, not the best combination.  But that’s just my opinion.

If you like epic lyrics that describe war as if you were in the battle, mystical powers and religious phenomena, assassins, the world ending, or power and greed, then you should really be listening to Iron Maiden.  Some of their songs have even been on video games like Madden NFL 10.  A lot of the lyrics are written so well that it’s hard to imagine that they didn’t take them from a book, take for example this excerpt from the song Moonchild:

The twins they are exhausted, seven is this night
Gemini is rising as the red lips kiss to bite
Seven angels seven demons battle for his soul
When Gabriel lies sleeping, this child was born to die

The lyrics aren’t the only part of the song that tells a story, the instrumental music is written so well that it seems to tell parts of the story that the lyrics cant express.  For instance in Mother Russia the guitars play Russian sounding riffs, or in Powerslave the guitars sound Egyptian!  The band writes music so well it’s mind blowing.

I’ve never gotten to see Iron Maiden in concert, but I’ve watched a lot of their concerts on DVD and they have an awesome stage presence.  Bruce Dickinson is always running around the stage waving British flags or dressed up in some awesome uniform that has to do with whatever song their playing.  All the guitarists are running around shredding their heads off while Steve Harris is blowing everyone away with triplets and amazing bass lines.  He is hands down one of the best bassists the genre has ever seen.  Niko McBrain is a great drummer as well and even though he is sitting behind his kit, he even has a stage presence through his technique.  Plus, you know the giant robotic Eddie that walks around stage is pretty damn awesome too!

This band has definitely set the standard for metal and has undoubtedly influenced music as a whole with everything they have ever written.

Here are some links!
Paschendale (My favorite Iron Maiden song) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAmdAQ4BX48

Still Life:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7OyOwIexIQ

And just because it’s well known here’s The Trooper: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQI3zS1R9jg

Now go listen to some Iron Maiden and witness the sheer power of metal!