On March 1, 1973, the British group Pink Floyd released their seventh studio album, which they had baptized, with an almost prophetic name, as “The Dark Side of The Moon” (The dark side of the moon). Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason had left their heart and their greatest inspiration in those songs, but they never suspected that they had just conceived one of the decisive materials in the history of music.
Until then, Pink Floyd had been more of an “underground” band, characterized by their initial psychedelia in the late 60s, when they were led by the erratic Syd Barrett, and then by full-blown experimentation that made it seem like with each new record, they were a new band. This constant reinvention With which they navigated the ups and downs of music for almost seven years, although it made them create unique pieces, it also prevented them from establishing a defined or concrete course in terms of their creativity.
One of the few photographs where all the members of the band appear.
The genesis of the “Dark Side”
By the early 1970s, the band was faced with the uncertainty of a new world. Psychedelia had perished in its fleeting spring, messages of love and peace had been consumed by postmodernism, and Syd Barrett, the first leader of the band, died every day in the solitude of his madness, whose long shadow was to leave an indelible ballast in the memory of Pink Floyd. Roger Waters found himself overwhelmed by philosophical concerns, the nonsense of life, the functioning of societies, and for the first time in his career as a composer, he captured everything that overwhelmed him in the lyrics of his songs.
It was a drastic change in the logic of Pink Floyd, because although their compositions always strove to achieve an artistic and aesthetic sense, reality it was that rather the lyrics were a mere accompaniment in his complex musical passages, and his most existential and profound verses up to then were found in the piece “Echoes”. His early songs dealt with space travel, childhood reminiscences, and extensive moments of improvisation and experimentation with sounds. They went from psychedelia to progressive rock, from folk music to orchestral arrangements, recorded soundtracks for underground movies, and created sound collages where they mixed everything from bird calls to the morning routine of a man preparing breakfast.
Pink Floyd, in a more mature moment of his career.
The new songs by Roger Waters were received with all the enthusiasm, creativity and maturity of the band, so that this allowed them to expand everything they had to unsuspected limits. In The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd addressed the emptiness that the societies of their time lived through; the triumph of modern capitalism, the pain of passing time, the mercantilism that denied the meaning of life, the fear of death, the impossibility of sharing ourselves as human beings, loneliness and madness.
Since its release, The Dark Side of the Moon has taken the music landscape by storm. Its entire conception was innovative for the same members of the band, since it allowed them an experimentation that they had not had before. They used synthesizers, recorded interviews in which they questioned the meaning of life and added it between the musical passages, added female choirs, the beating of a heart, the chiming of clocks, the terror of a plane taking off. Its very cover was a design innovation: a prism breaking down the colors of light. It became an immediate hit on the charts, topping the top charts for 741 weeks, taking Pink Floyd from being a simple underground group to an internationally recognized band.
The lyrics of the Dark Side; a reflection on the emptiness of life
The Dark Side of the Moon covers many of the pains of daily life, of the societies of our time, and despite having been published more than 50 years ago, it is still as valid as then. The album opens with the beating of the heart, life, the panorama in front of us; “everything you touch and everything you look at is everything your life will ever be.” Then the chaos of synthesizers of a plane taking off passes, in a premature reflection of the fear of death, to land in the classic “Time”, a reflection on time, how it doesn’t belong to us, how life goes by without living it. : “and you run and run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking (…) to come out after you again.”
Desolation finds a sudden haven in “the great concert in the sky”, an instrumental piece in which the voice is the most prominent, recognizable element, and which transcended culture itself. A reflection, once again, on death, but this time without fatalism, but rather as a communion, something that is part of life. As the music stops, a snippet of an interview recites: “Why should I be afraid of dying, there’s no reason to, you have to leave at some point.” That momentary peace ends very soon to give rise to what is perhaps the most remembered single from the album, “Money”, a critique of mercantilism, of capitalist societies: “money, they say, is the root of all evil today”, and which, paradoxically, translated into multimillion-dollar profits for Pink Floyd.
The last passages of the album descend into melancholy. In “Us and Them”, the inexplicable reasons that separate us from each other as human beings are explored: “us and them, and after all, we are just ordinary men.” Then comes the last ray of hope with “Any Color you Like”, the opportunity to choose and decide, and then the dark side of the moon begins with one of Pink Floyd’s most profound songs, which addresses mental illness. “Brain Damage” (cerebral damage), considered one of the most mature, moving and celebrated compositions with phrases such as: “there’s someone in my head, but it’s not me”, “you scream and no one seems to hear you”; “I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon”.
Finally, the eclipse comes, the end of life, everything we did, everything we ate, everyone we fought for, everyone we love and despise, everything we created, everything that is now, everything that is gone. and everything that will be, and everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon: “There is no dark side to the moon… actually, everything is dark.” The album ends with a heartbeat: everything is a cycle. The darkness is not eternal: it gives way to a new life.
Contemporary music would never be the same again.
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