Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Before I was really familiar with the whole progressive rock genre I used to listen to this CD by Dream Theater called Octavarium. It was the first one I owned and I really loved the title track, I still do. The intro really intrigued me, so I started wondering wether there was more music like this out there. After reading through several forums I read a post from some guy stating that the whole intro was pretty much a rip-off from Pink Floydís Shine on you crazy Diamond: a nine part composition with probably the best intro I ever heard in my life.
This album can be summarized in one word: epic! It only has 4 songs, but all of these are so great itís hard to pick a favourite.
So this masterpiece opens with the great Shine on you crazy Diamond. This opus is a tribute to former band member Syd Barrett. At first the band intended it to be a side-long composition like Echoes and Atom Heart Mother, but they ended up splitting the song in two and they used it to bookend the album. Iím not a big fan of this choice, I rather listen to the entire song as one song. Anyhow why is this so great: it probably features more solos than you will ever hear in any other song: it has keyboard solos, great guitar solos and an awesome sax solo at the end of part one. The lyrics are a beautiful tribute and the overall feeling is just majestic! My favourite part is the keyboard solo at the beginning of the second part, right when the tempo starts picking up again.
A machine-like hum fades in and segues into Welcome to the Machine. This song is packed with excessive use of heavily processed synthesizers and guitars, and is also contains a varied range of tape effects. The accoustic guitar in the background makes this all the more special! It is probably the bandís most clear statement that they hate the music industry as a money-making machine, they would rather see it as a forum of artistic expression.
Have a Cigar opens the second side of the LP-version. This is probably the most rock-oriented song on the entire album, whereas the rest is progressive or psychedelic Rock. It has an unchanging guitar riff. The vocals are not done by any member of the band, it is Roy Harper who is in charge of the vocal section because Roger Waters strained his voice while recording Shine on you Crazy Diamond. The final solo really shows that this is a heavy rock song.
The title track is a beautiful rock balad also in memory of Syd Barret, itís Roger Waters who expresses his feelings of alienation from other people. Itís mostly accoustic, and is the calmest on the entire album. The track is listed on Rolling Stoneís the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. After a sort of vocal solo it segues into the intro of the second part of Shine on you Crazy Diamond. Which concludes this masterpiece!