Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but they're also entitled to mine. A few weeks ago NHC published an article on bands their individual writers hate*. One writer chose Pink Floyd as his and went on to being quite opprobrious about them even though it was obvious he didn't really know what he was talking about, due to a few choice statements which I won't point out, and the fact he listens to Fall Out Boy, and My Chemical Romance, and Bullet For My Valentine, ahem. And then some of the anti-Floydian comments underneath it were even worse. So, this article is not a direct stab at anyone in particular, consider it a neophyte's introduction, to THE single greatest band that ever walked the face of this planet, and probably, any other...
This might come as a shock to you but up until about twenty years of age I hated Pink Floyd too! Their music was nauseating, it didn't really make any sense, it was loooooong and boring and... Oh god just turn it off! Now, this is despite being raised by Pink Floyd, my mum played them to me in the womb, my dad played their records, and later, so did my older brothers (Pink Floyd were still going strong, through all those generations).
Why couldn't I handle Pink Floyd until I was twenty? Because their music was forcing my mind to open, it was stretching my neural pathways and it kind of hurt. Like anything good, alcohol, marijuana, LSD, violence, sex, you've gotta' build up a tolerance before you can properly enjoy it. I didn't have the mental dimensions to appreciate them until then. If you can't appreciate the Floyd then the only conclusion I can then draw is that you don't have the mental capacity yet to absorb such complex, beautiful, and divine music.
Starting to like Pink Floyd coincided with me starting to dabble in psychedelics, and listen, because I'm not about to say what you think I'm about to say; Me appreciating Floyd at the same time as discovering hallucinogens was not because you need to be on drugs to understand the music, but because taking LSD and magic mushrooms opens your mind exponentially, we all know this, I don't need to explain that, and when your mind opens, whether through travel, or whether through life experience, or whether through spirituality, or whether through psychedelics, when that happens, then your mind is equipped to let Pink Floyd in.
Don't get me wrong, Pink Floyd do go hand in hand with tripping, their music is created on drugs, by drugs, for drugs, but that's not to say that you need drugs to get them, just that you need the mental capacity. One of the greatest experiences of my entire life, was when I was about 20 and I ate a load of Mexican Mushrooms and put on the album 'Animals', I'm quite susceptible to music on a day to day sober basis anyway, and I have always been profoundly effected by it, but that time with the mushies and Animals on repeat, well I can only describe it as if God herself had played that music to me direct from the heavens, I have never been so touched by anything...
And I know what you're going to say next too, 'that's spaced-out druggy chat' or 'obviously it sounded good, you were high as fuck, doesn't mean it was good'. You can achieve that experience from a combination of psychedelics and many different bands, not just Floyd, there's The Doors, Hendrix, Cream, Air, certain Beatles albums, Jeffersen Airplane and a whole load of other favourite tripping music of mine I could mention, but nothing, nothing, beats the Floyd on that one. Music is massively important when undertaking a psychedelic adventure, but when tripping, give me one single Pink Floyd album over all the rest I could name any day!
The reason there is a simpatico between Pink Floyd and drugs, (apart from the open-mindedness) is they are expert shamans when it comes to guiding you through a trip , they take you to highs, they take you to lows, but they always leave you satisfied, they never disappoint. When me and my friends, all experienced psychonauts, are doing mushrooms or whatever we'll spend an hour or so listening to different tunes, but then it'll be like 5 or 6 hours of Pink Floyd albums one after another, because there simply is nothing better to trip to.
All that aside, you don't need to be tripping to see that Pink Floyd are the pinnacle of music creativity. They exist in a dimension of the musicscape that no other artist exists in, they occupy a corner of the musical stratosphere that nobody else does. They don't fit into any genre, yeah, you may call them psychedelic rock or prog-rock but that's not accurate.
Nobody sounds like Pink Floyd, nobody tries to, nobody comes close and everybody knows it's futile to bother. Every now and then the energy of creativity comes together in a long fine flash, and creates a certain unique meshing of individual geniuses woven into space and time, and Pink Floyd are one of those rare astronomical events that only occur once every few thousand lifetimes or so.
I'm an expert in music, no-one can deny that, I'm proficient in every genre from top to bottom, I know most the good music out there, I've dedicated my entire life to it and I exist for music and nothing else. And it is in my professional opinion that Pink Floyd are the number one band that ever lived. I don't know who's second, or third, it's too hard to choose, but I know exactly who's number one!
You can't tell me you've dedicated your ears, and your mind, and listened properly to something like Shine On You Crazy Diamond in its entirety, and you don't think that that is the absolute pinnacle so far of musical heights, except maybe Bach. If aliens came down, I wouldn't be playing them Mozart as an example of human musical achievements, I'd be playing them Pink Floyd.
Before I go it's worth mentioning there are three Pink Floyds: Syd Barrett's, which is early psychedelic somewhat insane music, the middle years with Roger Waters which was the classic rock/prog rock years, then David Gilmour's in the later years, which is a refined sound. Each good, and each in their own brilliant ways.
There's a lot of Floyd to be getting on with, it's a long time before you run out of material, there's always the oft overlooked Obscured By Clouds and stuff like that, but you'll never be able to recreate those first moments of discovery when you click that first time, on each album, so hang onto them. Pink Floyd have enriched my life beyond measure, and the lives of countless millions. Their first album was in 1967 and they still released an original album in 2014 and everything in between is good, they've never sold out, they've only released albums not singles and let the rest take care of itself, they've never fucked it up, despite all the inner tensions in the band, because they appreciated they were working for something bigger than them, something special that couldn't be denied.
There's a reason they are the 'muso's top pick', there's a reason they are one of the biggest selling bands of all time, there's a reason they have been going strong for fifty years! They are the best, they boast one of the most talented guitarists in the world, one of the most talented bassist/songwriters ever, and one of the best drummers and best keyboardists of all time. They are flawless from their album artwork to their stageshows to each and every song they write. There's a reason why Pink Floyd are my favourite band, and that is because they are the best in the world, pick whoever you want for second and I'll grant you your opinion, but number one, can be only one.
Seeya' on the Darkside of the Moon
*I wasn't involved but personally I would have chosen: Smashing Pumpkins, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Oasis, or Radiohead.