Wednesday, September 9, 2020

More on Atom Heart Mother and Pink Floyd

I've listened to and researched Atom Heart Mother quite a bit in the past week. AM's goal has always been to accentuate the positive in rock history and admittedly we skirt the issues at times. Never have we posted about dismal LPs from great bands or artists such as ELP's Love Beach or Joni Mitchell's Dog Eat Dog, which is truly awful.

And so, we do it times tread softly or circumnavigate negativity by categorizing more succinctly. Such is the case with Pink Floyd. While the Beatles had obvious phases, the early Beatlemania years, mid-career Studio LPs, and the less homogenous LPs that characterized their catalog after Magical Mystery Tour. But that seems more like the band's evolution as they matured.

For Pink Floyd, the iterations were more tied to personnel. Early Floyd, the first two albums, were all about Syd Barrett. From there they carried on in an experimental way without direction creating the soundtracks for More and Obscured By Clouds and the albums Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother. Obviously, there’s some evolution going on, but I still look at it differently than I do the Beatles. The third phase was classic Floyd. Meddle, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and Animals, the greatest four in a row in rock music. The 4th phase was the Roger Waters solo phase. This included The Wall and The Final Cut. The final phase was Pink Floyd without Waters up to and including 2014's The Endless River.

There are those who would argue with my premise that The Wall and The Final Cut aren't really Pink Floyd albums. And I can indeed argue myself out of it. Despite The Wall being so Roger-centric, it's foolish to assume that the incredible sonic guitar riffs from Gilmore were written by Waters; obviously, that's not the case. And there are many who would argue that Pink Floyd from A Momentary Lapse of Reason onward wasn't Pink Floyd simply because it didn't have Waters. Being on Gilmore‘s team, one cannot dismiss that Waters was the better songwriter and lyricist.

There is no real point to this particular post except to share my thoughts based on a recent venture and re-discovery of Atom Heart Mother. Suffice it to say that here at AM we will continue to extol the virtues of great Floyd but skim over the dreadful Final Cut. I'm enjoying the live LP and video of Pulse, by the way. Here is where I really end up in Gilmore‘s camp. Because Gilmore did the vast majority of vocals and because his guitar is incomparable (while Waters' bass is predictable at best), were I to choose a concert to attend it would be Gilmore’s iteration of Floyd rather than Waters once again rehashing The Wall. Wait, what am I talking about? If it's Floyd time travel we're talking about, I choose Dark Side of the Moon Tour, 1973.

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