Pink Floyd (1973)
No list of seminal LPs would be complete without this hermetic, paranoid masterpiece. Pink Floyd had been messing around with Moon’s basic themes and elements for a while, but this was their unbelievably gargantuan commercial breakthrough, and the launching pad for a thousand similar-minded psych-rock philosophers.
Roger Waters (bass) and David Gilmour (guitar) muse mundanely about massive themes and topics, evoking all the big mysteries of life with some genial everyman poetry. What makes it work is the band’s patented astral sound – not quite jazz fusion, not quite psychedelia, not quite blues rock, not quite prog, but something in between. The two mercurial lead personalities are complimented by Richard Wright on synths and keyboards and Nick Mason on drums.
Their music provides a soothing, inviting backdrop for a meandering conceptual backbone. There are incredibly clever snippets of sounds and intriguing dialogue to keep the concept rolling along. Everything is so pristinely recorded and played it’s slightly horrifying, and the pacing of the compositions and scope of their philosophy is almost cinematic. This record is more like a film than a song cycle. It has a gradual build to a breathtaking opening flourish, which flows along until it’s punctuated by a more-than-epic finale.
Its seamless synthesis of all the tracks was also unprecedented in its day. Needless to say, it is one of the best-selling and most famous albums of all time, and justifiably so. Pink Floyd never changed dramatically after this, but they started so strong that they continued to make some of the most exceptional music of the decade using the same formula.
Key track: “Time”
See also: Meddle – Pink Floyd (1971), Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd (1975), Animals – Pink Floyd (1977)