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And I've got a strong urge to fly

Pink Floyd are a funny thing, aren't they? There are so many different Pink Floyds. Most bands who last several decades have a noticeable evolution in their music (as I said once to one of calamityjon's idiot commenters, in regards to Elvis Costello, why on earth would you expect (or even want) a fifty-seven year old man to have the same opinions as a twenty-three year old dude?), but Pink Floyd has very discernible periods, largely (I am assuming) owing to the dominant band member of the time. I've never read any sort of biography (bandography?) or even the Wikipedia article but just going by what I know of their albums, there's the crazy Syd Barrett period, the serious and dramatic Roger Waters period, and now the big soaring David Gilmour period. And there are the in between stages, where people were going crazy and/or hating each other. Or even working well together. As I said, I don't really know, this is all going by what I think things sound like.

Coincidentally enough, most of the guys I've seriously dated had a Pink Floyd phase themselves at one point or another. My first "real" boyfriend was Rick, in high school. I was sixteen (16) when we dated (he was fourteen (14), and two years is no big deal now, but was sometimes frustrating at the time.) He was a crazy insane Pink Floyd fan. He liked all the way from the crazy Syd Barrett stuff to the modern day Gilmour stuff (I went to see them in Yankee Stadium on the Division Bell tour with him and his mom. His mom was there, and it was the endgame of our relationship, and also the drunk grownups in front of us were annoying, but we were on the field and it was a very memorable show,) but mostly I would say he was a Roger Waters man. Then there was Jerry my freshman year of college: he was also crazy-obsessed with Pink Floyd, but he was definitely a Gilmour dude (he was also boring, I am sure you are unsurprised to learn.) Jeff always seemed most taken with the Syd Barrett years. Chris is hard to pin down as well . . . he definitely goes for the Syd Barrett stuff, but also maybe some later stuff? I'm not even sure where the stuff he listens to comes from. Maybe it's early Barrett stuff before he went crazy.

Me, I think I'm a Roger Waters man myself. Although I have to admit that a lot of Gilmour stuff is so big and breezy that I can't resist it. I thought "Learning to Fly" was the most amazing song in the universe at one point in college. I pretty much almost can't stand a lot of the Syd Barrett stuff though. It hurts my ears, and it doesn't really sound like real music to me. Some of it's okay because I've heard it so often.

Chris asked me a while back what my favorite Pink Floyd song was, and I said, well, my favorite Pink Floyd album is Animals. No dizzoubt. I played it once or twice for Chris after he had played a Les Claypool (or Claypool-related project, who knows) cover of "Dogs" (and inspired me to purchase the thing) assuming he would love it as much as I do, and he didn't! I don't get it. Although I guess I do, it's an album. It's good for having on when you're driving long distances at night. Or delivering Chinese food in high school. It's not very exciting, though, it's a . . . mood piece. Or something.

Favorite song, though, is harder. And I reserve the right to change my mind upon further reflection, but I'm going to have to go with "Nobody Home" from The Wall. The first time I heard The Wall was in a car in Martha's Vineyard, the summer after eighth grade. I was there on vacation with my best friend Nancy and her parents. Nancy was the Bad Girl -- she drank and smoked pot and slept with boys. I was the quiet, shy, nerdy sidekick who didn't kiss a boy until I was fourteen (14). We hitchhiked all over the island that week, and snuck out of the hotel at night. One of the rides we scored was with a couple of older dudes (haha, they were probably, like, seventeen (17)), who were blasting The Wall. Nancy was familiar because her older brother listened to it, and she sang along or mouthed the words or something so that they would know she knew it and that we were cool. (I remember doing that with the two songs I knew from Pretty Hate Machine in Boomer's dad's van in ninth or tenth grade. I was DYING for "Ringfinger" to come on so that I could casually illustrate how cool I was, DYING I tell you.) After that vacation we watched the movie, which Nancy owned (or stole from her brother), about a thousand times. Okay maybe not that many but at least twenty-five. I dubbed the album onto a cassette tape ("Hey You" had to go on the first side, even though it's the first song on the second disc; that's just the way it fit) and drew little wall blocks on there and listened to it a zillion times. I know it by heart.

So when Chris first asked me, I couldn't remember the name of the song. I could only remember the way it went. "I got a little black book with me poems in/Got a silver spoon on a chain. . . " yadda yadda yadda. Finally today I looked up the name of it. Nobody Home. Man that song is great, but part of its greatness is in its inclusion in the album, quiet among the loud. Quiet and plaintive and honest and hopeless.

I have the song now because friends are awesome, but this morning I didn't, and I searched for it, and ended up watching the scene from the movie on YouTube. Man I've seen that movie a lot of times. When he shaves his chest, and then splashes the water onto his chest to wash off the blood . . . I knew that scene. I knew the rhythm of it, how the splashes go. It resonated with me. I don't know a lot of movies like that anymore -- probably the ones I do are all ones I watched with Nancy, or in college -- but I like knowing a movie that way. I may not be able to recite every line, but they're in there. I know the rhythm of the movie.

And listening to this album again? Fantastic. It's not the best album in the universe, but man, I will sing the goddamn hell out of it when there's no one around to listen. UP AGAINST THE WALL! Man. It just . . . I'm in that car, and the sun is shining in through the sunroof. I'm in Nancy's room, watching it for the upteenth time, saying the name "Pink" like it's a real name. I'm in Greg's room in college, trying so hard to get him to like me. Man, music.

Um . . . this entry was less cohesive than I had hoped. But I have to get back to work. Tell me what movies YOU know the rhythm of! I could write an entry about Yellow Submarine too. But now, back to work! Who let all this riff-raff into the room??


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 21st, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
P.S. Also what I've been reminded of The Wall the album is the horrible mastering. You have to turn it WAY UP to hear the quiet songs, and then BAM BRIIIING THE BOYYYYYS BACK HOME!! Fucking ridiculous, you have to have your hand on the volume knob for two hours.
Aug. 21st, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
i...had a pink floyd tshirt? that i got for a costume.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 21st, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think I'd be able to get into the Floyd that I like if I started now. It's only because of the associated memories that I can get all excited. So I guess I'm pleasantly surprised that listening to this stuff again, I still like it. (I am a little scared to watch the movie, that I'll think it's overwrought and takes itself too seriously. Though I am eagerly anticipating the Bob Hoskins cameo.)
Aug. 21st, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
I have very mixed feeling about Floyd. Some of their stuff I absolutely love, some I can't stand, and some stuff I used to hate (specifically, "The Wall") I now am beginning to think is pretty great. But I do know this: a couple of weeks back, the AV Club was putting together a list of great instrumental rock songs, and I suggested "Interstellar Overdrive", and a couple of people argued against it, and I thought they must be fucking crazy. I MEAN SERIOUSLY, ARE YOU CRAZY? IT'S "INTERSTELLAR OVERDRIVE".

You know what I mean?
Aug. 21st, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
Interstellar Overdrive is completely ridiculous! Completely ridiculously awesome.

"Pompeii am Götterdämmerung" on The Flaming Lips' At War With the Mystics is so Pink Floyd-y (I guess on porpoise, given the title) that I thought it was actually a cover (with lyrics,) but I guess it's an homage or something.
Aug. 21st, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
For me, music has always been a thing of backgrounds and half attention. I was never really into music, not like my friends were when I was a kid, or my friends are now.

I mean, I like music, I even like certain kinds and certain artists, but it was never something that was a real passion for me. I've never, for instance, just listened to an album. Music is always an accompaniment for something else I'm doing.

Film is something that has always resonated with me a little more. Something I got, was more passionate about. Consequently, I seem to care more about the music in films, than about the music itself.

Queen, as an example, isn't a band that I would say I'm a huge fan of. I like them, they're good, but they're not, like, the most awesomest band ever. Despite that, I bought It's A Kind Of Magic, and I love it. The reason I love it so much though, is because it's so closely related to The Highlander for me, and listening to the album reflects the film for me.

Of this type of music, my favorite is the score that Basil Poledouris made for Conan the Barbarian. It's thunderous, smooth and deeply evocative of the film.
Aug. 21st, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
When I was fourteen, I had the biggest, milkshake-sharingest, hair-pullingest, teeth-lickingest, hot-tub submergeingest, long walks in the mountainsest love affair with Tales of Mystery and Imagination by the Alan Parson's Project. I thought the sounds and lyrics and ideas were the coolest things I had ever heard in my life, better than Billy Joel and Weird Al even! I think it's the only album I've ever owned on cassette, vinyl and CD.

It's songs based on Poe's short stories.

At some point in the late 80's they re-released the album with all these goofy electric guitar solos digitally inserted into seemingly random areas, and time has not been kind to the remix.

Many years later, this local goth band (who ended up becoming sort of famous) used to play at the place where I DJ'ed. They used to open their sets with the lead singer reading The Raven and Annabel Lee and stuff, and I was like, "dudes, you have to cover something from Tales of Mystery and Imagination," and the lead singer was like, "I never heard of it, but Alan Parson's Project is stupid," and I'm still pretty bothered by that, like, if you don't like it, make it like you like. So mad about that. Still. Maybe I am getting off topic.
Aug. 21st, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
I spent most of my freshman year of high school either laying on my best friend's bedroom floor staring at her ceiling fan and listening to "Momentary Lapse of Reason," or hopped up on goofballs at some boy/friend's house watching "The Wall." And in adulthood I've introduced that movie to a few people who didn't seem to be taken in by it, which I attributed to missing out on that critical high school (or at least collge, jeez!) experience.
Aug. 21st, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
Lord, Yellow Submarine. "It must be from Kentucky." My local library showed the film every year in one of their meeting rooms and my dad would always take me. I'm sure I saw the thing only a half-dozen times then but I knew it by heart by the time I finally got a VHS copy of it.

Other films I know the timing of completely: RHPS (shut up, it was a thirteen-year run), Singin' in the Rain, and Mr. Mom.
Aug. 22nd, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
Oh my god, I got obsessed with the Wall because of you! I remember your tape with the little bricks on it because I copied it and drew my own little bricks on it. Which is embarrassing a little bit now. But *I* thought *you* were so cool for knowing all about that thing.

I know the rhythm of just about every scene in Boogie Nights and I can say most of the dialogue along with it.
Aug. 22nd, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
G-d I love Pink Floyd. But I'm kind of boring and like David Gilmour? Does that make you not want to be my friend anymore? "Learning to Fly" gave me chills the first time I heard it and sometimes it still does.

I think "Wish You Were Here" is my favorite though. Predictable.

In summary: I love Pink Floyd, I love this post and I loves ya.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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