as it incredible as it seems to me now, i was once emo enough to quote those lyrics in a letter to a girl. lord have mercy on my soul.
If you want to find out what’s behind these cold eyes,
You’ll just have to claw your way through this disguise
yes, i’ve been listening to pink floyd again. this was one of those things i was so over for many, many years, because i was really angry at myself for ever being so self-pitying as to identify with that garbage.
at least i didn’t get rid of the records. i tried that once. i think i was about 21 when i had my Big Epiphany, which seemed quite unique and amazing and shocking to me at the time, but i’m sure was not much different than many other people’s Big Epiphany, to wit: everything you’ve been told is crap, every pop culture thing you like is crap, it’s all meaningless, these artists have no emotional investment in what they’re producing, they’re just interested in being famous and getting your money. my new favorite band was squeeze. thus began my long love affair with various european pop and electronic bands. i went to a used record store and got rid of nearly every vinyl lp i’d collected from my teenage years onward, which might have been 60 or so at the time. there were several that the used record store guy wouldn’t pay for, so i just gave them to him. a couple of years later, i realized that it had been a mistake. yes, it’s too bad i didn’t have somebody older and wiser to steer me away from that stuff in the first place, but it was too late by then. getting rid of the records was like trying to erase the past. over the next few years, i bought replacement copies of maybe 30 of those records i’d sold.
i had learned my lesson. when i got disgusted with the floyd records, i did not get rid of them. various bits of floyd lyrics pop into my head from time to time to this very day, so i figured it was time to have another listen.
[...] my view of what The Wall itself is about is more jaundiced today than it was then. It appears now to be a catalogue of people Roger blames for his own failings in life, a list of “you fucked me up this way, you fucked me up that way.” — David Gilmour, from a 1993 interview in Guitar Worldtruer words were never spoken. roger waters is the biggest sissy-boy in all of europe. “waaah waaah waaah everybody’s so MEEN to me, i’m going to stomp my feet and hold my breath until i turn blue.” and yes, i was like that myself for far too long. the wall was my personal anthem for several years, from its 1979 release to 1982 or so.
(in case you don’t recognize the name, david gilmour played guitar on that record. oddly enough, he was instrumental in helping kate bush get into the music biz.)
i think i’ve got enough distance from it to be more objective now. i have to admit, seventies-era pink floyd has a lot going for it. run like hell taps right into my violent lizard hind-brain, the part of me that wants to break things, in a way that very little music is able to do. (the record that’s most adept at that for me is the psychedelic furs’ best album, talk talk talk.) floyd records are not just a collection of tracks. the songs work together to create a mood, and then a world. if you are on their wavelength, you’ll get sucked right in, to your detriment. if you were already thinking that the world might not be such a great place, joining the floyd guys in their misery will leave you with no remaining doubt.
if pink floyd records were a person, i’d describe him like this. boundless, endless creativity and intelligence. occasionally capable of searing, painful insight, but not nearly so often as he thinks, because his pessimistic glass-half-empty approach to everything is clouding his vision. not really what you’d call happy, but usually able to keep it together and function in the real world, most of the time. every few months or so, something sets him off. some trigger subject, something you knew was coming, something he’s bitched about endlessly in the past, you’ve seen it all before. it sends him into a blind rage, bad enough to injure bystanders and destroy long-standing relationships. behavior very much like an alcoholic. either this “pink” person is an alcoholic himself, or he’s aping alcoholic behavior he witnessed in his childhood. the type of person who’s interesting to watch from a distance, but you wouldn’t want to get too close, unless you want him to screw up your life as badly as he’s screwed up his own.
i read an article about syd barrett awhile back, that said shine on you crazy diamond was about him. knowing syd’s story, and then listening to the lyrics — dang, it’s pretty obvious. i’m kind of embarrassed that i didn’t make the connection before.
dark side of the moon is such a gigantic thing in the pop culture landscape that it seems to have created its own gravity. it spent over 15 years on the billboard top 200 best-seller list. i remember when i was subscribing to rolling stone, which printed that best-seller list in every issue. i’d see all the contemporary records from the last few weeks on that list, and then this ancient old thing from 1973 that looked very much out of its element. has there ever been such a depressing record that got so popular? there must be a lot of people dwelling in that place.