Friday, June 8, 2012

The Dark Side of the Moon - Breakdown.

Usual evening!

Sitting idle after a heavy dinner… Opened the music folder and played in a Floyd album. So why not blog about them in such an idle evening??

The concept album is a phenomena which has been there for long and this album is one of the best concept albums ever composed by Pink Floyd. The Dark Side of the Moon released in 1973, is written and composed of a unique concept, interstellar space rock blended with urban folk lyrics.

Released in LP and cassette format dividing the 9 tracks into two sides, Side A and Side B. The masters of perfection arranged the tracks accordingly so that the Side A gives an overall description of the phenomenon of life. While in Side B they took a deeper look on the critical issues of life and wrote about them. It’s a very well thought album.

The Side A breaks in with a heartbeat and a hidden sound of all the songs compiled in the album. Well, it signifies the commence of life. A heartbeat is the best musical metaphor to express a birth. “Breathe” reads as,

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don't be afraid to care
Leave but don't leave me
Look around and choose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.

Floyd welcomes a new life to breathe, breathe in the fresh air. It can be seen here that the protagonist is a mother welcoming her baby. She asks him to leave her womb, but not her. In the next stanza she gives some instructions to her kid on life, a small lesson on life…

Run, run rabbit run
Dig that hole, forget the sun
And when at last the work is done
Don't sit down it's time to dig another one
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave.

The next track is called “On the Run” and it’s an instrumental musical piece signifying the fast and complicated life we lead in a lifetime. In the need of food, shelter, entertainment, security, emotional satisfaction and all worldly pleasures we just run and run from schooling to job, relationships to marriage & life to death. You can also listen some lecture like sounds in the background. These two tracks, ‘Breathe’ & ‘On the Run’ are like twin tracks making an introduction to the album and describing the experience of life at the same time.

Up next comes the famous Time. Often we live with the guilt that if some work was done on time than life would have had a better face now. We often want to relive some moments we enjoyed in the childhood. We often want to remove some incidents from our history and timeline. This is beautifully scripted by Floyd in the song ‘Time’

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

You waste the time first to make the dull day interesting… The Schooling and college phase.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

You realize it once you fail an exam or make a big mistake in life or lose some big opportunity. You are still young but the most important time has gone by… no time to rewind and get back what you lost.

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in the relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Days are going fast, the sun never stops its journey from the horizon to the horizon. With every birthday you are one year close to death.

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
He time is gone the song is over thought I'd something more to say.

You wish to do so much in life but there is not enough time to work on it. That’s life a race against time. 
The Song ends with a revisit to ‘Breathe’ and this one is really different from the one you inhaled at your birth. This breathe is shorter, heavier and full of regret, guilt and fear. The last breathes of life. You return to your home again after a hard Life.

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home coldened and tired
It's good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells.

The Side A ends with ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’, a musically perfect non-lyrical song describing afterlife, i.e. the great concert at God’s place. We certainly do not know what language is spoken there; neither do we know how things work there, all we know is they speak. That’s why the protagonist sings the song, but we do not get a lyrical explanation of what she is singing. This track is a space rock classic which is metaphor to the life and death concept.

The Side B explores the various life lessons we get in our long journey called Life. Each track has a deep life lesson which starts with the epic ‘Money’. It describes the fun and level of excitement when you have a bank balance full of cash.

Money, get away
Get a good job with more pay and you're O.K.
Money, it's a gas
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I'll buy me a football team.

The more money you earn, the more you desire; the more you desire, the more you become greedy. You enjoy the lavish lifestyle but inside you live with the guilt, pain and anxiety of all your wealth and the future of them.

Money, get back
I'm alright, Jack, keep your hands off of my stack
Money, it's a hit
Don't give me that do goody good bullshit
I'm in the hi-fidelity first class travelling set
And I think I need a Lear jet.

Money is a social curse sometimes. It divides the society on financial terms. Everyone advises to share, but no one cares to share their funds. Result… crime, corruption!

Money, it's a crime
Share it fairly but don't take a slice of my pie
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today
But if you ask for a rise it's no surprise that
They're giving none away, away, away.

 Up next on Side B is another Floyd classic called ‘Us and them’. A sarcastic take on the social stereotypes of success. If you have to live a life, you cannot be an ordinary man. You have to perform and excel in whatever you do. Only the best has the chance to perform. And all this is really designed in a military training format. Teachers, bosses, parents, everyone seem like a ring master of a circus at times. You are already programmed after your birth, they just compel you to go ahead in the ranks.

Us and them
And after all we're only ordinary men
Me and you
God only knows it's not what we would choose to do
"Forward" he cried from the rear and the front rank died
And the General sat, and the lines on the map
Moved from side to side.

Take the education system for an example, you know you are good in mathematics but that does not really mean you have to study engineering only. You know ‘which is which and who is who’.

Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who
Up and Down
And in the end it's only round and round and round
Haven't you heard it's a battle of words the poster bearer cried
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There's room for you inside.

Down and Out’ after a long struggle not all succeed. Some fallout of the bunch but there is no system or remedy for those who could not excel in their respective business. At last the unsuccessful old man dies just ‘for wat of the price of tea and a slice (of bread).

The next one is called ‘Brain Damage’. It takes a look on old age, lunacy and addiction to drugs. After a hard life, in the old age this protagonist starts hallucinating.

The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path.

The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more.

The old man/marijuana addict describes his experiences… The Dark Side of the Moon is symbolic of Death, afterlife, and the dark forces of nature (satanic culture).

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forbodings too
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon.

They advocate the use of marijuana in the next lines, Floyd says ‘You raise the blade, You make a change’ a metaphor of a revolution in clear sense. They describe the revolutionary experiences felt by the dope users at large, but still they have been suppressed in the society for long.

The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me 'till I'm sane.

You lock the door
And throw away the key
There's someone in my head but it's not me

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon.

Finally, the last song of the Side B as well as the album is the ‘Eclipse’. It is a clear, straight forward outro/concluding song to the classic album. This song is all about a short flashback of the entire human social life.
All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy beg, borrow or steal
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say
All that you eat
Everyone you meet
All that you slight
Everyone you fight

The Moon has been used throughout the album as a metaphor for death. The moon receives no light but consumes a large amount of energy in the form of sunlight to illuminate itself. That’s why it is used to refer to death, which has the immense power of consuming all energy on earth. But still, on the concluding lines they clearly hint a possibility of afterlife. The Sun has been used to symbolize the supreme power which rules the universe, say God. He (this power) is out of the cycle of time.

All that is now
All that is gone
All that's to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.


They say that even that supreme power cannot control the eclipse. The Sun is also eclipsed by the Moon. The outro breaks in with the same heartbeat, but this time deeper and heavier. It symbolizes DEATH.