In 1973 Pink Floyd released their eighth studio album Dark Side of the Moon which became a global phenomenon because of how groundbreaking and different it was for it’s time. Dark Side was the album that made Pink Floyd attain legendary status in their own field. Now imagine you’re Marty McFly from Back to the Future, set the timer and location to: Abbey Road Studios, London, 1975. Put yourself into the position of Pink Floyd and what happens? 1975 was the year that Pink Floyd began to record their sequel to Dark Side of The Moon. No one could even begin to imagine what the sheer pressure felt like on Pink Floyd because for everyone there must have been so many unanswered questions of how they were going to top their revolutionary album.
Wish You Were Here is the second concept album by Pink Floyd. A concept album is where a band present a theme that is the heart and soul of the album which unravels a story for the listener. For example in Wish You Were, Pink Floyd explore the themes of absence, the music industry and the biggest concept of all: Syd Barrett. The album starts with Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5) which is a tribute to founder and guitarist Syd Barrett. Shine On highlights Gilmour’s expressive and gentle guitar playing which sends tremors down your spine. Every note that is played always seems to have an effect on the listener to show that Floyd still hold Barrett dear to their hearts. From the very first song there is already poignancy to Wish You Were Here which makes it very emotional to listen to.
Welcome To The Machine uses examples of sampling with footsteps and the closing of doors. Welcome To The Machine is the wild jab that Floyd take out on the music industry. Once again with Floyd using techniques of sampling it shows they are still innovative and haven’t lost the craftsmanship that they showed in their predecessor. The song depicts Richard Wright as an absolute genius with his eery but perfect toned sounds on the synthesiser. Have A Cigar continues the concept of how evil the music industry is and the fat cats that work within it. The intelligent take on the lyrics such as “And by the way which one’s Pink?” “We’re so happy we can hardly count” once again shows how ahead of the game Pink Floyd were when it came to stimulating the imagination with empathy. It gets the listener to open up their eyes to see the bigger picture. Lead vocals are provided by Roy Harper which are excellent.
Wish You Were Here is a heart wrenching song which you can connect to in some way because you feel Floyd’s emotions towards their colleague and friend Syd Barrett. Wish You Were Here closes with a reprise of Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9) which highlights Wright as being the centre of Floyd, holding the sound wonderfully. Once again vocals soar with lyrics “Shine on you crazy diamond!” Parts 6-9 picks up the pace faster then Parts 1-5 which is lovely because it incorporates jazz which resembles 1971’s Echoes.
With the release of Wish You Were Here, fans should have known that the album was never going to top the magnitude of what Dark Side of the Moon achieved. Wish You Were Here is a worthy sequel where Floyd once again explore the ideas of empathy. Even if the album is made up of just five songs, the album is incredibly moving, intelligent and soulful. The album is a lovely contrast in concepts to Dark Side. It’s 45 minutes of bliss that’s just dedicated for Syd Barrett, nobody else. The emotion and poignancy behind Wish You Were Here should have any music enthusiast weak at the knees. Lastly, the person who listeners should take their hat off to should be keyboardist Richard Wright. Every bit of credit goes to him because the musical ability he puts forward in Wish You Were Here is absolutely phenomenal.