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Pink Floyd - The Division Bell CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.74 | 2196 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars The Division Bell was released in 1994 and is unquestionably the strongest of Floyd's three post-Waters albums. Rick Wright rejoined the band as a full member, and his contributions are both noticeable and appreciated.

The Division Bell, though, like many albums from the 1990s, is way, way too long. No longer constrained by the roughly 45 minutes you could comfortably fit on an LP, many bands of that era seemed to have been compelled to pump out hour-plus releases simply because they could. Just because a CD can hold 80 minutes, that doesn't mean you need to put 80 minutes of music on a CD.

This is immediately evident with the opener, "Cluster One". I get what they were going for, but this five-minute piece could have easily been shortened to one minute.

"What Do You Want from Me" is passable, kinda funkyish, and sorta-prog. (Look, prog was not in good shape in 1994.) The soulful background singers and over-the-top guitar flourishes sound a bit silly now, but in context, it's not bad.

"Poles Apart" is delightfully varied. The folkiness of the guitar is a nice change of pace, and the lyrics are some of Gilmour's better work. Bits could be seen as addressing either Roger Waters or Syd Barrett.

"Marooned" won Pink Floyd a Grammy for the first (and only) time, but Rush really should have won that year. The Simpsons was correct in its Grammy commentary. It's a strong, melodic instrumental, but it suffers from being culturally overhyped. Gilmour's guitarwork is overdone, and Mason's drumming is too restrained. The keyboard playing feels just (w)right, though.

Let's skip "A Great Day for Freedom". That song sucks. "Wearing the Inside Out" isn't amazing. It's a bit slow, and the saxophone is a bit much. However, it's Rick Wright's last lead vocal performance, and his first since "Stay" on Obscured by Clouds. (He shared vocal duties on "Time" and provided backing vocals on multiple songs on Wish You Were Here.) All things considered, this bit of melodrama is one of the better cuts on this record.

"Take It Back" should have been taken back, and "Coming Back to Life" should never have been given life in the first place. Both suffer from many late-'80s/early-'90s pop-rock ills and offer nothing new or interesting.

"Keep Talking" is pretty cool, and it features a fitting guest bit from Stephen Hawking's vocal synthesizer. It's jazzy yet spacy, but the soulful backup singers come off as something of a gimmick. "Lost for Words" isn't very strong, so let's skip that as well.

The Division Bell closes on "High Hopes", which was recorded after the rest of the album was completed. It's an overwrought but enjoyable cut. It makes multiple, conscious allusions to past Pink Floyd songs and albums. I can't denounce this song, but I can't fully endorse it either. I like this song, but it feels like it's trying too hard, it's too clever for its own good, and it's too self-aware.

Review originally posted here:

TheEliteExtremophile | 3/5 |


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