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Pink Floyd - Animals CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.53 | 3987 ratings

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5 stars Animals, Pink Floyd's 1977 release, saw Roger Waters dominate the songwriting even more than on the previous releases. David Gilmour only co-wrote one of the three big suites, and neither Mason nor Wright received any songwriting credits.

Loosely based on George Orwell's Animal Farm, Animals is a concept album about the socio-political state of Britain in the mid-1970s. Waters's lyrics became increasingly on-the-nose here, but it wasn't yet distracting. If anything, they work quite well in this instance, and the songs on Animals are some of the band's best.

Animals is bookended by a pair of brief acoustic pieces titled "Pigs on the Wing". On the 8-track release of this album, these two cuts were stitched into one piece, with a guitar solo by session musician Snowy White acting as a bridge between the halves.

"Dogs" was cowritten by David Gilmour, the only non-Waters songwriting credit on the album. This song starts off with a dark folk backbone, rolling along steadily. Rapid, acoustic strumming and quiet organ and synth provide a subtle backdrop for Gilmour's strong vocal performance. After a brief, mildly bluesy instrumental interlude, "Dogs" enters its extended, down-tempo midsection. There's a signature plaintive Gilmourian guitar solo, and Nick Mason's drumming is restrained but artful.

It's around the 8-minute mark of "Dogs" that Animals hits its one big snag. The drawn-out section of synth drone and dog sound effects overstays its welcome by a significant margin, and it could have been significantly shortened. In the final minutes, though, the opening theme is revisited with Waters on vocals and a wonderful twist on the lyrics.

"Pigs (Three Different Ones)" is the song with lyrics that have aged the worst. They're unsubtly about mid-'70s British politics. The general sentiment is discernible, but many of the specific details will be lost on listeners who don't do their reading. It's also my least favorite of the three opuses on Animals, but being the weakest song on Animals is like being the worst type of non-pineapple pizza. It's still pretty good.

There's a laid-back, funky grooviness to much of the song. This is what "Have a Cigar" strove for but failed to deliver on. "Pigs" carries an air of self-satisfied smugness which suits the subject matter so well. Gilmour's use of a talkbox is handled quite well. That's a tool which is often mis- and over-used, but it's deployed tactfully here.

Animals closes on my favorite of the three main tracks. "Sheep" is a snarling, biting cut that was (sadly) Rick Wright's last huzzah as a soloist. The languid, jazzy opening piano solo is the perfect lead-in to the charging verses. The guitar (played by Waters) slashes aggressively, Wright's organ swirls like a hurricane, and the bass (played by Gilmour) thumps and pounds.

The midsection of "Sheep" features big, bright synthesizers that complement the other instruments to build an anxious atmosphere. The vocoded pastiche of Psalm 23 is a little silly for my taste and presaged some of Waters's most brutally unsubtle songwriting tactics which would crest on Pink Floyd's next two albums. Still, it's a forgivable sin in this context.

Review originally posted here:

TheEliteExtremophile | 5/5 |


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