A Pink Floyd poll!

We atheists are a heartless people. Dr Rubidium is trying to raise money for GeekGirlCon science, and to trick a certain sect of the musically elect to donate, she promised to listen to a whole Pink Floyd album. The moment has come. She is committed. She has bravely walked up to the mark and is now asking us which Pink Floyd album she has to listen to…with an internet poll. Uh-oh. She is asking for it.

Here are the choices. Only vote if you are a true fan of the awesomeness of Floyd, please.

Meddle  33.33%  (2 votes)

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn  16.67%  (1 votes)

The Dark Side of the Moon  16.67%  (1 votes)

Wish You Were Here  16.67%  (1 votes)

The Final Cut  17%  (1 votes)

A Saucerful of Secrets  0%  (0 votes)

More  0%  (0 votes)

Ummagumma  0%  (0 votes)

Atom Heart Mother  0%  (0 votes)

Obscured by Clouds  0%  (0 votes)

Animals  0%  (0 votes)

The Wall  0%  (0 votes)

A Momentary Lapse of Reason  0%  (0 votes)

The Division Bell  0%  (0 votes)

The Endless River (Nov 14 release date)  0%  (0 votes)

All have their charms, of course, and I thought carefully before voting. The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here are the safe choices; The Wall and Ummagumma are double albums, and Ummagumma also has some of their longer, spacier pieces, which might be too much (but…”Careful With That Axe, Eugene”…I love that song!) I have a deep fondness for Atom Heart Mother, but it’s older Floyd…post-Syd, and still maybe a little weird for an introduction.

I settled on Meddle. Really, you can’t go wrong with that one. “One of These Days” and “Fearless” are wonderful, and “Echoes” gives a taste of long-form Floyd.

Go over there and make your own choice, Floydians!

Hmmm. She needs a second poll, to pick which drugs she should use while listening…


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is a great title, thanks Kenneth Grahame, and The Dark Side of the Moon is a fine album, but there’s no challenge here. This is easy listening. Get serious; Bitches Brew, Relayer, and Larks’ Tongues in Aspic.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is a great title, thanks Kenneth Grahame, and The Dark Side of the Moon is a fine album, but there’s no challenge here. This is easy listening. Get serious; Bitches Brew, Relayer, and Larks’ Tongues in Aspic. Make ’em work for it, dammit.

  3. sadmar says

    IMHO, Floyd are boring musically. But better ennui than the torture of Nickelback. I voted for Animals for the cool cover, and the concept:

    Loosely based on George Orwell’s political fable Animal Farm, its lyrics describe various classes in society as different kinds of animals: the combative dogs, despotic ruthless pigs, and the “mindless and unquestioning herd” of sheep. Whereas the novella focuses on Stalinism, the album is a critique of capitalism and differs again in that the sheep eventually rise up to overpower the dogs.

    For drugs, I’d go with antihistamines.

  4. says

    Any hypnotic is good with Floyd, except you tend to forget how much fun you had. Major psychedelics can be too much; for example, The Wall on ‘shrooms can be traumatic. Especially the movie. I’d recommend nitrous oxide and “The Great Gig in the Sky” personally.

  5. ragdish says

    Hmmmm…..I know it’s all in good fun but raising cash to listen to a great prog rock band she doesn’t like? For me this brings back wasted memories of punk rockers in the 70s who vowed not to puke on Yes or ELP records if we donated funds to a youth center in downtown Ottawa. This truly happened and I chipped in. But I nonetheless concealed my Fragile record from my Pistols fan friends particularly after they consumed a Fat Albert’s sub followed by cheesecake and brewskies with ensuing reverse peristalsis.

  6. Ben says

    Far away across the field
    The tolling of the iron bell
    Calls the faithful to their knees
    To hear the softly spoken magic spell…

  7. says

    Currently in rehearsals for a PF tribute show coming up in November! Whee!

    I’m a classics broad – Dark Side Of The Moon gets my vote.

  8. says

    I don’t think I’m able to vote. I’m a huge fan of Pink Floyd (David Gilmour is my second all-time favorite guitarist, after Jimmy Page). I would say you can’t go wrong with anything from Piper at the Gates of Dawn to The Wall. As long as she doesn’t listen to anything after The Wall, then it’ll be an enjoyable experience.

    Each album has its draws and drawbacks.

    Piper at the Gates of Dawn is the era of Syd Barrett. The music is deliciously experimental and wonderfully LSD-inspired. The songs are fun, catchy, and great. The problem is that the album, on any version, is missing See Emily Pay (probably the best Barrett-era Floyd song, IMO) and the US version is missing Arnold Layne, Pink Floyd’s first single. Plus, if you aren’t used to experimental, rambly noodling with little structure, this album can be jarring. I would argue that it isn’t for the uninitiated.
    Saucerful of Secrets is an amazing album. Notably, it hass the only song featuring both Syd Barrett and David Gilmour: “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”. The songs are much longer-form, and offer more structure. The problem is that this is a transition album. Barrett is being kicked out because his extreme drug use had made him completely unreliable. He would even miss gigs. David Gilmour was initially brought in to sub for Barrett when he wouldn’t show up. So the album is rather erratic because of that. Just look at Jugband Blues to see what I mean.
    More is really great. Almost a sort of follow-up to Piper, the songs are shorter, accessible, interesting, and fun. The problem is that this is a movie soundtrack. Having actually seen the film, the album is rather strange out of context.
    Ummagumma starts off with a live show that is phenomenal, although I have to say that the Live at Pompeii version of “Careful with that Axe, Eugene” is miles beyond the Ummagumma version. In fact, I consider the Live at Pompeii version to be the best version they ever performed, including both official and unofficial releases. The second disc of Ummagumma is really fascinating. Arguably more experimental than Piper, it really pushes boundaries in terms of music. My favorite track on this one is “Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict”. Incidentally, however, that track is emblematic of the problem with the album. It’s rather inaccessible if you aren’t used to this kind of random experimentation.
    Atom Heart Mother marks the beginning of what I think are Pink Floyd’s golden years. This is when they really came into their own and started working as a unit. The title track is a masterpiece, in my humble opinion. The acoustic songs are wonderful, fun to play, and exciting. And then there’s “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast”. Although I absolutely adore this track, it’s a 13-minute experiment along the lines of Ummagumma Disc 2, so it’s again potentially inaccessible to anyone not used to this kind of experimentation.
    Meddle is the first album I’d really recommend. “One of these Days” continues the creepy vibe of “Careful with that Axe, Eugene”, while the next three songs continue with the mellow acoustic beauty. Then we get Seamus, which I adore because it’s a dog “singing” the Blues (Live at Pompeii’s “Mademoiselle Knobs” is the same song, and just as adorable). And then we have side two, “Echoes”. Probably Pink Floyd’s opus. I listen to this one song almost daily. The problem? It’s not music that extends “Echoes” into a 00:23:29 track, but a melody-less soundscape. Not everyone is in to that.
    Obscured by Clouds is basically an unplugged (though not live) album. I would argue that it’s Pink Floyd’s most mellow release. All of the songs are under 6 minutes, and with all but two being under 5 minutes. This is of course because of the fact that Obscured by Clouds is based on the soundtrack for the French film “The Valley”. Which is, again, the problem. I’ve also seen that film, and the songs work better in context.
    -And then we have it. Considered by many to be Pink Floyd’s seminal album, and a turning point for the Progressive genre,
    Dark Side of the Moon is an album I listen to at least once a week. It’s an incredibly crafted work of musical artistry, and is perhaps the most accessible of all Pink Floyd’s work. The problem is… well… chances are she’s heard much of it already. The whole album could potentially qualify as Pink Floyd’s “Stairway to Heaven”.
    Wish You Were Here is the entire band’s favorite album. It’s also, however, the beginning of the tensions that would inevitably tear the band apart, as Roger Waters was beginning to wrestle creative control away from the rest of the band. It’s crafted amazingly well, and the songs are amazing. The main thing with this album, however, is that if you don’t have patience for long songs, you probably won’t have patience for “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”, no matter how good it is (and it’s exceptional).
    Animals is the first album of the era when Waters had total, almost totalitarian control of the band. Some fans insist that Wish You Were Here was Pink Floyd’s last album, with Animals, The Wall, and The Final Cut basically being Roger Waters solo albums featuring Gilmour, Mason, and Wright as his backing band. Personally, I think Animals is the last true Pink Floyd album, with The Wall and The Final Cut being Waters solo albums. But Waters does dominate this album with the writing, if not the vocals. The thing is, three of the five songs are over ten minutes long. Only the two part “Pigs on the Wing” is short, being 00:02:48 in total while being split almost in half to bookend the album.
    -Even though I think The Wall qualifies as Roger Waters’ first solo album featuring Gilmour, Mason, and Wright as his backing band, I fucking love this album. I do think “Comfortably Numb” has the greatest guitar solo ever crafted, but I should note that I’m not talking about the album version, but the <a href="http://natehevens.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/great-guitar-solos-comfortably-numb-pulse/"P*U*L*S*E* version. You should listen to it. (And yes, I linked to a blog post of mine. The video starts at the beginning of my favorite solo. If you want to listen to the whole song, simply move the video back to the beginning.) The album itself is powerful and devastating and dark and moody. It will tear your heart out and make you watch as it burns. But that’s also the problem with this album. It won’t leave you feeling happy. It will leaving feeling very sad, very dark, very cynical, and very angry.

    And that’s where I stop. The Final Cut, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, and The Division Bell just aren’t worth-it. The Wall, even while it could be a Waters solo album, is the last Pink Floyd album, for me, anyway. I must admit that I can’t wait for The Endless River (yes, a new Pink Floyd album, mostly instrumentals pulled from the 1993 sessions that resulted in The Division Bell), and that may be added if it’s good enough.

    So I don’t really know how to vote, I fear…

    As for what drugs to take… if she’s feeling adventurous, and goes with one of the early albums (anything from Piper to Ummagumma), then LSD is probably best. Otherwise, marijuana is the best bet, unless she goes for Wish You Were Here, Animals, or The Wall. For those I’d recommend staying sober… especially if she goes with The Wall…

  9. says

    Oh man I really hope it can be fixed, Tony. I know it’s a bit strange, but mistakes like that in my own posts can honestly be distressing for me. I have often bowed out of threads in sites without editing capabilities because the mistakes in my posts can be that much of an issue for me.

    It doesn’t bother me as much when it’s others’ posts, but I just can’t deal with it when it’s my own…

  10. lochaber says

    huh. I had to check my playlist (because I’m too lazy to turn on the lights, stand up, and poke through the actual physical CDs), but I currently have “Obscured By Clouds” and “Wish You Were Here”

    I doubt I’ll loose either one on my next CD purge, but at the same time, I also doubt I’ll end up purchasing copies of “Dark Side Of The Moon” or “The Wall”, although I usually enjoy hearing songs from those albums.

    I remember watching the movie that was associated with “Obscured By Clouds” and thinking it was interesting/enjoyable.

  11. says

    Had to go with Meddle. But if we could pick tracks my daughter and I both share a love of “Several Species of Small Furry Animals All Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict”. For me “Careful with that axe Eugene” comes a close second and maybe “Bike” or “Arnold Lane” third.

  12. Tom Reeves says

    It depends whether we want her to enjoy herself or suffer for the money.

    For pleasure, anything before The Wall. I’d go for Meddle too.

    For pain, any of the bloated corporate crap that came after The Wall.

    At a tangent, the chimneys on Battersea Power Station are being rebuilt. If we ignore the yuppie apartments that have sprung up in the area, it’ll look like the cover of Animals again.

  13. abelundercity says

    Dark Side of the Moon is currently leading. Dare I suggest that she watch The Wizard of Oz at the same time?

  14. sugarfrosted says

    @8 Animals is how I learned about Mary Whitehouse (Ha ha charade she is.) Not a nice lady at all, she is responsible for quite a bit of censorship in the UK and I believe she’s still impacting the UK quite a bit with their continued willingness to censor the net for example.

    Pink Floyd’s the Wall and Animals are part of why I gave up my libertarian and conservative ways (another being that I really like the Americans with Disabilities Act and I don’t see business owners following that if they weren’t required to.)

    My favorite song is A Saucerful of Secrets, which is a narrative without words.

    @9 I don’t get how a hypnotic would really do anything for you. Wouldn’t you just fall asleep?

  15. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Dark Side of the Moon is currently leading.

    Hurray!!! I must say that Dark Side is the best album of all time and must be THE ONE to listen to to get Pink Floyd. The album is a holism, not a compilation of songs, but a complete tour de force (and you gotta hear the faint speaking parts throughout and especially the last bit just as the music ends.)

    Dare I suggest that she watch The Wizard of Oz at the same time?

    That synchronicity would be too overwhelming; why I have never tried to sync the 2 myself.

    It’s nice to hear all the song recommends in this thread, but remember; the poll is for the ALBUM to require her to listen to. Dark Side is the best album, they got good songs all over but as an album; Dark Side is best.
    ….[zoning out….]

  16. says

    For those new to Floyd, Dark Side is the best place to start. Then Meddle, which, to me, is just as brilliant as Dark Side. Then maybe try Piper to see how it all began. And then the other classics: Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall. I’d ignore The Final Cut because it’s mostly a Roger Waters solo record. Floyd’s post-Waters stuff is hit or miss.

  17. says

    I remember trying that ‘Wizard of Oz sync-up’ thing many years ago with my friends. Not a great deal to spot there (of course, we may have just failed to do the sync properly – it’s not as if either the movie or the album come with instructions for it), but there were a few pleasing moments. The witch shouting at Dorothy perfectly in sync with a loud bit of vocals coming in, for instance.

    But the album is a lot shorter than the movie, and came to an end. We put on the next CD that was sitting around, which was The Party Album by the Vengaboys, a bit of cheerful if mindless Euro-pop that had been a big seller in the UK (linked because I have no idea if it was a hit anywhere else) … and lo and behold, that too had some pleasing sync-up moments with the movie.

    My conclusions are that it’s probably just another instance of our hyperactive pattern detection software being triggered, rather than a deliberate effort by Pink Floyd (or indeed, Pink Floyd and the Vengaboys) to make their albums part of a movie soundtrack.

  18. Menyambal says

    I once listened to the opening part of “Time” about two-hundred times in a row. I was in a truck with a great sound system, on snowy Idaho roads in the dark, and no drugs at all.

    If you are going to force someone to Floyd, inflict the Wall video.

    I’d be more of a fan, but I was never able to buy albums, back when people had to buy albums.

  19. says

    For me, it’s a close call when trying to actually get a non-listener/fan to like the Floyd between Dark Side of the Moon and The Final Cut. Those two are, really, the gateway albums to the harder (and more satisfying) Floyd. The Wall is just a little bit too easily dismissable as yet another rant against education by the uneducated until listened to closely; Animals is not “Orwellian” in anything other than — perhaps — initial inspiration, and the long history of English anthropomorphic fiction should have refuted that nonsense from the start; both Wish You Were Here and the psychedelia really require more context to appreciate than an uncritical, no-prior-exposure single listening session can provide; and the later material, while very good, is missing an essential component (Roger Waters).

    Plus, I’m the oddball Floyd fan who thinks of Meddle as a middling piece of work from a middling period.

    So I voted for The Final Cut just to be different… and, perhaps, topical, as Parliament has just voted to go bomb another British/formerly-British territory without much care as to the consequences for anyone.

  20. Goomba says

    Why can’t we vote to get her to watch The Wall on DVD, I would be more than willing to volunteer my blue ray.

  21. LightningRose says

    As a PF fan since 1969, I’m voting for “Atom Heart Mother” as the best introduction to PF’s spaciness.

    My second choice is the live disc from “Umma Gumma”. Except for “Grantchester Meadows”, the studio disc is a cacophony.

    Weed is definitely the drug of choice, unless you access to some Lebanese red hash, which is how I first experienced “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” well over 4 decades ago.

  22. Bernard Bumner says

    Wish You Were Here is about as perfect as any Floyd album, and Wish You Were Here is a just about perfect song by any artist. It may be a safe choice, but it is also spectacular and melancholic and brilliant.

  23. zmidponk says

    I would have to say that Dark Side is awesome, especially when listened to through decent headphones. The way they balanced that album, there are occasions, such as some of the spoken voices put in Brain Damage, where you could swear the voice on the album is actually coming from inside your own head.

  24. Marius says

    Dark Side will win, which is boring. I went for Ummagumma, specifically the live disc. Cannabis/mushrooms not essential but wouldn’t hurt.

  25. says

    PZ, what drugs do you recommend?
    Seeing The Wall was my first exposure to Pink Floyd, so that remains special to me, but I think I’d recommend Meddle or Dark Side of the Moon. I don’t know what drugs to recommend; I’ve never used anything stronger than caffeine or alcohol (never much, either).

  26. says

    I just realized I don’t think I’ve ever listened to anything by Pink Floyd

    What the fuck, Tony the Shoop? You must be living in a very cool cave. Smoke some gange, put on the headphones and kick back and listen to “Dark Side of the Moon”. You will be better for it.

    Also, “Larks Tongues in Aspic”. Gange optional for both.

  27. lorn says

    IMHO DSOTM (Dark Side of The Moon) is pretty much rock-and-Roll cannon. It is the single best selling album in many categories, many years, and still makes it to the top ranks more than forty years after it came out. It is unique and groundbreaking, but accessible. So accessible and well known that I suspect that she is likely familiar with it. In the interest of presenting something with a chance of being new to her I voted for the slightly less well known, and slightly less accessible WYWH (Wish You Were here).

    DSOTM and WYWH made up my favorite cassette tape, remember cassette tapes. I wore out the grooves on at least one copy of each album and the FeCrO off two or three 90 minute tapes with DSOTM on one side and WYWH on the other. Those two were the soundtrack to a lot of growing up. Meddle also got a lot of play, as did Atom Heart Mother. IMO Meddle holds up well to this day but the album I keep falling back to regularly is WYWH. I don’t play it much any more but it still speaks to me. “Shine on you Crazy Diamond” brings back the wild years and their losses, and the title track reminds me of friends and lovers long gone, people I wish were still here.

    Which brings up why I have always liked Pink Floyd, the music has a deep sense of sadness and inevitable loss underneath the surface.

  28. Rey Fox says

    I like Meddle a lot, but let’s not forget that that album gave us “San Tropez”. (And then the Live at Pompeii version of “Seamus” really does that concept a lot better)

  29. says

    Bernard Bumner @ 39:

    Wish You Were Here is about as perfect as any Floyd album, and Wish You Were Here is a just about perfect song by any artist. It may be a safe choice, but it is also spectacular and melancholic and brilliant.

    Agreed. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

  30. J Dubb says

    In case this isn’t clever trolling, Moribund The Burgermeister was Peter Gabriel. From the car-in-the-rain album, I think.

  31. dannicoy says

    I voted for “Atom Heart Mother” – I feel that album doesn’t get enough love.
    I actually don’t mind “The Division Bell” of all the later albums.
    If I could I would trade “The Final Cut” for “Amused to Death” as the later sounds like a Pink Floyd album but the former does not.

  32. nich says


    I actually don’t mind “The Division Bell” of all the later albums.

    That one came out in my youth either just before or just after ma and pa divorced. I recall ma and her new boyfriend putting that one on when they wanted to ummm…well, let’s just say I have a weird relationship with The Division Bell. I voted Obscured by Clouds. I wouldn’t recommend it for a new listener, but as the ones I would were all floating up near the top anyway, and Childhood’s End is one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs, I thought I’d give it some love.

  33. Dave Maier says

    Relics is missing from the list. I mention it not because I’d vote for it but because I like the studio version of “Eugene” better than the Ummagumma version. I’d have to go with Meddle for “Echoes” alone. WYWH would work too.

  34. Dave Maier says

    Oh, and re: an earlier suggestion that she branch out from Pink Floyd and “get serious”: I’ll see your Bitches Brew, Relayer, and Larks’ Tongues in Aspic [great records all, certainly!] and raise you yr, Electric Ladyland, and Another Green World.