Thursday, January 19, 2023

Review: 'Pink Floyd and The Dark Side of the Moon: 50 Years'

If one album is deserving of an entire book honoring its fiftieth anniversary, that album might as well be The Dark Side of the Moon. With it, Pink Floyd redefined the LP as something that could be cinematic yet personal, flaunted the state of recording art, and shifted more units than those guys who wrote the Bible. Unlike much of Floyd's post-Syd Barrett work, The Dark Side of the Moon also manages to be arty without being insufferably boring, so why not celebrate the damn thing by giving it a spin while reading Martin Popoff's Pink Floyd and The Dark Side of the Moon: 50 Years?

This is one of those fancy, full-color hardcovers, complete with die-cut slip case, just perfect for displaying proudly alongside your coffee mug. The book is hardly a tome--I read the whole thing in the time it took me to listen to Dark Side, Blossom Toes' We Are Ever So Clean, and Side A of Guided by Voices' King Shit and the Golden Boys, during which I also took an unusually brief phone call from my mom and rotated the cushions on my love seat--but it manages to paint a pretty satisfying portrait of the record your perpetually stoned uncle most likes to play while snoozing in his bean bag chair. Popoff gives a brief history of Floyd in their years leading up to 1973, provides quite a bit of info on the tech and equipment used to make the album, examines it track by track, details the making of its cover, and supplies bios of the four guys who created it... and, for those of us who prefer frolicking with gnomes to brooding about money and time, a bonus bio of Barrett! There's even a section on the whole Wizard of Oz thing.

Despite the emphasis on style, which this lovely book has in spades, I still learned quite a bit from Popoff's book. You probably already knew that the tick-tocking on "Time" was muted bass and not bongos, but I didn't. You may have known that a pic of the Silver Surfer was in the running for the front cover, but that was news to me. Perhaps I'm just the right Floyd fan to enjoy Pink Floyd and The Dark Side of the Moon: 50 Years: one who loves a chunk of their work (hiya, Syd!), likes some of the other records, and hasn't read too much about them. Die-hards will probably know most of this stuff but still enjoy the pictures and rolling joints on the slip case.

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