: Pink Floyd's "Animals", What an album!!

10-10-06, 10:56 PM
I've always been a casual fan of Pink Floyd, atleast for the last 5-6 years. I knew and liked their most known stuff, like "Comfortably Numb", "Wish You Were Here" and "Time", "Money".

But earlier this week, I bought their '77 album "Animals", and I love every bit of it. The album is about key members of society and how they ruin society. It's a very unusually made album, with a very cynical viewpoint. Three of the five songs are over ten minutes, and the last two songs (the first song and the final song) are both 1:25, which means that this album was never really played on the radio, because of the odd lengths, which is why it's "forgotten" when compared to "Dark Side of The Moon" and "Wish You Were Here", both of which have songs that are more AOR in style, and thereby more radio friendly.

This album is not a cheery one, it's full of hatred and some violence. The picture on the album cover really is the perfect picture for the album. It's either an electrical station or factory on the outskirts of London (I actually saw this building from the train going into London, when I was there in '03). The building on the cover is dark, unloving and cold, so is this album.

The first and last songs are entitled "Pigs on a Wing Part 1 (and 2)". They both have something to do with romance, but it's hard to ascertain exactly what the song is about due to the abstract, vague lyrics.

The 2nd song is entitled "Dogs". Dogs are the ruthless businessmen who use their powers to get wealther and more powerful, at the expense of others lives, and in the end, they ruin their own lives. Dogs runs 17:25 long, and it's worth every second. Lyrics only occupy about 1/3 of the song, the rest is supreme guitar playing, with great some great synth to back it up. It's a sonic masterpiece!

The 3rd song is entitled "Pigs (Three Different Ones)". This is my favorite song on the album, which is really saying something because the entire album is such a magnificent album. As i see it, this song is about politicians who want to change the minds of the masses, who feel they are the moral authorities of the population, mainly a woman by the name of Mary Whitehouse, a british woman who led a movement to keep smut off of TV. Whitehouse gets slammed pretty good in this song, in the typical snide, cynical Pink Floyd way. You have to think about it before it really comes to you, it's not obvious. Anyways, the song has some downright awesome baselines, some of the best I've ever heard, certainly the best in my 500+ song library. Very, very smart, cynical lyrics too, all done in the typical Floyd style. I love the "Ha ha charade you are" line that's repeated thru the song, brilliant!

The 4th song is "Sheep". Sheep is about the mindless people in life that follow the herd. This song has great crecendoing (sp?) guitars in the last 3 minutes of the song that you will have stuck in your head for days. It's about the hardest rockin' PF ever does, and what a solo! The song also sneaks in a remade version of the 23rd Psalm in the middle of the song, but it's been rewritten slightly, and it's very very subtle, I missed it the first few times I heard it...listen carefully around the six minute mark and you'll hear it...very clever!

The last song is the 2nd part of "Pigs on the Wing", same as the first, slow, acoustic, and cynicially romantic.

10-10-06, 11:02 PM
what, no props? How bout a little love for those in the know.. BTW, that Battersea Power Station on the cover.


10-10-06, 11:07 PM
Oh shit I forgot, I basically bought this album because of what I read in the prior "Pink Floyd---The Division Bell" thread that 90Brougham350 made. Florian, I owe all of my love of the prog rock movement to you!

10-10-06, 11:07 PM
A blurb on "Animals": (not my doing)

Pink Floyd is one of the most recognized bands in the world, whether you love them or hate them the name is instantly recognizable. Only bands such as The Beatles have a larger following. Some people don’t get into Pink Floyd the first time they hear them; they find their music weirder than anything they’re used to. Sadly enough these tend to be the same people who think you need to be on drugs to enjoy their music; which is a total lie. So if this is your first time listening to Pink Floyd sorry, this isn’t a good introductory album. The whole band even admits that it isn’t exactly their favorite album. But what it does have is a lot to do with government and politics. Floyd’s 1983 album "The Final Cut" is even more politic-oriented but since I don’t have that album I can’t write about it now can I?

Pink Floyd is most recognized for their biggest commercial successes, 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon and 1979’s The Wall. Though between these, two other albums were released. The first was 1975’s Wish You Were Here, a laid back album dedicated to former bandleader Syd Barrett (who's mental deterioration from by excessive LSD use in the 60’s was responsible for his inability to perform). But lost somewhere in their long list of landmark albums is 1977’s "Animals" which has been called "the forgotten album". Like many Floyd albums, Animals contains a theme that’s clear in concept and vast in execution. It was their response to England’s huge anti-progressive rock punk phenomenon lead by Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols. This was the first album where the power started shifted toward bassist and lyricist Roger Waters which would ultimately lead to Water’s departure in 1983. While making the album Waters even said, "the idea of power I find rather appealing in a strange way."

Waters was partly inspired by George Orwell’s political fable Animal Farm in which people are divided up into groups represented by animals. While Orwell was focusing on Communism, Roger was criticizing his own Capitalist government. In Floyd’s version the people are either Dogs, Pigs, or Sheep. The pigs are tyrannical, self-righteous hypocrites forcing their beliefs on the dogs and sheep; the dogs are greedy money-grubbing cutthroats; and the sheep are the mindless followers who are used and abused by the others. The album’s cover-art depicts a large pig floating over the popular London historical landmark the Battersea Power Station. The station, which is considered a decaying symbol of modern age, was on it’s 50th anniversary when the album was released. Instead of saving money by using trick photography they constructed a giant 40-foot inflatable pig and floated it over the huge power plant.

The album starts and finishes with Pigs on the Wing. Originally played as a 3-½ minute acoustic bit; it was later divided into two parts and placed at the beginning and end which seems to give the album a sense of balance. My interpretation of this song is this is the sheep explaining how they feel about the dogs and pigs and how they think they feel about them. The sheep naively believe that the Dogs and Pigs ready do care about them. "You know that I care what happens to you / And I know that you care for me too." The song Dogs is a seventeen minute fast-to-slow-to-fast-again ballad. It depicts the dogs as ruthless materialistic superachievers trying to climb to the top and who are willing to do anything to get there. Since in the capitalistic government the state has no control over buying and trading, businessmen are willing to get very low down and dirty to destroy the competition. The lyrics, "You gotta be trusted by the people that you lie to / So that when they turn their backs on you / You get the chance to put the knife in" shows just how far they are willing to go. And that they can "work on points for style" by having a "firm handshake / A certain look in the eye / an easy smile." Only later in life they will become pitiful has-beens that find themselves alone and near death. Gilmour wishes them a "good drown as [they] go down alone" being dragged down by "the stone" which is a reoccurring metaphor throughout "Animals" as well as other Floyd albums.

The song Pigs (Three Different Ones) is meant toward certain politicians whom Roger considers political hypocrites. The song deffinately didn’t win any endearment from the British conservatives either; it even contains a verse that’s directed as a parody toward the British Moral Majority-like figure Mary Whitehouse. Mrs. Whitehouse was the self-appointed head of the National Viewers and Listeners Association, which "campaigns for broad national moral standards in radio and TV." She’s been known for openly denouncing the Floyd and promoting censorship since Floyd’s beginning in ’67. Roger adds a panting sound that basically supposed to imply of her own interest in the very filth she rebukes. The words, "ha, ha charade you are" is Roger laughing, "we can see right through you." The lyrics for the verse go as follows:

Hey you, Whitehouse,
Ha ha charade you are.
You house proud town mouse,
Ha ha charade you are.
You’re trying to keep feelings off the street.
You’re nearly a real treat,
All tight lips and cold feet,
And do you feel abused?
(Panting sound)
You gotta stem the evil tide,
And keep it all on the inside.
Mary you’re nearly a treat,
Mary you’re nearly a treat,
But you’re really a cry.

Mrs. Whitehouse and the Conservatives were not amused either by Roger’s parody of the Twenty-third Psalm in "Sheep." It was placed during the bridge via a Vocoder (voice distortion device). Floyd’s version is:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me down to lie
Through pastures green he leadeth me the silent waters by
With bright knives he releaseth my soul
He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places
He converteth me to lamb cutlets
For lo,m he hath great power and great hunger
When cometh the day we lowly ones
Through quiet reflection and great dedication
Master the art of karate
Lo, we shall rise up
And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water.

The climax of the album is when the sheep, as if waken from an eternal sleep, realize that the others have been deceiving them and in a massive revolt of rage they kill the others.

Ironically enough, the concept of the album was about the struggle for power in the government and at the same time Pink Floyd was having a struggle for power too. This was the first album that switched from slow psychedelic melodies and spaced-out jams to basically Roger endlessly complaining about the government and how everyone treats each other bad. He used his growing power in Pink Floyd to switch them from a matured psychedelic band to a group expressing it's pessimistic views of the capitalist government, which has nothing to do with "space rock". Many fans that didn't pay close attention to the point Pink Floyd was trying to make felt lost and didn't know what to do with Animals. So it was forgotten. Today Animals is still a popular album among fanatics and I know a few people who consider it the best work they ever done.

An interesting side note: While in Montreal on the Animals tour, a fan kept screaming and letting off fireworks during the acoustic "Pigs On The Wing Part II." The fan, obviously distracting the band, was making Roger increasingly irritable. When the fan started climbing up the fishnet that separates the band from the crowd Roger spat in his face. Later that night at the hotel he felt bad for what he done. He realized in order to perform he had to isolate himself from the crowd. What he envisioned himself behind was a wall. The rest is history.

10-10-06, 11:09 PM
Well that beats my article.

10-10-06, 11:13 PM
Oh shit I forgot, I basically bought this album because of what I read in the prior "Pink Floyd---The Division Bell" thread that 90Brougham350 made. Florian, I owe all of my love of the prog rock movement to you!

Now young grasshopper, you need to go buy some King Crimson (preferrably In The Court of the Crimson King, Red and finally: Starless and Bible Black. Three wonderful ear-gasms waiting to happen.

after these I will lead you farther into Classic prog-rock!



10-10-06, 11:16 PM
After I buy "Wish You Were Here" "The Wall" and "Dark Side Of the Moon" (In that order)

B Hoth
10-10-06, 11:18 PM
Too bad you never saw them in concert. They did a show at our Citrus Bowl (football stadium) and actually had a pig the size of a small plane fly from one end of the stadium to the other. They lazers are state of the art. They also flew a huge bed all around the stadium. There was also more stoned female a$$ then I have seen at most other venues. Ahhh memories!!

10-10-06, 11:31 PM
I'm listening to it right now.

10-12-06, 07:32 PM
I bought "Wish You Were Here" tonight, so far I like it, just not as much as "Animals".

10-12-06, 08:06 PM
WYWH is an ode to PF's early days. Shine for Sid, Have a Cigar for new found fame, Welcome to the Machine for becoming part of the corporate entity....its a sad tale of loss of control.


10-12-06, 08:28 PM
Yeah, I knew that "Shine On" and "Wish You Were Here" are tributes to Barrett, Have A Cigar, god that's a cool baseline in the intro! I've loved that song since I was about 15, but I never could figure out that line "By the way, which one is pink?". My first thought was pu$$y, but I'm not sure. Maybe they're referring to themselves perhaps, like a record exec asking which band is Pink Floyd..

I loove that line "We Call It Riding The Gravy Train" and how Waters holds onto it for so long! Awesome song!

Wish You Were Here, for me, dates back to the 9th grade. I'd just gotten their newly released "Echoes" best of album for christmas, and I used to walk to and from school, and I'd always listen to that song as I'd walk. Beautifuil song too, but not as good as "Cigar".

"Welcome to The Machine" is like '70s techno/rock. Soo much synthesizer, and it sounds like they use a talk box for parts of the lyrics. It is about joining the corporate machine that just cranks out pop music, like Journey, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner and other bands of this era. Nothing against fans of those bands, but they're pretty much the opposite of '70s era PF.

"Shine On You Crazy Diamond"....god that's a long song, about 25 minutes divided up into two parts. Good song though, great instrumentals..

EDIT: Waters didn't sing on "Have A Cigar", british folk singer Roy Harper did.

10-13-06, 09:14 AM
A blurb about WYWH (not mine):

Wish You Were Here represents a high point in Pink Floyd's post-psychedelia period. Although Dark Side Of The Moon is an excellent album as well, Wish You Were Here is the album which most exemplifies what PF capable of creating with a more purely "progressive" sphere.

Regarding the history of Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here may very well represent the last time that Gilmour and Waters actually seemed to be collaborators on music in question, not to mention the last time that Wright had a truly substantial role to fill (Mason, not surprisingly, is generally irrelevant). With Animals, Waters and Gilmour began carving out more distinct territories for themselves; with The Wall and especially The Final Cut, Waters had completely taken over the direction of the band. Wish You Were Here, however, actually shows a band working with some sense of solidarity, and benefits as such.

The first appearance of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" is divided into five parts: (i) a late-psychedelic keyboard line (with what appear to be sine waves of some sort in the background) with minor accompaniment from the other instruments, (ii) Gilmour's famous guitar solo, (iii) a more restrained section, featuring a curious bluesy passage by Gilmour, (iv) the lyric-dominated section, (v) the saxophone solo which leads to the next track. All of these sections are excellent. As regards the lyrics, it has become perhaps to convenient by this time to simply fall back on the "they're about Syd Barrett" line -- although Barrett's mental regression was certainly one aspect of Waters's lyric, there may have been other aspects as well. For my own part, I would wish to present the hypothesis that the original lyrics for "Echoes" (which were about a space journey, rather than the undersea journey that the final product depicted) may possibly have made a reappearance here -- certainly, the juxtaposition of Barrett and a distant space entity is not too much of a stretch. One way or the other, though, the lyrics make their point extremely well.

"Welcome To The Machine" begins with a alarm buzzer and industrial sound effects; the intent probably isn't difficult to fathom. The "machine" sounds don't hold up terribly well by today's standards, but that isn't really the point -- and, anyway, the ascending synth riff (and the synth solo towards the end) are the primary strengths of the song. If the protagonist's desires often seem rather prosaic, that was probably the point in Roger Waters's regretful essay on his own developing solipsism.

"Have A Cigar", with vocals by Roy Harper, is the most conventional track on the album, and the weakest (although still good). The lyrics are manifestly about the co-opting of Pink Floyd by faceless record executives, and require no further explanation; one manner which does deserve some attention, given later Pink Floyd developments, is the fact that Gilmour, Wright & Waters all take mini-solos of about the same length towards the end of the piece.

"Wish You Were Here" is among the greatest prog ballads ever written, with a haunting guitar line and lyrics suggesting a dangerous mystery (unquestionably referring to Barrett, in this case) which still have the slightly elusive quality which they possessed on the initial release of the song. A triumph.

The return of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" contains (vi) an overtly progressive instrumental section, (vii) a sudden return to the main lyrical setting of the piece, (viii) an interesting prog-jazz diversion, and (ix) a dark, foreboding keyboard line, with the sine-waves returning (at greater intervals apart, suggesting structural breakdown). It puts the entire album in a proper perspective, and brings an end to a mystery that still hasn't quite been solved.

This is one of the more important progressive albums of the 1970s, and any prog fan who has somehow managed to go this far without purchasing the album is recommended to redeem their situation quickly.

10-13-06, 07:10 PM
It's good, but I still like Animals more.

10-13-06, 08:35 PM
You gotta try some of Rogers solo stuff....good stuff!


10-17-06, 11:57 PM
I bought "The Wall" tonight. Good album, but not as good IMO as Animals. It's a different sort of album though. Animals has a unified theme, but "The Wall" tells the story of a musician named "Pink"...it's the same idea behind Genesis's "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" where an entire album is devoted to one thing. In LLDOB it's Rael's journey thru NYC, and in The Wall, it's about "Pink".