Pink Floyd - Animals

Album cover

  1. Pigs On The Wing (Part One) (1:25)
  2. Dogs (17:04)
  3. Pigs (Three Different Ones) (11:21)
  4. Sheep (10:23)
  5. Pigs On The Wing (Part Two) (1:24)

EMI, 1977

"Animals" was a transitional album for Pink Floyd. It was always going to be a difficult task following up not one, but two of the greatest of all symphonic rock works, as the punk era was at is height. Appropriately enough for the era, Roger Waters came up with a set of bitterly cynical and misanthropic lyrics, as he gradually came to dominate the band. The result was a trilogy of pieces based on heavy-handed Orwell-derived animal personifications. They take very few risks with the music, letting Roger's verbose lyrics dictate the pace. The main pieces are bookended by the acoustic tune "Pigs on the Wing", in which Roger briefly reflects on the surrounding chaos.

The seventeen-minute "Dogs" proceeds ploddingly with few peaks or flashes of inspiration, just as the song's character attempts to trudge and claw his way to the front of the pack. "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" is based on that distinctively Floyd-like choppy organ rhythm, familiar from "Have a Cigar". It has some nifty blues licks, but it goes on a bit too long with not enough variation, as Roger spits out his bile against a fat-cat executive, some random street nutter and the notorious clean-up-TV campaigner Mary Whitehouse.

The most successful of the portraits is "Sheep". Rick Wright's spaciously echoing Rhodes keyboard sets the scene for a savage parable of the proles rising up to destroy their masters. The song's insistent bass-heavy buildup and triumphant final guitar chorus are the only places on the album where they come close to living up to the heights they attained on "Shine On You Crazy Diamond".

June 25, 2004

7 out of 10

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