Wish You Were Here
Joined: Jul 2005
RE: The Division Bell? Why not liked?
Waldo Jeffers Wrote:I hate to be the downer, but I absolutely hate this record. Not just because Roger isn't there. I try not to let that influence my opinion too much, but when you go back and listen to the record, it really shows.
One of my biggest problem with the album is its length, at about an hour and 5 minutes, they seemed to have used all the ideas up about halfway through, and just recycle them throughout the album. The songs, in my opinion are much too long for what they are, and they could have (again in my opinion) gotten the message across in at least half the time they did. The exception to this, I think is "High Hopes" which is somewhat decent.
The lyrics on the album are awful. Some of it comes off as whiny ("Poles Apart" - the 'golden boy' stuff, "Lost for Words", "Keep Talking", "What Do You Want From Me." They just come off as half-ass jabs at Roger. And other spots in songs just come off as forced. It seems like, in a lot of spots, from what I remember, that David is just pulling phrases out of his ass just to make a rhyme. The one example that I always cite, that makes me cringe is "Promises lit up the night like paper doves in flight." I know David has never been a great lyricist, it's not trying to insult Dave, but it's never been his strong point, and I don't think the fact that he brought Polly in to help did much good. I'm not exactly sure how much is hers and how much is his, but from the overall product, I don't think it was a good thing.
The instrumentals are somewhat decent, I suppose, but I think Cluster One takes WAY too long to just get to the damn point. Marooned is bearable, I suppose.
Another problem I have is the backing singers, which make me want to strangle them. They're distracting when you're actually trying to listen to the music, because they're so obnoxiously annoying that they overpower everything else that's going on..and when the lyrics they're singing are a bunch of whiny drivel, it doesn't exactly help.
Musically, some of the melodies are nice, but again, they stretch songs out for much longer than is needed. Too much of a good thing can end up being bad. "Coming Back to Life" and "High Hopes" are probably two of the "best" things to come off this record, at least from David. The best non-instrumental tune, is probably Rick's first writing credit since "The Great Gig in the Sky" back in '73's The Dark Side of the Moon. I'm of course talking about "Wearing the Inside Out." Decent tune..It's nice to hear Rick singing, a pleasant change halfway through the album. They should have utilised Rick more, I think. I do hear/see that it's much more of a group effort than its predecessor, and that's cool, but I still think this album is a bit uneven, balanced one way.
I think vocal wise, hearing the same guy singing for nearly an hour got a bit tiring, aswell. I really think Rick is something they should have utilised more: songwriting and singing wise; if they had, it might have saved this record from being such a dire whine-fest. But as is, the record is just extremely tiring, and is close to, if not the worst thing Floyd has put out (In my opinion)
I tried to make this review sound as..well..professional in the way that I tried not to just blatantly attack the album, but pinpoint its weaknesses in my estimation, and why they drag the album down. I hope I was thorough, and I'd be willing to answer any questions/comments
A couple of points: actually, Rick has songwriting credits on 5 of the songs--not only one song as you imply. I agree that they could have used his material even more (indeed, when they were compiling the tracks to be put on the album, Rick apparently voted for only stuff that he had writing credits on, so they had to change the voting system to keep him from dominating too much!).
I do think that Rick's lead vocal on Wearing the Inside Out adds a lot, and it would have been better with another lead vocal or two from him. Part of my problem with late-period PF is that I don't think that any of the PF members really has the voice to carry an entire album--I liked it when Dave, Rick and Roger were all singing. I mean, Dave has the best voice in the band, but even he can drag a bit after a while.
You're pretty negative about the backup vocalists, and I admit that there are several Floyd records where they annoy me--they definitely annoy me on "Keep Talking," for example.
However, I'm a bit curious: on DB, they only appear on 4 out of the 11 tracks, whereas on Amused to Death, for example, they appear on more than half the tracks. And you know how Roger likes 'em: cranked up, shrill, even taking the lead vox in places. Do they bug you on Roger's records too?
One thing that I agree with you about: it is MUCH more of a group record than AMLOR. Not just because Rick co-wrote nearly half of it, but also because Rick plays all of the main keyboard parts, and Nick plays all of the drums. It was rehearsed and recorded as a group album with Guy Pratt on bass (the live backing guys overdubbed some other parts here and there later, but they are definitely in the background on most tracks). This is a huge change not only from AMLOR, but also from TFC and The Wall--TDB is really more of a group album than any PF record since Animals, except of course Roger isn't on it.
Anyway, I personally quite like TDB--not one of their best records, but far from their worst, either.