I always have a tough time deciding what my second favourite Pink Floyd album is (after “Dark Side of the Moon”, of course) – on the one hand “The Wall” is quite sensational with its grand length and concept, yet “Wish You Were Here” has always stood out to me as a flawless album.
Every song on here is one I’d gladly listen to even outside of the album, and even though there’s only five songs it still feels like a fulfilling and worthwhile album on the whole. How would I rank all five tracks? (Such a short album won’t take long, but if anything a short list like this can give me a much needed break!)
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5 – Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Pts. 6-9
The song that I’m least likely to listen to in full, and it just so happens to be the final song on the album – and the continuation of a previous track.
Parts 6-9 always felt like the awkward little brother of the “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” duology, as it pales in comparison to the first five parts that open the album. It’s still good, but it’s the comparison that lets it down in retrospect.
4 – Welcome To The Machine
“Welcome To The Machine” does a great job propelling the momentum of the album forwards, but I think it goes on for a little too long without giving anything of true substance (ironic for a Pink Floyd song, you might say).
I always get this one confused with the next song in the ranking, as both act as the sort of bridge between the opener and the title track – but the next song is better I’d say.
3 – Have A Cigar
As with “Welcome To The Machine” there are themes of distrust and loathing between the band and the corporate music industry, but I think “Have A Cigar” handles those themes slightly better.
For starters it’s much groovier than the previous track, and that synth riff is incredibly catchy. Roger Waters also gives a great vocal performance that takes it up a level – “By the way, which one’s ‘Pink’?“
2 – Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Pts. 1-5
For an album with only five songs, it’s quite remarkable that two of those are amongst the greatest songs of all time – if anybody could pull that off, it would be Pink Floyd.
“Shine On You Crazy Diamond” isn’t afraid to take its time building up all of the melodic ideas, and they all gel together in the best way. My only complaint is that it takes slightly too long for the vocals to finally kick in, but that might just be me getting too eager to hear one of Pink Floyd’s most memorable choruses.
1 – Wish You Were Here
An ode to the band’s previous frontman Syd Barrett, “Wish You Were Here” is a gorgeous ballad that gets better with every listen.
Lyrically this is up there as one of the band’s best ever, and the guitar work is sensational. They hold off on giving the chorus for an agonising amount of time, but once that anthemic chorus finally hits at the end it sends chills throughout my entire body. Easily one of the best pieces of Western music we’ve ever seen.
Aaaand that’s my (short) list. You can check out some of my latest blog posts below:
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