Perhaps more than any other band of its caliber and era, Pink Floyd has become synonymous with being a teenager. With 22-minute psychedelic symphonies, anti-authoritarian lyrics, and a legacy of album covers turned into black-light posters, there’s something about Pink Floyd that has appealed to the growing minds of adolescents in every decade since the band’s inception. This is why attempting to evaluate and rank every single one of its songs is such a precarious task. The things we enjoy while we’re transitioning into adulthood become some of the most important cultural touchstones in our lives, and to have someone tell you that what you like is objectively bad is guaranteed to raise your hackles.
With that in mind, let’s all fight about how one man, rock critic Bill Wyman (no, not that Bill Wyman), has ranked the entire Pink Floyd catalogue in his newest feature for Vulture.
No one would argue that Floyd has had some misfires over the course of its decades-long career. That comes with the territory of being an experimental rock group on the bleeding edge of new sounds and technology. The majority of the songs that make up the bottom portion of this list are those experiments that went awry or never seemed to have a plan in the first place. Extended tracks of weird tones and guitar noodling that leave many non-Floyd listeners asking, “Who is this for, exactly?”
As you start to near the top of this incredibly detailed breakdown, choices may annoy, aggravate, or pleasantly surprise diehard fans. Only one track from the 1977 album Animals cracks the top 30, and “Speak To Me,” the one-minute-long soundscape that opens Dark Side Of The Moon, comes in at number 25, beating out actual songs like “Time” and “Hey You.” Meanwhile, the band’s original enigmatic singer Syd Barrett is fairly well represented throughout the list and his presence (or, more appropriately, absence) acts as a through-line for the list just as it did for much of the band’s career. And if you’re too lazy to scroll all the way to the bottom, “Wish You Were Here” is number one, which is fairly predictable but hard to argue with.
Wyman’s ranking also acts as an excellent history of the band’s storied career. He details the numerous transformations the band’s sound has gone through over the years to varying degrees of success and always provides context for his opinions on specific tracks, personal as they may be. None of which will stop people from vehemently disagreeing with the list, but hey, that’s what lists are for.
Read the whole thing at Vulture.
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