Dark Side of the Moon: An Honest Review Pt.2
Album Review Blog Series
By: Clark Sutfin
Side One cont.
This article in the Dark Side of the Moon Review series will cover the next three songs on the album: “On the Run”, “Time”, and “The Great Gig in the Sky”.
“On the Run” is an instrumental track that consists of synthesizers, drums, voice clips, and sound effects. This song is fast paced and uses sound effects from an airport, which I think demonstrates the pressure of traveling and always being rushed.
The first sound effect used is the footsteps of someone running and fast breathing, like someone was going to miss their flight. As the synths build up the sound of a flying aircraft comes in and eventually the sound of the plane crashing. The sound clip used in this song says “Here for today, Gone tomorrow”.
This track was one of the first of its kind due to the strange methods of producing sounds. The majority of the song was produced on a breifcase model EMS Synthi AKS Synthesizer. A whitenoise generator was then added to get the hi-hat sound. The band then recorded the sounds of a microphone stand rubbing up and down the guitar fretboard, reversed the playback, and finally panned the sound left and right to achieve a doppler effect.
“Here for today, Gone tomorrow.”
-On the Run
“Time” is the first single from the album. It starts off very quiet and various ticking noises for some time (no pun intended). Then suddenly the overwhelming sound of clock alarms and chimes comes in (when listening to this song through headphones, it will probable make you jump).
This song has a very long introduction with different drum fills, guitar chords, and the keyboard playing single notes that kind of sound like a xylophone. The first verse of the song takes you by surprise after a long introduction. This might have been done on purpose to make it seem like you have lost track of time or fallen behind. Throughout the song there are distorted guitar riffs along with keyboard accents.
Lyrically I think this song shows the passing of time and how it can control your life if you don’t focus on the positive aspects of it. The end of the song leads into a reprise of “Breathe” which I think talks about death and religion because of the lines “The tolling of the iron bell/Calls the faithful to their knees/To hear the softly spoken magic spells”. Maybe the spoken magic spells are a metaphor for praying.
The reprise ends with a sustained chord played on the piano and makes a very good transition to the next song, “The Great Gig in the Sky”. This song was written entirely by Richard Wright, the pianist/keyboardist. The theme of this song is death and is easily distinguished because of the title and the sound clip played during the intro.
The sound clip says “And I am not frightened of dying, any time will do I don’t mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There’s no reason for it, you’ve gotta go sometime”. The vocalist on this track is Clare Torry. Her solo is completely improvised and comes in with the accompaniment of the drums, keyboard, and guitar after the buildup.
She has an immense vocal range and uses falsetto during some parts. The song’s mood changes with the vocals and instruments playing major and minor notes. I think the constant back and forth of moods is to represent all of the emotions that come with death. There would be happy emotions going into an afterlife such as Heaven, but also sad emotions for the obvious reason of leaving all of your loved ones.
To be continued…