by Tanner O’Donnell
Some things never die. Although Pink Floyd founding members Syd Barrett and Richard Wright have passed away, they both live on through the band. Richard Wright died in 2008, but last Friday his final works were released by band members David Gilmore and Nick Mason. The English rock band formed in 1965 by Barrett, Roger Waters, Mason, and Wright is well known for their thought provoking lyrics, distinct guitar style, and experimental sounds. Pink Floyd has returned with their first, and final, album in 20 years.
Inspired by 20 hours of unreleased music from studio sessions with Wright during the recording of their previous album, the new album (titled The Endless River) is described as a swan song for Wright. Composed mostly of instrumentals, the songs in the album do not need to be listened to in sequence to appreciate them (although, like most Pink Floyd albums, it doesn’t hurt). The music is fantastic when studying, because the lack of lyrics can help you stay focused on the work at hand. In fact, I am listening to the album as I type this very sentence.
When listening to the album, I found myself reminded of 1970’s Pink Floyd, surprisingly. I say surprisingly because of the new music being based on 1994 jam sessions. If I listened to 1975’s Wish You Were Here and then 2014’s The Endless River without any prior knowledge of the band, I would instantly believe these records were released no more than 5 years apart.
Yes, the album can be a bit dull at times in comparison to most modern day albums, usually composed of singles that don’t contribute to the album as a whole, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is beautifully composed, masterfully mixed, and played with hands that have been playing music for 50+ years. Not to mention that it’s new music from a band nearly 34 years older than myself. It is my opinion that this is a Pink Floyd album that will not fade into the backdrop, or be forgotten anytime soon. When it’s all said and done (and it apparently is, for Pink Floyd) this album is a fantastic swan song for both Wright, who helped shape the band as it is today, and Pink Floyd themselves.
I think if you listen to the album, as a new or returning fan, you will not be disappointed. It is a grand end to a nearly 50 year old band, and although they may be finished making music, they will certainly live on through their works and fans. The Endless River was released in the U.S. on November 10th, and is available for streaming on Spotify and downloadable on iTunes.