2020 Album Draft- Round 7- Pick 10- Run-Sew-Read- selects- Pink Floyd -Animals.
First, there’s the album cover. A pink pig flies above the huge 4-chimney Battersea Power Station in South London. The album cover might be more well-known than the album.
The album is full-length, but only has 5 tracks. This says to me, “No singles here; just listen and enjoy”. It contains a serving or sampling of every Pink Floyd sound and vibe I want to experience, with the added bonus that I don’t have to hear ‘Money’ or ‘Have A Cigar’ in the process.
My favorite tracks are the ‘Pig’ ones:
‘Pigs on the Wing’ is about having someone who is shelter from the people in the world who will use you up, bring you down and then discard you.
‘Pigs (three different ones)’ starts with a pig snort, and then a tempo and lyrics that emphatically draw me in. Then it goes into an extended instrumental that eventually transitions on to Sheep.
“Big man, pig man
Haha, charade you are”
The way the songs are arranged, extended and interrelated, the album is much like a symphony with rock instruments rather than merely a themed rock album. It starts gently in a safe place with Pigs on the Wing Part 1. Then the angst starts building with Dogs, describing the suits who will resort to anything to advance their positions. Pigs (three different ones) shouts with disdain at the upper crust stereotypes: The ‘well heeled big wheel’, ‘bus stop rat bag’, and ‘house proud town mouse’. Sheep signifies the lowly workers and followers who do what they’re told even when it leads to their demise. Then the album comes down gently with Pigs on the Wing Part 2.
I surprised myself by not picking ‘The Wall’, which I love and is a two-album set, i.e., double the music. But, I decided The Wall has too many songs that are downers. Not good for a desert island. Animals is angry and distrustful, but in a succinct and inspiring way.
This album takes me back- to the fall of 1979. I wasn’t all that familiar with Pink Floyd. It was my freshman year in college- and my roommate brought his turntable- so I was pretty much at the mercy of his record collection. The two artists that he was really into and played a lot were -John Hartford and Pink Floyd. His favorite Pink Floyd album must have been Animals because he played it constantly. At first I didn’t care for it that much but it grew on me. Maybe my roommate spent too much time not going to classes and listening to this album because in mid-October his father came out of the blue one day and took him home. I always wonder what happened to him- when I hear this album it always takes me back- wow over 40 years now.
Total respect for your roommate’s eclectic music tastes. I do think this album gets better with more listens. Honestly, I don’t remember what I thought when I first heard Animals. It probably had to grow on me too, as opposed to The Wall, which made the earth move the first time I heard it.
Glad to see PF get another pick here! If I had 20 picks instead of 10, I would add ‘Wish You Were Here’ to ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ that I already picked. this one I’m not as familiar with… I’ve heard it all (“Pigs” a lot when I was a kid- my brother really took to that/those tracks) , but haven’t had it in my own collection. They were a great and innovative band back then and their 73-77 or so run was one of the best in British rock history. And as you suggest, bonus points for that flying pig!!
Thanks! I totally agree about their mid-late 70s run. I tack The Wall onto that, even though I think most PF fans wouldn’t. I’m surprised this is only PF’s second entry in the draft. You picked a good one. If I had more picks, I’d probably go ahead and add The Wall, too.
I liked “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” quite well too though it obviously isn’t quite in the range of their 70s stuff and also obviously lacked Roger Waters
I too love several songs from that one, and also Division Bell.
I like that one a lot, too. I get that Roger’s not on it, but it sure sounds like PF to me!
I thought we would see another! I did think it would be the Wall so this is a great surprise. How could anyone not like that album cover? I remember seeing them in 93 and they had the Pig…that made my night. I listened to this album with some friends a lot in the early 80s. Great choice!
Thanks! It almost was the Wall. I held off on this pick until I felt sure. I’m envious that you saw PF years before I saw any of them. I’ve seen Waters’ shows, and finally was able to travel to see Gilmour in 2016, but that’s it. This is a band where I will go see the tribute shows, too. I even went to hear our local ‘School of Rock’ perform The Wall. That was seriously enjoyable.
Some of those tribute bands are letter perfect…I didn’t know what to expect when I saw them…they were great.
**Nerd alert** – This morning I was mentally ranking PF’s studio albums on my way to work. By the time I arrived I had a nagging feeling I was forgetting one. It was Animals, which I then put at five. The Wall came in at nine. That said, I’d probably want Animals on my island before Dark Side, which I rate higher. I too could do without hearing Money for a few years.
What timing. :p That’s great! I have a real attachment to The Wall, probably because it came out at a time when I needed just that. Yeah, to me Money is like a zit in the middle of the forehead. It’s a stain on a near-perfect thing.
It’s not that I dislike The Wall or anything on Dark Side. I used to listen to the former a lot in high school, and it’s probably that association that taints it for me. It’s a great album, and I could see myself “rediscovering” it out of nowhere down the line.
I bookend my Floyd listening with ‘Meddle’ and this one. Obviously some great music outside of these perimeters.’Something about ‘Animals’ that caught “every PF sound and vibe” like you said. I still listened to the band after this but it was different for me. Love this album. My son (Big Earl) gave me a CD copy a couple years ago so I could take this music for a Disc-man stroll. Gave my vinyl a rest. Great choice and take.
Thanks! Your son gave you a thoughtful gift. 🙂
Meddle is a very underrated LP
My intro to the band. Plus the great versions of ‘Echoes” at Pompeii.
Though I’ve seen the now-iconic album cover more times than I can count, I’ve never listened to the entire album. Your choosing it compelled me to give it a listen, and it’s a monumental work for sure.
I never heard this one before Diana, but now I want to. Sounds like a clever concept for an album. I like the way you described the songs. Great addition to the desert island write-up!
Thanks! I hope you enjoy it.
I tend to like the previous ones more, but this is still very good. Feels like Waters had pretty much taken over the band at this point, although Gilmour still has some input.
One of my favorite Floyd album covers
This is so interesting. I have been trying to explain the British class system to my youngsters. This sums it up pretty well. “The Wall” was the only time I got into Pink Floyd.
I would never have believed it but I realise now I used to be quite fond of Battersea Power Station, which I recognized immediately.
Dad used to say,”Do you think we are living in Battersea Power Station?”, if we left too many lights on.
I love your dad’s remark about the Battersea PS! That made me laugh. On my first trip to London, I made a point to go by it and take some pictures. It is indeed a massive structure. Thanks for your comment.