From time to time I review new music over at Scribes of Metal. As much as I enjoy reviewing the new music that is coming out at the moment nothing beats the stuff that I grew up listening to. What bugs me though is the fact that I never got the chance to give the world my point of view when the album came out first time around.
So I thought, why not start a new “thing” here where I can review the albums that I grew up with that I now consider Classics.
I realise that everyone has a classic album in their collection that everyone else will say “THAT is NOT a classic album by ANY stretch of the imagination”. I think many people would probably think that the first Transvision Vamp album Pop Art isn’t much more than Pop pap, but to me, it is a kick-start to the emergence of the Girl Power movement and Wendy James was a figure-head, a vocal power house that helped kick that off. That first album helped that.
This post is about Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell.
I have mentioned before that I was already a fan of Pink Floyd before I heard The Division Bell, The Wall was my teenage angst album (isn’t it everyone’s?), but The Division Bell was the album that sealed the deal for me. It was this album that confirmed to me that music could be something that took you somewhere else and made you feel something else.
Up until I heard TDB I had been about extremes, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Bon Jovi and bands of that ilk. If I could bang my head to it, I banged my head to it. I lost more brain cells to Heavy Metal than I did to beer in those formative years (I am suffering for it now I think). Even my liking of The Wall was an extreme looking back. I took an extreme reaction to the isolating “feels” that the album offered and shared. I didn’t get the redemption that Pink got at the end of the piece (I’ll do The Wall another time).
TDB was first heard in a theatre over a professional(ish) sound system. It sounded bloody amazing, and has never quite sounded the same again. For a first listen it was pretty special. It was after a production I was working on and my best friend put the tape on and for a while it was just background music and then something caught my ear and I stopped and sat down for a cigarette break and then the music hit me. I started to sink in.
I don’t recall which track it was, I don’t know where I came in, all I know is that it was an epiphany.
A light turned on and I saw and heard something that was positive.
I was a student at the time and money was tight. More so that I was living in my own place, but the next chance I had, I had to have that album. It became a staple in my Walkman. Along with my Tobacco Tin and lighter my Walkman went everywhere with me. I had to have music pretty much everywhere I went. I guess these days a Doctor would diagnose a Social Anxiety disorder as I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) connect with the outside world if at all possible. There is more to it, but I am on an upswing with this post at the moment, I don’t want to bring you down!
I listened to that tape to death. It unravelled so many times and I hand to re-spool it many times with a pencil it grew unfunny after a while. I was too poor to own a CD player (they weren’t affordable or portable at the time) so that idea was out. After a while the tape snapped and my connection with The Division Bell drifted apart.
Well almost. In 1995 Pink Floyd released PULSE the live album from The Division Bell tour. This acquainted me with the album again and bought me a whole new world of joy and my Mum a whole new world of despair.
On the spine of the PULSE slipcase was a blinking red LED light. I kept all of my CD’s on a shelf on the far side of my room. The PULSE disc was slap dab in the middle of the shelf with the LED facing out into the room and every time Mum came into my room the first thing she would see would be that LED flashing away. (I was unlucky I had the room that caught the sun first thing in the morning, so my blinds were very rarely opened). That LED was like the cockroaches, it would have lasted a Nuclear blast. I think the only reason it gave out in the end was an untimely accident with a cup of coffee (which I would never suggest wasn’t an accident?)
Now I am much older and the world is a much more complex place for me and the way my head processes things, the music I listen to is much more important. I need music like I need medicine . The Division Bell is in my regular rotation of albums that get played when I need to calm down and find that happy place. That is an oft used clichéd term, but I do think everyone has that list of things that takes them there, my list grows each week and changes by the day.
Pink Floyd made me much happier recently with the 20th anniversary of The Division Bell by releasing a new album of music that didn’t make it to the original album. The Endless River comprises of music that predominately features Richard Wright compositions and things that weren’t suitable for TDB then. Some have said that the release of the album s just a cash grab for old-time sake, I say, NO! I say it is a fitting epitaph to a band who wanted to say goodbye to a friend who is sorely missed and to put a end to a journey that started 50 years ago and has taken many twists , climbed many a country stile and now needs to sail off down that endless river.
So that is the start of my new thing. My first Classic Album. It isn’t my Favourite album in the world, EVER, but it is an album that left a mark in my life. There are many more.
Until Next Time…