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"Animals" is Pink Floyd's 10th studio album, released in 1977 and produced by the band themselves. The line-up for the album was David Gilmour (vocals/guitar), Roger Waters (vocals/bass), Nick Mason (drums) and Richard Wright (keys).
The album is a Roger Waters concept, based on the George Orwell novel, "Animal Farm. It is a critique on society as a whole, and points out how people tend to fall into a category and stay there. It points out the flaws of capitalism, unlike the book which deals with Stalinsim.
"Pigs on the Wing" is divided into two parts, to make up the first and last tracks on the album. Although both are short, they are a big part of the story told on this concept album. They have a more hopeful feel than the three middle songs.
Written by David Gilmour with a different title, Roger Waters modified a song and titled it "Dogs". Some of the lyrics compare the music industry with the life of dogs, and how entertainers are trained to behave.
"Pigs (Three Different Ones" has three verses, each one representing a different 'pig', or people at the top of society who dictate how others should act or behave, abusing their power. David Gilmour uses a talk box halfway through the song to make pig sounds, giving added depth to the song.
"Sheep" represents mindless people who follow along doing what they are told. While in real life the 'sheep' of society tend to spend their whole lives being told what to do, the sheep in this album rise up, giving a satisfying twist to life as we know it.
This album is amazing from start to finish, not just for the thought provoking subject matter. Pink Floyd proves once again they are a technically brilliant band who know how to try new things. I'd recommend this album to everyone.
1. Pigs on the Wing 1
3. Pigs (Three Different Ones)
5. Pigs on the Wing 2
My rating: 9/10
'Animals' is British band Pink Floyd's tenth studio album released in January 1977. It is a concept album focusing on the political implications of the 1970s, and entales a considerably different musical sound from the bands earlier albums. Described as a progressive-rock band, Floyd were at the forefront of world music for several decades from the late 60s onwards and were widely known for their large scale live shows, elaborate album art and experimental 'psychedelic' sound.
1. Pigs on the wings, part 1
3. Pigs (three different ones)
5. Pigs on the wings, part 2
'Pigs on the wings, part 1' is a 1 minute 25 second opening song focused around a lightly strummed guitar chord progression and a wonderful vocal performance from Roger Waters who is reported to have wrote the whole song himself. It has to said, the song is over far too quickly, and this isn't a good thing because its really well put together, despite its lack of many instrumental layers or depth of sound.
'Dogs' opens with a similar acoustic sound experienced in track one, however this time David Gilmour's voice appears through the mist of sound. Shortly after, an excellent opening guitar solo is sounded as the drums, bass guitar and key board heighten in intensity. Gilmour displays great technical accuracy with his magnificant guitar sounds - through both solo and background performance.
One thing I love about this song is the use of actual dogs. Remarkably, when recording their live album of Animals, they actually let a dog bark and 'sing' along with the band, which seemed to work really well - unbelievably. Annoyingly, Dogs is the only track Gilmour performs lead vocals in, which is a real shame as I do prefer his voice, despite how much I enjoy Waters.
'Pigs (three different ones)' begins with guitar, keyboard, and yes, pigs! Pigs sound in the background momentarily before Richard Wright and Nick Mason enter with drum and organ sounds. I really enjoy the lyrics in this track, but more particularly the way Waters expresses those lyrics - the tone of his voice is excellent.
"Bus stop rat bag, ha, ha, charade you are, you f**cked up old hag" - The chorus is unusual yet strangly catchy.
The track is 11 minutes and 21 seconds, but yet again you're left wanting, needing more. Gilmour's tranforming guitar sections are utterly encapsulating, you never want to stop listening. It's a good job Floyd made so many albums - and even better that the majority of the band are still producing music through their solo careers.
Gilmour's solo which enters at 9:39 is full of reverbed guitar note bends and complex workings of the scales.
'Sheep' enters with, yes, sheep! Sheep sounds are heard before and during the entrance of a bluesy keyboard section from Wright. Then bass tapping begins to build and increase from the belly of the track. Before long the keyboard and bass have collided with a simple yet and effective drum beat, but thats shattered by Waters and his amazing vocals as he shatters across the track to a strengthening of instrumental sound. The song is up-beat and catchy as anything. Waters drawn out vocals add to the intensity of the track, and Gilmour's jittery guitar sections only build the song up to greater heights.
It's at the centre of the track that everything begins to die down, only to be unsettled by a suttle but striking guitar phrase from Gilmour, and inevitable return to up-beat tempo of the song.
I love how well produced and formatted this track is. To say electrical technologies weren't that impressive in the 1970's, the pyschedelic sounds Floyd produce here in the interludes are truely immense. Even today it sounds futurely!
'Pigs on the wings, part 2' seems to litterally continue from where part 1 left off, the only difference is it's 1 second shorter in length. Whether that has any significance it's unclear, but I'm sure theres some kind of political reference in there somewhere.
The album is very well put together, despite having all sorts of oddities within. For one, the length of songs changes more dramatically than any album I've ever listened to... whether that's a bad thing,I don't know, but to be honest I just find it interesting. This is clearly a band that was trying to break as many barriers in music and music production as they could, and for that I applaud them.
By 1977, Pink Floyd had established themselves as one of the most successful bands on the planet, with their new identity developing over a series of albums. Whilst their instrumentation tended to veer towards ethereal, expansive and overall quite chilled out space rock, their lyrics demonstrated a more shadowy and uncomfortable side, such as on 'One of These Days', 'Welcome to the Machine', 'Us and Them' and 'Brain Damage'. With Roger Waters now as the de facto band leader and primary lyricist, this darker side is fully unleashed on this record with an appropriately animalistic snarl and howl.
Inspired quite loosely by the themes in Orwell's 'Animal Farm', the premise of the 'Animals' is that humans behave akin to three distinct animal types, pigs, dogs and sheep, which are more or less the names of the tracks on the album.
It starts off with a simply strummed, acoustic love song 'Pigs on the Wing', which is the only moment of sentimentality on the record (apart from its brief reprise which closes the album). It's a short ode to Waters' then-girlfriend, and a promise to the other party involved to safeguard them from 'pigs on the wing'. It's quite pleasant in its vulnerability, but from there, it's a harrowing, brutal listen throughout.
'Dogs', the first of our human 'animals' to be examined, occupies the rest of side one. Primarily driven by Gilmour's garrotted, seething guitar work, it's a raw and unrelenting assault on the rise of the ruthlessness of the rising business world. Quite prophetic of Thatcher era 1980s then, and Thatcher herself is a target later on in the album on 'Pigs (Three Different Ones). The dogs in question are trained by unfeeling corporate masters, to 'sniff out the easy meat' to be given the rewards of a 'club tie, and a firm handshake' later on. Yet the song is not so naive to imagine that these are the unthinking brutes as raised by Napoleon in Orwell's novel; the last verses of the song imagine the latter years of one of these 'dogs', reflecting on their life of wealth and ruthless behaviour, which has ultimately led to feelings of emptiness, loneliness and a solitary death. Originally written as 'Gotta Be Crazy' for the 'Wish You Were Here' sessions, it's a relentless tirade, and despite its similar length, light years from the spacey gorgeousness of 'Echoes'. Replete with chilling keyboards and samples of howling packs of dogs (which sound menacing, rather than annoying like on 'Seamus' from 'Meddle'), it does not make for an easy listen.
The next track, 'Pigs (Three Different Ones)', pinpoints the pigs that skulk amongst us; the arrogant, self-appointed arbiters and guardians of society. Opening with a truly haunting keyboard riff from Rick Wright and samples of grunting pigs, this is Waters at his most direct. Each verse deals with a different type of pig to be encountered in business, politics and culture'. The first being the one at the head of the trough of the business world; perhaps the record company director that told them to 'Have a Cigar' on previous album 'Wish You Were Here'. Waters pulls no punches in singling out Margaret Thatcher as a worthy target (not by name, but it's very thinly veiled), calling her a 'fucked up old hag' who 'radiates cold shafts of broken glass'. The last one in the firing line is Mary Whitehouse, identified as an oppressor of human emotions who tries to 'keep our feelings off the street'. There's no let up in the dark tones, although it's hard sometimes not to crack a geeky grin when remembering that the line 'ha ha, charade you are' was wonderfully adopted by Eric Cartman as a putdown in 'South Park'.
'Sheep' is perhaps the most accessible song on the album, although that's not saying much. With a bleak and menacing sound, the rest of society are herded together as sheep; unthinking consumers who are either unaware, or apathetic to, the dangers of the dogs that surround them, or the directions into which they are being ushered. It contains a brilliantly haunting parody of Psalm 23, faintly spoken at the back of the mix through a metallic, distorted voice, where the sheep are led 'through the valley of evil', where their 'souls are released with bright knives' as their masters have great hunger. Yet despite all of this grim allegory, it isn't without a ray of hope and humour breaking through. In a bizarre twist, the sheep learn karate, rise up and kill their canine oppressors, only to return home with little idea of what else to do. All set to one of David Gilmour's most thrilling guitar parts, and a storming performance from the rhythm section with battered drums and thumping bass lines.
The coda of 'Pigs on the Wing' finishes the album, and is a welcome reminder that it isn't all harsh and cold out there, and that there are people with genuine feelings of care and love. Just don't expect to find many of them in business or politics, though.
Perhaps the punk movement of 1977 invigorated Pink Floyd to show their fire, or the tensions within the band had let the anger rise to the surface. Either way, it's a record that howls and twists with anger, frustration and despair at the world the band saw evolving at the end of the 1970s, and for me, it's the last truly great statement they made. Oh, and the Storm Thorgerson cover is great, really encapsulating the grimness of the modern world and looking all very Orwellian in the process.
When most people discuss the works of Pink Floyd, I am sure that Dark Side of the Moon or The Wall will fill up most people's conversations. I doubt that Animals will fit into them much, unless these people are actually Pink Floyd fans! Released in 1977, Animals was a album that was released somewhere between those aforementioned albums and was a kind of return to the psychedelic 'feel' of the earlier albums, featuring many lengthy songs, but was also a step in a fresh direction too. It provides a 'scathing critique of the social-political conditions of 1970s Britain.' Mostly written by Waters, with Gilmour co-writing 'Dogs,' it is a strange affair, yet not an altogether bad album though.
~Who are Pink Floyd?~
Well, I am sure most will know, and if more info is needed, there is a very informative Floyd website at: www.pinkfloyd.co.uk. So, briefly...
David Gilmour -- guitars, bass guitar, vocals, talk box,
Nick Mason -- drums, percussion
Roger Waters -- bass guitar, lead vocals, acoustic and rhythm guitar
Richard Wright -- Hammond organ, Wurlitzer electric piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Hohner Clavinet, Yamaha grand piano, ARP Solina String Machine, ARP synthesizer, Minimoog, backing vocals
They were an English band formed around 1965 and earned a reputation of playing psychedelic rock/progressive rock. Early guitarist Syd Barret was replaced by David Gilmour in the late sixties and the band have changed little in those years. There were several years of unrest in the band in the late seventies, when Wright briefly left the band and then Waters informed the world that the band were splitting up in 1985, however Gilmour and Mason had other ideas and the whole thing went to court. As a result, Gilmour, Mason and Wright won the court case and they went on tour and released two further Pink Floyd albums without Waters. Richard Wright sadly passed away in 2008.
~What of Animals then?~
Produced by Pink Floyd, the cover shows a large pig flying in the sky above a power station. The thirty foot pig was real and created by Hipgnosis. From Wikipedia: 'The balloon broke free of its moorings and ascended into the sky. It eventually landed in Kent, and was recovered by a local farmer, reportedly furious that it had apparently scared his cows...'
~Pigs on the Wing 1 (Waters) (1.25)~
"If you didn't care what happened to me..."
A strumming guitar intro and an emotional Roger Waters vocal. Short, but a sweet intro that sets us nicely to Dogs.
~Dogs (Waters, Gilmour) (17.03)~
"And when you lose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown..."
We begin this epic with more strumming guitar, passionate Gilmour singing and rolling drums. A steady song begins, with plenty of guitar solos from the maestro, Gilmour. A gentle break a third of the way along, followed by a piercing guitar-headed instrumental, which is extremely emotional, and can send the odd goosebump on your flesh... Barking dogs...Then at about eight minutes you feel it is coming to a close, yet a haunting Wright keyboard fades in and the song takes on another form entirely. A sliding keyboard, a sharp, but doom-filled drum beat... Then the strumming guitar returns and we appear to come from a long trance and back to start... then rounded up nicely...
~Pigs (Three Different Ones) (Waters) (11.25)~
"You're nearly a laugh, but your really a cry..."
An eerie keyboard and high bass begins this next epic song... Things seem to go a bit awry then and it is evident how 'dated' this is nowadays. Waters voice stabs through the proceedings and I feel that if Gilmour had sang on this song it might have been better. Sounds like a few different riffs put together on one song, but Wright's eerie keyboard seems to rescue the song at just the right moments, as though pulling it out of its quagmire...
~Sheep (Waters) (10.25)~
"Bleating and babbling I fell on his neck with a scream..."
We begin with a gentle keyboard, making its way along in a bluesy way. A hammering bass that is reminiscent of an earlier song 'One of these Days' follows, then it explodes into song. Waters' voice stabs into the microphone and his pounding bass carries on, interceded with a blues riff from Gilmour. Things quiet down and with a lovely instrumental break. Then chaos seems to ensure somewhat, but the hammering bass is mostly constant.
~Pigs on the Wing 2 (Waters) (1.24)~
"You know that I care what happens to you..."
A reprise, in a way, of the fist song on the album.
~To sum up...~
On the whole, Animals is an 'Okay' album. It is far from the best Floyd album, but it is far from the worst, too. In many ways it is a forerunner to The Wall, most notably Waters' 'stabbing' and sometimes angry vocals. Musically, it has dated in some parts, but the musicianship of the band prevails as does the song writing. It might well lack the input of Wright and Gilmour musically, and perhaps that is why it is not as 'great' as The Dark Side of the Moon. A good album for Floyd fans, but if you want to delve into the world of Pink Floyd as a first timer, I would chose The Dark Side of the Moon, or perhaps Meddle, or Wish you Were Here...
Roger Waters designed an inflatable pig, the said pig was built by a dedicated team and suspended by Battersea power station in 1977, and then blew away, much to the shock of air traffic control and the local public. But thankfully enough material was composited together to make another iconic album cover for Pink Floyd, by this time one of the biggest sensations in the music world.
After the landmark technological soundscapes of Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd, or rather Roger Waters, opted for a less polished and more live attitude to the music, which primarily involved relegating Richard Wrights keyboards to backing duties (before firing Wright altogether during recording of the follow-up album). This allowed for even greater focus on David Gilmours ever-improving guitar skills, Rogers vocals and innovative bass and Nick Masons frantic drumming.
Surprisingly, despite its more aggressive and stripped-down sound, Animals fails to break in a completely new era for Pink Floyd due to the persistently slow pace of the consciously structured songs. The concept, written by Waters and the start of his almost totalitarian control of the bands output (culminating in The Wall and The Final Cut), is admittedly based on George Orwells farmyard/politics allegory novel Animal Farm, criticising a national and global climate that Waters was feeling increasingly dismayed and infuriated by.
Im not put off by song length; some of my favourite albums are composed as one extended piece of music, but those extra minutes have to earn their keep. Pink Floyds earlier albums and live shows were rife with long, improvised pieces or extensions to existing songs that are great to unwind to, but after the more precise concept focus instigated by Dark Side of the Moon, the band seem to have lost their knack for crafting epics, and the material instead sounds repetitive.
Dogs, Pigs (Three Different Ones) and Sheep all follow the exact same structure: a gradual build-up from either silence or a basic rhythm to a recognisable main riff and verse section that repeats before fading into a quieter section with relevant animals sounds and exploding again towards the end.
This worked for the earlier twenty-three minute Echoes, seen by many as the bands crowning achievement, and it is clearly successful in Animals due to the albums popularity, but I cant help feeling cheated out of several additional songs when the second half of the song basically reverses the style of the first half, save for the occasional good but ultimately disposable guitar solo. At under ten minutes, Sheep is the only song that really gets away with this, the muted section being shorter and the closing minute dominated by Gilmours brilliant guitar solo, but at almost double the length, Dogs is a prime candidate for an editing job that was never performed.
This is a shame, as despite being ridiculously overlong, Dogs is probably the best song on here and deserves to be included on best-of compilations without record company heretics earning the wrath of fans by shaving minutes off. The lyrics are bitter and bleak over the main rhythm, a dense and layered riff aided greatly by use of acoustic guitars, but the highlight is David Gilmours laid-back first solo after five or so minutes.
The anticipation of the solos return is what keeps the dull part of the song interesting, and its resurrection is one of the highlights of the album, but a similar effect could be achieved by playing the song again after it finished at around nine minutes, the point by which everything has been heard. Oh come on, I dont know the first thing about writing a song, I know that. But I know what I like! Without a live audience to bask in its harmony, Gilmours guitar sounds increasingly lonely as the song carries on.
Pigs (Three Different Ones) is a funkier sing-along type centrepiece for the album and a good one too, even though the basic riff becomes a little irritating. The unusual zap sound that opens the song, and Masons oddly successful light percussion both add to this songs originality, which I find myself liking more with each listen. The distorted vocals sound more ethereal and haunting than damning here, Roger trying out his (later-) distinctive vocal style for what appears to be the first time. Pigs are also clearly the best animal out of the three featured on the album, as well as being contenders for best animal in the world (if apes, lemurs and stuff didnt exist), so I may be a little biased.
Sheep is more accessible as the shortest song, but a little less impressive on the whole as the third song in a row to use the same structure. It opens with a great lounge jazz esque part before breaking into the fastest and most energetic riff of the album, quite a feat for the reflective Pink Floyd. Now that Wrights keyboards arent flooding through too much, Waters effective bass lines can be better heard, clearly the inspiration for many bands to follow. This song is certainly more laid back than its predecessors, seeming something of a jam at times and perhaps an excuse to insert bits and pieces that wouldnt have worked elsewhere. As mentioned earlier, David Gilmour closes the song in style, my favourite moment of the album.
Animals is bookended by Pigs on the Wing, two short halves of one song that, fitting to the structure of the songs in between, are both almost exactly the same. But theyre nice and pleasant, really deserving a place on the CD/LP precisely for being so different in tone from the long pessimistic prog.
Animals is a fairly unique and certainly memorable part of Pink Floyds discography, and acts as a middle ground between the spaced out progressive rock that came before and the gloomy, more commercially minded rock opera format that was to follow. Not an entirely successful album, but one that has enough classic guitar parts to merit repeated listens.
Pigs are better than dogs or sheep, but chimps are best of all.
This album is full of the bile and rage of Roger Waters, this was just the beginning of his anger. Out of the three albums that were released in this phase of Pink Floyds life (The Wall, The Final Cut) this one is the most consistent musically and strong as a result of this I feel. The control of the band was still a pretty democratic process at this point with Rick Wright starting to feel he was being restricted from contributing in any significant way. Roger Waters was becoming disilluisioned with being in the band and striving harder for complete creative control. The balance of tension and creativity unleashed this. Pigs on the wing is opener for the album which appears to be a gentle lament, maybe about the relationship between the band, maybe personal. Its short and simple. It doesn't give any clues as to the fury to come from Dogs. Dogs is very similar in composition to the later Comfortable Numb in that there are 2 separate characters in the song. One is the hard corporate edge talking about clawing up the corporate ladder, you have to be a scavenger and pray on the weaker, is this maybe the way Waters sees the music industry? 'You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to, So that when they turn their backs on you, You'll get the chance to put the knife in.'. Towards the end a second voice emerges of a tired and lonely person seemingly unable to maintain focus. The feeling of 'creeping malaise' Then the first voice returns mocking him for weakness, like a cowed dog. This could have descended into a cliched diatribe if it wasn't backed by the haunting music that fades in and out. Pigs (Three Different Ones) the rage and open mockery that rips through this song is only matched by its strong guitar riffs. Its maybe a reflection on critics, maybe about pomposity and arrogance, only Waters could say. The song is edgy and angry. Sheep is a twist on George Orwells A
nimal Farm when the animals rise up against the farmer. I still find the images funny,' When cometh the day we lowly ones, Through quiet reflection, and great dedication Master the art of karate,Lo, we shall rise up, And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water' the thought of the sheep and this lyric is funny and yet meaningful like much of Waters work its dark humour stops it short of preaching. Pigs on the Wing (Part Two) this is a reprisal, Waters reflecting that maybe his relationship (band?) isn't all bad. Myself personally i prefer this to The Wall and the Final Cut for home listening just in that it still feels like a band that has produced this album and its consistently good.
Picture the scene - Battersea Power Station, a smoke-filled sky, and a floating pig. This is the cover of Pink Floyd's 1977 offering 'Animals', a five-track concept album that is one of their finest. With tracks entitled Pigs on the Wing 1, Dogs, Pigs(three different ones), Sheep, and Pigs on the Wing 2, you would be forgiven for putting this one back on the shelf in HMV and looking for something less weird. But - if you like Floyd you should definitely give this a go. Written almost entirely by Roger Waters (except Dogs which also credits Dave Gilmour), the album is a practically non-stop journey through strange lyrics and musical brilliance. You really have to sit and *listen* to this - I wouldn't say it was background music. Pigs on the Wing Parts 1 & 2 are short - 1.25 in length only, and are almost ballad-like in their sound. The lyrics are clear and crisp - indeed the whole album is engineered remarkably well when you consider how old it is. The 17.04 Dogs is contains more great lyrics - for example 'you have to be trusted by the people that you lie to, so that when they turn their backs on you, you'll get the chance to put the knife in'. A classic guitar solo by Mr Gilmour makes this track. Pigs (three different ones) is perhaps the most well-known song - with it's repetition of the phrase 'Ha Ha charade you are' and 'You're nearly a laugh but you're really a cry'. Great lyrics, great effects, great tune. Sheep follows Pigs, and the mood changes. Another fine tune here, which lasts just over 10 minutes. The whole album is just amazing. To be honest I haven't researched what these songs are *supposedly* about - I am content to listen to the music and read the lyrics, making my own interpretation. It may well be that the album stems from Orwell's Animal Farm, and that the words relate to specific people and personalitie
s, but I do not think that knowing the background necessarily adds to ones enjoyment of a song or album. Of course, if you really want to know, then there are a huge variety of books/web information on Pink Floyd available to trawl through. I first got a (bad!)tape copy of this years ago - and just recently bought it on CD, the digitally re-mastered version. Since then I have listened to it many times, and am not yet tired of it. I would say if you have not heard Pink Floyd before, you should buy Dark Side of the Moon as a taster before launching into this one. But if you're already a fan, and trust your instincts, go for it. Prog Rock never sounded better . . .
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Pigs On The Wing
3 Pigs (Three Different Ones)
5 Pigs On The Wing