Pink Floyd's New Album is Kind of a Bust
Pink Floyd’s newest and allegedly final album, The Endless River, has been highly anticipated. It became Amazon’s most pre-ordered album to date and even surpassed One Direction’s Midnight Memories, which previously held the record. As one of the greatest bands of all time, it makes sense that fans eagerly awaited the album, their first since the release of The Division Bell 20 years ago. At a glance, The Endless River is textbook electro Pink Floyd. However, as a whole, it disappointingly falls flat.
As with any Pink Floyd album, its songs should be listened to in consecutive order —resist the urge to hit shuffle. The songs morph together to create one lengthy, overindulgent, synth-loaded record. Instrumental teasers reminiscent of hits like “A Saucerful of Secrets” and “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” are buried within the album, but, for a generation with the attention span of a goldfish, I’m guessing most listeners will ask, “where the F are the lyrics?” Unfortunately, lyrics are few and far between on this album. It lacks the innovative lyrics and focus that were present on albums like Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, and Meddle.
The majority of the album is instrumental but good, old Stephen Hawking introduces the first bit of words we hear on the 14th track. Yep, that’s right — theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who I suppose is appropriate since the entire album feels like it would be a fitting accompaniment while you float around in space.
I think the most disappointing part of the album is the instrumental and melodic redundancy within it. It’s hard to differentiate each song. What makes albums like Dark Side of the Moon so great is the way each song is unique, but still maintains and weaves the same musical theme throughout while seamlessly transitioning from song to song. That kind of brilliance, while not totally absent from The Endless River, is certainly lacking.
If you’re familiar with Pink Floyd, you know that Roger Waters was formerly the dominant song writer and conceptual pioneer for the group; his absence from this album is felt. That’s not to discredit David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and even the late Richard Wright, who are credited for a large part of the song writing on the album.
They definitely saved the best for last. After being lulled to sleep by one instrumental song after the other, the final track on the album “Louder Than Words,” which is essentially the only song with words, packs a bigger punch. Seemingly an homage to their history as a band, this song is a sigh of relief in an otherwise underwhelming album. No disrespect, but let’s just blame it on old age.