Pink Floyd is one of those bands you either know by name or at least recognize their music. Dark Side of the Moon is inarguably the album that launched them to mainstream popularity and it remains one of their most played. But the band produced so much more that remains relatively unknown: Meddle is one of these treasures. Meddle is the sixth studio album recorded by Pink Floyd and, in my opinion, was largely responsible for their now-signature progressive rock sound.
I would consider the album the bands break from founder Syd Barrett and the psychedelic sound he molded. David Gilmour’s influence and writing are highlighted here and I’d consider this a stepping stone into Dark Side of the Moon. Meddle consists of two sides and six tracks, yes, just six tracks. The tracklist is as follows:
- “One of These Days” – 5:57
- “A Pillow of Winds” – 5:10
- “Fearless” (including “You’ll Never Walk Alone) – 6:08
- “San Tropez” – 3:43
- “Seamus” – 2:16
- Total time: 23:14
- “Echoes” – 23:32
- Total time: 23:32
The album was released in October of 1971 and did get positive reviews as critics realized the band was maturing. While all of the songs on Meddle are amazing, there are four specific cuts that truly reflect the bands reimagining. Don’t get me wrong though, “San Tropez”, and “Seamus” are wonderful pieces. It’s just the following four cuts are what I think ended up defining this album and eventually moving the band forward into the future.
“One of These Days” is an instrumental cut that opens the album with a driving force and heavy bass that gets the blood flowing. “Pillow of Winds” is an engagement in serenity bringing the listener to ease and relaxation. Skipping ahead to “Fearless” this cut shows the maturity in lyric writing. The poetic and introspective musings of the band start to come through with the song.
Finally, “Echoes.” This is an epic adventure in dynamics and spatial awareness. I still believe that “Echoes” is one of the best compositions ever created in any musical genre. “Echoes” is most certainly not a radio song, at over twenty-three minutes it just won’t work on radio. But it remains a pivotal and important piece in Pink Floyd’s history and helped develop what you eventually hear on Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. If you can only listen to one song on this album, make it “Echoes.”
In the end, if you ask someone if they like Pink Floyd, they will most likely ask who “he” is. Or they will answer yes and reference one of two albums. Dark Side of the Moon or The Wall. As much as those albums deserve the high praise, it’s a tragedy that more people aren’t aware of deeper Pink Floyd treasures hidden in plain sight.
If you’re interested in diving deeper into Pink Floyd’s music, I highly recommend the following albums:
- Atom Heart Mother
Both Meddle and Atom Heart Mother are primers for what the band eventually became. Animals is the precursor to what The Wall eventually turned out to be. Be sure to check these albums out and if you want to get even crazier, you can dive into the Syd Barrett years.