Artist(s): Pink Floyd
Release Date: 03/24/1973
Edited Version Available: Yes
Parental Advisory: No
Other Choices: Innervisions, Who's Next, American Beauty, Led Zeppelin IV
Common Sense Says: Still a hit decades later, this album made Floyd superstars.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Dark Side of the Moon is one of the best-selling albums of all time and a huge musical achievement for pioneering space-rockers Pink Floyd, who in this album achieve feats of trippy sound and musical transportation that are all the more amazing because digital production tools were still decades away. There's an isolated swear word in this heavily instrumental, atmospheric album, but you may be more troubled by the lyrics' relentless harping on the meaninglessness of life.
- Families can talk about whether older members of the family liked this album when they were young, what their experience of it was, and whether they've ever seen it performed live.
- What do you think of the guy's attitude in "Money"? What do you think the guy who wrote the song thinks of him?
- Why do you think they call this space music? Have you ever seen a planetarium show that used it for a soundtrack?
- Why do you think this album is still a bestseller decades after its release?
What's the story?
On THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, Pink Floyd reached its undisputed creative peak with an ambitious, full-blown concept album of intricately crafted instrumental passages punctuated by occasional lyrics. Bandmembers David Gilmour (guitar), Roger Waters (bass), Rick Wright (keyboards), and Nick Mason (drums) are both skilled and creative in this musical experience that carries the listener into outer space, with lots of lyrics about alienated modern life for company.
Is it any good?
Not only did The Dark Side of the Moon top the Billboard album chart in the year of its release, it also continues to spend time on that chart to this day. It's one of the most influential albums in rock 'n' roll history, covered by untold numbers of bands, and used as a soundtrack for everything from parties to planetarium shows. One of the albums most commonly shared among generations of rock 'n' roll lovers, it's not everyone's dish, but it's an undisputed classic, with many well-known tunes including "Money" and "Time." It's really meant to be heard straight through, though.
The Good Stuff
Messages: The lyrics, while clearly satirical in places (e.g. "Money," an ode to greed), are steeped in helpless cynicism and vague despair.
Role Models: About the most positive action the singer of the songs here does is reach out to his unnamed friend in "Brain Damage" and offer to meet him on the dark side of the moon if he, too, begins to find the world completely crazed and intolerable.
What to watch out for
Violence Referring perhaps to surgery, perhaps to violence, certainly to insanity and life getting wildly out of a person's control, the album's most disturbed/disturbing lyrics, in "Brain Damage," conclude, "The lunatic is in my head / You raise the blade, you make the change / You re-arrange me 'till I'm sane / You lock the door / And throw away the key / There's someone in my head but it's not me. / And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear / You shout and no one seems to hear / And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes / I'll see you on the dark side of the moon."
Sex: Not an issue
Language: The singer of "Money," celebrating his pile of cash and planning to keep it all for himself, says "Don't give me that / Do goody good bulls--t."
Consumerism: The materialism of modern life comes in the form of satire in "Money."
Drinking, drugs & smoking: While it's safe to say that many fans have consumed psychedelics while listening to this album and/or its live performances, as it is famously trippy music, there is nothing in the lyrics cheerleading this behavior. The song "Brain Damage" and some of the other lyrics on the album appear to have been inspired by the mental breakdown of original group leader Syd Barrett, whose precarious mental state was exacerbated by his use of psychedelic drugs and resulted in his leaving the band in 1968 and being hospitalized. He never fully recovered and lived in seclusion until his death in 2006 at age 60.