Pink Floyd’s 15th and final studio album pays tribute to Rick Wright
By Michael Bonasso, ’17
It’s been 20 years since the release of Pink Floyd’s Penultimate album, The Division Bell, but Pink Floyd’s sound still holds up on The Endless River, released on Nov 7 by Columbia records. Although the record is made up of improvisations taken from sessions for The Division Bell, none of its songs have been released before. This is completely new to all Pink Floyd fans, which is why there’s been so much anticipation for it. The album serves as a tribute to the band’s former keyboard player, Rick Wright, who died of cancer in 2008. He gave the band’s sound a lot of depth and a unique atmosphere on The Dark Side of the Moon, one of the band’s most famous albums, and his rhythm section played a vital role throughout band’s existence. Therefore, David Gilmour and Nick Mason, the band’s two remaining members have put together an incredible arrangement of heavenly, mystifying songs to honor their fallen member and finally draw the band’s career to an end.
The album is divided into four sides and distributed on two vinyls for a retail price of $32.99 on Amazon.com. To start the album off is a song called “Things Left Unsaid,” an instrumental track with words spoken on top of synthesizers. Side 1 of the album starts out slow and there’s an ethereal feeling to the music. It builds up at certain points and features Wright’s signature organ sound, which has appeared in songs like “Us and Them”. This side gives the listener a delicate sound that erupts at points, but is mostly relaxing. Next, Side 2 uses a bit more electronic keyboard and looper effects stacked on top of each other that give the listener a dizzy feel, as if they’re taking off in a jet airplane. The electronic keyboards and other instruments use effects that make it feel as though the music’s rushing towards the listener at high speeds. Side 2 starts off with fairly low-volume keyboards and electric guitar, but these instruments eventually burst into a much larger sound, accompanied by booming bass drums.
The third side displays another slow rhythm combines between jazz and blues with certain elements of meditative music. There is an ambience to the music and sounds of waterfalls and birds chirping, but it also features smooth, flowing guitar progressions and jazz/classical inspired piano. Finally, Side 4 combines a large array instruments, adding violins, bells, and other stringed instruments, including an acoustic guitar. These instruments are put on top of some ringing digital effects, giving it a somewhat mysterious and spooky quality. The album’s closer, “Louder than Words” is the only song on the record that has lead vocals and it sums up the band’s music, what it means to them, and what it means to their fans.
Overall, this album is an impressive collection of music that sums up their whole career through mostly instrumentals. It’s exceptionally slow-moving and is something that you’ll probably something you’ll want to listen to while you’re relaxing and have some free time. Fans who have known Floyd from the beginning will not likely be disappointed by this conclusion to the band’s work, as its peaceful atmosphere is a great way to wrap things up. Unlike in their other albums, the synths and electronic organs on this one seem to take up much of the focus. In this way, the album is an exceptional means of paying homage to their dead keyboardist and all the other talented musicians who have contributed to Pink Floyd’s sound.