Earlier this year, when the news leaked out that there was a new Pink Floyd album on the way, there was a feeling bewilderment among fans, rather than excitement. It simply did not compute, as most people assumed the band was completely defunct. Since the death of Richard Wright four years ago, only David Gilmour and Nick Mason remained as ‘official’ band members, and the latter was never force as a performer nor a composer. And it was highly unlikely that former bandleader Roger Waters had reconciled with the others enough to record with them. So what was this new release to be? It seemed likely that it would just be Gilmour and Mason, like A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987), which is one of the worst-reviewed releases of the band’s long career.
However, it was soon revealed that the album would be mostly made up of music recorded for, but ultimately rejected from, The Division Bell (1994). It was heartening that it would feature contributions from Richard Wright, but at the same time disappointing that music that didn’t make the grade 20 years ago was now considered good enough to release. Many fans were willing to give the record a try, as it was ‘new’ material, and possibly a chance to celebrate Wright’s life and work. But was this album worth reviving the Pink Floyd moniker for?
You generally find Pink Floyd listed among the “All-Time Great Bands”, but even ardent fans would have to admit that not all of the band’s output was stellar. I’d go so far as to say that some of it was downright awful. The band’s experimental nature, coupled with personnel changes, resulted in a back catalogue which is maddeningly inconsistent in terms of quality. In fact, they are about the only band that could have a Worst of compilation that would be as long as their Best of.
Seeing as the band’s albums are now available on Spotify, I thought it would be a good time to look back at some of Pink Floyd’s lowest points. I made a chronological Spotify playlist of ten of their worst tracks which can be found here. My explanations/justifications for my choices are below.
N.B. I decided to limit myself to only one track per album (which was sometimes difficult!)
The Gnome (From The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, 1967)
Syd Barrett, the original bandleader, specialised in psychedelic songs which were peppered with childhood imagery. Unfortunately, he went too far into whimsy and/or drugs with this ditty about a scarlet tunic-wearing gnome called Grimble Gromble. Incidentally, this song was recorded at roughly the same time as David Bowie’s infamous “The Laughing Gnome”. I wonder if both songs were about the same little fella.