Pink Floyd – ‘Animals’

A classic rock masterwork that marked the beginning of the end for the band’s original lineup

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Capitalism is a corrupt system and the citizens of a nation need to collect themselves in order to rise up and take control of their lives. This is a theme that is widely talked about today and one that is the central theme of a classic rock masterwork.

Pink Floyd released their tenth studio album “Animals” on Jan. 23, 1977 with Harvest Records. The band had a tumultuous interpersonal relationship up until that point, but the recording of this record saw the strings begin to unwind.

Roger Waters and David Gilmour are the creative and musical visionaries behind the classic lineup of psyche rockers Pink Floyd. Like many great minds, they began to heavily clash during the recordings.

The band claims Waters began to dominate the group. However, the end result of the album may have justified the means.

“Animals” is a concept record, centering around the theme of capitalism and society as a whole. The album’s five tracks center around three animals, with intended meanings behind them.

Pigs are represented as individuals at the top of the social ladder, dogs are the ruthless businessmen and sheep are the mass population. The album’s opening and closing tracks serve as a quick introduction and conclusion for the record.

“Pigs on the Wing 1” and “Pigs on the Wing 2” are both under one minute and 30 seconds long, and they serve as hopeful statements to the listener everything can be improved upon. The tracks are reportedly influenced by Waters’ then wife.

The next track, “Dogs,” serves as the centerpiece of the record. It features soaring lead vocals by Gilmour and details the vicious lives corrupt businessmen leave. At 17 minutes and three seconds long, it is by far the longest song on the record, but the time is not wasted in the slightest.

Featuring magnificently crafted guitar solos, a very unique chord progression and quiet yet ruthless musical passages, the song is impossible to comprehend upon the first listen. “Dogs” is a sign of later things to come on the record.

The next two tracks on the record, “Pigs (Three Different Ones),” and “Sheep” continue the theme of the record in very unique ways. The tracks feature lead vocals by both Waters and Gilmour, and both clock in at more than 10 minutes long.

That is the common criticism this album receives: it is not easily digestible. This is a valid complaint, as Pink Floyd albums such as “The Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wall” feature songs that are much more radio-friendly and easier for casual fans to take in. “Animals” is quite the opposite of radio-friendly.

With songs that feature multiple movements, long guitar solos the length of a lot of songs on the radio and a concept that condemns wealthy business owners, it is hard for a lot of fans to get into this record. It is the cult classic of the Pink Floyd discography and one hardcore Pink Floyd fans return to quite often.

“Animals” is not an album you would throw at a first-time Pink Floyd listener. It is, however, an album that showcases one of the greatest rock bands of our time at their creative peak.

Whether you refer to wealthy people as pigs or not, in today’s state of political and economic turmoil, “Animals” remains as relevant as it was upon its release 40 years ago.