Is Pink Floyd's A Momentary Lapse of Reason Misunderstood or Just Bad?

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Like a lot of people I didn't really discover Pink Floyd until I was in my late teens. I had heard their songs before on the radio, but had never felt the need to go buy any of their CDs. Then one night in my dorm room I listened to a pirated copy of The Wall and suddenly it clicked. I was a fan.

The Wall was Roger Waters' baby, so not only did I become a fan of the band I became a fan of him as a solo artist. Somewhere along the line I decided that I didn't need to listen to any of the post-Waters Floyd stuff because in my mind they were just imposters.

It's a pretty silly viewpoint to have, but I was young and prone to stupidity. With A Momentary Lapse Of Reason turning 25 this month, I thought it was a good time to what I had been missing.

Although I had never listened to the album before I was well aware of its big single "Learning to Fly." The song has been a source of controversy between certain friends and I over the last decade, because I've always thought it was a pretty boring song and people seem to think I'm wrong.

Listening to it now, the reason I realize that I've always been so hard on it is because it doesn't feel like a Pink Floyd song to me. That's a silly notion given that we're talking about a group that released "See Emily Play," "One Of These Days," and "Comfortably Numb" as singles, but it's just how I feel.

The other thing I realized is that in the context of the rest of the album it's actually a pretty good song precisely because it doesn't sound like any other Pink Floyd track. All of the problems I have with the album stem from the group trying too hard to be Pink Floyd.

"Dogs of War" is a good example of this problem. On a musical level it's a retread of The Dark Side of the Moon's "Money", only that it replaces the iconic bassline with a boring string loop and has a terrible saxophone solo. Lyrically it's a retread of the same themes that show up in Animals, using the same metaphor they did in "Dogs."

What's worse is that boring string loop goes on roughly forever. It's the centerpiece of the first three minutes of the track including the opening 30 seconds where it's pretty much the only thing the listener hears aside from a few uncreative sound effects.


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22 comments
kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

This was a David Gilmour solo record; and that's not a terrible thing..........his 1978 recording of There's No Way Out of Here was more Floyd than Floyd.  And what does that mean-nothing! Sure, Waters was the the "main brain" on some VERY seminal records, but, things change; just ask Syd!  

 

 

When I saw PF during this tour I really didn't care which incarnation it was going to be; I would have listened to it if it were just Nick and Richard.  All in all,  MTR is really a very weak effort by an iconic band; but they have "mailed" albums in before. 

 

 

I just pray I can see Roger back with the boys before they get tremendously old like The Who. 

 

ps-BTW, Houston is a freaking toilet, I thank sweet baby Jesus I live in Dallas.  Check out this blogs sister site, The Dallas Observer. 

Cory Garcia
Cory Garcia

To add a few things for the permanent record: Yes it's better than Ummagumma, and maybe about even with The Final Cut. I need to reevaluate the Division Bell at some point in my life. Ultimately Waters and Gilmour were better together than they were apart. Dave needed someone to really refine the songs and build them properly and Rogers needed someone with a stronger voice and sense of melody.

ShitThrowingMonkey
ShitThrowingMonkey

"Then one night in my dorm room I listened to a pirated copy of The Wall and suddenly it clicked. I was a fan."

 

Shouldn't this sentence include a nod to the herb?

itstdl
itstdl

... i think the album's mostly about Waters legally abandoning any $$$$'s  in royalties from it.   true fact.   thus the title.          

Jason Ison
Jason Ison

I thought Floyd died when Syd quit. Oh wait, this is stupid floyd nerd talk. As if some how a line like "I thought I thought of everything" isn't as powerful as "you wore out your welcome with, random precision." If you accept Floyd without Syd, you have to accept it without Roger.

Bill Curtner
Bill Curtner

Totally misunderstood. An excellent in the Floyd catalogue. Much better than final cut and umagumma.

Liliana Velasquez
Liliana Velasquez

David has a phenomenal voice, just because Roger did not want to take part in Pink Floyd anymore doesn't mean they should have changed their name. It's a BAND, not an one man show. Also, MLOR and Division Bell are great albums, even without waters. It's a different view of PF.

Josh Webster
Josh Webster

Just got this on vinyl after having not heard it for years. I played through it once, and it will probably sit on the shelf untouched for years, right next to the 80's George Harrison record it came with.

Corey Deiterman
Corey Deiterman

Also Radio KAOS is awful but Amused to Death is the best solo Floyd record of all.

Corey Deiterman
Corey Deiterman

I loved it. Then I became a Waters fanboy and hated it. Then I realized it was a great Gilmour solo record and I realized I loved it the same way I love The Final Cut as a great Waters solo record. The Division Bell, on the other hand, I love and consider a true Floyd album, since Gilmour actually had Mason and Wright contribute on all the tracks.

Dave Gill
Dave Gill

It's a flawed album, due to the lack of Water's input, but it sounds a helluva lot more like Pink Floyd than "The Final Cut" did. Now, I'm not bagging on FC, as it's a decent album in its own right, but it really doesn't have the PF sound overall. Momentary Lapse has some wonderful tunes on it. It's a shame that the guys couldn't get along enough to work together and really create a masterpiece.

Cory Garcia
Cory Garcia

"Radio Waves" is pretty schlocky but I dig it all the same.

Eric McPhail
Eric McPhail

And he left them to make new agey rock for late 80's pony-tailed yoga instructors that have day jobs sitting in front of main frames. I think that's the problem with post-Waters (and some of the Wall). It loses some of the "timeless" quality the earlier records had, in my opinion. MLOR in particular, sounds like skeezy over produced drivel of the Reagan era.

Jason McElweenie
Jason McElweenie

Let's be clear, Roger didn't leave Pink Floyd he fired everyone else.

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

Even though I'm a Roger Waters fan too, I think MLOR and The Division Bell are both good albums.

Craig Wilkins
Craig Wilkins

When Roger left, they shouldn't have been able to call themselves Pink Floyd anymore.

Creg Lovett
Creg Lovett

I actually think those are some of their best.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

When this came out I managed a record store and the owner was a big stoner, BIG Pink Floyd fan. While I never "got" this band in any form, I did like "Terminal Frost," mostly for one of those terrible sax solos. Very good review, Mr. Garcia, well thought out and argued.

NeilWebbo14
NeilWebbo14

@PinkFloyd_ they must be sniffing Glue,& not smoking good weed !

JL_SP
JL_SP

I liked MLoR just fine. I thought Piper at the Gates of Dawn was tedious pop pablum.

[ducks]

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