1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear – Pink Floyd’s The Endless River

1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear

#10 – “Pink Floyd” – The Endless River

MATT KELLY has a big soft spot for “the Floyd” but the group’s studio epilogue is more like an endless death rattle.

TLDR: Imagine if ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ was 50 minutes long and had no point.

The Division Bell sessions were quite productive. Wright in particular was out of his drug and depression days and felt creatively energized, producing a solo album immediately after the TDB sessions wrapped. The band also worked on an hour-long druggy instrumental album called The Big Spliff which they ultimately decided not to release.


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Go forward 20 years and it’s time to get something together as a bonus disc for the 20th-anniversary edition of The Division Bell. The material that would’ve been The Big Spliff is a likely contender, and then some genius thinks – hey, why won’t we just sell it as a new album?

Mutton dressed as lamb, The Endless River is a meandering collage of twenty-year-old studio doodlings that oscillates between cheesy ezy-listening music and stultifying dullness.

It has 18 songs, almost none of them worth describing individually, and even if I did it would be “the one that sounds like ‘Welcome To The Machine’” and “the one that sounds like ‘Us And Them’”.

There’s a fascinating glimpse of an album themed around the band itself dying, as their sounds and touchstones are brought together and melt away, like a Floydian version of ‘Everywhere At The End Of Time’. We do not get that album though. We get instead an embarrassing meditation-and-wine-glass club soundtrack of schmalzy new age piffle.

There are a few bright spots – the band wakes up on ‘Allonsy’ which sports a rare sighting of an identifiable riff and has a nice, forward driving momentum, but it’s over in a couple of minutes and we’re back to more slow bluesy space-rock where Gilmour just does the same thing over and over again.

But perhaps worst of all is the final song, ‘Louder Than Words’, the only track which features lyrics. One of the most anti-climactic endings to a great band (perhaps it doesn’t quite take the crown from Emerson, Lake And Palmer) ‘Louder Than Words’ is the purest, uncut, wet fart in a crowded elevator. It features one of the worst choruses PF have ever done, Gilmour’s voice has lost its magic, and the lyric is piss poor. (Though you do get to hear Gilmour say “diss” and “bitch” in the opening line, revealing an unlikely Flava Flav influence.) And Rick Wright is not to be blamed for a second of it as he passed away in 2008.

Pink Floyd are a great, important band and believe me, I take no pleasure in seeing them off with a kick in the nuts. However, this lazy, shapeless release is not worth anyone’s time or money. More like The Endless Drivel.


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Matthew Kelly is the most important person in the music industry – the type of obsessive nerd without whom it would have no reason to produce box sets and nine-hour long documentaries.

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