Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” single, “Time” was a hit on its initial release in 1973, and has since become an iconic staple of the band’s legacy. As it’s a song that we’re still talking about today, you could say it was aptly named.
This week we’re going to be bouncing back and forth a bit between new contemporary releases and classic favorites. Yesterday, we looked at MIKA’s “Tiny Love” from his recently released fifth album, “My Name Is Michael Holbrook”. Rest assured, we’re only taking a quick detour today. We’ll be back with another new song tomorrow.
So why are we talking about Pink Floyd today anyway? Well, thirty-one years ago to the day, “The Dark Side of the Moon” finally left Billboard’s Hot 200 Album Chart after a record breaking 741 weeks. That record remains unbroken. So before we get into our song of the day, let’s first take a minute to remember the impact of the iconic album.
The Dark Side of the Moon
“The Dark Side of the Moon” was Pink Floyd’s eighth studio album, and was released in 1973. Of all the records that Pink Floyd produced over the course of their career, it was arguably the most accessible. With the longest song on the album under eight minutes long, “The Dark Side of the Moon” is also the closest album to pop that Pink Floyd ever released.
While the most recognizable aspects of “The Dark Side of the Moon” according to the mainstream are its iconic album artwork and the fact that you can watch it synced up with “The Wizard of Oz”, it’s overall concept and impact may go overlooked more often than not.
Even those who have listened to the album multiple times might miss the core of the concept behind “The Dark Side of the Moon”. This is probably because it’s an album whose concept attempts to encompass life itself, with major themes including greed, conflict, death, mental illness, and the passage of time. Which brings us to our song of the day.
Even though it’s one of Pink Floyd’s most popular and well known songs, “Time” pulls no punches by starting off with an intentionally jarring intro. The first thirty seconds of the song are filled with the sound of clanging clocks and alarms, bringing attention to the song’s theme. The next two minutes or so of “Time” are spent building up the atmosphere with a combination of drums, droning guitar, and tinkling keyboard.
When the verse kicks in, it does so with an energy and intensity that rewards the two minutes of waiting. The chords in the verse fall into the key of F# minor, rotating between F# minor, A major, and E major. The bridge includes a thicker arrangement with a chorus of background singers, and the chords D major seventh and A major seventh.
David Gilmour’s guitar work throughout the entire song is also worth mentioning, especially the solo that comes in right after the first bridge section and plays over the verse and bridge progressions. Keeping in theme, he uses a delay effect on his guitar for the sweeping, soulful solo that can’t be described in words. It’s one of my favorite solos of all time, and one that I think everyone should hear at least once.
The last section of “Time” includes a “Breath” reprise, and is just another example of how carefully crafted not only this song was, but the entire album itself.
The lyrics in “Time” refer to, you guessed it, time. We’ll only be including two stanzas that seem to capture the essence of the song.
“Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.”
“So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.”
In these verses, Pink Floyd hit on a universal realization of life that everyone goes through at some point. They capture both the lackadaisical attitude toward time during youth, as well as the shift that happens later on in life, when you realize that your time on earth is limited.
I hope you enjoyed listening to and learning a bit about Pink Floyd’s “Time”. Hopefully this turned some people on to it who hadn’t heard it before. Now that we’ve got our classic song out of the way, we’ll be back tomorrow with a new one to enjoy.