Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Album: A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

An album that I never actually purchased. At the time of its release, I was of mixed feelings. On the one hand, I didn't like the idea of David Gilmour calling his group Pink Floyd when it no longer had Roger Waters in it. On the other hand, I like Gilmour's music from a composition standpoint; I also like his voice and his guitar playing. The first time I saw the video for "Learning to Fly" I stood still in quiet mesmerization for the whole thing. "Terminal Frost" is a cool instrumental, and another saxophone song.

David Gilmour also always gets extra points from me because he helped Kate Bush get started way back when.

I made this copy tape from a CD that belonged to my house-mate (for a short time during the late 80s) who goes by the nom de internet of Babel and who has a blog called The Absurd Good News Network. I'm pretty sure that's who I copied it from, anyway.

Not the best Pink Floyd album, in my opinion, but probably the best from the post-Floyd David Gilmour Band. There are a couple of points that still bother me, for example, I cringe every time I hear that line "the hand of fate seemed to fit just like a glove" from "One Slip." It makes me wonder if Gilmour was taking lyric-writing lessons from Greg Lake. And when I heard someone on the radio refer to Gilmour a few months ago as "the voice of Pink Floyd" I had to just grit my teeth.

Pink Floyd's influence (that is, the Waters-era PF) is felt not only in rock music, it has floated across multiple genres. Just try listening to Kitaro playing the guitar and see if you can't hear some Pink Floyd in there.

But I know that using the Pink Floyd name was good marketing; as a shameless capitalist myself I can't really hold it against him. Unless you're harder-core than I am and you really hold a grudge against Gilmour from the fallout of the Gilmour/Waters feud, it's worth adding to your collection.

I never bothered following them after this. The old albums are still worth listening to again and again, and I doubt if Gilmour will ever come up with anything on his own that can compare with them.


  1. Strange that you would post about this album; I pulled it out and listened to it about 3 days ago for the first time in a while. That "hand in glove" lyric always pains me as well,( you can almost hear the sarcastic laughter of Roger Waters when listening to it). I too was more on Waters' side during the great Fallout; the alchemy of Gilmour's voice and guitar + Waters' conceptual vision seemed to be the essence of great Floyd, and to call the fragmented remainder of the band Pink Floyd seemed the rock equivalent of building a 401K retirement fund. While each man has produced some good stuff on their own, they clearly miss each other's influence and we are the sad recipients of that loss. The only thing more snoozy than Gilmour's recent "on an Island" is waters' stab at an opera. Waters' once sly and stinging political acuity has turned to on-the-nose bombast, and Gilmour's lyrics seem to be created to have something to say while the music is playing. Pity...

  2. Oh, and I wanted to say that on the Momentary Lapse album the song "On the Turning Away", while lyrically in the same schmaltzy family as "Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Collins, or "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby, has a really exceptional guitar solo in it!

  3. That is a good guitar solo. However, when I hear that song, I mostly hear him ripping off "The Wall."