on May 27, 2000
Considering the ridiculous expectations Pink Floyd had to reach after Dark Side of the Moon, it's hard to imagine that they could have done better than Wish You Were Here. Although far more personal than any other Floyd work to date, this album bristles with anger, self-loss, confusion, and hope. Finally confident in their own ability as artists, the group sought to tackle the demons of its troubled past. "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" is probably the best song Floyd ever produced, as it attempts to pay tribute to the group's original front man Syd Barrett, who was at one point the most important member of the band. This song also aims to make a public statement about Barrett's tragic decline into madness. The use of the word "piper" in reference to the subject of the song is a clear allusion to Barrett in that it conjures up memories of Floyd's debut album, "Piper at the Gates of Dawn," of which Barrett deserves most of the credit. The music perfectly suits the feeling of the song which, all at once, expresses its gratitude and appreciation for what Barrett did for the group, while also explaining why they couldn't have possibly continued making music with him as their leader. "Welcome to the Machine" can also be applied to Barrett, in that it tells the story of a child prodigy who was seemedly groomed from childhood to become a rock star (this isn't Barrett's exact story, but the common theme of a person not ready for fame and pressure is relevant). While "Machine" is certainly not one of Floyd's better pieces of music, it works well with the rest of the album. "Have a Cigar," on the other hand, is a superb song in which lyricist Roger Waters unleashes some of his most venemous sarcasm seen as of yet. The song is a speech by a fast-talking record executive out to make a quick buck on a hot new musical act. Waters was unable to lend his vocals to this one due to the fact that he had ruptured his voice while singing the demanding "Shine on." Guitarist David Gilmour wouldn't sing it either because he felt the lyrics were too complaining. So, the band brought outsider Roy Harper in to give a voice to Water's angst in an episode that foreshadowed the horrible tension that would exist between Waters and Gilmour during the making of subsequent albums. With "Wish You Were Here," though, the band experienced no such problems. The perfect contrast to "Cigar," "Wish You Were Here" was originally conceived as a poem by Waters. Gilmour then wrote a great piece of music to compliment Water's words, and an instant Pink Floyd classic was born. This song also marks the first time Waters would use the group's music to make a personal inventory of his own character. Though the words are relatable to Barrett, this is more about the absence of one's better nature. What Waters is saying here is that he has become too controlling and too meglomaniacal and wishes to make a quick return to his older, better self. Most Floyd fans (and even non-fans) would agree that the result of the lyricist's soul-searching is one of Floyd's most beautiful ballads. The album is rounded out well by the second version of "Shine on." This album is clearly not as strong as Dark Side of the Moon, but then again, what is? Wish You Were Here is a great album, however, and should be considered among the best 20 or 25 in rock history. The album flows remarkably well and, though most of the songs stand out well all by themselves, their effect when put together is a truly rewarding product, much like the songs on Dark Side.
on November 8, 2011
I already give the original album 5 stars and it's been reviewed a zillion times. The interest here is in the 2nd disc. After hearing a few bootlegs from the Wish You Were Here tour over the years, I'm already familiar with the 2 tracks `Raving & Drooling' & `You've Got To Be Crazy', which were renamed when they finally appeared on the Animals album released in 1977. To me, the intensity and energy of those tracks performed live on the WYWH tour were the highlights of that tour. This live recording of Shine, Raving & Crazy is amazing. The performances are top-notch and the audio is so clean and fresh to the ears - you can't beat this for a live 1974 recording. I wasn't sure of what to expect because of some live discs I've heard included in Deluxe albums released by other artists that were hardly better than an average bootleg. This will blow you away - turn it up!!
Wine Glasses - can't tell you much about it except that it doesn't offend the ears.
The alternate versions of Have a Cigar & Wish You Were Here are of real interest for any hardcore fan.
Roger & the boys supply the vocals on this version of Have a Cigar. Waters didn't think his vocals were right for this track at the time. Roy Harper happened to be recording an album at the same studios at the time, so Floyd asked him for his assistance for the original album version.
The actual structure of Wish You Were Here is different, let alone a different lead at the start from Gilmour. Add to that the violin solo played by French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli up high in the mix as a lead instrument, and you have something very different from the familiar version.
Pros and Cons of disc 2:
Pros: the whole of disc 2 is what a lot of us fans have prayed for.
Cons: not enough live material. It would've been awesome to have the whole Wembley gig, warts and all.
on February 5, 2001
The biggest problem with Pink Floyd is that they aren't radio friendly (and, in Waters's solo albums, downright hostile). Besides Dark Side of the Moon and maybe some of The Wall, most of the songs are either too long, too deep or just not "catchy" enough for modern radio. The sad thing about this is that, although both great abums, these are by no means Floyd's best. "So, what is?" I hear you asking. Well, this is it. "Wish You Were Here" is the magnum opus, the absolute epitome of that which is Pink Floyd. And here's why:
Pink Floyd started out under the direction of a man named Syd Barrett. Unfortunately, soon after the band's first album ("Piper at the Gates of Dawn") came out, Syd started heavily experimenting with drugs. As he became more and more unstable, the rest of the group was forced to let him go so that he could seek the mental help that he desperately needed. Soon afterward the band's bassist, Roger Waters, took over. Roger followed in the similiar vein of long, meaningful songs; but inserted a bit more energy and occasionally a few extremely cynical commentaries. After the commercial success of Dark Side, Pink Floyd as a group became wary of moulding into the shape of the 5 minute singles band that Dark Side seemed to suggest. So, for their next outing Roger decided that he would take Floyd back to their roots, and subsequentely wrote "Wish You Were Here", an ode to the band's original frontman Syd.
While by no means the commercial success that Dark Side was, WYWH was pure Pink Floyd. Featuring a single 25 minute long song (Shine on You Crazy Diamond pts 1&2) and a few 5-8 minute long ones, this album was far closer to what longtime Pink Floyd fans were used to. The first song besides Shine On is "Welcome to the Machine", a song about the music industry and how focused it seems on simply pumping out premade hits, whether they be the all-too familiar boy bands or the other side of the spectrum, the more varied appearing but still preformatted heavy metal and punk bands (from the song: "You bought a guitar to punish your Ma; you didn't like school, and you know you're nobody's fool"). The next one is "Have a Cigar", a song from the point of view of a music company executive trying to buddy up to the band that he thinks will make him millions, while showing that he has no actual deep interest in them beyond their monetary income (from the song: "And by the way, which one's Pink?"). The last of the shorter songs, and by far the best, is the title song "Wish You Were Here". This song features a rare tear-bringing solos by Gilmour on an acoustic guitar. This song is by far one of the most heartfelt songs ever written by Pink Floyd, an honest, heartfelt message to Syd (from the song: "How I wish, how I wish you were here. We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year. Rinning over the same old ground. What have found? The same old fears, wish you were here."). Then, of course, there is "Shine On", a song about perserverence throughout the hardships of life.
Musically, the album is just as incredible as the lyrics. It contains stunning synth compositions in "Shine On", incredible bass riffs (far superior to "Money") in "Have a Cigar", and heartstring pulling acoustics in "Wish You Were Here". Floyd is in better than top form here, and show just why they're one of the greatest bands ever.
Well, to wrap things up, I can say nothing better than to take me on faith and get this album. .... Rock has it's own unsung heroes, and none greater than "Wish You Were Here".
"Come on you raver, you seer of visions, come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner and shine!"
on October 10, 2007
If DARK SIDE is about insanity, and ANIMALS and THE WALL is Waters working out his own neurosis brought on by fame, WISH YOU WERE HERE could be the most sentimental thing the band ever recorded.
After DARK SIDE broke in 1973, the band surely must have felt the pressure to record that monster's followup. So what did they do in light of all the success they recieved? Why, revisit their roots of course, and issue a concept album about the loss of their first lead singer. And while "concept album" has so many negative connotations, or at least pretension, self-important "art", WISH YOU WERE HERE is none of these things. While certainly self-styled as a tribute, it doesn't get as bogged down in its "concept" as THE WALL, and is truly one of Pink Floyd's most personal, most honest albums that the band ever cut.
WISH YOU WERE HERE returns to the longer song format dominant on the earlier PF records. At only five songs, two of them take up around 27 minutes of the album's 40 minute running time.
Lyrically, WISH YOU WERE HERE is primarily a tribute to the band's now long departed lead singer, Syd Barrett. His story is well known. He had a long history of mental illness, peaked with the Floyd's first album PIPER AT THE GATES OF DOWN, did some singles and two unreleased songs (Scream Thy Last Scream and Vegetable Man), and had some participation on SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS. After that, Barrett was out and Gilmour was in full time. Barrett then went on to release two solo albums (Madcap Laughs and Opal), and then, like Graham Parsons and Nick Drake, his career was cut tragically short. While the other two died, Syd Barrett became a recluse, and for the last thirty plus years of his life (he died summer 2006) lived as a recluse with his sister in England (my mother country).
Much of the remorse and sorrow on WISH YOU WERE HERE is regarding Barrett's fate. Here's a man who was in Pink Floyd, one of the biggest bands ever, and now he's gone. The Illness took over. Some of Waters' most poignant lines come from the title cut, especially the lines about trading a walkon part in the war for a lead role in the cage, meaning he left fame and rock life to become something much more reclusive.
As far as being a followup to DARK SIDE, though there aren't that actual many songs on WISH YOU WERE HERE, there is some great aural qualities. "Welcome to the Machine" really points the way to Waters' paranoia that would culminate in ANIMALS and THE WALL. "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", both parts, is vintage Pink Floyd, and some of the best Floyd around. Great instrumentals, great lyrics, heart-felt tribute to Barrett. "Have a Cigar", sung by Roy Harper (you Led Zeppelin fans would now him by the song off LED ZEPPELIN III, "Hats Off To Roy Harper"), is all about the music business, and how clueless record executives can be in regards to the bands their companies represent. Of course, I'm referring to the classic question of which person in the band is named Pink Floyd, not realising that's the name of the band, not a person in the band. Deep respect indeed.
Ironically enough, Syd Barrett showed up for an afternoon in 1975 during the recording of this album. He listened to the band play "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". He was fat and bald, and the band didn't recognize him. His appearance really shook everyone up.
For me, Strom Thorenson's cover art truly captures the spirit of the album. The man, representative of the band, is shaking the truly incendary man's hand. The band must continue on, and though the other man is on fire and a brilliant star, he simply cannot continue on their world. And so they bid adieu.
Overall, this is one of Pink Floyd's better post DARK albums, and serves as a great followup to a fantastic album. It's a nice concept album, and a very fitting tribute to one of rock's great lost icons, Syd Barret. We all wish you were here Syd.
I've also written a review for The Dark Side Of The Moon - Immersion Box Set set and am continuing this review in a similar vein.
Wish You Were Here (Immersion) brings together every important piece of the WYWH album. You have the 2011 remastered audio CD. Also included is a live CD (previously unreleased legally). The third disc is a DVD-Audio disc which includes the 5.1 surround mix from 2009, the 1975 Quad Mix, the 2011 stereo remaster in LPCM and two more versions of the multichannel audio in case your system can't support the higher bit rates of the other two versions. The fourth disc is the visual material (with LPCM stereo and 5.1); these are the "concert films" that played behind the band when they performed in 1975. This DVD also includes a 6 minute Storm Thorgessoon film.
The reason for me to purchase the set, however, is all on disc 5. You have all the audio and visual content from the 2 DVDs, however you get the quad and the 5.1 mix, along with the newly remastered (2011) stereo mix, in lossless with 96 Khz sampling rates. I'm not the same quality of fan as those that know every note of every song, so if you think it might be changed in a way you won't like, try to find someone who will let you listen first. It is remastered, not remixed as commenter states below and the remastering is subtle at best (this is a good thing).
For those of you familiar with Pleazurize Music's dynamic range tool (check it out on Google please), here are the numbers for Disc 1 (2011 remaster):
2011 Disc 1 - DR 12
1984 - DR 12
1992 - DR 12
2007 - DR 13 (this was from the Oh By The Way-Box according to the unofficial Dynamic Range Database)
So anyone who is worried about them screwing up the dynamic range on this to go for the artificial loudness of current day releases, FEAR NOT. This is just as good as, at the very least, the original CD release in 1984. The only thing with a better DR is the Oh By The Way Box, and I'm not sure the 1 level of difference would be worth buying the box for, but I leave that up to you).
For those wondering about the Dynamic Range on the LIVE CD (Disc 2), it comes out as DR 10. Since there isn't anything to compare it to unless you have a bootleg, I don't know if the number is meaningful. It certainly sounds good to me.
The physical extras are, as was the case with TDSotM, pretty much worthless. The books are pretty nice, but they could have been consolidated to a single book. The scarf won't keep you warm. The marbles this time out are completely clear, and again, seem pretty meaningless over all. I don't really care about the ticket stubs either. I do like the artwork on the coasters (anyone that pays the $120 for this set and uses the coasters must have lost their marbles, and not the ones in the box, if you know what I mean).
They did, however, fix a HUGE ISSUE from TDSotM box set. While the cardboard box still has hubs for 4 of the 5 discs, instead of shipping them to you on these hubs, they've kindly and smartly placed them in chintzy (but serviceable) cardboard sleeves so that you can place them on the hubs (or not) if you so desire. This will DEFINITELY cut back on the scratched discs issues from the previous TDSotM set. The Blu Ray disc still comes housed in another sleeve however and only 4 of the 5 discs can be used on the hubs on the bottom of the box. Not sure how they'd fix that for The Wall Immersion set coming next year.
So just as with TDSotM, the biggest reason to buy this is for the exceptional lossless audio on the Blu Ray. Since there is no SACD available for the quad or 5.1 mix, if you only have a DVD player it might still be worth picking this up for the unique experience afforded by multichannel audio. Unlike many of the quad mixes from the time, this one actually uses the rear channels to make for a unique experience that adds, not detracts, from the complete experience.
I still wish there was a way to treat the Blu Ray like a CD in that you wouldn't have to turn on the TV to use it, but they didn't license Pure Audio (Blu Ray's answer to CD like functionality). Not a huge deal and this comment did NOT affect my star rating of the set.
I gave this 4 stars because the only thing most people want is the music. The physical extras are OK (if you even care about them), but in reality not something anyone is likely to do much with at all. So ~$120 for the set, when all most people want is the audio, is high. If there were this Immersion set and another of just the discs and a booklet for $60, that $60 set would be where my money would have been spent. Since that set doesn't exist and this is the only way to get the multichannel and the lossless versions of the album, I bought this set.
Still, all told, a pretty high quality release over all.
on November 12, 2011
Seems like people have been staying away from commenting on this record after the DSOTM fiasco. Since I blasted that release, I feel that it is fair to give praise if praise is due.
My copy of this release is of much higher quality than the Immersion Series release of DSOTM. I went through two Amazon copies of that and gave up. Wish You Were Here comes in a black plastic resealable bag with the original album cover inside. The record itself is in a pink poly sleeve, not a paper sleeve like DSOTM. The quality of the vinyl and pressing is immaculate. The edge of the record is smooth and there are no physical marks on the vinyl. I just listened to both sides all the way through and heard NO ticks, pops, etc. This is a very nice pressing, one of the best newer pressings of any record I've recently purchased. How this high quality can be 180 degrees from the poor effort of DSOTM escapes me. Perhaps EMI United States ditched the pressing plant of the US version of DSOTM and used the European plant after hearing all the negative comments? (An Amazon user suggested European pressings of DSOTM for the Immersion Series were better than the US versions, but I have yet to buy a European version to verify that.) If anybody has an answer, please comment.
About the sound quality: I mentioned the lack of surface noise. I do not have any other vinyl copies to compare this to. However, I can say that the dynamics are incredible. I have the volume turned up to hear the detail in the low-level passages, but the dynamic peaks make this dangerous! I have not heard detail or dynamics like this in either my old CD copy or the Sony Super Bit Mapping gold CD. (Played back on a Sony SCD-1 player.)
Some DSOTM comments hated on audiophiles for being so negative about the DSOTM Immersion release sound quality. I don't understand why. These records cost $30 retail. To me, that is not a trivial amount of money. Furthermore, Capitol/EMI is hyping up these releases as the latest and greatest. Supposedly the 30th Anniversary vinyl edition of DSOTM was supposed to be the greatest. When that went out of print, its price went up. A month or so later, the Immersion series was announced and was suggested to be the best yet. If you talk the talk, you better walk the walk.
This record was cleaned on a VPI HW-16.5 wet/vacuum cleaner with L'Art du Son solution. Warning: the center label of this Wish You Were Here release seems to be very sensitive to wetness. Be especially careful to not splash any solution on the label.
on January 10, 2012
Pink Floyd's ninth studio album entitled Wish You Were Here was originally released in September of 1975.
Rather than give review for the material (see my reviews of the Discovery, Experience and Immersion Versions on why I love the album so much), I will review the Hybrid SACD.
Now as part of the ongoing Why Pink Floyd? catalog overhaul, Wish You Were Here is finally released on the superb Hybrid SACD format (the Discovery, Experience and Immersion editions all have reviews). This Hybrid SACD had been in the making since 2003 and with various projects (like the 2004 reissues of The Final Cut and 2007 reissue of The Piper At the Gates of Dawn, co-founder/drummer Nick Mason's book on the band Inside Out, the one-off reunion of the classic lineup at Live 8 in 2005, the release of singer/guitarist/songwriter David Gilmour's On an Island album and tour in 2006 (which spawned the Remember That Night DVD and Live in Gdansk album respectively), co-founder singer/bass player/lyricist Roger Waters releasing his opera Ca Ira and touring for both Dark Side Of the Moon and The Wall). They also had to contend with the deaths of longtime Pink Floyd manager Steve O'Rourke in 2003 followed by co-founder/original guitarist/singer/songwriter Syd Barrett in 2006 and co-founder/keyboard player/songwriter/occasional singer Richard Wright in 2008. Furthermore, the band also sued its longtime label EMI (which the band won the case) left many to wonder, would the Hybrid SACD ever be released in the light of the rise of the single download MP3 generation and illegal downloading that hit the music scene since the release of the Hybrid SACD of The Dark Side of the Moon in 2003. Then in 2011, as part of the Why Pink Floyd? campaign, the Wish You Were Here Hybrid SACD was finally released this past November in conjunction with a audiophile company called Acoustic Sounds. How does it compare to the original mix, read ahead.
Listening to this new surround sound mix is almost like hearing a new album, in fact I heard some extra instrumentation which wasn't on either the original 1975 mix of the album or the 1970's attempt at surround sound known as Quadraphonic. The vocals sound crisp and cleaner than on the Quad mix ("Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5)" in particular) but doesn't either strip away from the original mix or compress the mix like some reissued/remixed albums are these days (criminal offenders being the Genesis catalog and some of The Who catalog). Spoiler alert : If you listen to the new surround sound mix carefully, you can hear bits of Stephane Grapelli's violin at the end of the title cut perfectly clear whilst the wind swirls at the end plus some extra guitar parts on "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX)" and also some other surprises without ruining the feel of the original album (I don't want to give more away). The sound effects on the Surround Sound mix jump out at you (especially on "Welcome to the Machine" and "Have a Cigar"). James Guthrie and Joel Plante did justice to this project. The CD layer is the 2011 remaster with a slightly reduced running time and shortening "Welcome to the Machine"'s ending with the last guy laughing as the ping-pong thing goes to merge it together (I think it was done to synch with the surround sound mix of the album but I cannot gripe).
Also the Hybrid SACD packaging on Wish You Were Here is nothing short of amazing. Packaged in a hard-cover book type of packaging with a small booklet of credits and lyrics, six postcards and also the disc housed nicely with a jewel case back (so the disc won't get scratched nor destroyed).
The Hybrid SACD may be expensive but (from what I also hear) is very limited BUT IS WELL WORTH IT! BUY NOW!
on January 10, 2012
I've been waiting for "Wish You Were Here" in 5.1 since I first bought an SACD player! This is a thoroughly amazing surround mix. I thought I knew every note of this album; now I'm hearing stuff like double-tracked guitar riffs that I never even knew were there.
If you love Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here, and surround-sound, this is a no-brainer. It's a bit pricey, but it's basically a hardcover book (the width of a CD case and a bit taller), a bunch of extras that were in the original LP release, and the disc itself. Well worth every penny - get it while you can.
**Spoiler alert for people who really know this album - the radio comes out of the right rear speaker....
on November 8, 2011
I won't waste your time critiquing the album,if you're considering dropping this kind of money on it, you already know how brilliant it is. Like the DSOTM Immersion, I bought this for the Quad and 5.1 mixes. In the description I read of this set, there was no mention of the quad mix on the Blu-ray disk. Fear not, it is on there. I find the quad mixes of both Immersions and the recent Aqualung Anniversary addition to be fantastic. I don't mean to diminish the 5.1 mixes they are great as well, it's just a personal preference. You really get a better appreciation for the musical arrangement in multi channel. There is a lot more here musically when you listen in quad or 5.1. Bottom line, if you already love multi channel music or are interested in an introduction to it, this might be the perfect opportunity. Yes, it's pricey and that may turn away a lot of casual fans of Floyd but, if you have a room full of speakers a decent multi channel decoder and some disposable cash, you will enjoy this. You get some extra stuff, book, marbles(why?),coasters (again why?)etc. In the grand scale of things, this costs about the same as two tanks of gas but, you'll have it forever.
on October 10, 2002
Yes, you read that right. Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" is not only their best album but it is also the best of the decade. Rating just above Zepplin's "Houses of the Holy". It is perfect, ever song, the sound and tempo of the album fit together so well. They reached their artistic peak with Wish You Were Here. Shine On Your Crazy Diamonds and the title track, both are haunting ode's to Syd Barret, shows the strength of both Waters and Gilmours musical abillities. Water's painfully sad lyrics with Gilmours best guitar work ever, making the songs so personal. You feel the bands love for their ex-bandmate and friend. The other 2 songs on the album are directed at the pitfalls of the music industry as a whole. I feel the album is a coming to terms with the bands success, even though this would be the last true album Pink Floyd would ever record together as a complete band. They had 5 classic LP's in the 70's, and this middle one is the jewel in the crown.