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Top Ten Pink Floyd Songs for Audiophiles

[ Photo: Pink Floyd ] The music of Pink Floyd is an audiophile’s wet dream. It is at once diverse, complex, intricate, rhythmic, mysterious, and downright heavy. The vastly inspiring soundscapes created by Pink Floyd are perfect for late nights spent working on the computer. Given a nice pair of high-quality headphones, the following hand-picked collection of Pink Floyd songs is sure to elevate your listening experience to the next level.

#10: Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
Over five minutes of pure sonic bliss. An excellent example of why Pink Floyd remains highly influential within experimental, electronic, and ambient music genres. Originally released on Saucerful of Secrets.
#09: Obscured by Clouds
The title track on Floyd’s second film score, Obscured by Clouds, is slow and heavy, like some murderous drama played backwards and in slow motion. Hard to believe they threw this down in 1972.
#08: The Narrow Way
This is a complex, deeply moving set of 3 songs from Ummagumma. The three tracks unfold in timeless mystery, invoking a mystical depression that is secretly explored and finally resolved in the final set. Even after listening to this song hundreds of times, I still cannot claim to fully comprehend its layered meanings. If you are familiar with this song, I would love to hear your interpretation.
#07: Astronomy Domine
There are several “official” recorded versions of Astronomy Domine (e.g., Ummagumma), each of them incredible in their own unique way. For me, the song’s brilliant intensity became all too real after hearing (and seeing) it played live by Pink Floyd in Vancouver, B.C. The arena was packed. After a long wait for the band to begin, the subtle sounds of a trickling stream slowly filled the atmosphere. Just as we began to trip out on the flowing waters, the stadium was ripped apart with the explosive opening sequence of Astronomy Domine. I almost crapped myself. Absolutely unforgettable.
#06: On the Run / Time
Many people have heard Dark Side of the Moon, but few know it well enough to discern the different songs, especially on the first half of the album. After opening with Speak to Me and Breathe, the musical voyage drifts into the surreal soundscape of On the Run, which suddenly bursts into the monumental track, Time. Although this entire four-song opening sequence is perhaps the Floyd’s finest offering, Time stands out as a highly profound, musically diverse meditation of perpetual relevance. Most essential.
#05: Shine on You Crazy Diamond
This song is broken up into two halves, each which is further divided into distinct segments (parts I – V and VI – IX). Taken in its entirety, Shine on is a timeless voyage that invites focus, inspires memory, and invokes emotion. To many, Shine on epitomizes the essence of the Pink Floyd sound. Originally released on Wish You Were Here.
#04: Another Brick in the Wall
Taken together, Pink Floyd’s three-piece set from The Wall is about as diverse and musically intense as it gets. The set opens with a quiet, subconscious contemplation, breaks into a chanting academic rock anthem (with a scorching, first-take Gilmour solo), and concludes with an existential resolution and transcendental momentum. As delivered, these songs provide context to The Wall while demonstrating the musical maturity of the band.
#03: Dogs / Pigs
If you are unfamiliar with Animals, you are missing out on some of Pink Floyd’s highest, heaviest, most intense music. On every level — musically, lyrically, emotionally — Animals will utterly peel your cap back. If you lack the time to sit through the entire recording, focus on either Pigs or Dogs (or both). You may not “get it” the first time (or three), but rest assured, it’s all there. Quality headphones absolutely mandatory.
#02: Unknown Song
A surprising number of Pink Floyd fans have never heard this brilliant song. Originally released on the relatively rare Zabriskie Point soundtrack, the Unknown Song is Pink Floyd flowing at their best, a timeless expression of instrumental bliss. Best if taken with zero stress, a relaxed mood, and an open mind.
#01: Fearless
This is my all-time favorite Pink Floyd song. I am moved to tears (in a good way) nearly every time I listen to it. The lyrics speak to me on many levels, and the music represents Floyd flowing together as one. I love the way the song ends with a chorus of “You’ll never walk alone.” — Very intense and inspiring. Originally released on Meddle.

Speak to me..

One of the great things about Pink Floyd is that they mean so many different things to so many different people. Everybody who listens to them does so for a different reason. And there are countless great Pink Floyd songs — some would even argue that they are all great. Still, highlighting a few favorites is a great way to help others discover some great music. So, for the Floyd heads out there, what are your favorites, and why? Top three? Top ten? Top ???

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85 responses to “Top Ten Pink Floyd Songs for Audiophiles”

  1. I don’t know about anyone else here but my favorite song is learning to fly.

    Although I do admit the middle of the song is just noise :-\

  2. Well, i’m glad there’s someone else out there who likes that album. A lot of people say that the David Gilmour Era was terrible, but they were amazing. They say it’s “not floyd”, whick I think is stupid. I think it is Floyd, just a different side of it which I am glad to hear. Don’t get me wrong, Roger Waters’ Era was awesome too, but it got kinda repetetive.

  3. Jeff Starr 2008/12/07 8:40 am

    @Drew17: Learning to Fly is one of my favorites and by far the best song on Momentary Lapse of Reason. I disagree that “the middle of the song is just noise,” however, as it seems to be a carefully assembled mix of various sounds involved with the process of flying an airplane..

    @Sage: I admit, Gilmour and the boys worked their tails off and produced an excellent album with Momentary Lapse of Reason, but it lacks the depth that Waters brings as well as the synergy achieved when the entire group plays together. Also, I disagree that Floyd with Waters is repetitive; on the contrary, I find most of non-Waters Floyd embarrassingly monotonous, shallow, and uninteresting.

  4. Really? I did’nt find anything monotonous about their last two albums. But I am glad you at least listened to the albums. Most people I know who favor the Waters Floyd won’t give it a chance. By the way, i’m not a Gilmour fanboy, just to clear things up. I personally like Pink Floyd the most ’75 and before.

  5. Jeff Starr 2008/12/14 9:00 am

    Floyd ’75 and before.. so basically you like everything except Animals, The Wall, and Final Cut. I agree that Final Cut is not for everyone, but The Wall is one of the all-time best albums by any band. I respect your opinions, but cannot understand how you could not like Animals — it is the heaviest, most intense album ever recorded by Pink Floyd. It blows my mind every time I listen to it..

  6. Well, I meant I liked Pink Floyd the most ’75 and before. I still like The Wall and all that stuff, I actually liked The Final Cut more than The Wall. And Animals was pretty good album as well.Sheep has a good concept to it. In fact, the whole album does.

  7. Jeff Starr 2008/12/15 6:45 pm

    @Sage: So what are three favorite Floyd albums of all time? If I were to guess, I would say probably Dark Side of the Moon, Meddle, and Saucerful of Secrets? Also, have you heard the Zabriskie Point singles? Ever seen Pink Floyd in concert?

  8. My top three Pink Floyd albums? Pretty much what you said. Sadly, A Saucerful of Secrets and Meddle don’t get enough credit as they should… Although if I could, might add The Final Cut and The Division Bell.

    It kills me to say it, but I have not seen Pink Floyd in concert, but I have seen videos of them (Delicate Sound of Thunder, The Wall, P*U*L*S*E) and they are FANTASTIC at live shows. Also, I have heard a few Zambriskie Point songs. I forget there actual names, but it was something like Unknown Song, Love Song, and Come Number 51, Your Time Is Up… or something like that.

  9. For me is incredible that some people are so fanatics that can’t listen “A momentary lapse of reason” and “the division bell” just because RW wasn’t part of it. Believe me, you are missing two terrific albums, and probably if the name of Roger just appears on any of it (without any changes), you will consider them amazing.
    The rest is about taste…

    • “High hopes”
    • “On the turning way”
    • “Run like hell”
    • “Money”
    • “Wots… uh the deal”
    • “The Fletcher memorial home”
    • “Pigs [Three Different Ones]”
    • “Fat old sun”
    • “One of these days”
    • “Astronomy domine”

    ..and all of the album “Wish you were here”

  10. Jeff Starr 2009/01/01 9:40 am

    @Daniel: That is an incredible list of Floyd hits! Wots.. Uh, the Deal is a long-time favorite of mine, as are the last five picks on your list. And, for what it’s worth, I certainly do think that the two Waterless (dry?) albums you mention are decent enough in their own right, but they lack not only the wit and angst of Waters’ influence, but also the unmistakable synergy created when the entire band plays together in cohesive fashion. This synergy can even be felt on Wish You Were Here, even though the band was admittedly miles apart mentally while producing the album. Momentary Lapse may have benefited from Waters’ absence, but Division Bell suffered from it. My opinion! ;)

  11. I prefer the “old style” Pink Floyd periods. The last three albums (I include “Delicate Sound of Thunder” too) seems to be something else from Pink Floyd sound, not bad, but different.
    They seems to be some kind of Gilmour albums, in some way just like the (great!) The Final Cut is for Waters :)
    And you know that “Water” is life! ;)

  12. I cannot say wich album is my best…
    I cannot decide! :)

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