1977 was an interesting year. It was the year that The Sex Pistols released ‘Never Mind The Bollocks…’ and bloated corporate rock was blown away forever…allegedly. Just to underline the brutal military coup undertaken by Punk, Johnny Rotten sported a lurid ‘I hate Pink Floyd’ T-shirt and dared anyone to defend the old proggers.
1977 was also the year that the said Pink Floyd released ‘Animals’ and pigs flew over Battersea Power Station. History shows that I bought and enjoyed both albums in equal measure in direct contravention of the Us And Them – Choose Your Side of the Fence Act 1976. You see, musical genres never allow for this sort of thing. Backed up by the music press with axes to grind, nobody with any street cred to protect was allowed to like, well, just music, you had to choose. I definitely felt aligned with the energy that the New Wave brought and to a certain extent agreed that the mid-seventies needed a shake-up, but I still liked some of the bands that were in the firing line so I was a fence-sitter with interests in both camps – it gave you more options.
The reason for my musings on this interesting juxtaposition of styles has been brought about by the purchase of the Pink Floyd Discovery Box Set (all 14 studio albums remastered in a natty box). Whilst I have many of the Floyd’s albums on vinyl, I never converted them to CD and have never owned, or even listened to, many of their back catalogue so a cheap eBay purchase seemed like the answer. So here I am in 2012 listening to the Soundtrack album, ‘Obscured by Clouds’ (excellent) and ‘The Final Cut’ (dreadful) for the first time, well, ever.
But more particularly, I have been listening to ‘Animals’, an album that I have not set on the old turntable since the 80s and my overriding impression is not one of bloated self indulgence, but one of anger. It is a very angry album indeed, driven by Roger Waters various neuroses. Which is somewhat ironic, for the punk movement that sought to replace the established bands was based almost entirely on anger. Yet now by comparison, ‘Never Mind The Bollocks…’ sounds a little tame and its ‘anger’ just false political posturing. On the other hand, the anger displayed on ‘Animals’ is very real. The vitriol pouring from ‘Sheep’ and in particular, ‘Pigs’ reeks of a genuine hatred (especially against TV clean-up campaigner, Mary Whitehouse). Frankly I find Waters far more scary that Rotten, and that’s before you get to Gilmore’s final solo on ‘Pigs’ which slashes at you like broken glass.
Yet, and this is the cruncher, I still find myself in the same position that I was 35 years ago and that is that really, I still like both of them.