Retro Review: Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

A Five Star Album About Greed And Loss

Retro Review: Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

Fair Use: Album cover by Hipgnosis, from Album Art Exchange

The biggest emotion is loss. Losing someone is never easy whether they’re in a better place or just walked out on you. Regardless, loss is an emotion everyone feels at some point in their life.

In January, 1975 Pink Floyd started recording their sequel to their album, Dark Side of The Moon, which was released in 1973 and was a global phenomenon because of how different it was for its time. They called it Wish You Were Here, and made it a concept album about the music industry.

This is a 5 song album that is also a 5 star album. All 5 songs are connected, whether it’s about the greedy suit and ties in the music industry or about a former band member, this rollercoaster of an album takes you on a journey of how Pink Floyd was treated in the music industry and how they miss their former guitarist and vocalist Syd Barrett.

Pink Floyd formed in 1964 by guitarist and vocalist Syd Barrett, bassist Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason, and keyboardist Richard Wright. In 1968 Barrett left the group due to his deteriorating health which was caused by heavy LSD use, so the band then hired guitarist David Gilmour. The biggest concept in the album was how the band misses Barrett, they wish[ed] he was there. Pink Floyd’s importance to music is that they popularized Psychedelic rock, a dreamy type of music during the late 60s.

The best song on the album is the title track “Wish You Were Here”. The emotion in the song gives listeners a sense of what the band was feeling during the recording process of the album. The weakest song on the album is quite hard to choose (considering the album is perfect), but in “Shine On You Crazy Diamond parts Vi-Ix”, the lack of lyrics brings the song down but still an excellent closing track to the album.

Compared to their groundbreaking 1973 release Dark Side of The Moon, Wish You Were Here has a lot more emotional meanings in the songs. Unlike Dark Side, Wish You Were Here tells a story of their former band member Syd Barrett but holds a deeper meaning a concept album dissing the music industry and how they chew and spit out young talent without getting to know them. An example of this is the line in track 3 “Have A Cigar”, when the executives wonder, “Oh by the way which ones Pink?”, showing that they can’t even tell the bands apart.

This might be a controversial opinion, but even though Dark Side sold more copies, Wish You Were Here has better songs on it. Also compared to music now, rock or anything in the same genre isn’t as popular. There are a few good rock bands that are new Like Greta Van Fleet, and Arctic Monkeys, but traditional rock and roll just isn’t as popular as new voices like Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, and Olivia Rodrigo.

A few good things about this album: it takes you on a musical journey through how the music industry treated the band and how they only cared about money. Like for example lyrics in part track 3 “Have A Cigar”

We’re just knocked out, we heard about the sell-out
You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people
We’re so happy we can hardly count,
Everybody else is just green, have you seen the chart?
It’s a hell of a start,
it could be made into a monster If we all pull together as a team

The songs are crafted with so much emotion you can almost feel what the band was feeling while they were recording it. During the recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios, Syd paid the band a visit, the band members didn’t believe it was him at first, but ironically he visited while they were recording “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”.

The split topics between the music industry is well organized through the album making it easy to know what’s going on. It starts out with a spacey type of keyboard sound of “Shine on You Crazy Diamond parts I-V” the song describing ego dissolution and a biographical song about Syd Barrett.

That leads to the sound of machines and a door opening the first song describing the music industry in “Welcome To The Machine” and how the music industry chews up and spits out young talent.

In track 3 you hear the opening riff for “Have A Cigar”, the second song aimed at the music industry, it tells how the suit and ties didn’t even get to know the band and all they cared about is money with the ending of the song sounding like it’s coming out of a radio which is saying all they care about is radio play, money, and ratings.

In the 4th track you hear an opening wind sound coming from Richard Wright’s keyboard in “Shine On You Crazy Diamond parts Vi-Ix” the second section of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, this track dives into how the band doesn’t know where Barrett is or if they will ever see him again.

Finally the closing track and the title track “Wish You Were Here” the song’s lyrics are filled with so much emotion and sadness because of how the band misses Barrett and wishes he was still with the band.

The album artwork features two people shaking hands with one of the guys on fire taking a jab at the music industry and how they don’t care about the artist. Storm Thorgerson, the artist who came up with the album art who also created the artwork for Dark Side of The Moon.

The only bad thing is that there are only 5 songs on the album. It would be a lot better if there were more songs.

Overall the album is near perfect from the music, to the meaning, and the emotion. This 5 star album that takes you on a journey of greed and loss, and if you’ve only ever listened to Dark Side of the Moon, you should really give this album a listen!