The debate on the current Floyd centers on the band's use of hired guns, songwriting professionals brought in to shore up a sound that otherwise... Read More
might not be Pink Floyd enough. What makes this criticism superfluous is that much of the great music of rock & roll has been written, or augmented, by outside talents. For every Lennon-McCartney or Prince, there have been 10 examples like Leiber and Stoller, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Holland-Dozier-Holland or Phil Spector. It should concern no one too much that in the absence of Roger Waters, who had been Pink Floyd's chief songwriter, the band sought outside help.
What is of concern is whether the music of the post-Waters Pink Floyd stands up to the band's best work The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall and Meddle. Unfortunately, A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and the live Delicate Sound of Thunder (1988) were only sporadically successful at achieving the stunning aural power of Pink Floyd's previous work. Their new album, The Division Bell, ironically enough, seems to cry out for someone with an overriding zeal and passion in short, a nettlesome, overbearing visionary like Roger Waters.
The Division Bell is a quieter, more atmospheric and contemplative Pink Floyd, with lyrics so opaque and inert one cannot hope to plumb their meaning. Of course, no Pink Floyd album would be complete without a concept, and The Division Bell seems to be about that old standby failure to communicate. Even through the vagueness of the lyrics, one gets the feeling the band is firing broadsides at Waters. On "Lost for Words," for example, David Gilmour sings: "So I open my door to my enemies/And I ask could we wipe the slate clean/But they tell me to please go fuck myself/You know you just can't win." And so the war continues.
The album also gives off the uncomfortable whiff of middle-age and graying sensibilities. Gilmour, who has become Pink Floyd's de facto leader, in particular seems bored or dispirited. His guitar solos were once the band's centerpieces, as articulate, melodic and well-defined as any in rock. No longer. He now has settled into rambling, indistinct asides that are as forgettable as they used to be indelible. Only on "What Do You Want From Me" does Gilmour sound like he cares.
Another problem with the album is its length. At more than an hour, it is too long and quickly exhausts its few fresh ideas. The band seems to be padding at every opportunity. Consequently, The Divis