#2 - PINK FLOYD: "The Endless River"
Number two of 2014 is the final release from seminal Psychedelic pioneers, Pink Floyd. Many would disagree on my having this as the second best release of 2014, but I may be a little biased. Pink Floyd was a band that definitely took time to grow on me. Some albums in their vast catalog are still trying to work their way into my heart, but it hasn't been an issue for the output since Dark Side of the Moon. I even love "most" of their earlier material, with the exception of UmmaGumma. That one may take some time.
Another reason why some may be quick to judge this choice is that the album was essentially a creation from the cutting room floor of their 1994 album, "The Division Bell". The surviving members of the band, namely David Gilmour and Rick Mason, with the help of some very capable production help, were able to piece together excerpts of "The Division Bell" with some earlier recordings of the band, most significantly organ parts recorded early in their career by the late Richard Wright. What resulted is a mostly instrumental collage of what I love about Pink Floyd.... the passionate, emotion filled guitar work of David Gilmour, as well as a sonic soundscape that lets the mind wander.
The album does not feature any previously recorded (or present day recordings) work of founding member, Roger Waters, but that doesn't lose any points in my book. I have always been one that is drawn to the creative output of David Gilmour over that of Roger Waters. While I respect and admire the lyrical genius of Roger Waters, and his ability to create a story and tell it in song, I will always be more partial to the melody that Gilmour brought to the band. Think of the songs that Pink Floyd is best known for... "Comfortably Numb", "Wish You Were Here", "Shine On, You Crazy Diamond" and "Hey You"... and you will find Gilmour's imprint all over those songs... from co-writing to lending his amazing talent to not only the guitar work, but the fretless bass at the beginning of "Hey You".
Another reason why this album has reached the upper realms of my Best o' 2014 chart is the fact that all but one listen has been in the right state of mind, with the right atmosphere. My lovely wife Joan and I have a plethora of lights that accent our music listening experience and this album is one of the best experiences we've had while "watching the music". All but one song are instrumental and it is the perfect soundtrack for simply sitting and listening (or, in our case WATCHING) the music.
"Louder Than Words" (Official Video)