Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

The Division Bell – Pink Floyd [#378]

on August 16, 2015

DIRTY+DANCINGThe Division Bell – Pink Floyd

Steelrattus here again, with the last of my guest posts in this seven day run. And a great album to finish on, coincidentally, for me at least.

The Division Bell is the second of the two albums that I actually know quite well, or at least I’ve listened to it a lot. It’s another album that dates back to my time at university, Surrey University to be specific. <Anecdote>Along with the aforementioned wonderful UniversityRichard™ who introduced me to lots of music, I had another friend called Simon Levy. I will admit I was a bit of a twat towards Simon, to begin with. I felt like Simon was trying to muscle in on the small clique I was a member of, and being of low self esteem I didn’t like it, and didn’t really know better. But despite the frosty start I did eventually warm to Simon. Much like Richard he was a “music pusher”, albeit on a much smaller scale. Simon only pushed me towards two artists, Pink Floyd and Roger Waters. I remember Richard being quite wary of Pink Floyd, specifically The Wall, for which he’d give me a there-be-dragons-here look when I mentioned it. Anyway, I consumed the tapes that Simon recorded for me, and enjoyed them. I graduated in 1995, and The Division Bell was released in 1994, so it just crept in prior to the end of my degree.</Anecdote> To this day I remain a definite Pink Floyd and Roger Waters fan, with a caveat. I’ve been lucky enough to see The Wall live, twice, and I now have a much better understanding of Richard’s there-be-dragons-here look; it’s a hard hitting album if you grapple with its story. I also have a debt of thanks to Simon for the introduction, but sadly along with being an idiot when I first met him I was also an idiot and lost touch with him post-university, and have never been able to find him since to at least say, “thanks… and sorry”.

The Division Bell comes from what I describe as third generation Pink Floyd – I’m not sure if these are official designations, but they work for me. I see first generation Floyd as their early 60s psychedelic stuff with Syd Barrett, and that’s where the caveat comes in because I don’t like this era at all. Second generation Floyd I identify with Barrett’s departure, although I don’t think they hit their stride until Dark Side of the Moon. Third generation Floyd follows the departure of Roger Waters in 1985. There have only been three albums post-Waters, of which this is one. The music from this phase can be very… nice, but the albums lack the bite that Waters added to varying degrees, and at times feels they feel positively anaemic.  I do enjoy both A Momentary Lapse of Reason, the first of the albums without Waters released in 1987, and The Division Bell, even though they’re both a mixed bag. I even have a karaoke version of Coming to Life, from The Division Bell, but it’s bloody hard to sing.

An interesting fact that I didn’t know is that the album name was suggested by Douglas Adams, apparently over dinner and in return for a donation to his favourite charity. It can’t have required much effort though as it was a lyric from one of the tracks on the album, High Hopes.

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