‘The Endless River’ Keeping Pink Floyd Viable All These Years Later

There was almost 20 years between Pink Floyd albums. Fans think that was too far between times.

Forbes is reporting that Pink Floyd’s current release, The Endless River, has found both fan appreciation and critical acclaim, much like their last album, 1994’s The Division Bell. The current Pink Floyd line-up, guitarist and vocals David Gilmour, drummer Nick Mason, and, posthumously, keyboardist Richard Wright, have put together an album that released at number one in Denmark, France, Ireland, Israel, and Italy. The album also broke Amazon’s pre-order sales record.

Many attribute the sales surge to both Gilmour and Mason repeatedly saying that The Endless River will be the last collaborative Pink Floyd album to be released. Many fans consider the album an homage to Wright, who passed away from cancer in 2008. Yet, with all this, critics are also enjoying the album. Though Pink Floyd has never been a stranger to popularity from both fans and critics, it’s rather surprising that an album that contains essentially half of the original Pink Floyd band members would fare so well.

The biggest reason is that Gilmour and Mason, in paying tribute to Wright, as well as the band’s past, struck onto a theme within the album and continued it throughout. The album is almost bereft of hooks, and carries few songs. Pink Floyd also stayed true to their musicianship, keeping true to their minimoog days and not succumbing to the autotune or oversynthesizing that is so prevalent in today’s music.

The Spectrum is reporting that The Endless River is more than a tribute to Wright — more like a working tribute. Much of the material was conceived and recorded during the making of The Division Bell, and Wright has been given writing credit on 11 of the 18 songs on the album.

One such song, “Autumn ’68,” has Gilmour playing guitar at the Royal Albert Hall with Wright playing the pipe organ there, giving the song a cathedral-sounding vibe.

Another theme Pink Floyd uses is the theme of talking, or, more precisely, lack of talking. Most of the tracks are instrumentals, but those that have lyrics are poignant, as well. As with The Division Bell’s first song, “Keep Talking,” The Endless River’s “Talkin’ Hawkin'” contains different samples of the electronic voice of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking. Pink Floyd’s battle without words continue with the songs “The Lost Art of Conversation” and “Things Left Unsaid.” The one song that has lyrics is the last song on The Endless River, “Louder Than Words,” the only song on the new album with lyrics.

Given how contentious the band members have been in the past, keeping the talking down to a minimum was a pretty good idea. And even though it has been said this is the last ever Pink Floyd album, right now, it’s all just talk, for now.

[Image courtesy of Pink Floyd]