The Underrated Songs Inside Pink Floyd’s Archives
via Pink Floyd/YouTube
Pink Floyd went through a big change as a famous rock band. When their main creative person Syd Barrett left in 1968, they started looking for a new musical style. Eventually, they became very successful in the 1970s with the remarkable album called The Dark Side of the Moon. But there are some songs in Pink Floyd’s music collection that people don’t appreciate enough. Let’s look at some of these songs in the order they were released.
1. The Nile Song (More)
In 1969, Pink Floyd composed the soundtrack for the movie More. Without Barrett and the pressure of creating their own album, they showcased a diverse range of musical styles in this project. One standout song from the soundtrack was “The Nile Song,” a hard-hitting rock track that differed from anything the band had done before. They also included “Ibiza Bar,” which had a similar sound. The soundtrack further featured jazz (“Up the Khyber”), blues (“More Blues”), ethnic music (“A Spanish Piece”), and ballad songwriting (“Green Is the Colour” and “Cymbaline”).
2. Fearless (Meddle)
The 1971 album Meddle contained only six songs, but it boasted several remarkable tracks. One of them was the slow-moving anthem “Fearless,” featuring David Gilmour’s soaring guitar work and lyrics referencing climbing a hill and observing the crowd below. The simplicity of “Fearless” allowed listeners to immerse themselves in the song, which concluded with the crowd at a Liverpool soccer game singing the Gerry and the Pacemakers tune “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” The album also included the moody and menacing opener “One of These Days” and the sprawling psychedelic masterpiece “Echoes.”
3. Free Four (Obscured By Clouds)
A year before the release of The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd created another soundtrack album called Obscured by Clouds. Despite its quick recording process, the album showcased quality songwriting, exemplified by the underrated track “Free Four.” This song seamlessly blended Gilmour’s breezy acoustic strumming with Rick Wright’s ominous synthesizer accents. Gilmour’s electric guitar solos, including several mini solos in the latter half of the song, added to its appeal.
4. Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9 (Wish You Were Here)
Although it might seem unusual to include a signature piece on a list of underrated songs, “Shine On (Parts 6-9)” is a fitting tribute to Barrett, who played a pivotal role in the band’s early success. The lyrics by Roger Waters serve as a heartfelt message to their lost friend, who unexpectedly visited the recording studio while the band was working on Wish You Were Here. Part 9 of the song features Wright’s exquisite synth work, particularly the emotional riff that concludes the piece. It serves as both a musical eulogy for Barrett and a shining moment for Wright.
5. Sheep (Animals)
Pink Floyd’s concept album Animals, released in 1977, delivered nearly 40 minutes of critique against capitalism and the British government, drawing inspiration from George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Among its powerful tracks, “Sheep” stands out as one of the band’s heaviest songs. Wright’s keyboard work creates organ-like squalls that complement Waters’ pounding bass riff and Gilmour’s biting guitar tone. The song starts off with intensity and builds up to an exhilarating climax.
In the final three minutes of “Sheep,” drummer Nick Mason, known for his understated style, shines with a series of incredible fills under Gilmour’s forceful strummed chordal solo, driving the song to its conclusion.
6. Nobody Home (The Wall)
While Pink Floyd’s most successful albums produced hits like Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2, Mother, Hey You, and Comfortably Numb, there are hidden gems worth exploring. One such track is the delicate ballad “Nobody Home” from the album The Wall. This heavily orchestrated song features poignant lyrics by Waters, expressing the isolation, depression, and hopelessness of the album’s central character, Pink. The symphonic elements showcased in “Nobody Home” demonstrate Pink Floyd’s ability to excel beyond their signature guitar-bass-drums-keyboards sound.
7. Not Now John (The Final Cut)
By the time The Final Cut was released in 1983, the classic Pink Floyd lineup was on the verge of disbanding. The back cover of the album credited Waters as the composer and Pink Floyd as the performers, indicating the band’s impending dissolution. The track “Not Now John” features scathing lyrics by Waters directed at the British government and cultural apathy, accompanied by Gilmour’s fierce guitar riffs. Despite the internal conflicts and legal disputes that followed The Final Cut, Pink Floyd managed to produce one more gem with “Not Now John.”
8. Coming Back to Life (The Division Bell)
In the late 1980s, Gilmour, Wright, and Mason regrouped as Pink Floyd without Waters. Their 1994 album The Division Bell included several strong songs, with “Coming Back to Life” standing out as the best. Starting as a slow atmospheric piece, it gradually transforms into a mid-tempo rocker, highlighting Gilmour’s captivating guitar work, including two passionate solos.
Other notable tracks from The Division Bell include “Pole Apart,” “Take it Back,” “Lost for Words,” and “High Hopes.” However, “Coming Back to Life” serves as the emotional centerpiece of the album and remains one of Pink Floyd’s most underrated songs.
While songs like “Money” and “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” are Pink Floyd’s most recognizable hits, it’s essential to acknowledge the significance of their lesser-known tracks, which contribute just as much to the band’s iconic legacy.