Careful with That Axe, Eugene: Diagnosing Pink Floyd Syndrome

Posted: October 2, 2011 in music, Record reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Women dislike Pink Floyd. Certainly all the women I’ve married dislike Pink Floyd. I’ve only married one, but she’s not backing down on this subject. Or any subject.

I can’t recall ever meeting a woman who publicly stated that she liked Pink Floyd. I wonder if there’s an unattached woman anywhere in the world with Pink Floyd in her music library, and I don’t mean something left behind by some long-gone guy. In college I remember a mistreated girlfriend burning holes with her cigarette in her ex-boyfriend’s copy of Meddle. It all seemed very sophisticated, plus it taught me to hide my LPs.

Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon may be the most gender-imbalanced record in music history. When Floyd released their masterwork in 1973, it immediately went to the top of the Billboard Hot 200 albums. Plenty of albums surface in the Hot 200, but Dark Side of the Moon was still bobbing around there 15 years later. Dark Side of the Moon is the third best-selling album of all time, trailing Justin Bieber’s My World but outpacing Honus Wagner’s entire Ring cycle. If women aren’t buying this thing, every man on the planet must be.

This leads me to ponder what makes music palatable to women. Here are my hypotheses:

What Women Like in Music
1) Something you can dance to, or might dance to if you could find the right partner.
2) A doomed romance.
3) The possible start of an exciting long-term relationship.
4) Living your own life and setting your own rules.
5) Attractive performers.
6) Four minutes and you’re done.

Here’s how Pink Floyd matches up with What Women Like in Music:

1) Pink Floyd is every bit as danceable as Led Zeppelin.
2) Everyone who has ever appeared in a Pink Floyd song was doomed.
3) Floyd’s idea of a long-term relationship: “There’s someone in my head/but it’s not me.”
4) Empowered women are scary.
5) Even when they were young, Dave, Roger, Nick, and Rick were nobody’s idea of a boy band.
6) They managed to hold “Echoes” to just under 24 minutes.

Given that Dark Side of the Moon is my favorite album of all time, ever, period, it’s a wonder I’ve been able to form and sustain relationships. Fortunately, God gave us headphones before She gave us Floyd.

Pink Floyd fun fact: “San Tropez” is a hybrid of “When I’m Sixty-Four” and “Lovely Rita.”

I love Dark Side of the Moon so much that I only play it a couple of times a year. I always want it to be a treat. This same principle explains why I waited 20 years to go back to Apocalypse Now.

Wise men say that you’re never too annoyed for Floyd. Notice that it’s only men who say that. The truth is that once you leave the safety of Dark Side of the Moon you can get very annoyed with Floyd. Pink Floyd can be as bloated as Yes, but without the hysteria. They can be as pompous as Queen, but without the camp. They can be as meaningless as Black Sabbath, but without the medieval camouflage. They can touch your heart with “Comfortably Numb,” “Wish You Were Here,” and “Fearless,” and then try to trap you in “Echoes,” which starts well but after 7 or 8 minutes veers straight into Spinal Tap’s “Jazz Odyssey.”

It’s about time someone said this: 75% of the Pink Floyd catalog is Deep Purple with a PhD.

Shine on you crazy diamond
Thus we can define Pink Floyd Syndrome as a two-part phenomenon:

  • Men are from Pink Floyd, women are from Pink.
  • If you’re a man, you either love everything Floyd or you only love Dark Side of the Moon. Either way, you’ve learned how to hide your record collection.

In a future post we’ll entertain the proposition that Nebraska is Bruce Springsteen’s best album. Until then, keep your headphones on and your partner happy.

There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark. 

Comments
  1. Clark might actually have a clinical diagnosis of Pink Floyd Syndrome. One thing’s for sure: he’s got a little black book to keep his poems in. Also, where might one find this a copy of this “Honus Wagner” ring cycle. We’re intrigued.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      Thank you for putting the bong down long enough to write in. As for the Honus Wagner Ring cycle, you can probably find the whole thing this weekend at Wordstock, you philistines. My favorite book in the cycle is the third one, ‘The Centerfielder Cannot Hold.’

  2. Barb says:

    Well, once again you’ve proved my suspicion that I’m not a typical American female. I have many formative memories of separating stems and seeds on my beat-up Dark Side of the Moon album cover. Of cupping my ears into my dad’s ear muffler sized headphones and zoning in the barcalounger while the helicopter of sound zips from one side of my skull to the other. Of going down to the dorm’s basement laundromat and discovering someone stole my Wish You Were Here t-shirt right out of the machine. Of wistfully deciding not to buy the CDs after all — my Pink Floyd experience needs the warm scratchiness of vinyl, the pause before flipping the B side.

    PS: And yes, you guessed it, Led Zeppelin is in my collection too.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      My dear Barb, you are simply the special person who proves the rule. And your wonderful evocation of your life with Pink Floyd far outstrips all the lyrics on The Wall.

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