A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

On an Island

Which is the name of David Gilmour's new album. For the unwashed, David Gilmour is the former guitarist for Pink Floyd, one of my favorite bands of all time. I love Gilmour's guitar work on all of the Floyd albums he worked on-- yes, even the last two (Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell) without Roger Waters. I enjoyed his second solo album About Face quite a bit, as well (I never heard the first, self-titled, one).

Not surprisingly, then, I was looking forward to the release of On an Island with some hopeful expectations-- especially given that Gilmour recently dashed burgeoning hopes of a Floyd reunion effort by basically saying, "Eh. I'm happy doing what I'm doing-- why would I want to do that?" Last night one of the local radio stations played the whole thing through.

Bummer dude.

Not that it's bad, or anything. Actually, it is quite the opposite of bad-- it's... pleasant. Nice enough to listen to, with some prototypical Gilmour riffs and some sax and some good bass lines. All very nice. Very pleasant.

And totally uninvolving. I found myself listening to pick out bits that reminded me of other Floyd or Gilmour songs that I liked-- because the songs themselves did almost nothing for me. The lyrics grab you not all, the "hooks" aren't really very catchy-- or feel too well-worn to stir much interest-- and it all feels very clinical. Paint by numbers.

It's got no soul. And soul--feeling-- has always been part and parcel of the Floyd experience.

There is one exception to this criticism-- the stripped down, somewhat plaintive song "Smile" is everything all the other songs on the album aren't. Stirring, powerful, well-written, and involving for the listener.

Sadly, it is the exception, rather than the rule. On the plus side, it looks like I'll be saving a few bucks-- I'll have to put it in the Monty Python's Personal Best fund.


So, this brings up a question for you, Nick: how many really creative albums have you heard from artists that are over the age of 60?
Music is a kid's game, because everyone only has some many ideas. And though David had a lot of good ideas, he can't be expected to keep going after the thirtieth album. (I know that's an exhageration.)
Now, if you actually realize this is correct, would you please relate it to the NFL, so maybe we can get a Super Bowl halftime by an artist from the last 20 years.
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