Analyzing the Pink Floyd Masterpiece ‘Echoes’

Music essayist Noah Lefevre of Polyphonic analyzes the iconic 1971 Pink Floyd song “Echoes”, naming it the band’s first masterpiece.

The song was based on “Two Planets”, a beautiful poem by philosopher Muhammad Iqbal that looked to the skies for salvation. Roger Waters took the idea and rewrote it with allusions to the depths of the ocean, as that is where life on Earth originated. LeFevre notes that Waters saw this imagery as a great equalizer to remind all of their humanity towards one another, a sentiment he vocalized to Rolling Stone.

Echoes was an attempt to describe the potential that human beings have for recognizing each other’s humanity and responding to it with empathy rather than antipathy

LeFevre explains that how the band also used the music, specifically the notable “ping”, to call for togetherness.

Pink Floyd found the exact right amount of experimentation to put into their song the ambient section serves to immerse you in the lyrical themes of the song. It places you in the ocean but it also places you alone without the warm comfort of melody. It’s the coldness of a world soaked in antipathy. …just as we’re at our most desolate, Pink Floyd reintroduce a familiar sound. That ping is the first sound you hear in echoes. …The ping is the spark of human empathy of human experience. It’s the utopian promise of togetherness calling across time, calling from deep within the ocean.