In the debut episode of his “The Dark Side of the Moon Project”, music essayist Noah LeFevre of Polyphonic takes a long, deep look at the infinitely inspirational Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon, noting how the entire album is brilliantly summed up within the first few seconds of the opening song “Speak to Me”.
We open on a single heartbeat it’s a simple touch but it gets the humanity that’s at the core of ‘Dark Side of the Moon. It provides a universal starting point and that heartbeat will eventually come full circle in the finale… ‘Speak to Me’ is a birth in the form of a sound collage it’s made of bits and pieces of sound that will appear throughout the rest of the album. There’s the ticking clock of ‘Time’, the cash register of ‘Money”, Clair Tori’s vocals from “The Great Gig in the Sky”, the helicopter from “On the Run” and the madman’s laugh from “Brain Damage”. In a minute-long swell Pink Floyd shows us all that is to come.
LeFevre then focuses on the song “Breathe”, noting the power of the first line, “Breathe, breathe in the air”. The song offers a moment of respite brought to life with Rick Wright‘s bluesy keyboard and David Gilmour‘s soaring guitar. The vocals, however, offer a sobering truth.
It’s an introduction and the story of a person’s potential but it comes with a somber reminder, in the end, you are the sum of your experiences …in the second half of the verse, Gilmore admits that this doesn’t have to be the only option. Though if you ride the tide, if you follow the safe path you’ll live long and fly high but not everybody rides the tide some prefer to chase after the biggest waves live on the edge and go for glory but as Gilmour sings, this comes at a cost.
Here’s a live version of the song from 2005.