the concept of wish you were here

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David Smith
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the concept of wish you were here

Post by David Smith »

Righto

Ok so we all know the album is supposed to be about absense and how it was reflecting what was going on in the band at the time and how they should have called it wish we were here yadda yadda ya. But seriously, out of the 5 concept albums pink floyd did (6 if you want to count TDB) is it just me or is the concept to WYWH by far the most flimsy one?

I guess we can take it as the first song being about Syd, then 2 about the music industry and the processes/ pressures of it which can then be linked to the Syd song because he couldn't cope with said pressures. Then wish you were here is about divisions within the band (not about Syd as is often misperceived) before tying it back to Syd. Right?

Seriously, unless i'm missing something here then i would hardly consider it an epic in terms of concept and lyrics. While it really flows like an album and is musically superb i think the concept is only there if you look for it, and there is only 5 songs even on it! Guess we've heard Goilmour say Dark Side was a bit weak in places because the ideas were stronger then the vehicles that carry the idea, so did they try and get the balance right on wish you were here but in doing so sacrafice their lyrical smarts?

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by mosespa »

Maybe if one considers it to be more of an "abstract" concept album it comes off better?

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by danielcaux »

WYWH is not a concept album, period.

But seriously, it wasn't composed/conceived as one, was it? I've always had the feeling that it was more like they came with these songs with no real connection with each other, then add some sound effects to link the tracks and then look at it and Roger scratching his chin said: "mmm, this very well could be about absense, don't you think?"

The music and lyrics came first and then they tag an "idea" on the whole thing. You could do the same with Meddle, a concept album about "human relationships", or AHM a concept album about "life on the road". :-k


Now PATGOD, that really could have been a concept album.

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by mosespa »

danielcaux wrote:But seriously, it wasn't composed/conceived as one, was it?
Depends upon what you mean by "composed/conceived as one."

Initially, the album was going to be SOYCD, YGBC and RAD. However, everyone was just not really into it and according to Waters "after a stormy group meeting in which things came to a bit of a head, I announced that the only way I could retain interest in the album was to make it relate to what was happening then and there. The fact that no one was looking each other in the eye."

Not an exact quote...but pretty much how I remember it being in the Schaffner book...and the Dallas book...and a couple of other books.

Am I the only one who's read these damn books? :lol: :lol:

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by Duckboy »

mosespa wrote:
danielcaux wrote:But seriously, it wasn't composed/conceived as one, was it?
Depends upon what you mean by "composed/conceived as one."

Initially, the album was going to be SOYCD, YGBC and RAD. However, everyone was just not really into it and according to Waters "after a stormy group meeting in which things came to a bit of a head, I announced that the only way I could retain interest in the album was to make it relate to what was happening then and there. The fact that no one was looking each other in the eye."

Not an exact quote...but pretty much how I remember it being in the Schaffner book...and the Dallas book...and a couple of other books.

Am I the only one who's read these damn books? :lol: :lol:
nope i think ove read it somewhere too

but maybe they tried to make it more universal so the concept weakened?

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by J Ed »

three new Roger songs were added once Roger decided the next album was going to be about how success had changed them
thus the three new songs are in a conceptual sense extensions of Shine On
Im not sure if theyre related musically, in the way we've discussed Dark Side is unified musically by the chords of Breathe
but it was not four songs slapped together and given a concept after - the concept came first

two of the songs are specific critiques of the music industry, Shine On is more of a portrait of a person who's changed, with blame put on the industry
the title track is a bit more abstract, I guess, in that it can be read either as being about physical separation, or about a person (a friend or ones self) who has changed beyond recognition - I think originally the song was meant to have the latter meaning, but after decades as a buskers favourite, and some of Rogers own interpretations in recent years, its grown into the former meaning

so its the business about the music industry that confuses the concept album question - is half the album about a music industry normal folk cant relate to, and the other half about a more universal sense of loss as people and relationships change?
perhaps we shouldnt take the music industry critiques too literally - Roger has critiqued capitalist culture in almost everything he's written, maybe for this record its just the aspect of capitalism he knows most directly which he blames for Syds fate and the changing of the band, but we should infer no matter what aspect of the capitalist machine we are in contact with its going to use us up and spit us out in forms we can no longer recognise as our true selves

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by mosespa »

J Ed wrote: but it was not four songs slapped together and given a concept after
Right...THAT was Animals. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by danielcaux »

The way I see it is just a thematically-aesthetically cohesive album, like say 'Rubber Soul' has this nature-love thing undercurrent running throught all the songs, or "Nevermind" has the depresive theme and 'OK Computer' the modern times alienation theme, or Larks Tongues in Aspic that ominous theme. You know, "thematic" albums yet not completely "conceptual" ones.

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by mosespa »

I could see that inasmuch as WTTM, HAC and WYWH are all in Eminor...so, musically, they're related that way.

But SOYCD is largely in Gminor. *shrug*

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by apocalypse »

mosespa wrote:I could see that inasmuch as WTTM, HAC and WYWH are all in Eminor...so, musically, they're related that way.

But SOYCD is largely in Gminor. *shrug*
These could be related, E minor is the relative minor of G Major so the transition of using G minor instead of G Major isn't that far removed, this has been done many times by classical composers such as Haydn in his 45th symphony (the 'Farewell' in F#minor)
Also if you look at this a little further G minor is the relative minor of B-flat Major therefore if you look at the keys involved we get E-G-Bflat. This created an E diminished chord; E dim is the 7th degree of F major so the underlying key signature could be interpreted as F Major. This could be argued in more detail but a critical analysis of the harmonic progressions would be needed and, well, thats a whole lot of work.

Even though putting these works under a musicologist's microscope might find some interesting points about the structure, form, harmonies and relationships, I doubt very much that the work was created using this approach.

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by mosespa »

Yeah...I know all that stuff, lol.

That's why I didn't bother typing it.

The Bflat of Gminor versus the Bnatural of Eminor ended up creating an inverse tritone in my head and I had to stop typing. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

And that was even before I remembered that SOYCD ends in Gmajor, thus restoring the Bnatural and ending up linking back to the Eminor tonality of the "meat" parts of the sandwich. :D

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by danielcaux »

So I was re-reading this old davidjay's post and WOW while doing that the concept of WYWH appeared clear as daylight to me: is NOT about absence, absence is just one of the running threads on it, others being the music bussiness, social sistematic alienation, etc.

WYWH concept is....



:drumrolls:




more




:drumrolls:





....Pink Floyd!

<.8.>


Yes I know, I know, everybody already knew that, but somehow when trying to find a deeper concept it seems this one passed right over my head. There's a reason for the album being sequenced the way it is, is not just running times and vinyl format restrictions. WYWH tells the story of Pink Floyd, the band. Obviously it starts with Syd's story (SOYCD I-V), then they lose him, the band get absorved by capitalism/the system (WTTM), they find success with DSoTM (HAC) and then are left in the void of not knowing where to go from there (WYWH, the song, ironically matches the point in the story where the band is trying to create WYWH, the album, thus is called WYWH) so they look at the past and think about Syd back in the early days and in remembering him they write a song about his story and theirs at the same time and realize Syd has been with them the whole time, spiritually (SOYCD VI-IX). WYWH is a metaphyscial mirror of the band and in a way an ourobourus work of art: the concept of WYWH IS WYWH.

And in top of that you have Syd out of nowhere visiting them in the studio.


...Syd's real life comeback on the story matches SOYCD's comeback on the album .... :-({|=



Am I developing paranoid schizophrenia?

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by mosespa »

I don't think so...but I'd love some of what you're having. :lol:

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by moom »

mosespa wrote:Maybe if one considers it to be more of an "abstract" concept album it comes off better?
I agree. Its idea is a bit blurred, it's more about Pink Floyd issues as a band, I guess.

And yes, David, I count 6 concept albums by PF, but the last one, to me, is not TDB, but AMLOR (I think it's an attempt to represent one man's life, from birth *signs of life* to death *Sorrow*).

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Re: the concept of wish you were here

Post by danielcaux »

moom wrote:And yes, David, I count 6 concept albums by PF, but the last one, to me, is not TDB, but AMLOR (I think it's an attempt to represent one man's life, from birth *signs of life* to death *Sorrow*).
You can save your thoughts about AMLOR and TDB, wait a few years until the history forum reach the late 80s early 90s ...and neither of those are Pink Floyd albums anyway so they don't count really :D

By the way wouldn't be better to keep the "yearly" threads separeted and not merge them all in one big mess of a forum? You lose a lot of context when the yearly divisions dissapear, and speaking of context what about a context thread for each year like say "What was happening in the world in 1975" like a time capsule? so we can put the events of the Pink Floyd history in a major historical, sociological, cultural scope ? That would be interesting, with comments and personal accounts from the elders that grace this great site.