People always speculate about what would have happened if Waters didn't leave the band in 1985 and what would have "Radio KAOS" and "Amused To Death" sounded if they were Pink Floyd albums, but it seems that no one speculates about what would have happened if Waters left the band in 1978, or if Gilmour was more insistent that his songs be used on the next Pink Floyd record at that point. Now, this is just another "what if" story, but I firmly believe that the "Animals"-"David Gilmour"-"About Face"-"A Momentary Lapse Of Reason" also follow an evolution thread, only from the point of view of David Gilmour.
I agree that the A-DB-AF-AMLOR follow an evolution thread, and would tack TDB-OAI onto the end of it. I do realise that we're discussing AMLOR here, and therefore it's entirely sensible to talk of an evolution that ends in AMLoR.
We're all familiar with the politics of PF songwriting, but I think AF and AMLOR both show Gilmour trying too hard. For AF, trying too hard to make a hit album. And the 80s was a bad decade for albums where someone was trying to have a hit. AMLOR is for me a mixed bag. Gilmour is trying hard to make a PF album, and in some cases, he nails it. "Sorrow", "A New Machine", "Terminal Frost", "On the Turning Away". In other cases, I think the songs aren't there. "Dogs of War", "Yet Another Movie", "One Slip", even "Learning to Fly" which I think is an OK song, but not up there. TDB seemed to have much more confidence in the songwriting, and more classic production rather than too 80s production. RW coming on board would have helped. OAI has some very good songwriting on it, but I think suffers from a first half in particular without enough songs that stand out. Even "Take a Breath" really, in my opinion, needs a bit of "something" in the production. If RW had sung "Take a Breath", I think the variety would have boosted the album considerably. But, I think in particular the last three songs are some of the best songs that DG has ever written, and would fit right in to any PF album. If Dave had bought those songs to a PF reunion album, and RW had done his bit (no sign that the RW songwriting well has run dry), then they could have made an absolutely classic album. OAI is perhaps DG not trying quite hard enough. Overall it's a good album, and one of my favourite PF solo albums, but I think it could have been improved with a bit more variety in the production and possibly a guest lead vocal or two. I'm listening to it as I type and "This Heaven" is on now. There is musical variety here, and good songs. But something, I suspect the production and not enough variation in the lead vocals makes it a bit samey, were the songs themselves aren't as samey as the album. The production and songs of OAI makes it sound to my ears more like classic Floyd than any of TFC/AMLoR/TDB, perhaps that's what makes me expect and miss a lack of variety in the vocals and other production. Hmmm...... Rog could have sung "This Heaven" too. Hmmm..... Sorry if I've gone off on one and left the AMLoR thread topic behind, but to me AMLoR is all about Dave trying to find his songwriting voice, which never fully developed within PF as Rog grabbed the PF songwriting reins too tightly. OAI has Dave writing a full album of very good songs, way, way, above AF and I put it also better in songwriting than the DG album. And better overall than AMLoR and TDB too IMHO. It's just a sameyness of the production, even though the songs vary considerably, that lets it down. A bit.