PINK FLOYD: MORE (1969)
1. Cirrus Minor; 2. The Nile Song; 3. Crying Song; 4. Up the Khyber; 5. Green is the Color; 6. Cymbaline; 7. Party Sequence; 8. Main Theme; 9. Ibiza Bar; 10. More Blues; 11. Quicksilver; 12. A Spanish Piece; 13. Dramatic Theme
Best song: CYMBALINE
Despite the relatively low rating, I don't consider this to be terrible or anything, it's just something I rarely feel like listening to outside of a couple of songs. Strapped for a) cash and b) a direction, the band decided to record a soundtrack to French director Barbet Schroder's film More (apparently it's an anti-heroin film), which wasn't released in the US and whose audience today seems to consist entirely of Pink Floyd fans. I'll have to check it out someday. This was a good move for the band career-wise, as it got them some cash and probably a little bit of recognition, the results just don't fully gel in album form. A full seven of the album's songs are instrumental soundtrack pieces (well, "A Spanish Piece" has some spoken lyrics, more on that later), and although I'm sure they were effective in the film, the fact that side 2 only has one actual song on it makes it rather a chore to listen to. That being said, most of the individual themes are good--I particularly like "More Blues." "Quicksilver," unfortunately, does absolutely nothing to justify its seven minute running time, and even in the context of the album "Party Sequence" seems like filler of the highest order (although, again, it was probably worthwhile in the movie). The minute-long "A Spanish Piece" features some cool Spanish (duh) guitar from Gilmour and him asking tequila and issuing death threats in a Spanish accent (his first lyrical contribution to the band!), even though the song is listed as an instrumental in the liner notes. In fact, this is probably what makes me most interested to see the film--I want to know just how the fuck an English guy badly imitating a drunk Spaniard with a lisp fits into a film about French heroin addicts on Ibiza. None of the rest of the soundtrack pieces are really notable (I guess I should recognize that "Up the Khyber" is the only piece in Floyd's catalog credited to Mason/Wright, but that's easily the most interesting thing about it), but maybe seeing the film will make me reevaluate my stance on them.
Fortunately, the album does have six actual songs all of which are sung by Gilmour and (with the exception of "Ibiza Bar," credited to the whole band) written by Waters. Supposedly Wright just wasn't that into the project, so Roger took the songwriting reins and ran with it. Interestingly, quite a few of the songs see Roger attempting a bit of a folk-rock mode, and Gilmour is actually quite a capable singer in this regard (although, to be honest, Roger's rough vocals might have been a better fit on some of the songs). "Cirrus Minor," "Crying Song," and "Green Is the Color" are all quite decent, but the former is so damn quiet I have to strain to hear it and the latter would be vastly improved live, where it was electrified. All pale in comparison, however, to the excellent "Cymbaline," easily Roger's best contribution to the Floyd catalog to date. Great Gilmour singing on that one, and the chorus is easily the best hook on the album, and has Roger's best lyrics so far (I especially like how, after questioning if the final couplet will rhyme, the final couplet is the only one that doesn't rhyme). The moody keyboard jam at the end is pretty cool, too. Like "Green is the Color," it would be electrified live and was great in that form (the version on the Interstellar Encore bootleg is fucking amazing), but I quite enjoy this version as well.
The biggest surprise on the album, however, would have to be the band's rather inexplicable decision to tackle hard rock on "The Nile Song" and "Ibiza Bar." The band is obviously out of their element, but I'm going to go against consensus here and say that, despite how stupid it is, I can't help but love "The Nile Song." One of the few Floyd songs not to feature keyboards (and the only one that's an actual rock song), it does boast a pretty cool riff and, dumb though it may be, I get a major kick out of David Gilmour stepping up to the mike and belting out the lyrics in his best cock rock voice. Hell, did cock rock even exist in 1969? This song might be visionary! Unfortunately, "Ibiza Bar" is just an inferior rewrite, albeit one that Wright actually bothers to show up for, contributing both some organ fills and his only harmonies on the album. Unlike "The Nile Song," I don't have any desire to listen to it outside of the context of the album, but as the only actual song on Side 2 I really appreciate it while it's on. Although I'm completely flummoxed as to how "The Nile Song" can be credited only to Waters but "Ibiza Bar" is credited to the entire band. OK, so maybe Rick came up with those little keyboard bits on his own, but Dave's guitar is actually more complicated on "The Nile Song," and I don't know how the fuck the band decides if Nick gets a credit on any given song or not. Maybe he wrote the lyrics. Whatever.
So, while the album only has one great song and one number that's enjoyable in its stupidity, it is more or less fine as background music, with only "Quicksilver" coming close to bad. I can see how someone might really enjoy this, however, and while this should be one of your last Floyd purchases, don't ignore it altogether, especially as the band refuses to put "Cymbaline" on any compilations. Even if it's my least favorite Floyd album with Roger, it's still worth at least a couple of listens.