Pink Floyd, Atom Heart Mother

This is the album every Floydian loves to hate. This is the album the band members themselves disowned. But every scorned object of derision has its apologists, and if there's not yet an Atom Heart Mother fan club, then let it begin with me. This was the album in high school that my contemporary Gary described as having "that wacky breakfast song." This was the album I listened to incessantly on vinyl in the university basement while pretending to study. No one, not even your humble jerk critic, will disagree that the title track is a luxuriant exercise in the most pompous sort of art rock; I will even concede that the linking vocal tracks between the two primary instrumental suites are wan and uninspired. But no one else ever made this kind of crap sound good. A true classical composition with a full orchestra, drum beat, guitars and Farfisa organ you could listen to. Actual movements and themes, by G-d, not some atonal meandering tarted-up acid trip. Mannerism for Music! And finishing it up with the most melodic roadie's breakfast you've ever listened to, gulps of tea and crunches of corn flakes and an infinite number of flaring matches opposing a gentle, aspirational three-parter that elevates his banal morning rites into the heavens. Every time I listen to this album I discover some new musical detail I've missed, some little tidbit that makes it all the more rich. The most galling part is that the remaining members of Pink Floyd know exactly what they're missing out on, and they reject it still. (Content: no concerns.)