Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here

The band's famous elegy for Syd Barrett, their then-faltering former bandmate, studded with some of Hipgnosis' best photographic work and a slightly harsher edge. Though it is beloved, it is by no means perfect: the sprawling "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" overflows half of the album and practically smothers it, and its meandering feel is something I used to listen to when I was a moody teenager to make me even moodier. Indeed, one of the few good things about A Collection of Great Dance Songs is that they substantially cut this down and merely in doing so made it better at the same time. On the other hand, the other three songs are excellent: the brooding "Welcome to the Machine," full of ominous, unsettling synthesized effects, and the gentle fan favourite title track with David Gilmour's murmuring guitar and that inspired "car radio" introduction. My personal favourite, however, is the slyly arresting "Have a Cigar," atypically featuring guest vocalist Roy Harper, full of cheeky caustic satire, later to be covered by numerous lesser bands unsuccessfully aspiring to that level of tarty wit. Wish You Were Here's elevated ethereal sensibilities make it really the last Floyd album to maintain the fluid ambience and floating mood of their earlier works which would fade as Roger Waters' influence was exerted more strongly. In that sense, it is an elegy for the band's early days as well, their old space-rock roots now fully shed for the tumultuous years that would follow. The "Experience" deluxe reissue includes the unreleased Household Objects demo "Wine Glasses," interesting historically to the completist, but by its nature even less developed than the "Shine On" suite it inspired. (Content: no concerns.)