Andrew Wild - Pink Floyd Song By Song book review

A trainspotter's guide to Pink Floyd

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A chronological jaunt through the Pink Floyd catalogue that tackles their music one track at a time. At times, Andrew Wild’s book can feel like A Trainspotter’s Guide To Pink Floyd as he lists every musician on each song and all known live performances, which is impressively thorough but not necessarily very compelling, and the segmented format means there’s not much room for the prose to flow. More engaging are the critics’ reactions to the material – it’s notable that contemporary writers tended to be far less agreeable than those looking back to Floyd’s heyday – and snippets from interviews with the band members. The Independent’s Andy Gill is gloriously scathing on The Endless River – “All that’s left is ghastly faux-psychedelic dinner-party muzak. Which is fine, if you’re thinking of throwing a ghastly faux-psychedelic dinner-party.” Roger Waters’ caustic personality inevitably asserts itself, whether he’s dismissing Roy Harper’s vocals on Have A Cigar or savaging everything that Floyd did after he left. “…it had got totally Spinal Tap by then,” says Waters about The Division Bell. “Lyrics were written by the new wife. Well, they are! I mean, give me a fucking break!” Don’t sugar-coat it, Roger, tell us what you really think.