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So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell? February 20, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.
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I was listening to Wish You Were Here, one of my favorite Pink Floyd albums and the best song, in my opinion, on that same-named album. It struck me how appropriate the lyrics are in these times.

This economic crisis was triggered by the system hitting the wall, a realization that living beyond your means has limits. Everyone one from the consumer buying a house that was unaffordable and racking up huge amounts of credit-card debt just to live an upper-middle-class lifestyle on a much more modest income to the banks to the real estate, car, vacation, ad nauseum salespeople to the governments that loved the extra sales and property taxes to everyone who bought into this “new economics”.

Everyone forgot the values that had prevailed for generations, hard work to earn a living, budgeting, saving for the future and for an emergency nest egg, living a lifestyle that you could afford, not worrying about what your cousin or neighbor up the street had just bought, saying No to yourself and your kids if the desire outstripped the affordability.

Nobody realized or refused to acknowledge that the piper always gets paid. Greed ruled until it had stretched itself too far to continue. A million-dollar home on an average income cannot work.

Nobody wanted to make the decisions based on sustainable values, but only on what was immediate. Choosing the short-term gratification with its long-term pain over the short-term struggle with the long-term blue skies. The ephemera of a big house and luxury car over the satisfaction of secure, earned success (trading the heroes for ghosts).

“So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange
A walk on part in the war,
For a lead role in a cage?”

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Comments»

1. Milo - February 20, 2009

Sir,

I must disagree with your assesment of the Album. We all know that Shine On You Crazy Diamond is the best. David Gilmore’s ability to creat spacy-atmospherically laden tones followed by crunchy Claptonesque blues riffs is just beyond amazing.

While Wish You Were Here is great, it is a far cry from Shine On.

2. fetzthechemist - February 20, 2009

Although I appreciate the musicality of Shine On, and it is David Gilmour’s style that pervedes this song and much of the album Dark Side of the Moon that make them great, my personal bias is towards lyrics that are thoughtful, insightful. So I shift my personal balance towards Wish you Were Here. This propensity leads me to like songs like Do You Realize? by the Flaming Lips or There There by Radiohead or Handle with Care by the Travelling Wilburys to stand out. I like the lyrics, creative, interesting use of words to portray interesting thoughts.

Conversely, certain songs standout because of the music. A lot of T Rex, the Zombies, and the James Gang songs fit this side of my tastes. Specific songs that come to mind are 1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins, Wasp in the Lotus – And Then I Dreamt of Yes by the Dandy Warhols, Layla by Derek and the Dominos, and The Great Gig in the Sky by Pink Floyd – that wailing vocal is one highlight of the album.


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