Nightmare Fuel: Pink Floyd
Sometimes Pink Floyd's nature for social commentary, progress and experiment can get a bit... unnerving...
The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
A Saucerful Of Secrets
- "The Gnome", otherwise among the most lighthearted and silly of all their songs, has an eerie, somewhat Mood Whiplash-inducing bridge: The way an overly reverbed Syd Barrett whispers the completely benign lyrics "Look at the sky / look at the river / isn't it good?" makes them sound oddly ominous.
- "Bike" starts off as a charming little nursery rhyme about a bike and mouse called Gerald, but then halfway suddenly the music breaks down and all kinds of weird noises erupt. If this wasn't peculiar enough suddenly out of nowhere the sound of a gobbling goose comes about. First from the distance, then it gets louder! To the listener it seems as if its a gigantic large bird coming at you!
- The title track off of A Saucerful of Secrets up to the "Celestial Voices" movement.
- Barrett's last song to be on a Floyd album, "Jugband Blues" is a skin-crawling combination of Sanity Slippage Song, Tearjerker and bitter Et Tu, Brute? to the rest of the band. One of the eeriest things about it is the way it uses Non Sequitur as an organising principle. The opening lines seem to be a sarcastic Take That: "It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here / And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear that I'm not here." Then the song trips along in its part-cheerful, part-melancholy way for a while, one section lurching into another, until the band is drowned out by a parping brass band in a completely unrelated key, which in turn is replaced by just Barrett, strumming a guitar, sounding chillingly lonely, with the song cutting off abruptly on his very last word:
And what exactly is a dream?
And what exactly is a joke?
The Dark Side of the Moon
Wish You Were Here
- The live disc of Ummagumma, which contains the aforementioned "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" and "A Saucerful Of Secrets", as well as unnerving versions of "Astronomy Domine" and "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun".
- "Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up", the Zabriskie Point version of "Eugene", is even harsher and scarier.
- "Careful With That Axe, Eugene"
- While "Welcome to the Machine" is a pretty dark song to begin with, the music video is just as disturbing as the animated scenes from The Wall.
- "Dogs", the 17-minute epic that comprises virtually the entire first half of Animals, is a thoroughly chilling composition in every conceivable sense of the word. From the twistedly psychedelic keyboard effects to the raw, brittle acoustic guitar, the prevailing mood of the entire track is utterly dour. The lyrics are a stark and unflinchingly accurate portrayal of the aggressive, egomaniacal businessmen who exploit the people around them to get ahead. One line in particular stands out, describing the eventual fate of those types:
Just another sad old man,
All alone, and dying of cancer.
- "Sheep" may also qualify as this. Halfway into the song, there is very eerie Hammond organ, followed by a corrupted version of Psalm 23 which could give you nightmares:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me down to lie
Through pastures green he leadeth me the silent waters by
With bright knives he releaseth my soul
He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places
He converteth me to lamb cutlets
For lo, he hath great power and great hunger
When cometh the day we lowly ones
Through quiet reflection and great dedication
Master the art of karate
Lo, we shall rise up
And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water.
- Most of the animation from the 1982 film adaptation of The Wall.
- Speaking of The Wall, while the entire album is creepy, two tracks stand out. Most of "Don't Leave Me Now" sounds extremely disturbing; think of a funeral dirge with a guy lamenting the collapse of his abusive marriage and you'll get the idea. And then you have "Is There Anybody Out There?", which is reminiscent of something from a horror movie. Thank God it turns into a nice-sounding guitar melody.
- "Goodbye Blue Sky", particularly the images seen in the music video. It starts with a soothing guitar riff, then the terror sets in. "D-D-D-DID YOU SEE THE FRIGHTENED ONES? D-D-D-DID YOU HEAR THE FALLING BOMBS?"
- "Look mummy, there's an aeroplane up in the sky."
- A dove suddenly becoming a dark metallic eagle.
- The metallic eagle grabbing a bit of ground that actually bleeds.
- A warlord with glowing headlights for eyes that morphs into a factory of steel.
- An army of bombers emerging from the towering structure.
- The Union Jack (British flag) on a post becoming a blood-red cross.
- The soldiers with skulls for heads.
- Strange creatures wearing gas masks running for cover.
- Anything else becoming a cross.
- Blood trickling through a storm drain.
- From "The Happiest Days of Our Lives": "But in the town it was well known when they got home at night, their fat, psychopathic wives would thrash them within inches of their lives!
- The meat grinder in "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)". They were getting ground up like Play-Doh.
- The animated piece for "Empty Spaces" and "What Shall We Do Now?"
- The two animated flowers. The female quickly snatches the male in her jaws and becomes a horrid creature.
- The wall being constructed.
- A sea of beings with the same featureless faces as those in the school.
- The screaming face emerging from the wall.
- Everything the wall passes becoming corrupted.
- The animation that accompanies "The Trial" in the movie also qualifies. Pretty much everything in that sequence counts here.
- Pink's wife definitely qualifies. She first appears as a scorpion-like creature who manifests from the wall, impales Pink (now a ragdoll) with her tail, and then morphs into a siren with elongated limbs and flaming eyes.
- Pink's mother is even more frightening. She first flies out of the wall as an airplane, then morphs into a talking labia, grabbing Pink with an umbilical cord.
- The judge from "The Trial" is probably the most nightmarish of all. He starts off as a giant worm, and as his verse begins, he transforms into a giant talking pair of buttocks, complete with a judge's wig on top and a pair of backwards facing legs. What makes it all the more frightening is how the animation manages to make it look vaguely like a human face, as the rectum is the mouth and the scrotum is meant to look like a chin. It's not as tame as it sounds.
- "Run Like Hell". "With your empty smile And your hungry heart Feel the bile rising from your guilty past With your nerves in tatters When the cockleshell shatters And the hammers batter Down the door You better run!"
- Similarly, "Waiting for the Worms":
to put on a black shirt! Waiting
to weed out the weaklings! Waiting
to smash in their windows
And kick in their doors! Waiting
for the Final Solution
To strengthen the strain! Waiting
to follow the Worms
to turn on the showers
And fire the ovens! Waiting
for the queens and the coons
and the reds and the Jews!"
- And "In the Flesh", the song that directly precedes these two:
"Are there any queers in the theatre tonight?
Get 'em up against the wall. ('gainst! The! Wall!)
There's one in the spotlight,
He don't look right to me!
Get him up against the wall. ('gainst! The! Wall!)
And that one looks Jewish!
And that one's a coon!
Who let all this riff-raff into the room?
There's one smoking a joint!
And another with spots!
If I had my way,
I'd have all of ya shot!"
- "Hey You" starts with a frail, haunting guitar riff accompanied by a few notes played on a fretless bass and a Fender Rhodes electric piano. The song gets more and more desperate in tone throughout, right up to its climactic end with Roger Waters wailing at the top of his lungs. Also notable is the line directly preceding a reprise of the song's intro: "No matter how he tried, he could not break free - and the worms ate into his brain." This is easily one of Pink Floyd's darkest songs.
- "One of My Turns" describes the decline of Pink's marriage in rather excruciating detail. "Day after day, love turns grey, like the skin on a dying man." "I feel cold as a razor blade, tight as a tourniquet, dry as a funeral drum!" Then he goes through one of his "turns" - a psychotic break where he goes berserk.
- "Goodbye Cruel World". Despite not actually having anything to do with suicide, the lyrics certainly make it seem that way, especially if they're taken out of context from the rest of the album. Fun fact: the trope of the same name uses an excerpt from this song as part of its introduction.