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Who was dragged down by the stone?
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Animals is the tenth studio album by Pink Floyd, released in 1977. It is a Concept Album inspired by Animal Farm, with a loose narrative hypothesising a society composed of 3 types of people: greedy businessmen (Dogs), dogmatic authority figures (Pigs) and those with a groupthink mentality (Sheep). This album marks the point where Roger Waters started to fully take over the band, writing or co-writing all the songs and singing lead vocals on all the songs (except for "Dogs", where he shares lead vocals with David Gilmour).

Despite this, Richard Wright was able to shine brightly on this album despite not contributing any compositions, and it is his penultimate album with the band before he was fired during the making of The Wall. He would come back to play on a few tracks on 1987's A Momentary Lapse of Reason and was fully reinstated as a member of Floyd when work began on The Division Bell in 1993.

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The fan favorite song on the album seems to be "Dogs", with "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" being a close second.

Preceded by Wish You Were Here. Proceeded by The Wall.


Tracklist:

Side One

  1. "Pigs on the Wing 1" (1:25)
  2. "Dogs" (17:03)

Side Two

  1. "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" (11:25)
  2. "Sheep" (10:25)
  3. "Pigs on the Wing 2" (1:23)


Principal Members:

  • David Gilmour - guitar, backing and lead vocals, bass, synthesizer
  • Nick Mason - drums, percussion, cowbell, tape effects
  • Roger Waters - lead vocals, bass, guitar, vocoder, tape effects
  • Richard Wright - keyboard, piano, organ, synthesizer, minimoog, vocals, clavinet


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Tropes on the wing:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: The second half of "Dogs" is essentially a sombre eulogy for all ruthless enforcers who have ever died broken and alone after a lifetime of doing their masters' dirty work.
    "Who was born in a house full of pain?
    Who was trained not to spit in the fan?
    Who was told what to do by the Man?
    Who was picked out by trained personnel?
    Who was fitted with collar and chain?
    Who was given a pat on the back?
    Who was breaking away from the pack?
    Who was only a stranger at home?
    Who was ground down in the end?
    Who was was found dead by the phone?
    Who was dragged down by the stone?"
  • Animal Motifs / Beast Fable: Pigs, dogs and sheep are recurring motifs on this album. Pigs represent dogmatic authoritarians, dogs represent greedy businesspeople, and sheep represent those who have a groupthink mentality and those who will ultimately overthrow the dogs.
  • As the Good Book Says...: "Sheep" has a modified version of Psalm 23: "he maketh me to hang on hooks in high places and converteth me to lamb cutlets".
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Sheep" ends with the implication that the sheep will overthrow their masters only to install a People's Republic of Tyranny ("You better stay home and do as you're told!") Luckily, there's still a verse of "Pigs on the Wing" to go.
    So I don't feel alone
    Or the weight of the stone
    Now that I found somewhere safe to bury my bone
  • Book-Ends: The album opens and closes with "Pigs on the Wing".
    • Averted on the 8-track version of Animals, where both parts of "Pigs on the Wing" are presented as a single song, with a solo by guitarist Snowy White (who was a part of Floyd's touring band) in the middle. This special edit was made to lessen the pause due to the changeover inherent in 8-track tapes. note 
    • "Sheep" begins and ends with the sound of birds chirping and sheep bleating.
  • Breather Episode: Both parts of "Pigs on the Wing" at the start and finish. A hopeful love song about the importance of companionship and trust, Waters believed its inclusion on the album was important, saying that without it, Animals "would have just been a kind of scream of rage".
    • There is also an interesting subversion in "Sheep", which starts off with a peaceful, pastoral sound...until it grows much darker and harsher, and you realise the worst is yet to come on Animals.
  • Broken Record: The last section of David Gilmour's vocals on "Dogs" ends with the word "stone" echoing repeatedly for over a minute.
  • Call-Back: The bassline on "Sheep" is similar to "See Emily Play".
  • Capitalism Is Bad: Most clearly seen in "Dogs". (Though Waters implicitly identifies himself as a dog as well, incidentally).
  • Censored for Comedy: The rapid panting in the third verse of "Pigs", given in the lyric sheet as ".....!.....!.....!.....!"
  • Concept Album: The album was mostly inspired by Animal Farm by George Orwell.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: "Dogs".
    You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to
    So that when they turn their backs on you
    You'll get the chance to put the knife in.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: Invoked on "Pigs on the Wing" and the cover featuring a pig balloon, which the band then included on their concerts.
  • Darker and Edgier: Many critics have noted the rougher sound and darker lyrics compared to previous Pink Floyd albums.
  • Demoted to Extra: Richard Wright contributed no songwriting or lead vocals to the album.
  • Double Meaning: "Pigs on the Wing" could literally mean nearby people who are filthy like swines. Or just that the optimism on those tracks is as realistic as a pig with wings.
  • Dying Alone: The fate of the dogs.
  • Dystopia: The world described on this album is not a happy future.
  • Epic Rocking: "Dogs" (17:04), "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" (11:26), and "Sheep" (10:18) make up the middle of this album. Ironically, the album is book-ended by the two-part "Pigs on the Wing", which when played back-to-back don't even break three minutes. David Gilmour even said he was all right with only one credit on the album, given "Dogs" takes up almost half of Side A on the LP release.
  • Fading into the Next Song: All tracks do so.
  • I Am the Band: This album is where Roger Waters really started to dominate the band. While Roger Waters had written the lyrics to all of the band's songs on previous albums, he took over composing the music as well. David Gilmour gets a co-writing credit on "Dogs", and no songs were credited to Richard Wright, who sang none of the lead vocals either. Gilmour only sings lead on "Dogs", with Waters singing lead on the rest of the tracks.
  • Incredibly Long Note: "Sheep". The first two lines of the verses end on a really long note that slowly morphs into a synthesizer. Its a really subtle and cool effect, and you don't notice until Roger's voice is completely unrecognisable.
  • Large Ham: In the middle section, Roger Waters starts to show the unrestrained bombast that would permeate The Wall and The Final Cut, with Incredibly Long Notes and plenty of passionate/angry delivery.
  • List Song: The outro of "Dogs".
  • Messy Pig: A metaphorical example with the "Pigs (Three Different Ones)".
  • New Sound Album: While not outright abandoning Progressive Rock, Animals marked a shift to a distinctly harder sound that would define the remainder of the band's output prior to Roger Waters' departure in 1985. This shift in sound can be attributed to a combination of Punk Rock rising to prominence during the second half of the 1970's (which Pink Floyd cited as more of a source of inspiration than something towards which to react) and the then highly acidic Waters growing increasingly controlling towards his bandmates.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Dogs" and "Sheep", though Dogs' working titlenote  and both of their respective animal sounds appear.
  • One-Word Title: Animals, "Pigs", "Dogs", "Sheep".
  • Precision F-Strike: "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" with "You fucked up old hag!".
  • Rule of Three: "Pigs (Three Different Ones)".
  • The Sheep Bite Back
    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 buggers' eyes water!
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Becomes the case towards the end of "Dogs". You can't spend a lifetime doing the Man's bidding without your conscience coming back to bite you in the ass.
    "And when you lose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown.
    And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone.
    And it's too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around.
    So have a good drown as you go down, all alone,
    Dragged down by the stone."
  • Shout-Out: The inflatable pig from the album cover is floating above Battersea Power Station - converted into humanity's last museum - for the film Children of Men.
    • The Simpsons: In the episode Homerpalooza a giant inflatable pig flies off in the air due to Homer's stupidity. A technician then says: "Aw, man. There goes Peter Frampton's big finale. He's gonna be pissed off." Frampton then appears and says: "You're damn right I'm going to be pissed off: I bought that pig at Pink Floyd's yard sale!"
    • Part of the advertising campaign for The Simpsons Movie involved flying a balloon in the image of Spider-Pig over the power station.
    • "Dogs" by Sun Kil Moon is named after the song on this album and, in fact, has the album Animals play a large part in the song.
  • Silly Love Songs: "Pigs on the Wing" provides one of the rare examples in Pink Floyd's entire discography. As mentioned above, Waters felt it was crucial to the concept of the album.
  • Take That, Critics!: The third verse of "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" is explicitly directed against British Moral Guardian and noted prude Mary Whitehouse.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: "Pigs (Three Different Ones)". "Villains" because they're the ones popularly thought to be manipulating everything bad in this album, and "sucks song" because unlike the thinly veiled satire of "Dogs" and "Sheep", "Pigs" pulls out the stops and outright insults the subjects throughout the song.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The album's storyline transplants Animal Farm to the late-'70s United Kingdom.
  • You Are Not Alone: "Pigs on the Wing, Part II"
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A recurring motif in "Dogs". As terrifying as they might seem, society's ruthless enforcers will always die alone and unloved—like old dogs being drowned in a lake - when their masters no longer have any use for them.

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