Animals is the tenth studio album by Pink Floyd, released in 1977. Inspired by the recent rise of Punk Rock and its consequent ousting of "traditional" Progressive Rock as a mainstream force, it marks a shift to a harder, more arena-friendly sound and more overtly political lyricism, both of which would grow in magnitude during the remainder of Waters' tenure with the band. Specifically, Animals is a Concept Album inspired by Animal Farm, with a loose narrative acting as an allegory for bassist Roger Waters' discontent with the state of British society and politics at the time, hypothesising a setting 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 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 and a writing credit 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; consequently, it is the last Pink Floyd album to be released while he was still a member of the band. 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.
Animals was not supported by any traditional singles, owing to the fact that all the songs on it are either much too short or much too long to be conceivably released on a 7". That said, it managed to be yet another success for Pink Floyd, peaking at No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 3 on the Billboard 200, and topping the charts in the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, and Spain. The album was also certified quadruple-platinum in the US, double-platinum in Canada, platinum in France, Germany, and Italy, and gold in the UK and Austria. While the album was polarizing among critics upon release as usual, it was an instant hit with fans, and its acclaim exponentially increased as time went on. Fans and critics now regard it as one of Pink Floyd's finest albums, one of the best progressive rock albums ever made, and one of the greatest albums of the 1970's; as of 2020, it sits at No. 1659 on Acclaimed Music's dynamic list of the most critically lauded albums. The fan favorite song on Animals seems to be "Dogs", with "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" being a close second.
- "Pigs on the Wing 1" (1:25)
- "Dogs" (17:03)
- "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" (11:25)
- "Sheep" (10:25)
- "Pigs on the Wing 2" (1:23)
- 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
I've looked over Jordan, and I have troped:
- 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.
- Antiquated Linguistics: "Sheep" features a corrupted version of Psalm 23 that uses the same Early Modern English as the omnipresent King James translation of The Bible.
- Arc Words: The album makes repeated mentions of "the stone," representing the accumulated guilt formed by maintaining one's role in a cruel and unjust society.
- As the Good Book Says...: "Sheep" has a modified version of Psalm 23: "he maketh me to hang on hooks in high places; he 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
- Bookends: 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's also an interesting subversion in "Sheep", which starts with a peaceful, pastoral sound until it grows much darker and harsher, and you realise the worst is yet to come.
- Broken Record: The last section of David Gilmour's vocals on "Dogs" ends with the word "stone" echoing repeatedly for over a minute, briefly making a return midway through "Sheep".
- 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, tying in with the theme of The Man Is Sticking It to the Man from the previous album).
- 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: The central theme of "Dogs".You have to be trusted by the people that you lie toSo that when they turn their backs on youYou'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: Zig-zagged. Richard Wright contributed no songwriting or lead vocals to the album, but his keyboards are front and center on many of the songs, especially "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" and "Sheep."
- 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. Capitalist bigwigs eat at each other, despotic leaders grind down the people below them for their own pleasure, and the general populace attempts a revolution after years of complacency, only for it to come full-circle.
- Epic Rocking: "Dogs" (17:04), "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" (11:26), and "Sheep" (10:18) make up the middle and meat 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: "Pigs (Three Different Ones)", "Sheep", and "Pigs on the Wing 2" all segue into one another.
- Full-Circle Revolution: While the song "Sheep" becomes more positive as the sheeps finally rise up, this trope is implied by the last verse. This is, after all a Whole Plot Reference to Animal Farm.Have you heard the news?The dogs are dead!You better stay homeAnd do as you're told,Get out of the road if you want to grow old.
- Gratuitous Panning: The bridge of "Sheep" features a vocoded Roger Waters in the left channel and an echoing David Gilmour in the right channel, both reciting a corrupted version of Psalm 23.
- 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".
- Lost in Translation: A geographic example occurred with "Pigs (Three Different Ones)", with many American listeners believing the "Whitehouse" of the third verse referred to Gerald Ford (whose presidency ended just a matter of days before the album's release). In actuality it referred to right-wing British moral guardian Mary Whitehouse, a notorious (and notoriously effective) figure in the British press.
- Messy Pig: A metaphorical example with the "Pigs (Three Different Ones)".
- Miniscule Rocking: In contrast to the outrageously long "Dogs", "Pigs (Three Different Ones)", and "Sheep", both versions of "Pigs on the Wing" clock in at only a minute and a half each.
- New Sound Album: While not outright abandoning Progressive Rock, Animals marked a shift to a distinctly harder sound and more aggressive lyricism that would define the remainder of the band's output prior to Roger Waters' departure in 1985, though the band kept its trademark sonic experimentation. 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!".
- Protest Song: Barring parts one and two of "Pigs on the Wing", the album consists solely of these kinds of songs, being penned as an attack on capitalist overreach, government abuse of authority, and nationwide groupthink.
- Rule of Three: "Pigs (Three Different Ones)".
- The Sheep Bite BackWhen 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."
- The "Who was..." section of "Dogs" was inspired by Allen Ginsberg's poem, "Howl".
- "I have looked over Jordan and I have seen," line in "Sheep" is based on the hymn, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot".
- 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.
- Sophisticated as Hell: The corrupted version of Psalm 23 in "Sheep" mostly carries on the same Antiquated Linguistics as the actual Psalm, which provides one hell of a contrast when it ends with the following lines:"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."
- Spiritual Successor: The original version of "Sheep", titled "Raving and Drooling (I Fell On His Neck With a Scream)", could be considered one to "One of These Days", with its similar bassline and tone. Ian Peel of The Guardian dubbed the final version of the song an example of this trope to "One of These Days" as well, noting in particular the shared Doctor Who-esque bassline.
- Take That, Critics!: The third verse of "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" is explicitly directed against British Moral Guardian and noted Fundamentalist prude Mary Whitehouse. Since Whitehouse was only really known in her native UK, international listeners ended up mistaking the "hey you, Whitehouse" line for a jab at Gerald Ford, who was president during the album's making.
- "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.