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YMMV / Pink Floyd

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YMMV tropes that apply to the band in general:

  • Anvilicious: The Final Cut (written entirely by Waters) was released to protest England's involvement in The Falklands War. Meanwhile, Animals makes it pretty clear that Waters doesn't exactly think very highly of capitalism or Moral Guardians, and Wish You Were Here is unlikely to leave anyone in much doubt as to his opinions on music industry executives. Then again, for many people, anything Roger Waters has ever written is Anvilicious.
  • Archive Panic: Their official discography isn't exactly small, but the amount of bootlegs available is just staggering. There's even an official Fan Nickname for them: ROIO's, or Recordings of Indeterminate (or Illegitimate) Origin.
  • Audience-Alienating Era:
    • The band members themselves see the period between Syd Barrett leaving and the release of Meddle as this. Diehard fans, however, tend to disagree, though the studio disc of Ummagumma tends to split hairs.
    • A more unanimous consensus among fans is that, like with many '60s and '70s acts, the '80s were not a good time for Pink Floyd, largely due to the escalating inter-band drama during that time that bled into their output, with the two albums of new material that decade being their most divisive. This slump is generally considered to have ended with the release of The Division Bell in 1994, though the band's dissolution shortly after and the release of the similarly hair-splitting finale The Endless River in 2014 leaves most fans to regard The Division Bell as more a brief respite from a creative decline rather than a true era-ender.
  • Awesome Music: Now has its own page.
  • Broken Base:
    • Over The Final Cut and the post-Waters albums. In the former case there was a famous example where the editors of a Pink Floyd fan publication voted it their best album in the same issue as the fans voted it their worst.
    • Then there's the matter with Syd Barrett's time with the band; some circles consider this period the only worthwhile moment in Floyd's history, while fans of the classic period consider it, as well as the band's pre-Dark Side work as a whole, an oddity at best.
    • Some other examples include the studio disc of Ummagumma (except the more straightforward "Grantchester Meadows", which tends to be universally loved), A Saucerful of Secrets, and Atom Heart Mother. The band themselves viewed the latter as a failed experiment, but it's quite loved by some fans.
    • Dear God The Endless River has become this. Most people tend to praise it for being Rick Wright's swan song by the band, but others very much hate it for coming off as incredibly weak, especially when most of the record is instrumentals.
    • The lack of Roger Waters doesn't help matters too.
  • Creator Worship: Started to become prominent after The Dark Side of the Moon, and came to a head while touring for Animals, when Roger Waters spat on a fan's face as he was trying to climb the barrier between the band and the audience, and reportedly made said fan's night! This incident, as well as Roger's realization that he was becoming a cold, destructive person, led to the creation of the very dark album The Wall.
    • David Gilmour even gets this, both as a guitarist and musician. Considering how universally praised he is for his melodic and emotionally powerful guitar solos and the amount of attention he puts into his guitar tone, daring to say anything bad about his playing or saying that he is overrated is bound to have not only music fans, but musicians (as well as guitarists) in general, break out in hives and rip you to pieces.
  • Critical Backlash: They triggered a big one at the height of their career. NME was the biggest culprit, with a notoriously scathing concert review from the mid-1970's. For the most popular band performing a major Dead Horse Genre, it seems inevitable that critics would run them through a wood chipper and would be not pleased that the '80s began with a Progressive Rock band at #1.
  • Critical Dissonance: Despite being regularly trashed by some critics (you can find a good review for every Pink Floyd album if you look, and critics mostly ate up their early material; the pastings they would receive in The '70s were more of the It's Popular, Now It Sucks! kind), their albums sold truckloads. The band was eventually Vindicated by History in terms of critical acclaim and are retroactively now one of the most critically adored bands of the seventies and one of the few progressive rock bands critics will admit to liking. Rolling Stone for instance, named Wish You Were Here the worst album of 1975, but 30-odd years later, included it in the top 500 of their greatest albums of all time list. Robert Christgau, himself no fan of progressive rock, actually gave Wish You Were Here an A-.
  • Ending Fatigue: Usually inverted, as the songs take forever to start ("Time", "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", "Us and Them"), but played straight sometimes ("Atom Heart Mother"). "Echoes" and "Atom Heart Mother" take the cake, though: They take forever to start and end. (The band members themselves were critical of the latter in later years for its lack of focus.) "A Saucerful of Secrets" gets a special mention for not really having what can be called a "start" or an "end".
  • Epic Riff: Quite a few.
    • "Interstellar Overdrive" for the Syd Barrett era.
    • "Echoes", to the point that (at least according to Waters) Andrew Lloyd Webber ripped it off for The Phantom of the Opera.
    • "Wish You Were Here", a must-know for acoustic guitar players everywhere.
    • "Money" (a bass riff, at that)
    • The outro to "Sheep".
    • "In the Flesh" and "Run Like Hell" off The Wall.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception:
  • Fan Nickname:
    • The Gilmour-led band has been called the "dehydrated" (as in, without Waters) band.
    • Unauthorized releases of live shows aren't bootlegs, they're Recordings of Indeterminate Origin (ROIOs).
    • For the individual members, "Rog" for Roger Waters, and "Gilmie" for David Gilmour.
    • The circular screen used in live shows is nicknamed "Mr. Screen."
    • The band's most popular albums, The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall, are collectively dubbed the Big Four.
  • First Installment Wins: At least according to Barrett fans; the band's first era with Barrett was the better for them, obviously.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • Pink Floyd fans generally also like Kate Bush, due to David Gilmour's discovering her and his guest appearances on her albums.
    • Pink Floyd fans tend to like other progressive rock bands like Yes, Rush, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Genesis and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. They also tend to like non-prog contemporaries like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Queen, David Bowie, and The Grateful Dead. In Bowie's case, this is aided by him having been a noted fan of Pink Floyd, considering their early material an influence on his own work, covering "See Emily Play" on his 1973 Cover Album Pin-Ups, and performing Syd and Roger's vocal parts on "Arnold Layne" and "Comfortably Numb" (respectively) during the UK shows on David Gilmour's 2006 On an Island Tour.
    • Due to Gilmour's collaboration and personal friendship with Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, Pink Floyd and Roxy Music fans also tend to get along pretty well.
  • Funny Moments: Now has its own page.
  • Gateway Series: Pink Floyd has become where many younger generations of listeners, many of whom were not even born when The Wall (let alone The Dark Side of the Moon) was made, have discovered Progressive Rock.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd is a British band that's popular everywhere.
    • Pre-Dark Side, they were already pretty popular in France, possibly helped by David Gilmour being fluent in French.
    • Germans also love Pink Floyd, and the band was a major influence on many Krautrock artists.
    • The band was more successful in the U.S. than their prog rock peers because Gilmour's bluesy guitar style appealed more to American rock sensibilities than other bands that had sounds rooted in classical music.
    • The band also had an underground popularity in the Soviet Union, and the tour for A Momentary Lapse of Reason included a series of shows in Moscow, the band's first, as the country liberalized under Mikhail Gorbachev. Pink Floyd became the first band to be played in space as cosmonauts took a cassette copy of The Delicate Sound of Thunder to the space station Mir in 1988. As prog rock continues to have a significant following in Russia, the band has remained popular there, with both Waters' and Gilmours' solo tours including stops in the country.
    • The Gilmour-led band in Ukraine during the Russian invasion of 2022, for their humanitarian support with the single "Hey, Hey, Rise Up" using the cover of the patriotic song "Oh, the Red Viburnum in the Meadow" ("Ой у лузі червона калина") by Andriy Khlyvnyuk. It specifically concerns the post-Waters band only since Waters himself has embraced pro-Russian narratives about the war, meanwhile. It also helps that prog rock has remained popular in the country as it has in Russia.
  • Growing the Beard: After five psychedelic and experimental albums, Meddle is where they really developed the sound they would become famous for.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "The Scarecrow", from the band's first album, seems to accidentally foreshadow Syd's dementia.
      His head did no thinking, his arms didn't move...
    • "Point Me at the Sky", the 1968 single released shortly after Syd's tenure, has the curious lyric, "And if you survive to 2005, I hope you're exceedingly thin". Syd died in 2006.
    • "The Great Gig in the Sky", which Richard Wright composed, after his death, especially given that it's one of the rare compositions credited to him. Somewhat similarly, "Dogs" contains the lyrics "Just another sad old man / all alone and dying of cancer" which become much harsher when you realize Richard Wright died of cancer and that he suffered from depression.
    • Nick Mason joking that "we lust after money to some extent" in Live in Pompeii becomes harsher in light of the difficulties Pink Floyd had in dealing with their success after The Dark Side of the Moon. The joke itself also becomes a bit more serious since in a previous interview section, David Gilmour states that he had a "breadline or less" existence before joining Pink Floyd. (Gilmour is actually understating it: He unsuccessfully busked around Spain and France before joining Pink Floyd and actually required treatment for malnutrition.)
    • "If" from Atom Heart Mother has lyrics inspired by the namesake Rudyard Kipling poem, and some people have likened them to be about Syd. On the other hand, they can reflect upon Roger Waters' future with the band, and they aren't pretty:
      If I were alone, I would cry
      And if I were with you, I’d be home and dry
      Will you still let me join in with the game?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Waters spitting in a fan's face on the final show of the tour for Animals, which included the lyric "Who was trained not to spit in the fan?" (from "Dogs"). Though if it is funny or not, is up to you. When that concert was bootlegged, the bootleg was predictably named Who Was Trained Not To Spit On The Fan?.
    • "High Hopes" opens with this little gem:
      Beyond the horizon in the place we lived when we were young,
      In a world of magnets and miracles...
    • During the odd 1967 interview with Hans Keller, Keller asks "Do you feel any hostility towards the audience?" in which Roger Waters answers with an emphatic "No! Not at all!". Fast forward to Montreal in 1977, however.... Of course, the audiences they had in 1967 as an underground British psychedelic band were considerably smaller, more intimate, and manageable than the ones they'd play to by the late 1970's as a successful "arena rock" band. Roger had a lot more reason to feel hostile as they played to bigger, rowdier crowds than in their earlier years.
    • The line "Witness the man who raves at the wall" in "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun".
    • If you remember that Live in Pompeii was released just a year before The Dark Side of the Moon, Nick Mason's interview section becomes absolutely hilarious. Mason reflects that Pink Floyd "mark a sort of era" and are "in danger of becoming a relic of the past", stating that for some people they represent "the underground in London, the free concert in Hyde Park and so on" of The '60s and that they've had difficulties overcoming that perception. He also comments that "we have some pretty good arguments from time to time" and "we do have infighting... but without actually exploding", jokes that "we lust after money to some extent", and suggests that the "whole thing breaks down" when one person decides that they can do something better by themselves or are no longer interested.
    • One of their songs from their first album is called "Lucifer Sam". In Supernatural, the one true vessel of Lucifer is Sam Winchester.
    • One of the band's early names was The Meggadeaths. Years later, there actually was a band called Megadeth.
    • This line from "Echoes":
  • Ho Yay: Roger Waters & Syd Barrett, according to some fans.
  • I Am Not Shazam: "Oh, by the way, which one's Pink?", as mentioned in the 1975 song, "Have a Cigar".
  • The Inverse Law of Fandom Levity: While not without their goofy and lighthearted moments, especially during the Syd Barrett era, Floyd as a whole are known for being a very dark band, tackling horrifying subject matters like war, depression, cynicism, and existentialism. The fandom, on the other hand, loves to joke around and absolutely embrace meme culture.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Roger Waters from around the development The Wall onward.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Generally the case in the rare instances where people go out of their way to see the films More or La Valée, the films for which More and Obscured by Clouds respectively were composed as soundtrack albums. Often the case with Zabriskie Point, too, to the point that its soundtrack album is generally promoted for containing Pink Floyd songs, even though they were certainly not the only band whose work was used on the soundtrack, though they did make the biggest contribution, including new material specifically written and recorded for it.
  • LGBT Fanbase: A substantial portion of Pink Floyd's following among younger audiences consists of queer listeners who gravitated towards Roger Waters' lyrics on The Wall and The Final Cut slamming both homophobia and politicians regarded as instrumental in the backsliding of LGBT+ acceptance during the 1980s. In turn, this resulted in them checking out and enjoying the band's other material as well, both with and without Waters as bandleader, to the point where a common meme among younger Floydians jokingly portrays The Dark Side of the Moon as a pride symbol.
  • Mis-blamed: Waters is often citied as having fired Wright following a dispute over the production of The Wall and seen as one of many signs of Waters' Creator Breakdown. But if one looks at the whole picture, you will see that Wright himself was the subject of a Creator Breakdown as his recent divorce had severely affected him emotionally and his output with the band was suffering due to it. So when he asked Waters to not accept the deal to tighten the deadline for the album, his subsequent firing was could be seen as an act of Mercy Kill by Waters, rather than something done out of selfish pride.
  • Narm Charm: Roger's scream-singing.
  • Newbie Boom: The success of The Dark Side of the Moon brought a huge influx of new fans. As the band moved from theaters to arenas, the behavior of audiences changed drastically. Roger Waters' frustration with one unruly fan in 1977 culminated in Waters spitting on him. His shock at his own behavior inspired him to write The Wall. The band also picked up a lot of new younger fans in the late '80s and the '90s with the releases of A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell, but they were generally well-behaved, with very few of the problems that "Touch Heads" became known for. They continued to pick up Millennial fans in the '00s and the '10s.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The song "Cymbaline" from Soundtrack From the Film "More". Though it is an undeniably somber song, it's actually supposed to describe a nightmare, and "Nightmare" was its working title. Live performances contained a soundscape of "scary" sounds such as footsteps and creaking doors intended to frighten the audience. During one performance a fan sarcastically screamed "I'M SCARED!" during this segment.
  • Refrain from Assuming: It's called "Brain Damage", not "The Dark Side of the Moon". Similarly, "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" is not "We Don't Need No Education" and "Learning to Fly" is not "Tongue Tied and Twisted".
  • Signature Song: By album...
    • The Piper at the Gates of Dawn: "Astronomy Domine" or "Interstellar Overdrive"
    • A Saucerful of Secrets: "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" or "Let There Be More Light"
    • Meddle: "One of These Days" or "Echoes"
    • The Dark Side of the Moon: "Time", "Money", "Us and Them", "Breathe", "The Great Gig in the Sky" or "Brain Damage".
    • Wish You Were Here: "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", "Have a Cigar" and most of all the Title Track.
    • Animals: "Pigs"
    • The Wall: Many, but "Another Brick In The Wall", "Hey You" and "Comfortably Numb" stand out the most
    • The Final Cut: "The Final Cut", "The Fletcher Memorial Home", or "When the Tigers Broke Free"
    • A Momentary Lapse of Reason: "Learning to Fly", "On the Turning Away", or "Sorrow"
    • The Division Bell: "Marooned", "Coming Back to Life" or "High Hopes"
    • The Endless River: "Louder Than Words"
    • Singles: "See Emily Play" or "Arnold Layne"
      • Overall: "Wish You Were Here", "Another Brick In The Wall", and "Comfortably Numb" are tied for first, with "Crazy Diamond", "Time", "Money", and "Hey You" trailing not too hard behind.
  • So Bad, It's Good: "A Spanish Piece" from Soundtrack From the Film "More". It is a textbook example of Spexico, with a man with a lisp (apparently in an attempt to imitate a Spanish accent) singing (well, more like whispering) about tequila and gringos. Both Mexican and Spanish fans (or any fan who knows the difference between the two countries' cultures) find it cringeworthy, yet at the same time still enjoy it due to the sheer ability of Pink Floyd to pull it off.
  • Sophomore Slump: A Saucerful of Secrets is typically held in much lower regard than The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, partially due to the departure of Syd Barrett. The album does have fans, and Nick Mason has even claimed it's his favorite Floyd album.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • A lot of fans dislike Adrian Maben's addition of stock NASA footage and CGI animations to his 2003 director's cut of Live at Pompeii. The director likely anticipated this, as the complete original version is included in the DVD bonus material.
    • Quite a number of fans detest the changes made to the band's albums' packaging in the 2011 Discovery reissues, especially when compared to the near-perfect recreations of the original vinyl packaging presented in the Oh, By the Way boxset from four years prior. The newer CD art in the Discovery reissues is also a point of contention, as they're all just palette swaps of the same triangle "D" pattern, making them feel more generic as opposed to Oh, By the Way's surprisingly well-done recreations of the original LPs' A-side labels. The more recent Pink Floyd Records re-releases seem to get off more lightly, despite also having their share of differences.
  • Too Bleak, Stopped Caring: The albums made after Roger Waters asserted control of the band, particularly Animals, The Wall and The Final Cut, have been criticized for their relentlessly downbeat tone. The Final Cut is one of the most divisive in the band's catalog, and also one of its lowest-selling post-Dark Side of the Moon releases.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • The whole band while making Wish You Were Here. Not only were they trying to follow up a massive hit album, Roger and Nick were both going through divorces. Eventually Waters decided the only way the album was going to get done was to make it about the pressures and sense of alienation the band were experiencing then and there, even though it meant throwing out about half the material they had at that point (most of the discarded material was later reworked as the songs "Dogs" and "Sheep", from Animals).
    • Arguably, the albums Gilmour made as bandleader, compared with the Waters-written masterpieces. Also, when Waters took over from Syd Barrett, especially since it took about 3 years for Waters to properly emerge as bandleader.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • "Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert" references several geopolitical hotspots in the early '80s: The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, the war in Lebanon and The Falklands War.
    • "The Fletcher Memorial Home" namedrops several politicians who have now all passed away: Reagan, Thatcher, Ian Paisley, Leonid Breznhev, Menachem Begin,...
    • The band was always about using the latest and greatest recording technologies of the time. But 80's production has not aged well at all, giving A Momentary Lapse of Reason a very dated sound today.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Like a lot of classic rock bands, including Led Zeppelin, critics HATED them in The '70s but proclaim the band as geniuses today. Rolling Stone famously lambasted Wish You Were Here, declaring it "actually nothing more than the skillful manipulation of elements so simple — the basic three chords everyone else uses — that any collection of bar hacks could grind out a note-for-note reproduction without difficulty", and complaining that "they give such a matter-of-fact reading of the goddamn thing that they might as well be singing about Roger Waters's brother-in-law getting a parking ticket". 30 years later, it was included on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
    • The post-Waters albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell got a lot of mixed reviews from fans and critics alike and Roger Waters absolutely panned both albums when they came out. However today, both fans and critics now regard The Division Bell as one the Floyd's best and A Momentary Lapse of Reason has gained a lot of fans as well, with many of them seeing these albums as on par with the band's '70s classics.
    • Roger Waters' solo albums and tours were slow sellers, but Waters became an in-demand live act around the Turn of the Millennium.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Pretty much all of their live shows, extending back to the band's early days.
  • The Woobie: Syd Barrett. Also Rick Wright during The Wall album era.