The Division Bell – The dark horse of Pink Floyd’s discography

Read ahead as I give a track-by-track breakdown of the prog legend’s penultimate album.

The Division Bell isn’t an album that first comes to mind when you think of Pink Floyd. The album is usually overlooked by their earlier efforts; such as 1973’s ‘The Darkside of the Moon’. However, 1994’s ‘The Division Bell’ really is a phenomenal album.

1. Cluster One

As with many of the later Pink Floyd albums; this one starts with an instrumental opening. It’s mainly ambient in style with soft keyboard and guitar work, making is very similar to the band’s next album: ‘The Endless River’.

2. What Do You Want From Me

A bluesy-rock ballad. Starts of with a soaring guitar solo. Powerful choral vocals makes this an excellent first ‘proper’ song on the album.

3. Poles Apart

The album takes an acoustic turn in style with the third track. Lyrically, the song refers to the band’s two ex-members: Roger Waters and Syd Barrett.

4. Marooned

The best track on the album so far. Instrumental tracks aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the emotive guitar and keyboard in this song definitely make it worth a listen. For the guitar buffs out there, this is possibly the greatest use of a Digitech Whammy.

5. A Great Day for Freedom

A piano ballad which lyrics address the post-Cold War era. Not one of my favorites, although the lyrics are particularly well-written; although special mention goes to lead guitarist Gilmour’s guitar solo.

6. Wearing the Inside Out

Probably the weakest song on the album, mostly due to the song being far too long. However it is redeemed by the excellent keyboard and sax solos. Special mention goes to the fact it’s the first song credited to and sung by keyboardist Rick Wright since 1973’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’.

7. Take it Back

After the down-beat nature of ‘Wearing the Inside Out’, the album turns to a very bright, poppy track; which old-school Pink Floyd fans will hate. Despite this, the song is an excellent powerpop song feels particularly uplifting with the dreamy guitar riffs.

8. Coming Back to Life

One of the best tracks on the album. Starts off with a soft guitar intro, with vocals and then launches into another poppy-esque song. The song also has two more amazing guitar solos.

9. Keep Talking

Particularly notable for including vocal samples from the late Stephen Hawking. Like many songs on the album, the lyrics focus on communication. What I really like about this song is the interplay between the guitar and keyboard solos. The song also receives a sequel (‘Talkin’ Hawking’) on the band’s final album: ‘The Endless River’.

10. Lost for Words

The album again takes an acoustic turn. For me, this has always felt like the squeal to ‘Poles Apart’, as lyrically the song addresses the band’s ex-members.

11. High Hopes

The best and final song on the album. The song is rather poignant as for 20 years it was the closing track of Pink Floyd’s discography, until the release of ‘The Endless River’ in 2014. The song starts with the clanging church bell which continues throughout the song. What really makes this song is Gilmour’s astronomical guitar solo at the end- definitely leaving the album on a high! If I were ever on Desert Island Discs, this would certainly be one of my choices.

Featured image credit: Press

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