I hear Pink Floyd in so much of the music that I love. They’re a profoundly important and influential band generally but for me personally too. Their capacity to develop and retain quality through styles and songwriters is virtually unparalleled, one example of which is the subject of this post: Animals, which turns 40 this year. To quickly address those hacks who would dare to question Floyd on a metal website, they have more metal in the occasional riff and denser compositions they arranged than 99% of snot-nosed, tattooed, bald fuckers who sneer about the desecration of Christianity, women ,their childhoods or whatever it is that’s cool to sneer about these days. Just so we’re clear off the bat.

Animals is the progressive rock purists’ album by Floyd. The short, melodically-linked acoustic intro and outro (“Pigs on the Wing I” and “II”) encircle three expansive tracks which each run at least ten minutes and execute the record’s socio-political criticism which directly refers to George Orwell’s Animal Farm. While Orwell damningly satirized the particulars of the Russian Revolution and Stalin’s ultimate control, Floyd (or should I just cut the bullshit and say Roger Waters?) utilizes the same farm animal props to criticize the failures of capitalism in 1970s Britain. Beyond the lofty concept and extended tracks, Animals occupies a unique place in the Floyd discography by drawing in elements of their sound as it was previously and as it would be. Prog betas may think that Dream Theater were progressive for writing an entire album as a sequel to a track. Prog alphas know that Floyd are progressive for writing an album which coherently draws so many of their other albums under its umbrella without sounding remotely repetitive.

For example, the relaxed mid-song interludes refer to the psychedelia of their 60s material. The off-hand whimsy from parts of Dark Side of the Moon are heard in the bouncier melodies and transitions between tracks which feature animals’ cries. Those epic soundscapes, which Floyd does better than any other band and which peaked on Wish You Were Here, are present and correct. Even the guitarist’s wet dream of The Division Bell gets a look in through the record’s insanely awesome riffs and Gilmour’s exemplary solos. And finally, the theatricality of The Wall might be the most clear comparison considering the concept and obvious use of the animals theme. And yet, despite these influences, Animals is also entirely cohesive and satisfying within itself. It’s a dark and bitter reflection on the circumstances of its era but is executed with a light heart and fun sensibility, the combination of which affords accessibility yet depth.

Compositionally, the most important aspect of the album is the use of motifs. The “Pigs on the Wing” bookends are clearly melodically and instrumentally linked but the careful integration of great individual ideas across the long tracks are the lifeblood of Animals. It would be easy to run these into the ground through overuse but maximum effectiveness is achieved through caution. On “Dogs,” the introductory acoustic lead returns at 11:50 while the delicate electric guitar lead underpinned by string synths at 3:40 returns after fourteen minutes to bring the song together even across its seventeen-minute duration. “Sheep” also deserves a special mention; the opening keyboard is the perfect instrumental representation of meandering sheep and carries a melody which is ultimately embellished and becomes one of the best riffs ever performed by Floyd. This riff also takes cues from the strolling rhythm in the passage subsequent to the introduction, establishing a true progression across the ten minutes which few others can match. It’s a favorite track by a favorite band and one of the best musical moments ever captured.

So in summary: Animals is one of the greatest progressive rock releases ever and should absolutely not fall by the wayside of the likes of Dark Side, Wish You Were Here and The Wall. It may not boast the immediacy of particular tracks within those others but its cunning and subtle hooks will embed deeply given half a chance. And that album artwork? Amazing.

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  • mtlman1990

    Masterpiece.

  • Pffft, doesn’t even djent. They’ll never make it.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Dudes don’t even have a Bandcamp page. Get with it, man!

      • Nick Maestas

        Yea what a bunch of hippies!

    • The Akerstache

      It’s so quite too. They know nothing about making it in the music business.

      • Excentric_13073

        I hate to do this, but… It’s “Quiet” not “quite”.

        …Sorry.

        • The Akerstache

          Oh shit you are right.

          That’s embarrassing.

    • rick B

      Metallica wasn’t even s live swimmer yet get real dude!!!!!!

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Metallica were still in Bagdad

        • I think it’s spelled “Dadbag” in that context.

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            Yes….however less punny.

    • Tofu muncher

      No tats? WTF??!!111!?

    • METAL OTTER

      That’d be Pink Floyd – Animals as Leaders

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      Idk.
      The verse riff in Pigs is kinda djent BC.

  • Iain Gleasure

    Ah the classic Rogers Waters or Pink Floyd debate. The cult of personality he has constructed around himself is astounding.

    • ricLP81

      All the tracks have credited Waters as the composer, with Gilmour on only one of them.
      Roger Waters may be on the wrong side of many arguments, but credit should go where credit is due. Animals was mostly his album, with (I’m sure) a lot of input from the other guys. When he stopped listening to the other guys and wanted PF to become the Roger Waters Band that’s when things went south. Happens unfortunately…
      But he does deserve a lot of credit for the success that is Pink Floyd

      • Tofu muncher

        His are the only works by ex-Pink Floyd members I still listen to (and purchase).

        • That sounds like a momentary lapse of reason to me.

          • Tofu muncher

            I listen to DG’s works, on iTunes. They’re good, too.

      • Iain Gleasure

        I agree with all points you make. In fact that is why I consider him so egotistical. He guided a brilliantly talented band but stopped seeing that it was still more than just him. He realizes that now but in the intervening years he has done all he did all he could to trumpet his part and his alone in the band Pink Floyd, almost claiming he made Pink Floyd without the others. And his post Floyd work, in my opinion, proves he could not.
        *This is all just my opinion mind you, others views on his actions may be very different.

        • ricLP81

          I agree that his solo career is nothing to write home about. In fact I did enjoy his last album, but it’s still a few notches below anything he made with Floyd, and it’s pretty much the only one I remember enjoying… I may have to revisit his older stuff…
          The same can be said about the others. DG made a few passable things, but no classics.

          • basenjibrian

            Dittos. I am old, so I enjoy middle aged angst. :)

        • Dymanic

          Nah. Amused to Death is awesome, even if some of his observations therein do seem a bit trite in retrospect.

      • bobbg

        It did OK without him and Gilmore at the healm. Syd made the band famous long befor he had mental health issues from drugs. I’m going to say Richard Wright had more influence then anyone on keyboards and yet he’s widely ignored same with Mason. Waters broke up the band and for that he’s an a hole. Why screw up a band at the top by fighting its ability to keep playing? And no waters wasn’t the creative arrest on all the music, I doubt he knows how to play many of the instruments or wright sheet music. Most rock groups do not compose using sheet music nor can they compose music that way. So every member of the band had input on every song including the words.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Can’t stand him… but I can’t deny his brilliance either

      • bobbg

        I can’t stand Waters either, but I love David Gilmore and Richard Wright as well as Rick Mason. I’ve got at least 40+ years of listening to Pink Floyd under my belt I was the daddy always playing Pink Floyd on road trips and my 30’s + year old kids love the music too. All members of Pink Floyd were brilliant Including Pink. Aka Syd Berrett, if you don’t understand the Who’s pink google what the record producer asked the band when they came to the USA the first time. Its amusing. I think the music they made will outlive all of them for many years and thats hard to do. Not many bands span several generations but I’ll bet if you play there music almost anyone would know what it was. At least in developed nations. Also not something many bands do. BTW my dogs love Dogs. I’ve played it straight, drunk, and stoned out of my mind and I’ll say one thing about it. Its some of the best music. Its also something no one will ever be able to say they stole it from someone else. So its tottaly original.

  • Marc Rikmenspoel

    Such a great album. The Pigs on the Wing duo were added to make the whole seem less bleak and depressing, but that grim, grey vision is what makes Animals so special. I do think the album is overlooked by many rock fans (and radio stations), but metal fans generally appreciate it. Many, on other sites, list Animals as their favorite PF album. It certainly is mine.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      And The Final Cut is a stone cold, often-overlooked classic too!

      • LR

        No bold text? Ok, then.
        Have to agree with you. Although Animals is also my favorite album, some of my favorite songs are on The final cut. Now I just feel like listening to it

        • Fuck all that bold text, we’ve gotta get on with these Pink Floyd praises.

      • Nukenado

        WAIT WHUT
        Joking aside, that’s cool that you have a music related-comment. Pink Floyd brings out the best in concrete containers.

        (I should start listening to Pink Floyd…)

      • Tofu muncher

        Agree.

      • My personal favorite Pink Floyd album. “Not Now John” always gets multiple loops before I can move on to anything else, the guitar in that one is just sooo fuckin badass.

        • Brutalist_Receptacle

          Scathing. Their most politically astute work. Trashes Thatcherism, incipient neoliberalism, nativism, ethnic hatreds, and unjust, unnecessary wars. I mean the Falklands? Seriously. This was when the world got fucked up. What have we done?

          • That line still gives me shivers, particularly when he repeats it and directly addresses Margaret Thatcher. Effectively humanized, bleak and honest, such a simple line but a powerful one.

  • hallowed

    By far my favourite album of theirs. Good writing.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Possibly my favourite Floyd album though I believe I’ve said that about most of them at some point… be interesting to hear your thoughts on the Syd era and his solo work. Would AMG let you have a semi regular column Angry Floyd Guy where you trawl through their discography? A bit like his legendary Maiden series.

  • Jason Cofer

    I give you guys permission to do whatever you want. Animals is tops

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      WHY DO YOU HATE PUMPKINS

      • Jason Cofer

        I was harassed by pumpkins when I was an adolescent.

        • Brutalist_Receptacle

          So you’re doing the same to you son?

          • Jason Cofer

            Nope. Just teaching him how to treat filthy gourds 🤘😈🤘

          • Brutalist_Receptacle

            The domestication of about seventy plant species of squashes and gourds occurred throughout a long period in Mesoamerica, beginning some 10,000 years BP (before present), according to the most recent dating of Cucurbita species remains from Oaxaca (Smith 1997). DICK.

          • Gourdist.

    • Dymanic

      AND WHY DO YOU HATE PUPKINS

  • Monsterth Goatom

    The seventies was such a golden era if you’re talking about classic, influential Brit albums. The Kink’s Muswell Hillbillies, Fairport Convention’s Unhalfbricking (ok, technically 1969), Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, etc.

  • Huck N’ Roll

    Most excellent.

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    Can we just cut the middleman and call this blog “Angry Prog Guy” already?? That way nobody will throw a fit whenever Anathema or Steven Wilson get ROTM, and there can be retrospective reviews for every Rush and Yes album.

    Jokes aside, I love this album. My dad used to play Pigs on some of our road trips, but my favourites have always been Dogs and Sheep. I especially love the little “throwbacks” in Sheep to Dogs, like at 4:12, where you hear the echo of the barking effect used in Dogs at 7:59. Things like this really make the album feel like a coherent musical journey, which I appreciate in a genre where it’s easy to mess up the concept of coherence.

    Great review, by the way!

    • Angry Pogs Guys maybe. Pogs are making a big comeback, in Pog form!

    • basenjibrian

      My (now 81 years old) mom LOVED Wish You Were Here a few years back.

  • Planex

    Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory is a fantastic album, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    • Tofu muncher

      I am always a DT fan, and Metropolis Pt.2 is indeed a stellar album. Yet, DT’s album I most frequently listen to is Six Degrees…, btw am not sure why. more simple compositions maybe?

  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    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 broken 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 found dead on the phone
    Who was dragged down by the stone
    Who was dragged down by the stone

    YUP. WATERS IS A FVCKING GENIUS

    • basenjibrian

      Maybe because I am getting old, but his new solo album is great for us geezers. Full of middle aged pensiveness.

  • Sean Brennan

    One of the most underrated Floyd albums it is a masterpiece up

  • Cary Heuchert

    “Animals” was the last real Pink Floyd album, when they were still functioning as a 4-piece unit (Gilmour, Wright, Waters and Mason). I remember hearing this played — in it’s entirety, on both AM (!!!) and FM radio stations back in early 1977. “Pigs” and “Dogs” especially left a deep impression.

  • dedseed1

    My favorite metal blog reviewing Animals? I can dig that. FYI, Meddle is an EXTREMELY underrated Floyd album.

    • Dymanic

      Yep, I love Meddle. You’d think they would have reviewed that first on Angry Meddle Guy.

      • El_Cuervo

        That isn’t a multiple of 10 years’ old this year.

        • sir_c

          stop meddling in our conversation will you

  • Wilhelm

    Animals is certainly underrated compared to their other big albums, and deserves recognition. Nice review!

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Pink……Mass?

  • rick B

    Finally a new music head that gives Pink Floyd it’s due respect regardless of whom did individual tracks, rock on people’s

  • GWW

    My favorite Floyd album followed by Wish You Were Here.

  • Nate Sweet

    Which one’s Pink?

  • John Mosley

    This is my favorite Floyd album by far, and the most deeply personal one for me. There is a segment of guitar solo breakdown in Dogs which I think may be my favorite minute of and rock and roll, period.

  • Jessica Byles

    Does anybody know…..can we actually see battersea dogs home in the album cover?

    • El_Cuervo

      Dude that is not the Battersea dogs home. That’s amusing. No, that is the Battersea Power Station. And yes, my old train commute took me right by it twice per day.

  • Scott Tyson

    IMHO their best and my favorite Floyd album. I was about 13 when this came out and I played it to death, just captivating. Still love it today. Great review as well.

  • Mary Ann Swope

    Face it, Waters may have written most of it, but without the collaboration of Gilmore, Wright, and Mason it wouldn’t be what it is!

  • RobbyTaylor

    Yeah man, Animals kicks ass. I’d pin it in my top 2 Floyd albums along with Dark Side.

  • Ken Lee

    Whenever I think of Floyd I immediately think of Gilmore, but Animals is by far my favorite album. Great review!

  • Jerry Harris

    Pink Floyd is the only band that I can say I like all of there songs. And to me Gilmour is the best Guitarist there is. He makes it look so simple and effortlessly.

  • A.C.E.

    I am sure most of you know, but..the original Pigs on the Wing contained an “extra” guitar solo. Played by “Snowy White.” It was on the 8 Track version of the album but edited out of the LP release, and therefore subsequent CD releases. If you havent heard it, it is well worth seeking out. Totally different. Very cool.

  • Music aside, what i love about Pink Floyd is the fucking scope. Why bother with photomontages, when you can get a 9m big pig-shaped Zeppelin balloon and put it in the air over a power station?
    Unfortunately on the second day of shooting it slipped its tether due to the strong wind and flew away, alarming RAF and flight control of Heathrow Airport, to finally land several km away on a farm in Godmersham, Kent. According to the furious owner, it scared the shit out of his cows.
    Best promotion campaign ever.
    I’m sure most of you have heard this story already but it’s worth mentioning on every occasion.

  • Favourite Pink Floyd album, for me. And yeah I’d have to agree with others – it’s mostly overlooked.

  • Rolderathis

    The bass line/arpeggio/what have you at the end of “Pigs” is one of my favorites in all music. Sounds pretty metal to me tbh!

  • I.B. Hurtin

    I loved this album when it came out and was a big fan until The Wall was overplayed to death. In the past few years I have rediscovered Pink Floyd and I’m amazed at what they produced. A friend recently lamented that it’s a shame there aren’t any bands like them these days. My first reaction was to dispute that but then I couldn’t think of any!

  • Nick Maestas

    Siiiiick! I’ve never heard this pink Floyd album. You guys need to review Rush Hemispheres!

  • sir_c

    This band is like Led Zeppelin and Cream, only after digging into their material you realize how deeply they are anchored in modern rock music.

  • AnnieK13

    Animals and Wish You Were Here were my favorite albums for quite some time.