Pink Floyd:

[Columbia Reissues]
Rating: 10.0
It begins somewhere for everyone. There's the first song that grabs your attention and seizes the imagination, the first album that demonstrates such overall strength and originality that it becomes something more for most listeners, just as there is the first kiss that awakens the soul and forever changes the vision.

I admit without qualm that it began for me with Animals. My brother was in college, and one day I went through his records and listened to the ones with the coolest covers. Animals fascinated me then as it still fascinates me today. It is the acute anthropomorphic fantasy, possessing a timeless quality that has thrust it into the category of "classic," though it may remain forever in the shadow of its more commercially successful older brother, Dark Side Of The Moon. Consisting of three tracks each longer than ten minutes and two tracks under two minutes, Animals is not for the attention- span- deficient. However, within this impenetrable fortress of radio- unfriendly tracks, we hear Dave Gilmour's guitars at their absolute best, get a full-on dose of Roger Waters' powerful lyrical imagery, and are presented with the worst elements of our own humanity- packaged in the skins of "Sheep," "Dogs" and "Pigs (Three Different Ones)". For those weaned on The Wall and Dark Side, you'll find Animals to be a whole new bag of feed. Where Floyd's two most recognizable albums made their mark with operatic aggression and fear, Animals deals in dirt- under- the- fingernails reality, the common smallness that simultaneously binds and repels us all. "Dogs," a 17-minute study in the commonest of all faults, lazily dispenses bite after venomous bite into the desires that drive us to seize the fast buck and screw anyone that gets in our way:

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.

All this wrapped up in the flaky coating of two hauntingly similar and musically identical tracks casting opposite views of cynicism and hope on the proceedings. Animals is like George Orwell's Animal Farm run through a full- audio acid test- spectacular in every aspect and now in full color.

I admit without qualm that it began for me with Animals.

- James P. Wisdom, December 31, 1999