The Endless River is the final album, ever, by one of the most unique and influential bands of all time, Pink Floyd. Their legacy will live in rock annals forever, as they are a group of musicians that managed to make incredible, and everlasting music, constantly pushing the boundaries with their high-end concepts and intelligent music.
But is The Endless River really Pink Floyd?
Since the departure of Roger Waters in 1985, the band has carried on, led by the incredible David Gilmour, flanked by drummer Nick Mason and the now passed keyboardist Richard Wright. They have only produced three albums, including The Endless River (the others being A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell). There is little doubt that the band is not the same without the incredible creativity and storytelling of Waters, but there was something left to Pink Floyd, and their post-Waters albums were alright. Nothing compared to the legendary masterpieces they made with him, like Wish You Were Here, Dark Side of the Moon, and The Wall, but still not bad. Something different in the music landscape.
What they have come up with is, of course, something different from the usual musical released we have become accustomed to.
First off, the entire album is instrumental, save for the final song, “Louder Than Words.” What this creates for the listener is a sense of yearning. While the music, keyboard heavy and ambient, is pleasant to listen to, we yearn for it to be more like Pink Floyd. There are certainly glimpses, and some of Gilmour’s guitar work brings us to that place we want to be, it is as though there isn’t enough. I like the idea of a primarily instrumental album, but I missed Gilmour’s vocals, to be honest, and felt perhaps the album, the completion of the story of Wright and of Pink Floyd, would have been better served with at least a couple more tracks that contained lyrics and vocals. So that they could finish the incredible journey that they started back in the 1960’s, being led by Syd Barrett. I also would have liked to hear more guitar-driven songs, since Gilmour has produced some of the most memorable and understated guitar solos in rock history. Who wouldn’t want more of that?
One thing that I will give credit to on this album is that it manages to provide an escape while listening to it. It is possible to slip away, only hearing the quiet sounds of the music. Pink Floyd has always been able to do this, and it continues here.
Looking at the release of the album, and seeing how it reached number 1 in so many different countries, I wonder how the fan reaction is to the new music. Obviously, the name Pink Floyd still carries a ton of weight with listeners, and it was even the most pre-ordered album of all-time prior to its release in the UK.
Are we happy with the way that Pink Floyd has wrapped up?
Forgetting for a moment that this is Pink Floyd, it would be difficult to imagine that this album would have much commercial success. However, what we have here is a collection of pleasing music, with hints to the past, and taking us to the end of one of the all-time greats.
It is, of course, infinitely sad to know that Pink Floyd, in its most famous incarnation, with Waters and Gilmour at the creative helm, will never make another album. And while not perfect, The Endless River provides fans of the band with a quiet conclusion to the whole journey.