This is about where the casual listener should be feeling more comfortable. Meddle is more or less where the classic Pink Floyd sound (as heard on Classic Rock radio) begins. It’s all here: slow thudding bass, spacey guitar made to fill stadiums and otherworldly sounds known only to them.
“One Of These Days” fades out of the mist foretelling doom with that burping bass and a few nightmarish chords, before a middle section that supposedly quotes the Doctor Who theme before Nick Mason recites the full title. Once the drums kick in and the slide solo starts, you forget that it’s only two chords. More slide appears on “A Pillow Of Winds”, a much gentler song to provide a respite. “Fearless” is another song that confounds the listener request lines, with lyrics so quiet as to be indiscernible under a classic rising acoustic riff, before fading away to the sound of the fans at a Liverpool soccer game singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. A pair of mildly silly songs closes the side: the jazzy, summery “San Tropez”, and the stupid blues “Seamus”, named after the dog who howls on it.
As with their previous album, they dedicate a full side to a single composition, and “Echoes” is arguably one of the absolute few 23-minute rock songs that isn’t boring. From the opening ping effect through the verses, each capped by a dramatic descending/ascending riff. True to form, a funky section follows, with Gilmour exploring the limits of his foot pedals, setting us up for the truly frightening centerpiece, a mind movie wherein a frightened bird soars around rocky cliffs against a red sky. Whether it escapes or approaches its peril is unknown, as the ping returns and the band explodes into a cathartic burst of arpeggios, before returning to the verse and resolution, fading away again.
Roughly four years into their recording career and three years after losing Syd, Pink Floyd finally found their own signature sound. In addition, Meddle gave them a new long piece to play in stadiums. America in particular was starting to really take notice.
Pink Floyd Meddle (1971)—4