Pink Floyd is releasing its first new album in 20 years


An unlikely sighting: Pink Floyd musicians Roger Waters, left, and David Gilmour onstage in London on May 12, 2011. (REUTERS/Sean Evans)

Well, so much for a press release. It appears your favorite Pink Floyd cover band is going to have some new music to learn soon.

The legendary British rock band is releasing a new album in October called “The Endless River.” The news first trickled out via Twitter from Polly Samson, the novelist and “Division Bell” lyricist who is married to guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour. Samson tweeted Saturday, seemingly appropos of nothing: “Btw Pink Floyd album out in October is called ‘The Endless River’. Based on 1994 sessions is Rick Wright’s swansong and very beautiful.”

This sent rabid Pink Floyd fans into a frenzy, as user Mike Cecchini characterized with this response to Samson:

“The Endless River” will be the first new Pink Floyd studio album since “The Division Bell” was released in 1994 and will feature music from keyboardist and co-founder Rick Wright, who died of cancer in 2008 at age 65. Samson is a lyricist on “Endless River” as well as Gilmour’s solo album, “On An Island.” One of Pink Floyd’s backup singers, Durga McBroom-Hudson, confirmed the news in a Facebook post as well. Of course, that meant she was quickly deluged with posts asking about/requesting a reconciliation between Gilmour and band co-founder Roger Waters. The Independent once called theirs the “Greatest Feud in Rock.”

 

It’s not clear whether Waters will be on the new album — but it seems unlikely, as “Endless River” is a continuation of sessions started during the recording of “Division Bell,” though the music is all unreleased, McBroom-Hudson said. Waters didn’t appear on “Division Bell,” either.

Initially, Mason called the project “The Big Spliff” — which seems prescient, given that listening to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” became something of a rite of passage for many a college freshman. Just like you figured out your peak blood alcohol threshold, how to ace a midterm while hungover and how to ditch your bad writing habits so you could actually do well in freshman English comp, you got stoned and watched “The Dark Side of Oz” — “The Wizard of Oz,” muted, while listening to “Dark Side of the Moon” and contemplating why the two sync up so well and what that has to do with the meaning of life. Years later you realize, yes, Pink Floyd is a great band, but mostly it was the weed talking.

The new music also doesn’t seem to signal any new developments in the feud between Waters and Gilmour, which McBroom-Hudson addressed in a Facebook post Sunday:

Hey folks – Please stop asking me to tell David to tour here or there, or to reconcile with Roger, or to perform your son’s bris, etc. I do not tell David what to do, or make suggestions, or anything. I am damned lucky to be working with him, and I do what HE says. Understand? Over and out. Thanks!!

Waters left the band in 1985; since then, fans have been treated to a smattering of surprise reunions, including a 2005 Live 8 concert, but nothing consistent. Recently, Waters and Mason stepped into a heated controversy when they asked the Rolling Stones to cancel a tour date in Tel Aviv in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protest against Israel.

Pink Floyd has inspired a range of artists, but one of the most interesting takes on its music might be the Scissor Sisters’ uptempo re-imagining of “Comfortably Numb,” which you can check out below. It’s fitting the Scissor Sisters were able to take one of Pink Floyd’s marquee tracks and make it their own; they’re an American band so British in their sensibilities that they’re more popular in the United Kingdom than in the States.

Soraya Nadia McDonald covers arts, entertainment and culture for the Washington Post with a focus on race and gender issues.
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