Album of the Week: Animals


Maddox Wolfgram, Staff Writer

For the third album of the week, I decided to go with my favorite album of all time: Animals by Pink Floyd. Animals, released in 1977, was created by the progressive English rock band Pink Floyd. It was loosely based on the themes from the novel Animal Farm by George Orwell (which I did read in preparation for this review). Within this Pink Floyd album, three songs are predominant, since they are longer than the others on Animals; all three songs clock in at over then minutes each, with the first song “Dogs” reaching nearly 18 minutes in length. The main message of the album basically places society into three categories: dogs, pigs, and sheep. The vocals across this album are angry and vicious, but it can also be quite sad at times. All of these factors combined make it my favorite album of all time.

Animals is bookmarked by two short tracks titled “Pigs on the Wing 1” and “Pigs on the Wing 2.” Both tracks are some of the most beautiful Pink Floyd has ever released. It is theorized that writer/bassist Roger Waters based the song on the love he felt for his wife. My favorite line from these songs come from “Pigs on the Wing 2.” Roger says “And any fool knows a dog needs a home / A shelter from pigs on the wing.” I interpret this as talking about the safety you feel when being in the arms of a loved one.

The first major song,”Dogs,” starts the album off with a bang. It contains beautiful guitar chords throughout the song with multiple guitar solos and even an instrumental electronics section. The lyrics speak to a section of society, the “dogs,” who are businessmen who only care about power and money. They destroy themselves and everyone around them due to their ego. The dogs to the dirty work for the pigs to try and gain power. They lie, cheat, and steal to get their way. My favorite moment on the song comes in the middle where the line “dragged down by the stone” is sang and “stone” distorts into the electronic bridge.

The second major song,”Pigs,” keeps the momentum going perfectly. It features many more electronics than the first song. It opens with an incredible keyboard solo, and the lyrics are sung in a very interesting flow. My favorite moment on the song happens within the last two minutes. All of the elements within the song come together for an epic finale. The lyrics talk to another section of society: “pigs.” It describes them as greedy, manipulative, and egotistical. Pigs are the elite of society.

The third major song, “Sheep,” is probably my favorite on the album (although I feel like my favorite changes all the time). It has one of my favorite effects/gimmicks in any song ever, where every last word of a line distorts into electronics. My favorite moment is honestly the whole song, as it flows absolutely perfectly. The lyrics describe the sheep section of society, who are the followers. They stay in line with the rest of society and follow the dogs and pigs.

A major factor for my love for this album comes in the form of the instrumentation, though, specifically the mix between the song titles and the music itself. Each song has a moment within it that sounds like the animal it is named after. In “Dogs” there is a small guitar section that comes a few times during the song, which sounds like a dog’s cry. Around the midsection in “Pigs,” there is a major portion that makes pig-like sounds with some sort of electronics. In “Sheep,” I feel the main effect where the last word of a line distorts sounds like a sheep. There is also a midsection that sounds a bit like a sheep. It is simply incredible how Pink Floyd was able to tie all of these aspects together to make this concept album.

I was definitely able to see the influence that George Orwell’s Animal Farm had on this album. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it, but the book is a satirical fable about animals who take over their farm and try to create a society where everyone is equal. The pigs in the book specifically become very totalitarian and secretly control everything behind the scenes. Orwell based this book on the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union.

Overall, this album is perfection. The combination of songs, concept of the album, and instruments make it a 10/10 in my opinion. I would recommend this album to anyone. In my opinion, the optimal listening experience for Animals is the 2018 remix, which you can find on Spotify as well as Apple Music.