Animals is the tenth studio album by English progressive rock group Pink Floyd, released in January 1977. A concept album, it provides a scathing critique of the social-political conditions of 1970s Britain, and presents a marked change in musical style from their earlier work. Animals was recorded at the band's studio, Britannia Row, in London, but its production was punctuated by the early signs of discord that several years later would culminate in keyboardist Richard Wright leaving the band. The album's cover image, a pig floating between two chimneys on Battersea Power Station, was conceived by bassist and writer Roger Waters, and photographed by long-time collaborators Hipgnosis.
The album was released to generally positive reviews in the United Kingdom (UK), where it reached number two. It was also a success in the United States (US), reaching number three on the Billboard 200, and although it scored on the American charts for only six months, steady sales have resulted in its certification by the RIAA at four times platinum. The size of the venues on the band's In the Flesh tour, and an incident in which he spat at a fan, prompted Roger Waters to conceive the band's subsequent album, The Wall.
Animals was the child of another Waters concept; loosely based on George Orwell's political fable Animal Farm, its lyrics described various classes in society as different kinds of animals; the combative dogs, despotic ruthless pigs, and the "mindless and unquestioning herd" of sheep. Whereas the novella focuses on Stalinism, the album is a critique of capitalism and differs again in that the sheep eventually rise up to overpower the dogs. The album was developed from a collection of unrelated songs into a concept which, in the words of author Glenn Povey, "described the apparent social and moral decay of society, likening the human condition to that of mere animals."
Apart from its critique of society, the album was also in part a response to the punk rock movement, which grew in popularity as a nihilistic statement against the prevailing social and political conditions, and also a reaction to the general complacency and nostalgia that appeared to surround rock music. Pink Floyd was an obvious target for punk musicians, notably Johnny Rotten, who wore a Pink Floyd t-shirt on which the words "I hate" had been written in ink. Drummer Nick Mason later stated that he welcomed the "Punk Rock insurrection" and viewed it as a welcome return to the underground scene from which Pink Floyd had grown. In 1977 he produced The Damned's second album- "Music For Pleasure"- at Britannia Row.
In his 2008 book Comfortably Numb, author Mark Blake argues that "Dogs" contains some of David Gilmour's finest work; although the guitarist sings only one lead vocal, his performance is "explosive". The song also contains notable contributions from keyboardist Richard Wright, which echo the funereal synthesiser sounds used on the band's previous album, Wish You Were Here.
"Pigs (Three Different Ones)" is audibly similar to "Have a Cigar", with bluesy guitar fills from Gilmour. Of the song's three pigs, the only one directly identified is morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse, who amongst other things is described as a "house-proud town mouse". "Sheep" contains a modified version of Psalm 23, which continues the traditional "The Lord is my shepherd" with words like "he maketh me to hang on hooks in high places and converteth me to lamb cutlets" (referring to the sheep of the title). Toward the end of the song, the eponymous sheep rise up and kill the dogs, but later retire back to their homes. The album is book-ended by each half of "Pigs on the Wing", a simple love song in which a glimmer of hope is offered despite the anger expressed in the album's three other songs. Described by author Andy Mabbett as "[sitting] in stark contrast to the heavyweight material between them", the two halves of the song were heavily influenced by Waters' relationship with his then girlfriend.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia