Forgotten series: Pink Floyd – Division Bell (1994)

by Nick DeRiso

Perhaps the only album from after the so-called Classic Period (“Dark Side”-to-“Animals,” some would also include “The Wall”) that must be checked out by any prospective Pink Floyd fan — if only because it helps encapsulate the Rest of the Story, outside of Roger Waters’ monolithic influence.

“Division Bell” is the underrated album that knocked, what was it? … Ace of Base? … out the top spot. For that we should all thank David Gilmour.

This release matters in part because of the lyrical tension (“Poles Apart” and “Lost for Words” seem to be directed at Waters, though that could be reading too much into it) — but also because the album finally grinds back down to the pre-“Dark Side” tempo.

It was just so welcome, even if the songs weren’t as narratively strong as those from the Waters period, to hear long keyboard moments; echoing, sustained guitar chords; compositions effortlessly flowing into one another.

This clearly is the most essentially *group* effort (Gilmour, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason, anyway) since Pink Floyd’s aforementioned Classic Period. Makes it automatically worth checking out, then, in my book.

Too, I think it stacks up well against rangy, very nearly jazzy, triumphs like the title track on “Saucerful of Secrets” and almost the entirety of “Wish You Were Here” — though, of course, nothing supercedes that one for me. The tone is right, too.

After the novelization of Pink Floyd on “The Wall” and “The Final Cut,” then the exit of Waters and a transitional “Momentary Lapse of Reason” (it actually felt like a Gilmour solo album, more often than not), this finally soundslike Floyd again.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso