The 10 Best Lyrics From Pink Floyd
Iconic Pink Floyd head shots - Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images
We know, ten isn’t enough a number.
Pink Floyd is undeniably a package deal, both in songwriting and composition. Known for subversive and uncanny lyricism, folded in psychedelic flows, Pink Floyd really makes you think with their material. From personal odes, to blatant rebellion against the system, the band’s collective compositional genius never fails to deliver. In another attempt to compile their best work, we’ll have to limit the list at ten lyrics. It’s hard to choose from the catalogue, considering the high subjectivity of such writing. We won’t even attempt to try and rank them, out of respect of Pink Floyd’s ability to establish personal connections with the listener.
Brace yourselves for an enumeration of Pink Floyd’s most prolific poetry.
The haunting clockwork this track is incorporated with makes you deal with the impending reality: Time is forever flowing, and will wait for no one. The straightforward morbidity is calming in contrast with the uncontestable end.
So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.
Another Brick in the Wall, Part II (1979)
A social commentary by the band, the song is outright uprising to rigid schooling. The conformist system is enemy of growth and innovation, and the song rejects the notion of such. The band also wanted youth to relate to the song, thus the lyrics are written in a way as a sympathy to oppression.
We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey, teachers, leave them kids alone
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall
Another brilliant allusion to being products of the system, where the mindless go and the sly thrive on. This verse is a reference from The Bible’s Psalm 23, with revision to fit the song’s theme.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me down to lie
Through pastures green He leadeth me the silent waters by
With bright knives he releaseth my soul
Have A Cigar (1975)
The song is the band’s perspective about the music industry, and what it does to its offspring. This line is a real-life encounter by Pink Floyd with an industry executive after being introduced, showing the lack of dignity towards the band’s efforts and accomplishments.
The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think,
Oh, by the way, which one’s Pink?
The Thin Ice (1979)
The song explores the creeping worries of an impending tragedy waiting to happen. The first part of the song is a reassurance, but concludes in an unavoidable reality most of us face. The ice is symbolic of sanity, but can be easily interpreted into other circumstances.
If you should go skating
On the thin ice of modern life
Dragging behind you the silent reproach
Of a million tear-stained eyes
Don’t be surprised when a crack in the ice
Appears under your feet
You slip out of your depth and out of your mind
With your fear flowing out behind you
As you claw the thin ice
“Echoes” is a reference to the likeness of different beings. Amidst the various differences and uniqueness, we are made from the same mold, and what better way to understand ourselves than self-inspection is with interactions with other people.
Strangers passing in the street
By chance two separate glances meet
And I am you and what I see is me
Us and Them (1974)
The song may allude to war and its inevitability, but encompasses human nature at a greater scale. It is the very psych of man that drives its flock to war, the primal instinct of a corralled species that bids them to act as gears of the great machine.
Us and Them
And after all we’re only ordinary men
Me, and you
God only knows it’s not what we would choose to do
Set The Controls for The Heart of The Sun (1968)
The lyrics talk about the duality of events, the Yin and the Yang, and how it is fundamental for things to progress. Its cyclic nature is supposed to be a normality, yet people are still taken by surprise with its abruptness everytime.
Over the mountain watching the watcher
Breaking the darkness waking the grapevine
One inch of love is one inch of shadow
Love is the shadow that ripens the wine
Set the controls for the heart of the sun
Comfortably Numb (1980)
The song takes after Roger Waters’ personal experiences about being medicated with a relaxant. He recalls being virtually paralyzed in the arms, while performing. The audience were so busy screaming, not realizing Waters’ situation. This led to the feeling of alienation in which they referred to as a state of being “comfortably numb”. It can also refer to the fact of surrender and acceptance. Sensory deprivation doesn’t matter if the task is delivered. Time takes the flame of passion away, and we are forced to live with the depressing reality.
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown the dream is goneI have become comfortably numb
Shine on You, crazy Diamond (1975)
Pink Floyd’s way of remembering their fallen friend and former vocalist, Syd Barrett. Barrett had a brief stint with the band, but left a heavy impact on their style and genre. He was undone by the heavy use of mind-altering psychedelics, paired with the failing mental health brought on by fame. The band commemorate him with the 25 minute long ode, a farewell to another victim of the same system that sustained them.
Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
Blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.