Daily Song Study

David Gilmour – Murder

In songs on December 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm

In the musical powerhouse that was Pink Floyd, Roger Waters is the first name that comes to mind when it comes to songwriting. And deservedly so. However, quite a bit of their best material was either written or co-written by David Gilmour. When at last he struck out on his own, the results were hit-and-miss (as indeed Waters’ solo efforts were), but a few real gems stand easily on their own. Today’s study may be foremost among them.

It goes without saying that the performance is dazzling. There are few examples of Gilmour ever turning in a lackluster studio session. Noteworthy here is how comfortable he is in both a folk and rock setting, as the song takes us through its dynamic turns.

The lyrics search for the meaning in horrific acts of violence (and are also unapologetically grammatically correct even as the guitars blare, another Pink Floyd staple), and his vocal, like his guitar, makes the shift from quiet wonder into burning rage at the irreparable nature of those acts. Bridging those sections is a truly remarkable bass solo by Pino Palladino, which in a lesser song by almost any other guitarist would be the highlight. The time-shift at the end takes us into more familiar Floyd territory, a nice release from the tension built up in the tune.

Being the second-best songwriter in a band is not necessarily a bad thing. Think of the Beatles‘ third-best songwriter, George Harrison. Good is good, hierarchy be damned.

  1. One of my favorite songs that i often forget exists. There were some great bits off that first solo album, but it is definitely an album i listen to only select tracks from.

  2. Some of About Face is almost completely unlistenable. It was part of that whole ’80s thing of ’70s artists trying to update themselves. Most failed.

  3. […] who may be the only guitarist whose style suits Waters’ writing as well as Floyd’s own David Gilmour (and who Waters had considered calling to replace Syd Barrett, but chickened out). Second is the […]

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