I think Pink Floyd’s Animals is a great work of art, even if George Orwell did it first. My favorite song on the Album is “Dogs,” a 16-minute ballad of a back-stabbing, greedy middle-manager. Used by the Pigs to keep the Sheep in line, the Dogs will do anything to get ahead.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to
So that when they turn their backs on you
You’ll get the chance to put the knife in…
The guitar solo that follows those lines is punctuated by cymbal crashes, and the cymbals sound like whip-lashes. I love how Pink Floyd uses sound to help paint a visual picture. They layer in synthesized dogs barking, the whip…it all reinforces the words and the theme.
Then there’s the guitar work. Dogs is about 90% of side A, and it’s essentially all David Gilmour doing sonic magic with his strat.
This was a good period for Pink Floyd. They were riding high on the success of Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, but still ahead of the tempers that flared up during The Wall. In fact, it was during the Animals tour that Roger Waters came up with the concept of The Wall. Roger Waters got sick of people lighting off fireworks and doing everything under the sun other than listen to the music. At a concert in Montreal, one particularly drunk and unruly fan rushed the stage and Roger lost it and spit on him, then cussed out the whole crowd. After that he started to imagine a wall between him and the audience…