Louder than Words (Pink Floyd song)

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"Louder than Words"
Pink Floyd - "Louder than Words" (Artwork).jpg
Single by Pink Floyd
from the album The Endless River
Released 14 October 2014 (2014-10-14)
Recorded 1993/2014 on the
Astoria (London, England)
Genre Progressive rock [1]
Length
  • 6:37 (album)
  • 4:40 (Promo edit)
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) David Gilmour, Polly Samson
Producer(s)
Pink Floyd singles chronology
"Wish You Were Here"
(1995)
"Louder than Words"
(2014)
"Wish You Were Here"
(1995)
"Louder than Words"
(2014)

"Louder than Words" is a song written by David Gilmour and Polly Samson. The song, featuring lyrics written by Samson to accompany a composition by Gilmour, was originally recorded by British rock band Pink Floyd as the closing track of their fifteenth studio album, The Endless River. The track, which had its roots in the 1993 sessions for the band's previous studio album, The Division Bell, features a posthumous appearance by former keyboardist and founding member of Pink Floyd, Richard Wright, and an appearance by electronic string quartet Escala. "Louder than Words" is the only song on the album with lyrics, sung by lead vocalist Gilmour.[2]

The track was released to US mainstream rock radio on 14 October 2014, serving as the first release in promotion of The Endless River.

Composition[edit]

The music accompanying the song, composed by David Gilmour, has been described by various music critics and writers, including Exclaim! writer Josiah Hughes as a "A slow-burning, melodramatic track complete with plenty of intense guitar and synth work"[3] and by Clash writer Robin Murray as a "sparse, trippy track, one which is heavy on guitar led atmosphere and ominous electronic production".[4] The lyrics, written by Gilmour's wife, Polly Samson, provide "stately depiction of undying love, a tribute to Richard Wright and the importance of overcoming petty differences".[5] Gilmour spoke about the song with The Guardian, stating:[6]

Well, Rick is gone. This is the last thing that'll be out from us. I'm pretty certain there will not be any follow up to this. And Polly, my wife, thought that would be a very good lyrical idea to go out on. A way of describing the symbiosis that we have. Or had… I didn't necessarily always give [Wright] his proper due. People have very different attitudes to the way they work and we can become very judgmental and think someone is not quite pulling his weight enough, without realising that theirs is a different weight to pull.

Lyrics[edit]

David Gilmour's wife Polly Samson wrote the lyrics for "Louder than Words." She based the lyrics on observations of the band's behaviour during the rehearsals, downtime and performance at Live 8 in July 2005, the band's first reunion as Pink Floyd with Roger Waters in over 24 years.[7]

I remembered that at Live 8 (the 2005 benefit concerts which saw former Floyd bassist Roger Waters return to play with the band) that something had struck me then, I’d made some notes. At Live 8, they’d rehearsed, there were sound checks, lots of downtime sitting in rooms with David, Rick, Nick, and, on that occasion, Roger. And what struck me was, they never spoke. They don’t do small talk, they don’t do big talk. It’s not hostile, they just don’t speak. And then they step onto a stage and musically that communication is extraordinary. So, I’d kind of made some notes at that time. I went off into my room absolutely without a piece of music, and wrote that lyric, and then said, “David, if this would do, and if you have a piece of music, you’re welcome to try it.” And he loved it.[7]

Music video[edit]

The majority of the music video for "Louder than Words" was shot in Kazakhstan on what was once the Aral Sea. Director Po Powell said to Rolling Stone that the arid landscape that once held one of the world's four largest inland lakes was now "A surreal image if ever I saw one ... a shocking example of human mismanagement and one of the planet's worst environmental disasters. ... The river has shrunk to 10 percent of its original size, destroying the fishing industry and whole townships."[8] As the disaster is somewhat well-known, Powell tried to focus on what it means to a younger generation that was now growing up without the fishing and maritime influences of their forefathers.[9] In contrast, the opening of the music video features a man paddling through clouds and photos of the band when they were younger, including Gilmour, Wright, and Nick Mason, Pink Floyd's drummer with an elderly Gilmour (with moustache and beard) singing the chorus at his Medina studio while footage of the band during The Division Bell sessions are shown to his left.[10]

Reception[edit]

"Louder than Words" has received generally positive reviews from music critics. Tom Breihan of Spin Media music webzine Stereogum wrote positively of the song, stating that "the song is a lovely piece of work, a slow prog-rock elegy with a gospel choir and some classic Floyd guitar".[11] Brad Bershad of Zumic also gave the song a positive review. "Gilmour's guitar parts are stellar, although perhaps softer than the classic jagged tone of the '70s records.", he said. "Time has softened The Floyd a bit, but this is still a beautiful song. The autobiographical lyrics, referring to the power behind Pink Floyd's music and infighting are excellent." The song reached number 1 on Polish Radio 3 Chart on 24 October.[12][13]

Track listing[edit]

US promotional single
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Louder than Words" (radio edit) David Gilmour, Polly Samson 4:40

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from The Endless River liner notes.[14]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[15] 89
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[16] 38
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[17] 29

Release history[edit]

Region Date Radio format Label Catalogue no.
United States 14 October 2014 Mainstream rock radio Columbia Records unknown[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-review-pink-floyd-endless-river-review-20141111-story.html
  2. ^ "About". Pink Floyd. Pink Floyd. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Hughes, Josiah (9 October 2014). "Pink Floyd "Louder Than Words"". Exclaim!. 1059434 Ontario Inc. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Murray, Robin (10 October 2014). "Pink Floyd Reveal New Track 'Louder Than Words'". Clash. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  5. ^ Morris, Andy (9 October 2014). "Pink Floyd unveil new song 'Louder Than Words'". Gigwise. Giant Digital. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  6. ^ The Guardian music staff (9 October 2014). "Pink Floyd's The Endless River: 'This is the last thing out from us'". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Lyricist Polly Samson talks about David Gilmour's new solo album -- and the unchattiness of Pink Floyd". EW.com. 16 September 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2017. 
  8. ^ Andy, Greene (10 November 2014). "Watch Pink Floyd's surreal, sun-baked 'Louder Than Words' video". Rolling Stone. 
  9. ^ Pannier, Bruce (13 November 2014). "Pink Floyd and the Aral Sea". Qishloq Ovozi. RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2016-01-25. 
  10. ^ Powell, Aubrey. "Pink Floyd - Louder Than Words promo video background". Brain Damage. Retrieved 2016-01-25. 
  11. ^ Breihan, Tom (9 October 2014). "Pink Floyd – "Louder Than Words"". Stereogum. Spin Media. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  12. ^ http://lp3.polskieradio.pl/
  13. ^ Bershad, Brad (9 October 2014). ""Louder Than Words" – Pink Floyd [SoundCloud Audio Stream, Lyrics + BBC Radio Interview]". Zumic. Zumic. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  14. ^ The Endless River (liner notes). Pink Floyd. Parlophone. 2014. 
  15. ^ "Ultratop.be – Pink Floyd – Louder Than Words" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  16. ^ "Ultratop.be – Pink Floyd – Louder Than Words" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Pink Floyd – Chart history" Billboard Adult Alternative Songs for Pink Floyd. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  18. ^ All Access staff (7 October 2014). "Future Releases on Rock Radio Stations". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 

External links[edit]