In this article, I address Pink Floyd’s song “Night” (Dark Side of the Moon/Capitol, 1973). We all have limitations in life, but one of the most important and equating limitations is time, which we will never have enough of. We don’t understand how time is created. The song’s most interesting aspect is the message of time represented by the words, melody, and beat. When listening to Pink Floyd’s song time, the first thing that comes to mind is the sound engineering in the record, which creates the impression of time ticking away. The song begins with an original rhythm track that imitates ticking of clocks, the ringing of alarms clocks, church bells, and chime which set a tone of diminishing time (RSS). It is juxtaposed with a return of a heartbeat that is slower suggesting the ending of life. There is the use of Quadrophonic sound especially when you first hear the song with a pair of headphones gives an impression of sound coming from different and separate sources. The lyrics in the song donate the literal passage of time. It almost seems that the band intentions is to alert or intrigue you the idea of time loss within the society (Hignett). It gives the impression of how precious time is though many people take it for granted. Pink Floyd wrote and composed the song time for the best reasons to bring awareness on how time can slip away by without many people realizing it until it is too late.
Rogers Waters, a member of the band who wrote the song realized he was not preparing for anything in life rather he was in the middle of it (Ortiz). The song begins when a man finds his time dull and boring. The man is failing to do something that is worthwhile thus wasting a lot of it. Instead, he stays in his comfort zone and expects life to give him direction rather than actively seeking one for himself. The idle figure lacks any ambition or any sense of course hence he appears to have overstayed in his “hometown.” Soon, he comes to realize that he failed to put good use a chunk of time in his lifetime. The man in the song comes to the realization that only he has the power to give direction to his life. Nevertheless, as he runs to live his life, but he cannot reach that elusive objective and aim to live which he desires- the sun –which is sinking. He tries to come to the sun only for the sun to race around him again his efforts seem futile, almost mocking him. A depiction of the endlessly depressing work –sleep-work pattern, a boring way of life (Ortiz).
The theme of Anxiety and worry is portrayed in the song from the realization that during the attempt to achieve to “reach the sun,” the runner has gained nothing but the “shortness of breath.” The shortness of breath is a metaphorical representation of yet another wasted day. Try to reach the sun is a metaphor depicting an unachievable goal. It also represents the concern in which the runner is one day closer to his death, thus running out of time. Hence, it foreshadows frustrations which the man is going through thus causing worry, anxiety, and fear in the individuals that they are living an unfulfilling life. The stanza shows how we run to try and make up for the lost time but it is too late, we are getting older, and there is a limited time.
The theme of anger and frustration is depicted on the first verse of the song. The first stanza is characterized with a loud distorted electric guitar, and the singing is almost in an almost shouting manner. Thus, the combination of the electric guitar and the song suggests violent anger and frustration on behalf of the narrator which is directed towards the idle person. Anger and frustration are indicated by the rhythmically strong repeated accent which characterizes the declining of words.
“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day.”
“Your fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand away.”
“Knocking around on a piece of ground in your hometown.”
“Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.”
The first two verses lecture to the audience how people dangle around their hometown complaining that nothing exciting happens in their lives. The monotonous lifestyle is emphasized with the use of repetition sound through alliteration (“dull-day”). The boredom of his life is also stressed by the use of internal rhyme (“around…ground…town”).The accents appear to be at the same pitch; hence the devices serve to heighten the effectiveness of conveying the overriding feeling of stress.
Another theme that is highlighted on the song is the impact of Carpe Diem (seize the day). Ironically, the plans that came to “half a page of scribbled lines” describes the extent of the lyrics, and on cue, the song ends with the final line, “The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d say something more today.” He acknowledges that death is inevitable; hence the only way of living a fulfilling one’s life is by maximizing on the day (RSS).
Use of metaphor is applied to the song when the songwriter compares life to a race where “if you missed the starting gun.” The listener is advised to “wake up,” thus to be aware that time waits for no man. Hence he must make the most of what he has in his lifetime. Nobody in this life will inform you the right time to live your Hence if you do not become aware, life is going to pass you by without your knowledge.
The essence of the song is to remind people that our time in this world is limited hence we should make the best of it, by taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones. Thus one will be able to avoid regrets for not living the life they yearn for.
Hignett, Graham. Brain damage-pink Floyd news resource. 10 November 2010. http://www.brain-damage.co.uk/miscellaneous-articles/pink-floyds-time-an-analysis.html. Accessed 7 February 2017.
Ortiz, Lourdes. TIME -Pink Floyd . 9 October 2014. https://prezi.com/hv2cqrhoutx6/time-pink-floyd/. Accessed 6 February 2107.
RSS, Music Industry 330W Diane’s Blogs. “Time” By Pink Floyd (Song Analysis Paper). 20 February 2010. http://dseewald.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/2010/02/20/time-bypink-floyd-song-analysis-paper/. Accessed 6 February 2017.