Pink Floyd

Welcome to the Machine

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Song Review by

It's not very often that a band criticizes the unrelenting operations of the music industry within their own music. This is exactly what Pink Floyd did with "Welcome to the Machine," the second song from 1975's Wish You Were Here album, and the first song to follow the opening "Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Pt. 1." "Welcome to the Machine" maintains the album's theme of alienation, human detachment both physically and spiritually, and separation. In it, Waters' lyrics pertain to the revolving-door type of environment that is displayed by the record companies, and how bands are built up and taken advantage of, then disposed of just as quickly. Waters felt that the personalities behind the companies were nothing more than industry fat cats, cashing in on the prosperity of the artists without any love or adoration for the music itself. The song is sung by Waters as well, and in it his voice takes on a slightly desperate tone, done purposely in order to carry out the song's empty connotations toward the business. Wright and Gilmour both employ the keyboards effectively throughout the song, especially the isolated texture of the ARP synthesizer played by Wright. The entire song takes on a certain futuristic air, even in the gradual but encroaching guitar of David Gilmour. The beginning and end of the song initiate the sound of a person entering and exiting a machine, aptly symbolizing the artist's brief encounter with fame, fortune, and glory, all at the expense of the ruthless music industry.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Wish You Were Here 1975 Capitol 7:31
Discovery 2011 Capitol / EMI / EMI Music Distribution 7:31