Friday, February 26, 2010

Crumbling Land

Crumbling Land 4:12
     (written by Waters, Gilmour, Mason, Wright)

In a while
I'll find the time to make the sunshine mine
In a smile
I saw a single eagle in the sky
Wheeling, soaring, gliding by
On a hill
There lived a man with many shining things
Shiny pool
A shiny car, and shiny diamond rings
Wining, dining, shining king
How the eagle flies in clear blue skies
Breathing in the clear blue air
Back here on the ground another dealer coughs and dies
And fifty more come rolling off the Ford production line

Then a man
Appearing like a mirage on the sand
In his hand
A moving picture of the crumbling land
Screaming, keeling movie man
Here we go
Hold your nose and see if something blows
Close your eyes
Count to ten and see the sunrise rise
Climbing high into the sky
By the ornamental lake, the dove lies
On the finger of the king
On high the eagle spies the glitter of the gun
And wheeling in a climbing turn, he flies into the sun

Lead vocals: Dave Gilmour
Backing vocals: Rick Wright

Sounding almost like a parody of the other country-western songs on the soundtrack, Crumbling Land doesn't seem as out of place as the two other Floyd tunes. A jaunty number with airy harmony vocals, the song has several lyrical themes that it touches on here and there throughout the song. The first verse refers to one of the characters in the film, a purposely unnamed big-business mogul with a huge house out in the Californian desert. There is also a strong environmental theme, represented by the eagle, which breathes in the clear blue air high in the sky while 'back here on the ground' the pollution causes 'another dealer' (car dealer? drug dealer?) to cough and die... and yet the mechanization and pollution of our society continues ('fifty more came rolling off the Ford production line'). In light of this continuing destruction of our 'crumbling land,' the achievements of the 'shining king' are rendered pointless. At the end of the song the eagle escapes the society bent on its extinction, and disappears by flying into the sun.

The man who appears 'like a mirage on the sand' may be Antonioni, who has made a film ('moving picture') depicting the crumbling land. Dave commented on Antonioni encouraging the Floyd to record this type of song.

Dave Gilmour: "[Crumbling Land] was a kind of country and western number which he could have got done better by any number of American bands. But he chose ours — very strange."

TRACK LISTING (only Pink Floyd contributions)
Heart Beat, Pig Meat
Crumbling Land
Come in Number 51, Your Time is Up

The following tracks were recorded for Zabriskie Point but were not used in the film or soundtrack:
Fingal's Cave
Rain in the Country
Violent Sequence, The

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