1977 was a time of social and political tension and frustration. There was a sense of superficiality in government and media, and a mainstream urge toward complacency and status-quo. There was a continual maturation of discontent that started in the 60s – the perpetual emergence of a movement away from conventionality. According to Bruce J. Schulman in The Seventies, disillusioned people “reshaped the cultural landscape with a blend of outrage and resignation, passion and black humour, and forged a new sensibility, a distinctively skeptical style” (146).
Pink Floyd’s Animals is a psychedelically infused critique of the corrupt and conformist social and political conditions of Britain. It portrays contemporary society as being in a state of moral deterioration, and depicts the diminishment of humanity toward mere animalistic tendencies.
The influence of George Orwell’s Animal Farm is notable; Pink Floyd’s depiction of capitalism and British politics is both portentous and off-putting as they criticize a twisted and classist governmental system.
The album itself can be described as continual, industrial and spacy. It’s a trance-like experience – somewhat dissonant and billowing, with a loose and airy atmosphere that maintains both fuzzy and crisp tones. It’s eerie and smooth at the same time, blending an almost tactile, dark and grand atmosphere, rich in groove and bendy intensity. Each note pressed ripples, and each instrument played is nuanced with feeling – with groove. There is an intrinsic rhythmic foundation to the album, with a constant slow bounce propagating the almost warmth of the instrumentation. Animals is beautiful and long, an experience, something to attend to – it runs and lists, and tires itself out. It’s sporadic, and reinvigorates itself with new emotion. Everything works in a dark, yet hopeful way to create a sense of triumph over eerie conventionality. The end defeats it, with a melancholic afterthought.