Time vs. Money: A Debate

With the recent release of their latest (and most likely final) album, The Endless River, now is the perfect time to do an article on Pink Floyd.  And since we’re unlikely to review a post-Roger Waters album featuring re-worked leftovers from The Division Bell, even if it was done as a tribute to Rick Wright,* we decided to write up a discussion we’ve had among friends for years, and settle a debate once and for all.  What is the best track from The Dark Side of the Moon: “Time” or “Money”?

vs.

Now, I am sure that there are those of you out there that will claim that neither of these songs are the best tracks from that album, and to that I simply say not only is that irrelevant, it is factually incorrect.  And I am sure that there are those who will say that Wish You Were Here is the superior Floyd album, and even though you would be correct, that’s neither here nor there.  We’re simply going to break down these two tracks (and only these two tracks) using “advanced metrics” to finally arrive to a conclusion that has eluded musicologists for decades.

Does the song feature an unnecessarily long intro?: Yes for both.  While “Money” quickly settles into its memorable groove, “Time” meanders for a bit with an ominous prelude that bears little in common with the rest of the song.  However, that intro does allow Nick Mason to play a drum part that is for once not the part of a beginner, so for his sake, we’ll give the nod to time.  Advantage: “Time”

Does the song feature annoying sound effects that are ridiculously literal interpretations of the title?: Again, Yes for both.  But the cash register noises from “Money” are less irritating than the flurry of alarm clocks and bells that kick off “Time”, the latter of which can provide all sorts of confusion when the song is only in the background.  Besides, M.I.A. proved the musicality of the cash register.  Advantage: “Money”

Are there any notable technical musical feats?:  Or to put it another way, is there anything in the song that music theory nerds would go crazy about while everyone else just nods politely?  And the answer is yes, for “Money”.  That song is an excellent introduction to teach people about odd time signatures, since it is written in 7/4.  People can clap along to the beat while nodding along with the groove, and then the nerd can point out that each measure contains seven beats.  There’s no similar music lesson with “Time”, ironically enough. Advantage: “Money”

Does the song feature the greatest guest backup vocalist performance of all time?: No, to either.  That honor goes to “The Great Gig In The Sky”, the song that bridges our two contenders. Advantage: Neither

Which song has the better “best line”?: “Money” does have one of the few lines with profanity that classic rock radio stations  don’t even bother to bleep with “Don’t give me that do goody-good bullshit”, but “Time” has the eloquent phrase “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.”  It’s that kind of self-deprecating attitude that makes one almost forgive the terrible acts of the British Empire. Advantage: “Time”

Which song has the better guitar solo?: While “Money” has a pretty rockin’ solo, the better display of David Gilmour’s technical dexterity and melodic sensibility are the myriad of leads from “Time”.  “Money” gets additional demerits because the solo section is in the much easier 4/4 instead of 7/4 like the rest of the song.  Advantage: “Time”

WINNER: “Time”.  If we tally up the scores, “Time” wins in a 3-2 decision, but even then it should never been in doubt–because Time IS Money, you can add all the winning points for “Money” into the “Time” column (it’s kind of like the square-rectangle relationship).

*This was not said as a slight against the band, just that we are probably unable to offer any opinion beyond “do we like it or not”, so it’s not really worth additional exploration on our part.

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