Pink Floyd’s Endless River Runs to the Dry Land of the Aral Sea

By Marissa Polascak,

When I was teenager, I would come home from school, run up the stairs to my bedroom. I would kick off my slip-on Vans, pop a vinyl record onto my turntable, and relish in the sounds of the music my mother and father enjoyed on their very own turntables decades before me. Sure, I enjoyed the music from many artists like Billy Joel and the Doors, but Pink Floyd’s album Wish You Were Here blared from the speakers of my record-player on many occasions. Wish You Were Here was the first album I heard by Pink Floyd, but after that, I was interested in hearing more from them. Eventually, I learned that it wasn’t only the sound of Pink Floyd’s music that had me hooked; it was the message conveyed through their lyrics.


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It is obvious that Pink Floyd has always wanted to spread their thoughts and concerns about the world via their music. The socially and politically charged album The Wall is comprised of songs that outwardly address issues that stemmed from the lives of the band members. And while Pink Floyd has been churning out awesome songs since they formed in 1965, their influence has not gone away.

Recently, on November 10, 2014, Pink Floyd released their newest album titled The Endless River. While I have not heard the album in its entirety yet, I have heard some buzz surrounding one of the tracks on it. According to sources Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, and Tengrinews, Pink Floyd took interest in filming their music video for “Louder than Words” in a way that brought attention to global devastation. The band members, along with their music video director, agreed to focus the story of the music video around the dying land of the Aral Sea.

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The Aral Sea, located partially in Kazakhstan and partially in Uzbekistan, used to be the fourth-largest body of inland water in the world. However, Soviet irrigation experiments eventually led to the Aral Sea drying out, leaving a once-thriving fishing area dry and salty. Pink Floyd recognizes this environmental disaster as an important lesson for humans. Their song “Louder than Words” explains just that; actions are louder than words. We can change this world to be better, instead of just saying we will. We cannot let the beauty of our world disappear like the Aral Sea did.

YouTube screen grab retrieved from Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty
The music video focuses a lot on the Kazakh landscape and the ghosts of the land-bound ships that still haunt the Aral Sea. And while the images from this landscape are both haunting and aesthetically pleasing, Pink Floyd wants viewers to understand that the video touches on the past and the present. The past generation has seen, felt, smelled, tasted, maybe even swam in the Aral Sea, using its bounty to make a living. The younger generation has only heard stories of the vanishing sea, and will never know the beauty it portrayed, or the amount of lives it could have saved or jobs it may have created.
“Louder than Words” is a beautiful song, chock-full of sentiment and philosophy. You can see the official music video here:


Well, readers, Pink Floyd’s acknowledgement of social and political issues have brought awareness to fans all over the world for years.  Now, the band’s interest in global issues, such as the disappearance of the Aral Sea, can help bring attention to things happening in our world that we may not have realized.  The Aral Sea has slowly disappeared since Soviet times, and has slowly taken away the culture and the way of life for the people in Kazakhstan.  The video for “Louder than Words” expressively, and successfully, shows the impact of environmental issues.  And though many have known about the Aral Sea problem before, Pink Floyd has shed light on this situation for many more people, like me, who have never heard of it before. So, now that Pink Floyd has paved the way, what will you do? To ensure a great future, we must do our part to try to preserve the beauty of Kazakhstan and the rest of the world.

“Let’s bring back the sea.” –Aubrey Powell

Sources: Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty; Tengrinews