To me, Alan Parsons is a sound engineer and always will. Many of you including myself, have probably been introduced to his work through the seminal Pink Floyd masterpiece, Dark Side of the Moon, recorded at Abbey Road Studios by Alan Parsons himself.
The way I see Eye in the Sky is in a similar light. I cannot help myself thinking that Parsons is only the engineer and analyse the technical prowess showcased in this record but alas it is much more than that.
The Alan Parsons Project is a collaboration between engineer Alan Parsons and songwriter Eric Woolfson. Many of the career-spanning albums of this project are conceptually-based on science-fiction novels by Asimov, Heinlein and the rest of the writers from the so-called, Golden Age of science-fiction.
The album opens with a short instrumental that segues into the title track “Eye in the Sky”, reminding me very much of George Orwell’s masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four. The track went on to become the Alan Parsons Project’s biggest hit single in 1982. Although, the composition is very straightforward, the combination with its poignant lyrics makes it a powerful and remarkable song.
Parsons tried to reproduce his flagship muted-guitar-driven hit single in subsequent albums but never succeeded in outbidding his initial success with “Eye in the Sky”. It is also one of the rare tracks with Woolfson on vocals, adding authenticity to the song’s emotions with its songwriter as storyteller.
If the overall sound reminds you of some Pink Floyd tracks, it is no surprise as even the iconic album cover with the Eye of the Horus was designed by Hipgnosis, the same design firm led by Storm Thorgerson that produced the iconic Pink Floyd album covers.
Some of the orchestral arrangements on “Silence and I” remind me of the experimental Atom Heart Mother by Pink Floyd. You can clearly hear that it was brilliantly arranged and beautifully recorded in Abbey Road Studios.
Songs like “You’re Gonna Get Your Fingers Burned” add variety to the tracklist with a straight-up Rock ‘n’ Roll song a’la Guns ‘N Roses and even the instrumental “Mammagamma” has something sonically to offer with its Linndrum pattern and catchy melody.
But simplicity can be quite charming in some cases and I quite like the stripped-down rhythm anchor of “Psychobabble” with its strong bass line and simple drum beat. Composition wise, I feel like “Children of the Moon” is really good at telling a compelling story and reminds of The Wall with its ending army snare drum pattern.
With such variety of styles and compositions, no wonder why Eye in the Sky was their best-selling album and remains on many record shelves to this day.