The iconic cover for Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals depicts a giant inflatable pig soaring between one of London’s most famous landmarks, the Battersea power station.
On the 40th anniversary of the album’s release, the themes of the album, with undertones of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, is taking on new resonance in the emerging era of Donald Trump.
In a piece in The Observer, journalist Ron Hart wrote that coming off the success of the band’s previous albums Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, Roger Waters, the lead writer, wanted to make a point about modern society.
The album features three animals, the pig, the dogs and sheep.
That the 40th anniversary of Animals arrives in the immediate aftermath of perhaps the most controversial presidential inauguration in American history—appointing a man who is the most morbidly accurate caricature of a bad pig to our nation’s highest office—is the kind of irony Floyd specialized in.
The dogs in this case can be construed as the legislature, many of whom possess that intrepid canine heart primed for fighting back but inevitably find themselves curled up in their masters’ laps, ready to perform their next Pavlovian prompt. And the sheep, once again, are us. A species perceived as complacent and compliant to oppression and control, but smarter than we’re given credit for; quick learners who can recognize faces, especially those who choose to oppress us.
In recent shows, Waters has been making pointed references to Donald Trump, writes Hart and busting out the 40-foot inflatable pig at performances as a protest against the new leader of the U.S.
The pig dreams up the scheme, hires the dog to enforce it and makes the sheep pay for it. The scariest part? For a conceptual song arc recorded 40 years ago, the germaneness of its thematic resonance in the here and now is staggeringly accurate to our very real world situation in 2017.