Buttkickin Halloween Songs: “Bike” — Pink Floyd (1967)

I’ve got a bike. You can ride it if you like
It’s got a basket, a bell that rings and
Things to make it look good
I’d give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it

You’re the kind of girl that fits in with my world
I’ll give you anything, ev’rything if you want things…

And here we are, right at the morning of October 31st, 2019. We’ve made it to Halloween day! But we always post our final entry in the evening, so this will be our penultimate song for the year. Check back later tonight for the grand finale.

So let’s waste no time and steer right into Pink Floyd’s Bike, the closing track from the band’s debut album The Piper At The Gates of Dawn. This was the only album that primarily featured original vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Syd Barrett, and his strange brew of psychedelic madness is all over the record.

The song itself is a magical piece of childlike poetry and imagery. There’s something so deeply innocent about Bike, almost tender even, as Barrett rattles off a list of simple belongings he has — a bicycle, a cloak, a mouse, some gingerbread men, and a room full of musical toys.

Then the song turns dark, creepy, and weird, as the tone shifts entirely as Barrett attempts to offer them in order to entice a girl’s affections, seemingly to no good. It devolves from a sweet dream into a twisted nightmare all at once, as the initial tenderness becomes stalkingly macabre.

And if you haven’t listened to The Piper At The Gates of Dawn, by all means do so. I could have chosen several songs from that album alone. But Bike taps into something primal and terrifying. The need for attention, affection, or a measure of empathy, and how your world can just melt away between those attempts at connection, when nothing seems to work out, and your isolation starts to crush you from within.

I know a mouse, and he hasn’t got a house
I don’t know why. I call him Gerald
He’s getting rather old, but he’s a good mouse

You’re the kind of girl that fits in with my world
I’ll give you anything, ev’rything if you want things…

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2019 Matthew Millheiser