Even if you’re not a diehard Pink Floyd fan (or never were), Dark Side of the Moon has likely entered your life in some way. Either you recognize the album art, or you’ve been annoyed by “Money” and its 7/4 time signature when it comes on the radio. And that’s not counting the untold millions of people for whom it became a transformative listening experience. But how does it hold up? Tal Rosenberg dives deep into the album’s core paradoxes — deep and shallow, steeped and callow — while somehow balancing a fan’s adoration and an arched eyebrow. No matter how long it’s been, this piece will make you want to raise a glass (or something more botanical) and revisit the record.

Dark Side propelled Pink Floyd into mass exposure because the band realized that theatricality isn’t a mannerism; it’s a presentation. Dark Side is fundamentally one long suite with musical motifs repeating throughout (“Breathe (In the Air)” reappears in some form during “Time” and “Any Colour You Like”). Hundreds of progressive-rock bands in the 1960s and ’70s tried to do something similar, but Pink Floyd could actually break sections of its albums down into discrete pop songs that DJs could play on the radio. And the band removed stylistic choices from its earlier albums that might be unpleasant for conventional audiences: droning feedback, jazzy noodling, and 25-minute songs.