I feel that Meddle does not quite get the love it deserves. That is mostly because Pink Floyd followers fall into two groups: psychedelic fans who think Syd Barrett was God and Roger Waters sucks, and electronic prog rock fans who think that Roger Waters is God and everybody else sucks. Meddle will not please either of these groups because it was recorded quite a while after Barrett's departure, when all traces of his musical preferences were purged from Pink Floyd's music, and long before Roger Waters took control and devised elaborate concept albums smothered in effects, electronics and his personal traumas.
Oddly enough, this makes Meddle a group album, one of the band's few albums that aren't dominated by one personality. Just look at those four guys inside the gatefold cover: they look like a band. They even sound like a band, even though the songs are for the most part understated. "A Pillow of Winds", "Fearless", "San Tropez" and "Seamus" are about as un-Pink Floyd as can be, and yet they're some of the most coherent and compelling songs the band ever recorded, full of simplicity and totally void of pretentiousness. Nothing that will make a stadium full of fans roar, just great songs. "One of These Days", the instrumental opener, is one of their strongest tracks ever, a galloping showcase of Dave Gilmour's guitar, proof that you don't need a singer if you can make your guitar sing like that.
Side B is just one track, "Echoes", famously set to bubbling lava in the Live at Pompeii video. If this were released today, people would call it post rock. As it was released thirty-five years ago, people call it prog rock, but the enveloping layers of sound are built on a delicate minimalism that really has very little to do with prog rock's overfraught guitar onslaughts. "Echoes" is, if anything, meditative and remarkably calm, and certainly one of Pink Floyd's key recordings.
As un-Pink Floyd as it is, Meddle is still totally essential.