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Pink Floyd - The Final Cut CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.18 | 1797 ratings

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3 stars One of the truly polarizing albums in Pink Floyd oeuvre, is it any good?

The short answer would be: 'Yes, it actually is." Here's the long answer:

In my view, two aspects of the album make it hard to digest, especially if you are not in the right mood: the skewed lyrics/music proportion and the atmosphere. By this point in PF's story the actual tunes had become not much else than a vehicle for Waters' need for self-expression. On "Animals" it's noticeable more in hindsight than anything else and "The Wall" has a story that is strong enough and diverse enough (not to mention abstract enough, see later on) to somehow cover the fact that in fact it's not much more musical than "The Final Cut". (It's also longer.) Come to think of it, most of the melodic qualities of "The Wall" are Gilmour's work ("Comfortably Numb", his singing and bass solo(!) on "Hey You", pretty much all his vocal and solo parts). "The Final Cut" has less Gilmour on it, so there's less emphasis on what makes music (as opposed to literature) enjoyable. (There's no Gilmour on "Pros and Cons?" and that album is unmusical to the extreme, by the way.)

And yet and yet, for some very strange reason, each of the track somehow manages to be memorable and the album as a whole does not fall into the common category of 'cut-and-paste' collections of songs. Musical highlights include the title track (all of it, but especially the solo), most of the first side (excepting the unremarkable "Paranoid Eyes" and some dull/overwrought bits and pieces here and there) and "Two Suns in the Sunset". As can be seen, it's quite a lot for an album known for its lack of musical qualities, but it has to be remembered that these never reach the 'otherworldly' category that all the other Floyd albums are full of (except "The Wall" ? here, I said it.)

The other thing: the atmosphere. The other day I was listening to the album on headphones, while wandering through my city and it struck me how dreadfully dejecting the album is! It's all Cold War doom and gloom and not much else. Now, as yours truly is a person who actually enjoys doom and gloom, it made him wonder why doesn't he find the atmosphere appealing? I came to the conclusion that this is because Waters is too down to earth and too bent on particulars. He never slips into vagueness, he makes his point(s) clear, he makes sure that you will never forget his lessons. But isn't most music a tool for escapism? Don't most people prefer music to take them to faraway places, rather than wallow in everyday political dross? If it strikes the listener now that the mood is overbearing, I imagine it must have been much more so in the 80's. (I know there's Dylan, there's Lennon, there are many politically minded musicians, how does what they do relate to "TFC"? Their music is either more melodic/musical or, well, they record their own "Final Cuts" but doing so throughout their careers, these albums do not attract the attention in a way that a black sheep such as the album in question does.)

All in all, it's a good album that needs the listener's cooperation for enjoyability. Whether the demands it puts on the listener are rewarding enough ? well, it's really hard to tell.

Glubluk | 3/5 |


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