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Pink Floyd - The Wall CD (album) cover

THE WALL

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.07 | 2642 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Walkscore
5 stars Even More Relevant Today in the era of Trumps Wall

Pink Floyd are the masters of the concept album, and The Wall is the ultimate concept album. While some fans of PA may be more (or only) interested in the musical side of progressive rock (and I include myself in this when it comes to a lot of albums/musicians), and that is fine, I don't think anyone can deny the importance of this album when it comes to the concept, which is largely Roger Water's brainchild. While the music on The Wall is not quite as strong as that on Dark Side or Wish (some tunes, like 'Bring the Boys Back Home" have little musicality, but they are thankfully very short, and they still add to the story), the Wall still contains some of Floyd's best songs (Comfortably Numb, Mother, etc), and some of Gilmour's best guitar solos, and it all comes together exceptionally well. Most importantly, Water's lyrics here, in my mind, are the best ever written for any rock album, ever. Back a long time ago when this PA site first started, I wrote a few reviews, including for this one (not sure if those reviews exist any more - the site looked very different back then). I called this album the rock equivalent to Tolstoy's War and Peace or Dostoyevsky's Brother's Karamazov in literature, or Ingmar Bergman's Seventh Seal in film. That is, and iconic, original, and masterful work of art that will stand the test of time for many centuries. (A hundred years from now, university programs offering courses in musicology, or even history, may assign whole units to the study of this one album - I think it is that important). I would argue this album and the message the Waters puts forward here has become increasingly important over time. Indeed, life is beginning to (once again, unfortunately) imitate art, in Trumps call to build a Wall along the border with Mexico! Water's concept is about how the horrors of war and a failed post-war dream (for building a peaceful society that is prosperous for all) fuels both resentment and emotional isolation. The internal emotional Wall that the working- and middle- class create for themselves to protect themselves emotionally then gets articulated externally first in destructive, uncaring or selfish behaviour, and then later through the support for intolerant racist populists who want to kick out the foreigners and "make their country Great Again". It is an album that spends a lot of time making these linkages, with the lead character becoming ever-more hateful (one of the cliimaxes from the live shows - both the original and Water's recent performances - is Run Like Hell). This builds up to the finale ('The Trial') where the main character (Pink, which is not only a proxy for Waters himself, but for all of us) tells the world to stop so that he can search his conscience/ face himself for his conflicted feelings. The judge (partly representing social norms, and partly representing that part of our brain that is self-critical of any inability to meet such social norms) declares Pink (us) guilty for having feelings and questioning the mainstream ethos, and sentences him "to be exposed before your peers" (as a real person whose is/has always been internally afraid and unsure, like all of us are, for having real feelings), and orders the wall to be torn down so that everyone can see the real person behind it. Waters is here saying that the only real way forward for building a peaceful world is understanding and accepting our inherent humanity. We have to tear down the Wall of indifference, intolerance, uncaring. The final piece - 'Outside the Wall' - speaks of the solution going forward - the "bleeding hearts and artists" making their stand, helping others find peace and understanding through their hard work, their art, their writing, their political organizing. This is a message that resonates very strongly, and to this day remains unmatched by any other album that I know of (if you know of one, please fill me in!). I give this album my highest ever rating, a 9.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale (it loses 0.1 as the music is not totally perfect, although I can think of no better match for the lyrics).

But I think this album goes beyond ratings. I think it is absolutely essential to continue hearing this message today. The world seems to be becoming increasingly beset by intolerance and unwillingness to try and understand others, an inability to see ourselves and our humanity in others, to accept even in ourselves our shared existential fears, and like Water's predicted, it is being driven by the failed dreams of everyday people who are becoming disillusioned (and, I would add, ever-deeper in debt). It is leading to the support for intolerant leaders and authoritarian populists who scapegoat the weakest, and who in turn are irresponsibly bringing the world closer to mistrust, conflict, and hatred, just like in the album, and potentially even to war and violence. We need to resist. We need to build understanding, not walls.

Tear Down the Wall !

Walkscore | 5/5 |

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