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Pink Floyd - The Wall CD (album) cover

THE WALL

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.05 | 2129 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars It's amazing what a little spit can do. This whole concept got going because during one show, Roger Waters spat in the face of an overzealous fan who attempted to climb onto the stage. Waters mused that their was a figurative wall between himself and the rest of the world. This album follows what is essentially a loose alter-ego of his. While many see this as Pink Floyd's greatest work, I find it is a little too drawn out, especially for its "story" (which is really almost stream of consciousness). I'll keep my comments on the loose story limited, as there are manifold interpretations offered elsewhere.

"In the Flesh?" If one listens carefully, one can hear that this album begins where the very last track left off, mid-sentence. Then some dark organ and guitar come in for one hell of an introduction. Waters's voice graduates from calm to quirky to mad, which is something of a trademark of this grandiose vocalist. The sound of a bomber closes the song.

"The Thin Ice" This one begins with a baby crying, and some soft vocals over piano, before Waters takes over and Gilmour gives a ripping guitar solo.

"Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 1" While not the one most people think of when they hear the title, this song carries the same iconic melody as its more popular successor, and has some incredible delayed guitars.

"The Happiest Days of Our Lives" The sound of a helicopter and someone shouting gives way to a splendid bass-dominated part. Waters does a great job describing the tyranny of the schoolteachers (and that of their wives). This short section moves right into the next song.

"Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2" Perhaps one of Pink Floyd's most recognized songs, this is similar to part one, but fuller. It features a children's choir the second time the verse is sung, and Gilmour does a magnificent job playing his solo- it's one that imprints itself on the listener's memory with just a few cursory listens.

"Mother" This song is a loitering one, even between lines; it probably could have been much shorter and just as effective. It's primarily an acoustic guitar-driven song, but there are other instruments that add to it. Waters's lyrics are especially good and fitting here, and Gilmour once again does not fail to deliver on the guitar solo.

"Goodbye Blue Sky" This song juxtaposes beautiful guitar work and ominous synthesizer. It has lovely vocals.

"Empty Spaces" This short interlude prepares the listener for the next song. Waters' voice drags over heavy guitar.

"Young Lust" Another radio staple, this is a pop-oriented song with a strong beat and a catchy chorus. As always, the electric guitar work is very strong. The song ends with the voice of a real-life unwitting operator.

"One of My Turns" This song has a lot of variety to it, but even so, it could have been popular on the radio too. Despite the dark lyrics, most of them are sung over upbeat music.

"Don't Leave Me Now" This track is terribly boring and depressing, and it lingers on, increasing the monotony. Even when things pick up, it's drawn-out and repetitive.

"Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 3" This is a short revisiting of the two parts that preceded it with even darker lyrics.

"Goodbye Cruel World" This would be a throwaway track if it wasn't an integral part of the story- there isn't any music to speak of, and the singing is almost spoken.

"Hey You" Likewise a depressing song, this one achieved radio popularity, featuring verses with a basic guitar solo sandwiched in between. The riff used underneath the solo is a variation on the melody for "Another Brick in the Wall." The lyrics use a lot of imagery, not the least of which describe worms gnawing into the protagonist's brain.

"Is There Anybody Out There?" This piece is the most psychedelic of the bunch, particularly with the haunting vocals and the strange synthesizer. The acoustic guitar section is the more enjoyable part, though, and my opinion is that the band should have expanded on this idea.

"Nobody Home" This is by far one of the most depressing tracks on the album. The lyrics describe isolation, a subject Waters often wrote about.

"Vera" Vera Lynn was a British singer during World War II. The song ironically references her song, "We'll Meet Again," such that the protagonist (and Waters, for that matter), knows he will not meet his father again.

"Bring the Boys Back Home" This sounds like a patriotic war anthem, but the lyrics take an anti-war stance. More broadly (and more accurately), the brief song is about not letting one's career- whatever that is- be more important than one's family and friends.

"Comfortably Numb" One of Pink Floyd's greatest songs, this one has dark verses (sung by Waters) and a buoyant chorus (sung by Gilmour). The two guitar solos in this song are amazingly structured well executed. The lyrics do not describe drugs (well, not in an illegal sense, really) as many believe, but tell the next part of the story. This is my favorite song on the entire album.

"The Show Must Go On" This is a short piece that is derivative of earlier chord structures. It's mostly just an interlude to give information on the protagonist's thoughts about his life.

"In the Flesh" As the title would suggest, this is a reprise of the first song on the album, only it's "live," with Waters shouting offensive things at the least "desirable" members of the audience (gays, blacks, Jews, pot-smokers, the diseased), ordering them "up against the wall."

"Run Like Hell" Yet another radio hit, this one is decidedly simplistic in its structure. It has a basic guitar riff and a simple beat. What makes this stand out, however, are not just the wild lyrics, but the manner in which they are sung. Waters sings with himself, each line panning to one side or the other. This song is the only one on the entire album to have a synthesizer solo, and it's a crazy one.

"Waiting for the Worms" This song compares the protagonist with a Nazi dictator (the counting is even in German and the song references "showers" and "ovens"). The music starts off softly, but builds into musical insanity. The guitar plays the melody of "Another Brick in the Wall" as someone delivers a speech through a megaphone to a hateful crowd.

"Stop" This is just a thirty section interlude that gives insight into the protagonist's mind at this point in the story.

"The Trial" This quirky song is meant to give the impression of an English courtroom. The protagonist's refrain throughout the song is "Crazy, toys in the attic; I am crazy." This is the most dramatic of the songs, and Waters even uses a variety of voices to represent the different characters. The final judgment is rendered: "Tear down the wall."

"Outside the Wall" The closing song is inconclusive about the protagonist's fate after his mental wall is demolished. It's quiet, and almost anti-climatic, but the sound cuts off, directing the listener back to the beginning, where the question "Isn't this where we came in?" is completed.

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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