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Pink Floyd - Is There Anybody Out There?  CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.11 | 475 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars My opinion of the studio album of The Wall has wavered back and forth over the years, but on hearing Is There Anybody Out There? I am greatly impressed, and I actually prefer this to the studio version of the album.

A big part of this is because, as is well-known, The Wall is an album that was formulated around an idea for a stage show. Whilst the visual aspect of this obviously can't translate into an audio-only format, and whilst admittedly this set is somewhat Frankensteined together (though absolutely seamlessly) from a range of of shows, it nonetheless seems to benefit somewhat from the concert contexts.

You have concert-only inclusions like the band rudely interrupting the MC both times for In The Flesh?/In The Flesh, or Roger's in-character patter preceding Run Like Hell ("This is for all the WEAK PEOPLE in the audience!!!") which really adds to that section of the narrative. You also get some tracks that, whilst they didn't make the cut for the main album, also feel like natural parts of it - The Last Few Bricks is a little jam restating some themes from disc 1 to cover for the completion of the onstage wall, whilst What Shall We Do Now? adds a much extra dimension to the character of Pink at just the right time.

(To unpack that more: What Shall We Do Now? comes right before Young Lust and One of My Turns, and in that context makes really helps contextualise those two songs; the song effectively marks the beginning of a manic phase of Pink's bipolar disorder, during which he's able to momentarily draw people in - Young Lust - before he drives them away again - One of These Turns. The triptych of songs really does provide a very accurate depiction of the way this particular disorder affects people and as such I feel that cutting What Shall We Do Now? - and thus robbing the other two songs of some of their context - was a serious mistake.)

Most of all, though, you get a harder, more rock-oriented take on the album material, combined with some more scope for improvising and the like - there's some jamming during Another Brick In the Wall Pt. 2 which takes it well away from its disco-influenced studio rendition, for instance.

On the whole, I consider this the definitive edition of the album. Others might propose tweaked running orders or additions here and there - fans of the film love to try to crowbar in When The Tigers Broke Free into the Wall's running order, for instance, but it feels more appropriate to The Final Cut anyway and the early parts of The Wall don't really need more griping about a father that Pink never really knew in the first place.

On the other hand, Is There Anybody Out There? presents The Wall in, as closely as an audio format can, the context it was supposed to be heard in, with all of its constituent parts restored. If you like The Wall at all, you're in for a treat - and if you're on the fence about the studio album you might find that this answers a lot of your issues with it.

Warthur | 5/5 |


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