Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Pink Floyd - The Wall CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.08 | 2711 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars Pink Floyd's most theatrical album is a masterpiece... of cynical emotional manipulation, privileged self-pity, style over substance and mistaking daft tricks and gimmicks for genuine depth and intelligence.

Recorded during a period relationships within the band were going sour - and produced by Bob Ezrin, whose treatment by Roger Waters during the recording process was shameful - the album is Roger's exploration of the emotional barriers he had realised he was raising between himself and the audience on the In the Flesh Tour supporting the Animals album. His conclusion? He's an emotionally fragile and tortured soul who needs to bare his psychological scars to reconnect with people! Interesting idea in theory, though Waters' progressive isolation from his bandmates during the recording and over the ensuing years rather suggests that Waters didn't really put his own advice into practice - or if he did, it didn't exactly work out as planned.

The fact is that the album's concept is an infuriating pity-poor-me piece by an overprivileged rock star who uses the album to air grievances which might have better been addressed in a psychiatrist's office, coupled with lazy references to Syd Barrett which drive me up the wall - fine, the allusions on Dark Side of the Moon were appropriate in context and Shine On You Crazy Diamond was a decent tribute, but continuing to wheel out the ghost of Old Pink makes me doubt Waters' commitment to letting Syd rest in obscurity. If Waters were really committed to Barrett's privacy, he wouldn't have continually used the image of Barrett in such a way.

Musically speaking, the album one of the most turgid and lifeless collections of indulgent but contentless classic rock tunes ever assembled, the band gambling on listeners mistaking sound samples and overbearing production for actual musical depth - and people fell for it hook, line and sinker. What decent musical and conceptual ideas are present on the album had already been presented better and more succinctly on Animals, or would be explored with a bit more nuance and depth on The Final Cut, leaving The Wall itself monumentally redundant except as a gravestone for the friendship between Waters and his bandmates. An ugly album from an ugly era.

And yet... if that's so, why do I keep coming back to it?

See, over time I have come to realise there's another side to all this. It might be hard to feel too sorry for poor, wealthy Roger Waters all alone behind his wall with only his fat piles of money and lack of any anxiety over paying the bills for company, but at the same time there is nonetheless something creatively interesting about how the album is structured as exactly the sort of open display of emotion that Pink is condemned to at the end of The Trial. The structure of the whole thing is, as such, more clever than you might first see, there's more incorporation of acoustic and near-pastoral moments than I sometimes give it credit for (especially on side 3).

Most of all, it was perhaps necessary to have rock stars indulging in this sort of very public self-examination and emotional inventory, and particularly male ones, in order to show their fans that it's OK for blokes to have feelings too and you don't stop being cool. Too much of commercial rock music, especially in the arena rock tier that Floyd occupied, was taken up with macho posturing and denial of all feelings entirely, so for Waters to go against the grain so startlingly was refreshing.

On the whole, treat it like the later Soft Machine albums - not as something which is a successor to what's come before, but a new project outright. In fact, think of it as Roger Waters' first solo album. Given the ego games in the band at the time, it is almost that anyway.

Warthur | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this PINK FLOYD review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives