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Pink Floyd - The Final Cut CD (album) cover

THE FINAL CUT

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.17 | 1229 ratings

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lazland
Prog Reviewer
4 stars On Armistice Day, it is perhaps appropriate to write a review of this, the last Floyd album recorded with Roger Waters, but what is, of course, a Waters solo album in all but name, with Gilmour and Mason adding their parts in a bit of a huff, and the latter even replaced on drums for the final track, Two Suns In The Sunset because "he can't do 7/8 time". Wright had been sacked by the great leader, and he had been replaced by Andy Brown and Michael Kamen, both of whom provided solid keyboard work. It was, in Mason's typically understated manner, "a difficult album to record".

There's the history, but is it any good? Does it deserve the panning it regularly gets? Yes to the first question, and no to the second.

What people have to get is that this is a deeply personal work by Waters, in which he vents his spleen in a rage against the futility of war, the deeply dark and depressing reality of the state Britain was in at the time (1983 saw Thatcher effectively win an election by bashing the Argies in the Falklands War - many forget just how unpopular she was with unemployment at record levels), and, in fact, bemoaning the quality and decision making of virtually every single elected politician in the Western World, most of whom Waters confined to The Fletcher Memorial home, a madhouse for the crazed and powerful, alongside history's worst dictators.

Musically, there are some genuine highlights. The Hero's Return is a deeply moving and gentle paeon to the fallen. Kamen's piano work and Raphael Ravenscroft's sax on The Gunner's Dream eloquently bring Waters poem to the corner of a foreign field to sad and bitter life. In the same vein, Southampton Dock was refreshingly bought to life live in the Waters comeback live tour. Deeply moving and poetical, I love this track, and it serves as an introduction to the title track, which is beautifully understated throughout, and features a good Gilmour solo and more lovely orchestration.

The aforementioned Fletcher Memorial Home does bring Gilmour roaring into life with a trademark guitar burst one last time with his old sparring partner, if only, I suppose, to prove he could still do it. I actually think this is one of Waters' finest moments on record. The lyrics, ranting against these egotistical, mad, and inadequate leaders continues to have a profound effect on me, and the clever mix of subtle symphony and classic Floydian rock works extremely well.

The weakest track is the one that, musically, is out of kilter with all else, and an effort, I suppose, to bring some commercial success or attention to the album. Not Now John fails on almost every level. It's not good enough as a commercial piece of music, and the impact of the single was somewhat deadened when the lyrics had to be changed from "**** all that" to "stuff all that".

The highlight of the album, to me, is the final track. Two Suns In The Sunset is a gorgeous piece of music, written to reflect the fear that Waters, and, indeed, many of us in 1983, had regarding a potential nuclear holocaust. It is easy to forget just how much this issue was alive at the time. The Labour Party fought a large part of their election campaign on nuclear disarmament, and Thatcher & Reagan were all for "bashing the commies". The acoustic guitar work is superb, at last the drums come to life on the album, Brown contributes some great organ work, an excellent sax solo, and these combined with genuinely frightening sound effects when "she blows", create a very memorable track.

This is not the album you put on for a good old knees up at a party. It is not the sort of album that you put on in order to uplift your spirits. What it is, though, is a deeply thoughtful and moving testimony to one man's long dead father, other fallen heroes, the question as to what exactly they had fought for when all was falling apart in the modern world anyway, and the sheer and utter waste of it all.

But for Not Now John, this album would merit five stars from me. As it is, four stars. An excellent album and one that really deserves a thorough re-evaluation.

lazland | 4/5 |

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