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Pink Floyd - The Final Cut CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.18 | 1758 ratings

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4 stars At the time I bought this on cassette, Roger Waters had left the band and it seemed as though Pink Floyd had come to an end as dramatic as the topic that this album deals with: War. At the time, I had become a 'must own everything' fan of the band, so I had a good scope of their career. And for a career that was full of odd and odd-man-out albums, this one may be one of the oddest. That is because this is more like a Roger Waters' album featuring Pink Floyd, or at least two other members of the illustrious band (keyboardist Richard Wright was out). Waters wrote and sang every song except 'Not Now John', the only song that features David Gilmour's vocals. This is also a concept album similar in vein to 'The Wall' with background voices, sound effects, shuffling footsteps, an orchestra, and a collection of songs related to post-war Britain and leading up to the 1983 present. Indeed, it was intended originally to be part of 'The Wall' story.

This is a special album because of its very different and very particular conceptual approach. For some it may not be an album that's easy to get into, but even back in my junior high school days I could feel there was something wonderful here and a couple of decades later I realized that this album was sadly missing from my CD collection and I purchased it and listened to it again with pleasure.

One thing I love about Roger Waters is his vocal abilities. I believe there are singers who have the skill to hit the notes with great power or subtly and who have a dynamic range. People like Geoff Tate, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickenson, Ronnie James Dio (RIP), Jon Anderson, and Ian Gillan are singers (or at least were in their good years, it might be said). The word 'vocalist' I would ascribe more to people who may not have the same talent as a gifted singer but who make use of their voices to create drama and effect. People like Peter Gabrielle and Denis Belanger of Voivod suit the vocalist appellation. Roger Waters has a unique way of screaming, whispering, and singing long notes (that faulter) that add effect to the song rather than detract from it. He can enunciate clearly and emphasize words sharply or holler just outside the edge of his range. He vocals are often charged with so much emotion that the message comes across much more clearly than if he sang like Geoff Tate or Jon Anderson. And since Mr. Waters' vocals carry us through the album, the whole emotional range that he wants us to feel is the vehicle on which we ride.

But let's not forget the rest of the band, including the background singers and orchestra. There is so much featured here in the compositions that the band Pink Floyd can almost be forgotten at times. It takes a couple of Gilmour's solos, like in 'Your Possible Pasts' and 'The Fletcher Memorial Home' to remind you that there is other talent here that can pull at your emotions too. And what solos! David Gilmour is not about flash and speed. He solos straight from the soul. Speaking about solos, (with apologies to saxophonists everywhere) I am not a big fan of the instrument, but the sax solos on Pink Floyd albums are ever as emotive as the guitar solos. 'The Gunner's Dream' and 'Two Suns in the Sunset' feature magnificent solos by Raphael Ravenscroft (cool family name).

There are lines in the lyrics that reflect sadness, despondency, desperation, lost hope, loneliness, fear, cynicism, sarcasm, and humour. The lyrics, 'No one kills the children anymore,' and 'And you'll never hear their voices,' followed by two children screaming, 'Daddy! Daddy!' in the song about nuclear holocaust never fail to put a stinging lump in my throat and contort the muscles in my face, particularly after having become a father to two small children. I shouldn't listen to these songs while riding the train to work. The nuclear holocaust song, 'Two Suns in the Sunset,' speaks so serenely of the experience: 'As the windscreen melts and my tears evaporate, leaving only charcoal to defend''. Such a difference from the violent lyrics that depict nuclear war in lyrics by the contemporaneous thrash metal and speed metal bands.

This is an album that I usually have to listen to from start to finish. I can't seem to just play a track or two most of the time. It's interesting to note the story and drama behind the album. This started out as tracks that didn't make 'The Wall', and David Gilmour, who was very much in disagreement about the album, was noted as saying, 'If these songs weren't good enough for The Wall then why are they good enough now?' In fact, though the songs were meant to be part of 'The Wall' story, the outbreak of the Falklands War prompted Roger Waters to rewrite the album as a criticism of war. There's been a lot said against this album but I think it's a brilliant piece of work and a rare gem among the millions of rock albums out there. Roger Waters claims his singing was poor but I feel it really captures a lot of emotion, much of which is rather depressing, but in that way I think it's very realistic given the topics of the songs. This is not really Pink Floyd but it is an incredible album.

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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