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Pink Floyd - The Wall CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.08 | 2703 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I hate to think that I would have liked this album more had I heard it less while I was growing up...unfortunately, in a mass media world, we are constantly bombarded with sensory input and for me in the 80s that included not just this album and the singles (which are STILL overplayed on classic rock stations worldwide) but the film and the images that go along with it. I find it difficult to be objective; it may not be a coincidence that "When the Tigers Broke Free" as well as the extended version of "Empty Spaces" are some of my favorite musical moments and yet they appear only in the film. Seldom are the instrumental talents of the band members put to full use, and improvisation is almost non-existent. For a band whom I loved mainly for the instrumental voyages they took me on, that's a killing blow. On the earlier post-Barrett albums ("Ummagumma" through "Dark Side"), it was very clear that this was a group of guys who enjoyed making weird music, who had fun creating scary and 'trippy' sounds. The transition came around the time of "Wish You Were Here" and "Animals", where that impulse starts to get weeded out in favor of establishing a concept, and as a result we have a darker, less noisy and random, and more obviously alienated mood. It worked very well- "Wish You Were Here" was a melancholy paeon and "Animals" still scares me- but by the time of "The Wall", Water's dedication to portraying alienation had succeeded in distilling out almost everything I liked about the band. It sounds sterile to me, as emotionlessly theatrical as a lackluster high school musical, and devoid of any emotion but dull bitterness for much of the album. How much can someone enjoy listening to a millionaire rock star complain about his life? Even worse, how much can someone enjoy listening to a stilted semi-theatrical production based on those complaints (listen again to "The Trial"'s the musical equivalent to a bad B-movie that wants to be an art film)? Still, I have to admit there are classic moments on the album which make it worth hearing if you don't have every note burned inescapably into your brain the way I do. I still get the shivers over "Hey You" and "Goodbye Blue Sky"; I adore Gilmour's guitar work on "Comfortably Numb" and "Mother" as well as others. The other members of the band, obviously, should have been allowed to make a bigger contribution, for the actual amout of music on the album is surprisingly limited (there are only two main melodic motifs, reoccurring endlessly throughout these 80 minutes..and beyond, as they return in parts of "The Final Cut" and Waters' solo album "Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking"). I suppose if you are new to Pink Floyd, you HAVE to listen to "The Wall", but please dig deeper and you may find, as I did, that you enjoy almost every other album more...I give it one star for being the last real Waters/Gilmour/Wright/Mason album, one star because I recognize it to be an important "classic" rock album, and one star for having a few still-enjoyable musical moments after all these years.
James Lee | 3/5 |


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