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Pink Floyd - The Final Cut CD (album) cover

THE FINAL CUT

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.19 | 1828 ratings

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FloydWright
Prog Reviewer
4 stars If the music of The Wall is "un-Floydian" in comparison to their earlier works, then The Final Cut is a near-complete departure. With Richard WRIGHT completely forced out of the band, Nick MASON no longer drumming on all tracks of an album, and even David GILMOUR's creative input severely curtailed (he even chose to have his production credits removed on this one), TFC was indeed "by Roger Waters, performed by [part of] Pink Floyd." As a PINK FLOYD album, TFC falls short--drained of the others' influence, it merits in extremely strong lyrics and use of effects, but gone are the elaborate chord structures and moments where the music is left to speak for itself. As a FLOYD album, TFC earns only a 3.

However--if viewed as a Roger WATERS solo album, TFC not only earns a 5, but is in my opinion his greatest work ever. Not even Amused to Death tops this achievement. Although many songs on TFC were outtakes from The Wall, the feeling they give me is entirely different--here, underneath the bitterness and bluster, is the sensitive, scared, and soulful Roger WATERS. Nowhere else does WATERS allow himself to be vulnerable to this degree. From his deepest idealism ("Take heed of the dream...") to his deepest fears ("And if I open my heart to you, show you my weak side, what would you do?"), to realizing the futility of bitterness ("We were all equal in the end...") he has laid bare his soul. This is a rare occasion where he is not just blunt--but honest. These lyrics--particularly the title track--expose what lies behind the wall, and that final deep, secret yearning: "Could anybody love [me]? Or is it just a crazy dream!?"

The sound production is nothing short of magnificent, topping The Wall, rivaling Amused to Death. The vocals are easily WATERS' best ever. Ranging from angered to anguished, spiteful to soulful, what he lacks in pitch control he makes up in passion. Yet even his technique seems improved, in places taking on a delicacy and subtlety he has never repeated. Musically, one must not forget the accomplishments of guitarist David GILMOUR--although he is not given any credits, his solos are the match of WATERS' impassioned vocals. While many people seem to be panning them, the solos are angry, indignant, curt--exactly what's needed here. The third figure I believe deserves far greater credit that he is given--that is Michael KAMEN, the man responsible for the gorgeous orchestrations that almost...almost...make even me forget the absence in the band. In fact, I know that without KAMEN's orchestrations, there is no way I would ever consider awarding a 4 to this album.

But ultimately, I cannot forget. There are places where the piano and organ work are woefully uninspired. Even WRIGHT's partial presence on The Wall was more alive. The piano playing is not bad, really, still likable, but as a listener I found myself wondering if KAMEN was told note-for-note what to play, especially after hearing his much livelier performance on the David Gilmour in Concert DVD. But by far, the biggest problem comes from the Hammond organ. Nowhere is it more obviously dead than on "Your Possible Pasts". Never have I heard this normally beautiful instrument emit such a toneless, dry, and lifeless sound. This is where the hole in PINK FLOYD gapes so wide that one almost could almost fall through it. Listen to WRIGHT's masterful Hammond playing on Animals to hear what could have been. It just about hurts.

That said, I do award TFC a composite rating of 4--a mediocre 3 stars as a "Floyd" effort, but a magnificent 5 stars as a Roger WATERS effort. The perception depends entirely on which approach you take. I hope that, whichever side you are on, this review has helped you to a decision appropriate to your tastes.

FloydWright | 4/5 |

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