on September 12, 2003
When this album was released, the disagreements in creativity between Floyd's members seemed to be at it's highest. Bassist Roger Waters seemed to exert more control over the creativity, and as a result, shut out many ideas from the other members.
THE WALL (1979) is a concept album based on a character named Pink, whose turbulent circumstances are loosely based around events in the lives of former Floyd frontman Syd Barret (e.g. "Nobody Home," etc.) and Roger Waters. Roger himself was particularly the one most affected by Syd Barrett's mental decline, and it's effects can be heard throughout the album.
There are some rather conflicting thoughts regarding this album, especially from guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour. He has stated that creating THE WALL was a painful experience, as well as stating that he thought overall, the album came out good, but it lacked the soul of earlier efforts. While this indeed is a brilliant album, I can't help but feel just as ambivalent as he does about the album.
First, off, it's been stated many times that this is largely a Roger Waters work, and the unison of the band cannot be seen on this work. There are no lovely, ethereal, reflective Rick Wright keyboard tracks (or his vocals for that matter), none of the Mason/Wright/Gilmour contributions - in short, not much collectivity in general. Gilmour wrote roughly two or three tracks on the album, but otherwise, it's mostly the product of Waters, and as a result, it's difficult to see this as a Floyd album - in a collective sense of the word. This may be the main reason why I considered this album strong lyrically, but spotty, inconsistent and dry on a musical level for many years. I realize that anytime a concept album is present, the lyrics are usually the focal point, and basing a strong opinion on the music shouldn't mean much. But, unfortunately, I have to enjoy both aspects of a concept album strongly, for me to consider it an all-around classic.
Over the years, my opinions have changed, and I enjoy the album much more than I did in the past. Of course, comparisons between this album and Floyd's earlier albums should probably be avoided, but are nearly inevitable, since Floyd has such a strongly dedicated following, and has had so for many years. Perhaps, if there had been no A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS (1968), no MEDDLE (1971), no DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (1973) or no WISH YOU WERE HERE (1975), this album wouldn't draw so much controversy (in both a positive and negative sense). On a positive, each of these albums didn't have the grandiosity in theme, soundscape, and didn't have the compelling theme of alienation that many of us humans can relate to (with the exception of DSOTM.) This, along with most of the fairly accessible tracks (I consider this album possibly the most mainstream-friendly of these) may have been the two main contributing factors of this album's overwhelming success. However, in the negative sense, it would seem like a drying-up in creativity. When listening to Floyd's albums in chronological order, and this album being their culmination in creativity (excluding THE FINAL CUT), it's hard not to see Floyd slipping quite a bit, which is what I've basically witnessed in Floyd ever since DSOTM came along (even though I enjoy each of the albums Floyd made between DSOTM and this album.) However, as stated above, if none of those earlier Floyd albums were to exist, this album would probably come the closest it can to being unanimous in it's classic status (not that it already hasn't.)
From the grandiose, megalomaniacal David Bowie-meets-Queen-meets film score hard rock/metal strains of the opening "In The Flesh?" to the maniacal, orchestrated "The Trial," this album is a journey through alienation, depression, frustration, anger and many other dark areas of the human psyche. It's disturbing, poignant and rewarding all at once. Enjoy.
Also recommended: THE WALL (the film) and BEHIND THE WALL (a Floyd documentary.)
on August 23, 2003
As with its predecessor, Animals, this album is very much an exercise in what could have been. Unlike Animals, which had strong music, but a weakly constructed concept, The Wall has one of the strongest concepts in Pink Floyd's catalogue--but some of the weakest music. Hearing the live rendition of The Wall (Is There Anybody Out There?) makes it even more painfully clear what's missing from the studio album. Even before I learned the band's history, I always felt a distinct chill in the atmosphere of the album...as though something had been forcibly drained from it.
That said, I should note that The Wall as a concept is very coherent. It was a first, and last, for Pink Floyd (mostly Roger Waters at that point with some input from David Gilmour) to attempt to tell such an intricately narrated story, with a character and plot. Until The Wall (and also after Mr. Waters' departure), their concept albums had been somewhat more cryptic, interpretive explorations of a central theme. The Wall leaves very little room for interpretation, relegating the listener to the part of passive spectator if one cannot identify with the experiences of the character, "Pink".
The strengths of The Wall are mainly lyrical and conceptual, although both vocalists are in fine form, and so is the guitar playing. Personally, I do not have a problem with the songs others might call filler--from my perspective they do serve to advance the narrative. Another main strength of The Wall is the use of sound effects and TV clips to help create the album's atmosphere, or even to make comments about the lyrics themselves, such as the following example where a clip from Gomer Pyle is placed to make a sarcastic remark: "...when I try to get through on the telephone to you (surprise, surprise, surprise!) there'll be nobody home." In light of the studio album's deficiencies, it's a good thing these were there.
In Pink Floyd works before The Wall and after The Final Cut, there was often a spooky, unusual, sometimes experimental musical atmosphere that helped to set the tone of the album without a word. This music could be interpreted however the listener wanted. I believe a large part of this was the work of keyboardist Richard Wright. Unfortunately, he was forced by Roger Waters to give up his position in the band. The Wall's lack of that ethereal grace is what leaves the album cold. Except for a few beautiful parts like his synth solo on "Run Like Hell", it's clear Mr. Wright had no more freedom left--and for this the music suffers.
Ultimately, I gave The Wall 3 stars. Although a 3.5 might have been more fair, I felt that the musical lack on the studio album was a significant flaw. The live album, Is There Anybody Out There?, shows how much better that could have been.
on August 12, 2003
After hearing Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", I listened to this album. "The Wall" is peaceful material. The lyrics are strange like in "Dark Side of the Moon" but the songs don't last so much. There's about 80 minutes music although there's 26 tracks.
1. In The Flesh? - a good song with excellent lyrics 3.75/5
2. The Thin Ice - a peaceful song with sensitive, touching lyrics 3.5/5
3. Another Brick In The Wall, Part 1 - a short song, nothing speacial 2.25/5
4. The Happiest Days Of Our Lives - great song and good bass guitar but it seems to end too soon. 3-75/5
5. Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2 - there's good child choir singing too. 4.75/5
6. Mother - a peaceful song 4/5
7. Goodbye Blue Sky - a great touching song with great melody and lyrics 4.5/5
8. Empty Spaces - a short track 2/5
9. Young Lust - great lyrics, I like this one very much. 4.75/5
10. One Of My Turns - not so great but very touching lyrics 3.25/5
11. Don't Leave Me Now - a touching song too, great vocals!! 4/5
12. Another Brick In The Wall (Part III) - good riff again! 3.75/5
13. Goodbye Cruel World - an outro, nothing speacil 1.75/5
1. Hey You - a great song, a very good opening track 5/5
2. Is There Anybody Out There? a short but still great song. There's frightning echoes. 4.25/5
3. Nobody Home - no speacial but vocals are good 4/5
4. Vera - a touching song 3.75/5
5. Bring the Boys Back Home - a great song with great choirs! Good keyboards! 4.5/5
6. Comfortably Numb - a classic, a peaceful song 5/5
7. The Show Must Go On - a touching, peaceful song 3.5/5
8. In The Flesh - a great track with good lyrics 4/5
9. Run Like Hell - a great, fast track with very good lyrics! 5/5
10. Waiting For The Worms - another great track! Good vocals and guitars! 5/5
11. Stop - a short track 2.25/5
12. The Trial - a masterpiece again. Great vocals! The vocalist can sing very high! 4.75/5
13. Outside The Wall - an outro 2/5
The best tracks: Run Like Hell, Comfortably Numb
on August 4, 2003
Listen, this was NOT an album of "our times" or "the 80's" This is an album of the human condition. Let's see if you can follow me on this-
As we age, life teaches us, many times harshly, that to wear your heart on your sleeve is not condusive to continued mental or emotional health. So as we grow we build many walls around ourselves in order to protect our psyches from damage. We ALL do it. We surround ourselves with consumer ... having bought into the madison ave bull that it will us happy. But with all the walls up we cant get to that which we most need - real human connection. How many of you are living beyond your means? For what? Look at all the posturing out there all the posing. It's all about attitude, no substance, which is why people look at this album and say "What a downer, man!!" It's sooooo depressing!! Like why bring us all down?? Lighten up!!"
It's ok, stay in your own little world and live for yourself. If you have a mind, you might see that the truth within this album applies to everyone. While your at it look up the word allegory. It may help you to understand...
on August 3, 2003
No, The Wall is not some put-a-smile-on-your-face;make-you-feel-all-warm-and-fuzzy-inside kind of an album. If you solely listen to music to feel good, or if you are of the opinion that all things artistic must have a happy ending then this work of Pink Floyd is not for you.
However, if you have a real appreciation for reality - life is not fair, the good guys don't always win, and happiness is only one of the many emotions that humans experience - then you will appreciate Roger Water's exploration and expression of the more somber human emotions.
Artistically, The Wall ranks solidly with other Pink Floyd works such as "Dark Side of the Moon" and "Wish You Were Here". The operatic style of the album is fitting for both the lyrical content and the many musical layers and transitions. While The Wall is often referred to as a "Rock Opera", it is very different from other so-called rock operas such as The Who's "Tommy". It is probably more precise to refer to The Wall as a "Rock Requiem" rather than simply as a rock opera.
If you like the music of Pink Floyd and don't feel as if you have to listen to the likes of Tony Robbins 24x7 in order to keep from going off the deep end, then you will love the artistic genius that is The Wall.
on August 3, 2003
Great art requires technical skill and the ability to affect us emotionally or change the way we view the world. This album contains both. Roger Waters' music and lyrics are dark and disturbing. David Gilmore is one of the finest guitarists on the planet. Pink Floyd, as always, produces a universe engulfing soundscape which needs to be heard through professional quality headphones to be fully appreciated.
The Wall is an amazing piece of music. Thematically, it is an amalgum of many of writer Roger Waters' other works -- something of a cross between Dark Side of the Moon (sanity/insanity) and Wish You Were Here (Music Industry hype). Like the Who's "Tommy," this album is essentially a song cycle/rock opera about a boy who is emotionally damaged as a child and grows up to be a rock star, only to continue be damaged by the demons within. But here, the main character, "Pink," was damaged not by a single traumatic event as in Tommy(witnessing the killing of his mother's lover by the father returning from war and following forceful admonition to not let anyone know about the killing), but by a series of more normal, every day traumas: an overbearing and protective mother, an abusive teacher and the loss of his father to war. In the end, Pink ends up addicted to pain medications prescribed by his doctors and in an insane asylum. Pink does not triumph in the end. The worms just eat into his brain. By the end of the album, I end up feeling like I should be getting paid to be Pink's psychotherapist.
As dark as the album is, or perhaps because of its darkness, it contains some of Pink Floyds best music, including such classics as "Happiest Days of Our Lives/Another Brick in the Wall part 2," "Hey You," "Comfortably Numb" and "Run Like Hell." On the other hand, the album also contains pieces like "Waiting for the Worms" and "The Trial" which are something akin to a cross between a Dickens novel and a Broadway musical.
Despite the fact that the album is not as consistent as some of PF's other work, this album contains grand and emotionally disturbing themes along with enough very good music to make it well worth owning. While perhaps not an essential album in a rock collection, it is awfully close.
on July 28, 2003
I do not like Roger Waters. This is mostly due to his decision to completely dominate Pink Floyd, something that I believe he had first begun to do on their 'Animals' record. Waters became the leader of Pink Floyd when Syd Barrett, their former leader, was forced out of the group in 1968. Waters wrote the majority of the song lyrics and collaborated with his band members on writing the music, particularly guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour. Up until 'Animals', though, the feeling of Pink Floyd as a BAND was beginning to disappear. Before then, the Floyd had always seemed very "band-like"... Oh, it has some fine songs...I like "In The Flesh", "Mother", "Comfortably Numb", "Run Like Hell"...even "Goodbye Blue Sky" is okay...but it isn't exactly a Pink Floyd record. It's more like: "Roger Waters presents The Wall...featuring musical and vocal contributions from David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Freddie Mandell, and others" or something.
Why does everybody love this album so much??? I will never know. But with other amazingly fine Pink Floyd efforts out there, particularly Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, and Meddle, why act like this is such a great "Pink Floyd album"? It's not great, nor is it really a Pink Floyd album. It shouldn't be ignored though. It is probably one of Roger Waters's better solo albums...but that's not saying much.
on July 4, 2003
I am not sure of how many reissues-repackagings-remasterings have been done with "The Wall", but it will always remain as one of my favorite CDs of all times.
Don't pay excessive attention to Roger Waters' child conflicts which helped develop the background argument to "The Wall", I am not sure of how universal his conflicts can become.
It is better just to listen to the songs, to each one of them, most new listeners will discover inmortal classics such as "Confortably Numb" (my personal fave), "Hey You", "Mother", "Part II", "Run Like Hell" and the ending theme, "The Trial", one the most complex things Floyd did in this moment of their history.
Away are the psychedelic '60s, and the '80s decadence was about to begin for them, but this very moment was both experimental and commercially succesful, an achievement that not many bands can get.
Absolutely recommended, both for pop fans as for prog rock enthusiasts.
on June 29, 2003
I was only 11 years old and growing up in a small town in England when this album came out, but even then, the video to 'Another Brick in the Wall' made a deep impression on me (it was number 1 in the charts at the time). I remember it being actually quite frightening and, at the time, the weirdest thing I'd ever seen on British TV.
I've since listened to the album an awful lot and seen the movie, and I have a much better understanding now of why it's so weird. Roger Waters is clearly an angry man, and doesn't hold his bitterness back. And why should he? I always think the best songs are those that are the most honest, and these ones are clearly written from the heart - admittedly a fairly dark one. The childhood anguish and resentment of having lost your father in what you perceive to be a pointless war is a dominant theme, and when this is set against a backdrop of unhappy, (and lonely?) schooldays at the hands of vicious, dictatorial teachers, don't expect to be dancing to this album in your local disco. Having said that, there is some deliciously black humour in some of the songs (especially Waiting for the Worms and The Trial).
This is generally considered to be one of the first, if not the first, concept albums, and Pink Floyd deserve credit for having the bravery to do it. They went out on quite a limb, and it could very easily have been ridiculed as a bloated extravagance. The musical score is incredibly ambitious, but I think it represents a real strength of the album. The songs are incredibly varied, I genuinely can't think of any other album that contains slow piano-based songs (e.g. Nobody Home), soaring guitar solos (e.g. Comfortably Numb), thumping stadium rock (e.g. Another Brick Part 3, Run Like Hell), theatricals (the Trial, Waiting for the Worms) and practically whispered poems (One of My Turns intro).
The lyrics themselves are also remarkably wide-ranging, representing anger (e.g. Mother, Another Brick), seedy seduction (Young Lust), plaintive sadness (Nobody Home, Vera), creepy (Anybody Out There?), childhood reflection (Comfortably Numb) and just plain weirdness (In the Flesh). Some of the songs are just so well-written they are profoundly moving - try listening to Nobody Home while sitting in a comfortable chair with the lights off and you will see what I mean.
The lyrics and music are so finely matched that I really consider this album to be a work of genius. I just love the richness and depth of the vocals in songs like Mother and Nobody Home, and the album is liberally scattered with neat vocal tricks and effects that fit in so well (e.g. the voice through the loudhailer in Waiting for the Worms, the sniggering laughs that appear in several songs). The backing vocals/switching between singers is also very professional.
Be warned that you may not like this album the first time you listen to it, but it definitely grows on you, even to the point that you appreciate it in its entirety rather than just dipping into a song here and there.
In sum, I heartily recommend this outstanding album to anyone who has an appreciation of *real* music (i.e. more than 3 chords, the use of some great words, limited use of the words 'love' and 'baby', and no delimitation of songs into verse, chorus, verse, chorus ad nauseum).
I am desperately sorry for Roger Waters that he had such an awful childhood, but, without wanting to sound superficial or insensitive, I sincerely hope that writing this superb album helped him in some way. Thank You Roger and Pink Floyd.
on June 7, 2003
The Pink Floyd Albums I listen to the most are Animals, Wish You Were Here, The Wall, Dark Side Of The Moon, and Momentary Lapse of Reason is good but to me may as well go under a different band name.
There is not a song on The Wall I dont like, matter of fact, some of them feel like a part of me, and I dont get that as much from the other albums. I fond that for me there are some albums that I like right off, and there are some that take time to sink in before I really start to like them. This was one that took a little time to sink in. But as with most albums that reach me that way, once it sunk in, i was in love. Ok, that sounds gay, but thats how music hits you sometimes.
The story is pretty cool, what makes this album great to me, is that the frustration and emotions of the main character that comes through Roger Waters' voice comes through with such with such beleivable emotion. I mean really the words could just as well be anything because the melodies are good enough to carry the songs on their own. However, the story is good, is believable, and anyone can identify with.
There are Great guitar solos around every turn, nice musical pasages everywhere. Beautiful piano as well. The special effects are not overdone and seem appropriate and on time. I also really like the fact that this was a two record set its helps with the drama of the unfolding story. In side one we see the mounting tension, confusion, agitation, and sliding of sanity of the main character. Side One ends with the beautiful "Goodbye Cruel World"
"Goodbye, cruel world,
I'm leaving you today.
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
Goodbye all you people,
There's nothing you can say,
To make me change my mind.
Side Two begins and our main character has slipped to the other side of sanity.....with open arms......?!?!?!?!? then we have comfortably numb.....
well ....its just a great album....my favorite floyd album, and one of my favorite all time albums....i try to listen to it at least once every couple of months.....back in high school its was at least once a week