Pink Floyd – The Wall (1979)

Pink Floyd had not died out, even during the onslaught of Disco and Punk in the late 1970’s. In fact, they managed to excel by adapting somewhat to the tastes of the time. This double album may not sound exciting at first, being a double disc concept album about said wall, but it sold many copies and is now considered a stone cold classic.

We begin with the words “…we came in?”. In The Flesh? poses a big question to the Pink Floyd audience about what is considered to them as acceptable to them from Roger Waters point of view. It is hugely theatrical and great to listen to. Excellent stuff. It builds up to the sound of a plane crash. Epic.

The follow up The Thin Ice begins with a baby crying and some poetic lyrics and spacey sound effects to boot. It sounds as a warning to any young child about life, but sounds mega all the same. Some great guitar work by David Gilmour is here as well.

Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 1 arrives and tells the disturbing fact of Roger Water’s upbringing about his Dad losing his life in the second World War. It’s selfish a tale and not very nice, but the rhythmic delayed guitar parts are killer here. It segues into the next song with the sound of school children playing and a helicopter arriving on the scene, with some shouting.

The Happiest Days of Our Lives is a cynical observation about time at school. It’s a short, yet direct point about the mistreatment of school children at hand, before launching into the next piece.

“We don’t need no education” begins the next piece. Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2 begins and is a great pop song. There is a choir here singing the chorus, some great instrumentation and a killer guitar solo towards the end of this piece. These four musicians of Pink Floyd were absolute legends in the day. The song segues out with more shouting of children and some old English man shouting as well.

The acoustic driven piece Mother poses a rather nasty Roger Waters message to his own mother about various things in life that could hurt him emotionally or physically. Obviously Roger Waters had a huge ego by this point, but the song sounds as though it fits this album well. There are some answers, but not those that you’d expect from a said mother.

Goodbye Blue Sky is a short and direct tale about the World War II bombings of England that occurred, which scarred many people’s lives in the UK. It’s a short and scary tale about human fragility. It’s a good addition here to the album.

Empty Spaces is a linking sort of piece which is largely atmospheric. It joins together the songs before and afterward, questioning about what is necessary to create said wall. We shortly find out the answer.

The next piece, Young Lust fulfills all the needs of young man’s desire for a woman, at least in this album. It’s a good anthemic piece which sounds great, even today. Sounds a lot like AC/DC in a strange way. A must listen. It segues into the next piece.

The follow up One of My Turns doesn’t sound nice lyrically at all. It’s a connecting piece, but so horrible and brutal that one feels rather disturbed by the music here. Roger Waters could have been a bit nicer here, but the concept goes on. The Wall is being built well up here.

Don’t Leave Me Now is a plea to said woman of the last few songs not to leave, despite being an absolute monster in terms of abnormally sexist and brutal behaviour. It doesn’t sound sympathetic in any sense, but the music and concept are revealing here.

Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 3 reveals the main character as a psychopath. He goes on a rant and insists he doesn’t need anything but his own wall to hide behind. How strange and sad. We segue into the next piece.

The next song Goodbye Cruel World is a short and dreary statement that almost sounds like a suicide note. It finalises the wall mentioned about, and the first side of the album comes to a close.

The first song on disc two is Hey You. It’s a cry for help from the madman behind the wall, but is a very well done song here. It conveys artistry and feeling from Roger Waters here. A nice piece. “Together we stand, divided we fall,” is a great quote at the end of this song.

Is There Anybody Out There? continues the theme of the previous song. It’s a bleak statement asking for help with an atmospheric musical accompaniment. The acoustic guitar piece in the second half of the song is fantastic. Very well played here.

Nobody Home actually sounds like an ode to Syd Barrett in terms of self-description. It’s very well done. The piano is a very good driver of this song, and the lyrics are deep. It feels as though the main character is severely depressed here, and has little chance of success behind his wall.

The next piece Vera is an ode to an artist long gone by. It seems melancholic and retrospective in terms of its outlook. It’s a quick ode to retrospective thought.

Following up is Bring The Boys Back Home. It’s a joining track which takes samples from the previous songs before it, before launching into the next important piece.

Comfortably Numb lifts the mood largely with clear description of drug use, be it heroin or otherwise. The song is strangely uplifting for such a subject. David Gilmour’s guitar solos are blistering here. The whole piece here is fantastic, a must listen.

The Show Must Go On indicates that, regardless of our central character’s problems, said rock and roll show has to go on. It is a good piece joining two major songs together.

The freaky return to the start of our concept album, with a twist, is In The Flesh. No questions asked this time. The Wall has been built, and our central character likens himself as a Fascist dictator. This is scary stuff on a psychological level. Listening to it is a different experience to what you’d expect. Same music as the first version of this song, but just plain nasty in comparison.

The next song is where The Wall does not hide our main character, so he has to Run Like Hell. Our main character is in a mess, so he has to escape from everywhere and everything. It sounds like he is a big state of paranoia here, afraid of all that comes his way. A good tune all the same.

Waiting For The Worms uncovers our main character hidden behind his wall and in a desperate state. He uses his energies to fight with his demons in his head, and the backing vocals sound like The Beach Boys here. Chanting and screaming finish this piece off.

Stop forces a reality check upon our rockstar. He surrenders himself to all those negative people chasing him. It’s super short a piece.

The next song, The Trial, is the rockstar being revealed in a court for his true feelings and state of mind. It’s not a happy situation whatsoever. He is pulled apart by all external forces. The judge then imposes his final decision upon our rockstar. With heavy metal style guitars, he orders The Wall to be torn down, which is done immediately.

Lastly, we are Outside The Wall. It’s a bleak observation about the realities of life. And our concept album comes to a close here. “Isn’t this where…”

This album sold tens of millions of copies around the world. It is a great testament to isolation and distress. It’s also a great listen.

8/10