Pink Floyd
The Final Cut


4.0
excellent

Review

by fendercustomstrat USER (5 Reviews)
August 1st, 2005 | 26 replies


Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist


Everyone who knows Pink Floyd is familiar with their 4 "classic" albums - Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall, no matter what order you as an individual rank these. But for some reason, mostly because of the high tensions within the band and the absence of Rick Wright on keys, "The Final Cut" always seems to be ignored. This is Roger Waters still at the top of his game lyrically in addition to very interesting chord progressions throughout. Nick Mason, as on most albums, remains relatively distant from the spotlight. David Gilmour only sings on one song, "Not Now John", but his brilliant guitar can be heard throughout, especially on the few shining solos.

This album has the same overall mood of "The Wall" and expands on his thoughts and feelings of World War II which claimed the life of his father, Eric Fletcher Waters, to whom the album is dedicated. Waters was only a year old when his father died, but his absence in his life led to the writing of his most emotional pieces. The album cover features a close-up view of the medals on the uniform of a decorated soldier. Waters also touches base on British involvement in the Falkland Islands in the 1980s. The remastered album features the addition of the track "When The Tigers Broke Free", a song introduced in two fragments in the movie "The Wall", that appropriately fits with this war themed album more so than the movie. The album, like most of Floyd's albums seems to flow very smoothly with one song segueing into the next. Here is my track-by-track review:

1) The Post War Dream - This song is a very emotional way to start one of the darkest albums ever recorded. It seems that Waters is singing this song from the perspective of his childhood years and asking his mother, "tell me true/tell me why was Jesus crucified/was it for this that daddy died? /was it you/was it me/did I watch too much TV?" This song is the best possible way to open an album with an underlying theme of war. It starts out with a brass section and synthesizer drone in the background and then begins to build up with a string section until Waters says "should we shout should we scream/what happened to the post war dream?". This song also has the first of several mentions of ‘Maggie’, of course referring directly to Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister during the late 1970s and 1980s. The great background guitar work also heightens the emotions of this track. Spectacular opening. 5/5

2) Your Possible Pasts - Very nice song introduction by the guitar's chord work ala Gilmour as Waters' voice enters with a tone that sounds eerily similar to Ian Anderson from early Jethro Tull albums. This song also features the first of Gilmour's solos. It seems that all of his solos on this album are reminiscent of his work on "The Wall". The song's chorus fittingly changes pace a little and adds to the dark atmosphere with the delay on Waters' voice. 3.5/5

3) One of the Few - The creepiness of this song is matched only by "Is There Anybody Out There?" and starts out with a synth drone and an acoustic guitar. Definitely the darkest point on the album. It sounds as though Waters says that as "One of the Few", these men that have survived have the right to manipulate others in which he says "make em me/make em you/me em do what you want them to/make em laugh/make em cry/make em lie down and die". 4/5

4) When The Tigers Broke Free – This wasn’t on the original album, but on the album that it absolutely fits into. Taken from the movie "The Wall", this song is about the Battle of Anzio in 1944 - the battle that his father died in. He paints a haunting picture of the battlefield in addition to the scroll that was sent to his mother by King George "it was I recall, in the form of a scroll/with gold leaf and all/and I found it one day/in a drawer of old photographs hidden away/and my eyes still grow damp/to remember his majesty signed with his own rubber stamp". The harmonium in the background is chilling and adds to the atmosphere. This last verse is Waters at his best as he proclaims, "and that's how the high command took my daddy from me" and the song suddenly fades to the wind noises and segues to the next track. 5/5

5) The Hero's Return - Very cool guitar intro by Gilmour. Waters calls to the higher authority as he asks, "Jesus, Jesus, what's it all about?". The chorus along with Michael Kamen's vocal harmonium, is breathtaking. Waters also talks about his failing marriage that was previously mentioned in "One of my Turns" and "Don't Leave Me Now" from "The Wall", in which he says "sweetheart sweetheart are you fast asleep/that's the only time I can really speak to you". The second chorus begins with happy lyrics about returning from the war ("we danced and we sang in the street and the church bells rang"). But, the song changes directions as he makes the first mention of the words spoken by the dying World War II gunner and the song ends with the ever-mysterious sound from Gilmour's guitar playing an Em add9 chord. 4.5/5

6) The Gunner's Dream - This song starts with soldiers communicating through walkie talkies as the beautiful piano chords enter. One of the highlights of the album overall as the song achieves another emotional pique. The entrance of the tenor sax solo as it matches the sustained vocal note is reminiscent of "Sheep", but in a more sad light than an eerie one. The song also features his first mention of the benefits of the law "and everyone has recourse to the law". The last chorus enters with the full band but deteriorates with the sound of his insanity from hearing the gunner as the song ends on a rather happy note. If you only listen to a few of this album's songs, this is one of them. 5/5

7) Paranoid Eyes - This is the last song that directly relates to the soldiers. Its tone is extremely reminiscent of "The Wall" as the soldier tries to separate himself from society and build a mask, instead of a wall, as a disguise to hide behind "paranoid eyes". It also mentions being lost in a "haze of alcohol soft middle age" that was a key part in "The Wall". 3/5

8) Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert - Turn up your speakers in the beginning as you can distinctively hear a native yell the title and subsequently launch a missile. This is a short, mediocre song that serves its purpose, but doesn’t do much else. 2/5

9) The Fletcher Memorial Home - Probably the most famous song from the album and one of the best from the bunch, the name comes from Waters' father's middle name, which was Fletcher. The song talks about a home, depicted as a mental institution that holds the right-wing leaders of the '80s and also "a group of anonymous Latin-American meat packing glitterati". Once again Gilmour and his guitar shine on this song with an incredible emotional solo that adds another layer to the already beautiful chord progression. 5/5

10) Southampton Dock - Another great song that leads into the title track. Despite the lyrics, the song enters with a rather happy atmosphere. Another short song that tells about the soldiers leaving and the families that they left behind. Now to praise the lyrics, the final lines of the song bring the album to another emotional high as it prepares the listener for the title track, "still the dark stain spreads between their shoulder blades/a mute reminder of the poppy fields and graves/when the fight was over we spent what they had made/but in the bottom of our hearts we felt the final cut". 4.5/5

11) The Final Cut - Now to the title track - the most emotional, beautiful, and personal for Roger Waters. If this song doesn't get to you, I honestly don't know what will. Waters reaches the undeniable height of emotions in this unbelievably vulnerable track. Here are lyrics for the third verse in their entirety, "and if I show you my dark side, will you still hold me tonight?/and if I open my heart to you and show you my weak side, what would you do?/would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?/would you take away the children and leave me alone?/and smile in reassurance as you whisper down the phone/would you send me packing, or would you take me home". Now to another brilliant guitar solo by David Gilmour, the best on the entire album. Most people probably don't recognize this at first, but the final verse is about Roger Waters about to make an attempt at suicide. Here is the final verse, "thought I oughta bare my naked feelings/thought I oughta tear the curtain down/I held the blade in trembling hands/prepared to make it but just then the phone rang/I never had the nerve to make the final cut". Truly the most personal song ever written by Roger Waters and his most beautiful. 5/5

12) Not Now John - This song has a kind of awkward transition as the mood obviously changes. The song features Gilmour in his only lead vocal spot on the album. Sounds exactly like "Young Lust" from "The Wall" in his raspy voice as well as guitar. It would definitely be a radio favorite if it did not include excessive use of obscenities and Waters offends not only the Japanese, but the Vietnamese, Russians, Swedes, and Argentineans. Another brilliant guitar solo that perfectly suits the song. The transition between Gilmour's voice and Waters' is the best since "Comfortably Numb". The Waters' vocal part also has the atmosphere of the fan favorite from "The Wall". The background singers fit into the song very well also. 4.5/5

13) Two Suns in the Sunset - I couldn't think of a more appropriate song to end such a remarkable and remarkably underrated album. This is the happiest point on the album as Waters, despite the unhappiness throughout most of his career, is similar to "Outside The Wall", the final track from "The Wall". Both are happy songs that have open-ended conclusions that don't really end the stories that the albums tell, but give the listeners a sense of hope for the future. Waters also makes a final mention of some themes used earlier in the album, "you have no recourse to the law anymore" and "finally I understand the feelings of the few". I will also include the lyrics to the final verse in which Waters has come to terms with life and himself, realizing that he's come too far to let all go, "as the windshield melts/and my tears evaporate/leaving only charcoal to defend/finally I understand the feelings of the few/ashes and diamonds/foe and friend/we were all equal in the end". The guitar, piano, and organ are beautiful throughout this song. This epic journey ends on a happy note as the tenor sax solo leads to the song fading out. 5/5

Conclusion - It may not be the best of Floyd's albums, but it certainly deserves to be listened to at least a few times to be understood and appreciated. Despite the absence of Rick Wright, Roger Waters compensates with real brass and sting sections which are arranged and conducted by Michael Kamen. With that in mind, I give "The Final Cut" a 4 star rating.
Pink Floyd:

Roger Waters - bass, vocals
David Gilmour - guitar, vocals
Nick Mason - drums

other musicians:

Michael Kamen - piano, harmonium
Andy Bown - Hammond organ
Ray Cooper - percussion
Andy Newmark - drums on "Two Suns in the Sunset"
Raphael Ravenscroft - tenor sax
National Philharmonic Orchestra - conducted and arranged by Michael Kamen


user ratings (1113)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
menawati CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
A highly personal journey which berates the futility of war. 'The Final Cut' is often overlooked and...

Jim (3.5)
It's the end of an era as Roger faces his final cut....

Myster X (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Med57
Moderator
August 1st 2005


1001 Comments


Good review, although I don't agree with the 5 star rating at all. This is mediocre stuff in my opinion, and if it wasn't Floyd, no-one would really pay attention to it in my opinion.

Sepstrup
August 1st 2005


1563 Comments


Never heard anything off this album.. Rolling Stones gave it a really positive review as far as I recall... Suppose I'll check it out eventually, but it's not exactly on my top 10 of things I need to hear.This Message Edited On 08.01.05

fendercustomstrat
August 1st 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Med57,

I can see you disagreeing with the 5 star rating, but the only reason that this is considered mediocre is because of the incredible standards that Floyd set for themselves after recording Dark Side of the Moon. It's like ranking Jimi Hendrix albums - all 4 are very good, but comparing them means that 1 has to be on the bottom of the list. And so, "The Final Cut" may not be perfect, but it does deserve more than the so-called Pink Floyd fans give it.

fendercustomstrat
August 1st 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sepstrup,

I appreciate your commenting on the review although you've never heard the album. Kurt Loder actually gave it a 5 star review in the early '90s. Here's a link: http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/_/id/107472?rnd=1122919826625&has-player=true&version=6.0.12.1059
I encourage anyone to see what a professional writer such as Kurt Loder would say about a so-called mediocre album. I also encourage you to find some way of listening to it because you can't really criticize an artist until you've heard their entire catalog and this is still a great album well worth listening to.

pulseczar
August 2nd 2005


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this album has been grossly overrated, no way in hell is this an above average Floyd album! the Floyd sound has been completely raped in this, it's basically a Waters ego trip. never rate a recently bought album, in a month you'll think WAY differentlyThis Message Edited On 08.02.05

fendercustomstrat
August 2nd 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think exactly the opposite of what you said. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt because you don't know me, but the "recently bought" factor doesn't apply. I've listened to albums for 4 or 5 months without listening to anything else and I love them just as much as the first time I heard them. The fact that you don't accept "The Final Cut" shows that you aren't a hardcore Floyd fan because you don't dedicate yourself to the listening experience to take in everything. Roger Waters was a deeply troubled man that was going to kill himself. I suppose you think "The Wall" is an ego trip, too? This Message Edited On 08.02.05This Message Edited On 08.03.05

Sepstrup
August 2nd 2005


1563 Comments


The fact that you don't accept "The Final Cut" shows that you aren't a hardcore Floyd fan because you don't dedicate yourself to the listening experience to take in everything


I've never heard it, but surely you can be a hardcore pink floyd fan without liking this particular album...?

Med definitely seems to be a hardcore Floyd fan :PThis Message Edited On 08.02.05

fendercustomstrat
August 2nd 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think this album really shows who is a hardcore fan because a hardcore fan loves or appreciates the span of an artist's entire career. Although he may not love it, Med57 has my respect because he's done some awesome reviews for other Floyd albums and makes you appreciate the albums even more. I'll give Galapogos one thing - he gave a pretty accurate review for "Obscured By Clouds", although I'd give it a 3 instead of a 4.

Also, "The Final Cut" is in very many ways similar to "The Wall" and "Animals", so saying that this sucks means that he doesn't appreciate 2 of their crowning achievements.

Sepstrup
August 2nd 2005


1563 Comments


No it doesn't. Saying this sucks only means that one does not like this particular album, even though it might be similar to the others. You don't have to love all of an artist's albums to be a fan...

fendercustomstrat
August 2nd 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Okay, this has just gotten petty. It was immature for him in the first place to just flat out say that it sucks. I no longer have the time or energy to continue arguing my point. Being an adult (and a true music fan) means that you don't just dismiss things saying that they suck and giving them a chance to see the music's potential. I don't particularly like rap, but I don't go out of my way to say that it sucks, I give anything the benefit of the doubt and I listen to it before I dismiss it.

Sepstrup, I hope this whole ordeal doesn't keep you from listening to the album. I'm on my way to becoming a music theory major and I play 6 musical instruments, so I think that I have enough credibility for my opinion as much, if not more, than he does.

robo2448
August 2nd 2005


132 Comments


Great review. I plan on buying all of Floyd's albums eventually, but I'm not in any rush to buy this. I'll definitely get it eventually.

fendercustomstrat
August 2nd 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the praise. Check out my review of Coltrane's "Blue Train" and Hendrix's "Band of Gypsys". I don't blame you for not rushing to buy it right away. Do you have most of Floyd's albums already?

masada
August 2nd 2005


2733 Comments


[quote=ewf;khwaefjwae]It was immature for him in the first place to just flat out say that it sucks[/quote]
It's his opinion. Do you have to argue with every person who's opinion differs from yours? You're doing the same thing that you say that they're doing about the album.

robo2448
August 2nd 2005


132 Comments


I have Animals, Atom Heart Mother, DSOTM, Obscured By Clouds, Pulse, PATGOD, and WYWH. It might be the next Floyd album I buy, but I don't plan on buying one for a while since I've already got a lot of them.

Killtacular
August 2nd 2005


1314 Comments


I'd suggest Meddle and the Wall before this.

robo2448
August 2nd 2005


132 Comments


I have both of those. I left them out for some reason.

fendercustomstrat
August 2nd 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Robo2448,

Just noticed the 2nd page where you said you had The Wall and Meddle. Since you already have those, then I'd definitely say go out amd get "The Final Cut". "Division Bell" and "Momentary Lapse of Reason" are good to have, but they're only 2.5 or 3 star work. Mostly the good songs from those 2 albums you've already heard from listening to Pulse.This Message Edited On 08.03.05

fendercustomstrat
August 2nd 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

something vague,

I'm not arguing with every person that disagrees with me, I'm not that type of person at all. Just the hostility that he had and dismissing the album so quickly ticked me off. I only made a point in resisting it for a while because being stubborn never helped anyone.

pulseczar
August 3rd 2005


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

to fendercustomstrat:
I accept TFC more as a Waters album than a Floyd album, by now he'd kicked out Rick and Gilmour and Mason were just sitting ducks. TFC is good but no way does it stack up to ANimals, WYWH, Meddle or PATGOD. The Wall is also an ego trip but it is well rounded with a brilliant story, with good music. The fact that Waters had demons to deal with makes TFC no lesser of a Self-Indulgent album, he is one of the greatest lyricist of all time, but Pink Floyd havent achieved what they are today with just lyrics. But still, I understand why you gave this album 5 stars, but I think you counted out some things that would deduct its 5 star stance. And for all you DS, WYWH, TW etc. fans, don't expect a 5 star album from TFC.

fendercustomstrat
August 3rd 2005


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Galapogos:

I'm sorry about all of this crap that we were both talking. It was stupid on both ends. As you can also see, I've downgraded my review from 5 stars to 4. I think that's a fair compromise. I agree 100% that it's no DSOTM or WYWH or The Wall. Even though Rick was out of the picture, Dave and Nick still had their signature sound going and Gilmour had enough solos (not to mention the 1 lead vocal spot) to make it an acceptable Floyd album. Kind of like "Presence" for Led Zep if you want to compare it to something on the same scale. If you ask me, WYWH until the end of Floyd was a RW ego trip, but that doesn't mean that its all bad, like you've already said about The Wall.

I'm sorry about this whole ordeal and that I had to get out of hand like that.



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