Ten years after the first conceptual art album (The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper
), Roger Waters took it upon himself to create the masterpiece that is The Wall
. It's the story of a burnt out rock star named Pink, and the "wall" he has built around his emotions, resulting in depression and "numb-ness". The Wall
's first disc revolves around Pink's isolation, his mother's overprotectiveness ("Mother"), and his fascination with sex ("Young Lust"). Disc 2 continues with the theme of isolation and depression, ("Comfortably Numb"), but culminates in his own self-trial ("The Trial") in which the wall is finally broken down. (See the track analysis for more plot details.)
Although this album isn't the song order featured on the movie, it still holds together well.
Musicially, The Wall
is a trimuph. Although non-genre fans may not be converted by this album, (it's no Kind Of Blue
) but it certainly succeds where it tries, and has some completely genius moments (See "Comfortably Numb", "Run Like Hell", "Hey You"). At this point in Floyd's carrer, Waters had almost complete creative control of the band, working somewhat with Gilmour, whereas Mason and Wright were almost left out entirely. Gilmour's guitar playing is stunning as always, and Waters' and Gilmour's voices are at their all time high point.
Throughout the album there are various repeated phrases or themes, such as "ooooooo babe" and "Is there anybody out there"
Disc 2 is a better standalone, disc 1 can't really suffice, but it's best to think of The Wall
as one song, sort of an enlongated piece such as "Shine On You Crazy Diamond".
The Wall is an amazing album, and it's really a journey. It succeeds where countless "story-albums" have failed, and it really rocks.
Track by Track:
In The Flesh
starts out with one of the most recognized entries ever. The main guitar riff is really quite epic. "So ya thought ya'd like to go to the show..." You know the lyrics. This song is a classic. Although it doesn't have the compositional depth of "Comfortably Numb" or others, it's still a classic.
The Thin Ice
first flashback, this is a mellower song, with piano at first. The lyrics are also excellent, possibly my favorite on the album. It's short, but interesting.
Another Brick In The Wall (Part 1)
Although it's really an intro to the school themed part of The Wall
, (ANBITW pt 1, 2 &3, HDOOL) this is still an interesting song. It begins the feel of the radio-friendly "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2). Waters' voice is especially strong on this. Gilmour's acoustic work is also interesting. Not particularly strong though.
The Happiest Days Of Our Lives
This begins where ABITW pt. 1 ends and continues. It's a much more interesting song, and has that real 70s disco feel. Waters' voice is absolutely awesome on this, from the low growl to the almost Aretha Franklin disco scream. I really like this song, despite it's filler qualty. (It leads straight into...)
Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)
This was/is a huge hit. It's probably the least "Pink Floyd" Pink Floyd song ever. That aside, it's actually a pretty cool song. Definitely catchy, and Gilmour's guitar solo just plain screams. The group singing is also particularly interesting. This song is extremely 70s, but it's also fairly timeless, due to extreme radio overplay. Meh, I like it. Certainly not The Wall's
One of the strongest songs on The Wall
. Acoustic, and low-key, it has an almost Wish You Were Here
-esque quality. I absolutely love this song. It breaks me down to tears almost every time I hear it, it's themed around Pink's (fictional character in the movie, there is no one named Pink Floyd) mother's paranoia. It's a very moving song, and one of my favorites on this album. As it breaks into a more rocking section, Gilmour takes an absolutely stunning guitar solo. One of the strongest moments on the album.
Goodbye Blue Sky
This is my personal feel-bad song. Every time I hear it I get really depressed or start crying. Well, I guess The Wall
isn't a real "happy" album. However, this song is absolutely brilliant. Waters' skill at conveying paranoia and fear and depression shines again. Gimour's acoustic work is once again brilliant. The movie section that goes with this is nothing short of disturbing. This could turn an army general into a pacifist. The chorus is spine tingling.
This song isn't much, about a minute and forty seconds of synthesier and then Waters' creepy-man voice singing for a few seconds. It's really an intro to "Young Lust". It's important in the movie, but in my opinion should have been combined to form one track with "Young Lust".
The most rocking song on The Wall
. Gilmour sings this one, it's quite Gilmour-esque, almost reeks of "Have A Cigar". I like this song, it's quite catchy, but doesn't really represent the intellectual side of Floyd that I love so much. Works great in the move however, and here it's a nice break from the mealoncholy of "Mother" and "Goodbye Blue Sky". This song succeeds, (what Floyd song doesn't") and is radio friendly, with a nice solo, but it doesn't compare to some of the compositional genius on this album.
One Of My Turns
This song is interesting, but it's really not all that exciting, and there's not much I can say about it. The lyrics are descriptive. Waters sings again. It turns into something similar to "Young Lust" and it's about as catchy. Humours lyrics at parts, very political. Musically, it's fairly weak, however.
Don't Leave Me Now
This song, in parts, almost sounds like something off of DSOTM
. It's a good song, not a great one. It has some really nice drum work, and good key work courtesy of Wright. The lyrics are also a strong point.
Another Brick In The Wall (Part 3)
The third part of ABITW, it's really not all that special. It was important in the movie, and the lyrics are interesting, but as I've said before, musicially, the first disc just doesn't really shine like the second one does.
Goodbye Cruel World
This is mostly vocal work, and although it sounds like it, it's not a suicide note. It's a note of regression, Pink plans to simply check out of life. It's an actually pretty decent conclusion.