Day 20: Pink Floyd – “The Wall”

Tracklisting

  1. In the Flesh?
  2. Thin Ice
  3. Another Brick in the Wall, Part I
  4. The Happiest Days of our Lives
  5. Another Brick in the Wall, Part II
  6. Mother
  7. Goodbye Blue Sky
  8. Empty Spaces
  9. Young Lust
  10. One of My Turns
  11. Don’t Leave Me Now
  12. Another Brick in the Wall, Part III
  13. Goodbye Cruel World
  14. Hey You
  15. Is There Anybody Out There
  16. Nobody Home
  17. Vera
  18. Bring the Boys Back Home
  19. Comfortably Numb
  20. The Show Must Go On
  21. In the Flesh
  22. Run Like Hell
  23. Waiting For the Worms to Come
  24. Stop
  25. The Trial
  26. Outside the Wall

“…we came in?”

The three words faintly heard as soon as “In the Flesh?” starts, with the playing of an accordion playing the melody of the album’s final song “Outside the Wall.” The final track ends abruptly after the voicing of the words “Isn’t this where…” to complete the phrase that gives off the effect of a cycle.

To Roger Waters, the brains behind this incredible 1979 album, the whole world is a cycle. When one series of events ends, it immediately begins again to create a circle effect in life.

The main character of this brilliant concept album is Pink. “In the Flesh?” is narrated through Pink, telling us how he built a wall to shelter himself from the outside world. Pink eventually goes insane, turning himself in a dictator-like character before he decides to end the madness and puts himself on an imaginary trial where the judge orders him to tear down the walls.

The next six songs, “Thin Ice” to “Goodbye Blue Sky” go into great detail with how Pink didn’t want to be another faceless, brick in the wall that went to school and went off to war to fight, especially when he lost his father in the second World War.

“Mother” is the masterpiece from this selection, telling about Pink’s mother smothering him with love and wanting to keep him out of harms evil temptations of lust, war and violence.

Hush now baby, baby, don’t you cry
Momma’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true
Momma’s gonna put all of her fears into you
Momma’s gonna keep you right here under her wing
She won’t let you fly, but she might let you sing
Momma’s will keep Baby cozy and warm…
Ooo Babe, of course Momma’s gonna help build the wall

“Young Lust” is Pink living the rock star life, kind of like Waters himself. Booze, sex and pretty women are the theme of this song. It ends with him flipping on a girl he meets, who is later depicted as his wife in “The Trial.” This freakout was the beginning of Pink’s downward spiral to insanity in which he began closing himself off from the world with an imaginary wall. This caps off the first disk.

The second disk of this album is some of the most brilliant music ever put on paper by Waters. “Hey You” is one of Floyd’s most iconic and brilliant songs ever written.

But it was only fantasy.
The wall was too high,
As you can see.
No matter how he tried,
He could not break free.
And the worms ate into his brain.

Hey you, out there on the road
always doing what you’re told,
Can you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall,
Breaking bottles in the hall,
Can you help me?
Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall.

Roger Waters stands in front of the wall that was built during his performance of the album on Nov. 11, 2010 in Philadelphia. This is the wall with the words "bring the boys back home" from the song with the same name.

The most emotional three-song run on the album though belongs to “Vera,” “Bring the Boys Back Home,” and “Comfortably Numb.” You have to witness the transitions live to really get it. When I saw Waters perform this album back in November, it absolutely blew my mind. I started to cry during “Bring the Boys Back Home” as Waters was displaying images of soldiers returning home and surprising their children.

“Comfortably Numb,” in my opinion, is the greatest Pink Floyd song of all time. It’s the perfect portrayal of how Waters and the rest of the band felt detached from the fan base, a hidden meaning in the album, and how they had nights where they didn’t even want to go on stage. Complete with one of David Gilmore’s most iconic guitar solos, “Comfortably Numb” is that epic song played at every Floyd, Waters or Gilmore show.

“The Show Must Go On” is a conversation Pink has with himself telling that the show he is about to perform must go on. This is where the tyrannic transformation is made in the fascist dictator-like character Pink becomes until he puts himself on trial.

“In the Flesh” (different from the opening song but the same melody) is Pink’s fascist character pointing out the people who need to be erased from existence. He then concludes the song with “If I had my way, I’d have all of you shot!” This then leads into “Run Like Hell,” the song where Pink sicks his soldiers on the world after those who aren’t perfect people and who should be shot.

After “Waiting for the Worms,” Pink’s drug-induced hallucination in which he thinks he’s a fascist ends and he puts himself on trial. during “The Trial,” Pink thinks up a prosecutor who wants to throw him away for “showing feelings of an almost human nature.” The prosecutor then summons Pink’s school master (depicted in “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II”), his wife and mother.

The judge’s character is then portrayed in an angry fashion, sentencing Pink to the “fullest penalty of law.”

Since, my friend, you have revealed your deepest fear,
I sentence you to be exposed before
Your peers.
Tear down the wall!

In concert and in the movie, the Wall is torn down – a marvelous spectacle at that.

The final song, “Outside the Wall,” reflects on the whole situation with these lyrics:

All alone, or in twos,
The ones who really love you
Walk up and down outside the wall.
Some hand in hand
And some gathered together in bands.
The bleeding hearts and artistes
Make their stand.

And when they’ve given you their all
Some stagger and fall, after all it’s not easy
Banging your heart against some mad bugger’s wall.

“Isn’t this where…”

Waters was perfect in this. You can tell how insane he really was.

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3 comments on “Day 20: Pink Floyd – “The Wall”

  1. JP says:

    Great post. Saw the wall this year in Denver. Wow!!! What a great show. I guess Quebec on July 21st is going to be the show of shows. Wish I was there…

  2. Edu says:

    Saw it in BA (Buenos Aires City, my hometown!!!!) in March 2012. Touching.
    All alone, or in twos, or gathering together in bands (around the globe). Let
    us just tear down our own walls.

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