Monday, November 30, 2009

Pink Floyd's "The Wall"- 30 years later

Pink Floyd
The Wall
Released 1979
Rating: ****

November 30, 1979- Progressive rock band Pink Floyd releases The Wall. The double album is a rock opera written by bassist Roger Waters. The album sells millions of copies and is still considered a classic today.

The Wall is a great album but sometimes, doesn't meet to it's epic proportions. Some critics believe it doesn't live up to its title. The story of the album deals with a man named Pink. When Pink is just a boy, his father dies in World War II (similar to Roger Waters). As a child, Pink is tortured in school by his teachers and overprotected by his mother. Pink thinks of each bad incident of his life as "another brick in the wall". Pink becomes a rock star. However he suffers from being cheated on by his wife and gives in to drugs. Once his wife leaves him, he starts to build the wall. Once it's complete, he has his fans come and starts dictating like a Nazi. After he puts himself on trial, the wall is tore down. However, Pink survives.

Bassist Roger Waters wrote the story and planned to have it be a perfect album. The story's main character sounds has the charecteristics of him and lost bandmate, Syd Barrett. Waters and the band chose Bob Ezrin to produce the album. David Gilmour, Rick Wright, and Nick Mason all have different stories on how recording went down for The Wall. Based on all the stories, Waters sounds as if he was a bully to his band mates. Mason remembers that Waters was pissed whenever they were behind schedule. Things got worst when the relationship between he and Rick Wright fell apart. While David Gilmour says that he was annoyed Wright's lack of input, it was easy to see why Wright wasn't in a good mood: his marrige was falling apart. In the 2008 book Comfortably Numb, the author says that when Waters wanted to know of Wright's contribution Wright apparently replied "Tell Roger to f***" off. Wright, before his passing in September 2008, denied this story. In the same book, the relationship between Roger and Rick wasn't the best although Rick did state that they were good working partners. During the recording of the album, Rick Wright left the band as suggested by Waters. When the band went on tour, Wright was recruited but was paid back-up musician wages.

Despite the chaos in creating this album, the finished product is pretty good. Disc 1 is very good. "In The Flesh" is a great opener while "Another Brick In the Wall Part 2" is the anthem for kids who hate their teachers. "Young Lust" is an overlooked rocker while "Mother" is a classic. Disc 2 is less impressive but has "Hey You", which is one of the band's best. "Comfortably Numb" sees David Gilmour playing one of the greatest guitar solos known to man. I'm not kidding. Go and listen to that solo. Freakin' sweet. "Run Like Hell" is another underrated cut, which has some impressive hooks from both Gilmour and Roger Waters.

As of now on my list of my top 130 favorite albums, The Wall ranks in at #107. It sounds a little bit off but for now, that's the way it is. I should move it a few spots up to probably the 80 to 70 range. We'll see!

Sources: Wikipedia, Comfortably Numb (2008 book), and some previously known knowledge!

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