Music Monday – The Wall

The concept album. ‘THE’ concept album, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, probably the best known of them all, and boy, does it deliver!

Pink Floyd - The Wall

The Band’s eleventh studio album tells the life of ‘Pink,’ a depressed rock star who’s mental health deteriorates to the point of him building a wall in his mind, the bricks metaphors of his traumas. It’s deep and worrying stuff, yet listening to it is entertaining and it features some excellent musical moments.

Double album concept albums can be a difficult thing to pull of and garner success with. I frequently listen to ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway,’ a double concept by Genesis, whilst being a firm fan favourite, I would be surprised if anyone other than a fan would have heard of it, let alone be able to name a song or two. The Wall is different. You don’t have to be a Floyd fan to have heard of this album, and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to name at least one song, probably ‘Another Brick In The Wall,’ a somewhat un-Christmassy Christmas number one, way back in 1979.

I could spend the day talking about this album’s nuances, but I’m not gong to bore you with my analysis of the album. Instead, I’m going to pick out a few of its most pleasing moments, at least for me.

Before I start, though, I should point out what it is about this album that makes it a frequent player. I listen to this album as much as any other when I’m painting. It has a lot of ‘shade,’ which often suits my mood. It has melancholy, meaningful moments. It has sing along songs and head-bopping songs. And, of course, it has the classic Floyd guitar resonating throughout. And so, ere are my highlights…

‘The Thin Ice,’ the second track on the album, has always been a favourite. The transition from the soft, drawn out opening, to the harsh lyrical ending plays to emphasis the tunes meaning – yes, everything looks warm and cosey out there in the world, but step out and you’d better be prepared for it to all fall before your feet. The song lulls you with its opening and then kicks you in the teeth for being a fool!

If you should go skating

On the thin ice of modern life

Dragging behind you the silent reproach

Of a million tear stained eyes…

‘The Happiest Days Of Our Live,’ is the lead in song to the chart hit ‘Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2). If you want to appreciate the latter, it’s best to listen to them in tandem. Here they are together…

Put together, I think they tell a story all of their own when not in the context of the whole album. Lyrically impactful, the Education Authority weren’t too happy about it when it was released – Oh! The video’s awesome as well!

Next highlight for me is one that I know all the words to and frequently find myself singing when busy, and that’s ‘One Of My Turns.’ Following on from ‘Young Lust,’ Pink has invited a girl to his apartment. She stares in wonderment at his collection of guitars and we hear her voice over Water’s intro…

Day after day, love turns grey

Like the skin of a dying man…

You can almost feel the tension in the room. Pink is on the verge of losing it, and again, we have a mid-song transition, this time from slow cynicism to full on loopy-la-la – as I said earlier, the album is all about ‘shade.’

Moving along now to the second CD, or side three on Vinyl, with ‘Nobody Home.’ Again, another song that I know the words to and sing along. I love Water’s vocals on this one, especially the opening…

I’ve got a little black book with my poems in

I’ve got a bag with a toothbrush and comb in

When I’m a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone in…

It very much reminds me of my time in the RAF, though my book didn’t have poems in lol! It’s a more evenly paced song, though it does build up as it climaxes, and it has a very melancholy feel about it.

‘Comfortably Numb,’ was another track released for single. At 6-minutes plus on the album, it had to be reduced by 2-minutes for the single, and I feel it impacted on it. To appreciate it fully, then it has to be the album version. The vocal harmony of Waters and Gilmour is the highlight, that and the musicality, which is probably at its best on this track over all of the album.

‘In The Flesh’, the second song on the fourth side of vinyl, is a reprise of the very first track of the album, but this one goes a little further. Pink is now imagining he’s a fascist dictator and the lyrics get pretty juicy, as he starts to reel off the people he’d ‘Put up against the wall.’ It’s a song that could divide audiences, especially taken out of context, and one wonders how it would have gone down released today. I like it because it does have that impact. It makes you think about what is right and wrong, and how a public figure can influence a crowd. It also leads into the awesome, ‘Run Like Hell!’

‘Run Like Hell’ is classic Floyd. The interplay between Water’s and Gilmour’s vocals, along with the classic, complex Floyd guitar, make it a stand out track. It tells of the consequences leading from the actions of the previous song and features some dynamic guitar playing that really sets it alight.

So, that’s my look at The Wall, highlighting the songs that are my personal favourites. It’s a classic concept album, possibly the best of all time, though I’d be hard pushed to say it was the best Floyd album. Musically, ‘Wish You Were Here’ and, of course, ‘Dark Side Of The Moon,’ both beat it on that score, but as a whole, The Wall is something special. Don’t just listen to the odd track, you won’t get it, go and listen to it from start to finish, not just once, but two, three, or more times, and it will click, and (sorry about this…) you’ll become another brick in Pink Floyd’s fandom.

The Wall

Released 1979

Track Listing (AS per Vinyl double album)

Side one

  1. In the Flesh
  2. The Thin Ice
  3. Another Brick in the Wall. Part 1
  4. The Happiest Days of Our Lives
  5. Another Brick in the Wall. Part 2
  6. Mother

Side two

  1. Goodbye Blue Sky
  2. Empty Space
  3. Young Lust
  4. One of My Turns
  5. Don’t Leave Me Now
  6. Another Brick in the Wall. Part 3
  7. Goodbye Cruel World

Side three

  1. Hey You
  2. Is There Anybody Out There?
  3. Nobody Home
  4. Vera
  5. Bring the Boys Back Home
  6. Comfortably Numb

Side four

  1. The Show Must Go On
  2. In the Flesh
  3. Run Like Hell
  4. Waiting For the Worms
  5. Stop
  6. The Trial
  7. Outside the Wall

My version: CD – Harvest Label – CDP 7243 8 31243 2 9. Released 1994. My copy is a bit odd. It has the Matrix identifiers of a version that, according to Discogs, came in a card case marked up as a promo. However, mine is in a jewel case and has no promo identifiers. So, I need to do more research on that one, but if it is the same, then Discogs have it at value of £32.80!

18 thoughts on “Music Monday – The Wall

  1. Another interesting selection Justin, I have heard the album, and even watched the full film version as well, which fills in any blanks if the listener didn’t get the connection just listening to the music. I remember our teachers not liking the lyrics from Brick in the wall, or the video if they had seen it ! LOL

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Dave.
      Yeah, the film is great too. Like you say, it fills in the blanks and brings the story together.
      I think it was one of the most innovative videos around at the time and I still remember first seeing it now😃

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Bloody hell, Justin, this one’s a bit heavy for 9am on a Monday morning LOL!

    I agree that it’s a classic album and an excellent example of doing a concept album right; each song tells and adds to Pink’s story and current state, building right up to the finale “The Trial”. Most of my fave songs are the same as yours, although I’d emphasize “Comfortably Numb” as probably the standout track and one of the finest guitar solos in rock history 🙂

    One thing I would have added to your post was the band’s use of samples, such as the dive-bomber at the start of the album, that really pull you into Pink’s story and add a lot of realism.

    Overall it’s a fantastic collection of songs, but I have to be in the right mood to listen to the whole thing all the way through.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh, and I should add that the end of the album isn’t the end of Pink’s troubles. The last line of the album is “Isn’t this where…” which matches up with the first line “…we came in?” suggesting that Pink is stuck in a vicious circle.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Ah! Yes, I had forgotten about that. Just love little things like that, musical genius!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Sounds like your a fan there, Matt!
      I never even thought about the samples! You’re dead right, they enhance the listening by bringing in that realism and creating a great atmosphere.
      Listening to Floyd takes me back to my first posting, in single accommodation. I used to get back from work and just chill, eyes closed, on my bed listening to the likes of The Wall, Delicate sound of Thunder, and The Dark Side… music to fade out of the world to!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I’ll have to agree with you again on this one Justin! 🙂 I probably don’t listen to it enough! The Thin Ice is my favourite track!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Great choice, John, an awesome track.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll be in the minority I’m sure, but it’s not one of my fave bands. Musically very talented, but can be really depressing stuff. Not that I don’t listen to depressing songs, but this just hits in a different way. Probably some has to do with stuff that was going on around the time I first heard them to, as music can instantly take you back to those points in time. Keep ’em coming though! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Lol! I know where your coming from – The Final Cut could easily make you want to jump of a bridge!
      That’s the great thing about music, though, everyone has different taste and it’s good to share what you like😃

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yea, I really like to hear what other people like as that’s how I usually learn about new music. I also find that I’ll listen to a song and not like it on the first take or two, then it later becomes my favorite. On the flip side, songs I like right off the bat, become annoying on repeated listens! I guess whatever made them catchy doesn’t always hold up over time with me.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Lol! That sounds familiar. Lots f stuff I didn’t like in my teens are firm favourites now – U2 and Simple Minds to name two of many.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m too punk rock to like Pink Floyd, I’m afraid 🙂 Something about their music just doesn’t appeal to me though the “Money” song is not bad. I think I had a bass guitar teacher who kind of forced me to learn parts of the bassline of that song many years ago which might be in part why I like it more than their other tunes.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If you haven’t heard it, give “Comfortably Numb” a listen. It’s superb.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Seconded, but make sure it’s the album version😁

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I did just now and it very nearly put me to sleep! I’m not kidding or exaggerating when I say that either. I think listening to hard and fast punk music shaped my tastes to where slower or even mid-tempo songs often aren’t appealing to me. I guess punk really does warp your brain like many parents feared 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I didn’t think this one would float your boat!
      Ooo! You can play the Bass? Nice.
      I really want to be good at an instrument, any instrument, but I never get beyond the basics. I have a sax, which I got to be reasonably amateurish at (and that’s probably an overstatement). One day… maybe tomorrow!😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I learned to play somewhere around 50 songs over the span of playing bass. Maybe even more than that. I haven’t really actively played in a few years. Truthfully, I’m a little better at drawing and I’ve become a lot better at painting so I feel lucky to have found my calling there 🙂 While I’d like to get better at playing bass, I doubt I have the time or drive to do it.

        Liked by 1 person

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