Released in November of 1979, Pink Floyd’s concept album “The Wall” has since become an instant classic and is considered one of the best double albums of all time (it’s certainly one of the best-selling). While “Dark Side Of The Moon” still remains the reason why Pink Floyd is widely appreciated to this day, “The Wall” is another key “brick,” if you will, to the band’s success. A musical film of the same name was produced and released about three years later.
While my opinions relating to Pink Floyd are not as overwhelmingly positive as most other people’s are, I still must admit that “The Wall” is a well-constructed piece of progressive rock. There are quite a few songs that stand out from the rest because they aren’t like typical “Dark Side” Pink Floyd but are much more complex and/or unique. The length of the album is not tedious by today’s standards; both discs only clock in at just over eighty minutes, making it almost possible to cram all twenty-six tracks onto one compact disc. While there is a fair amount of songs that fall flat, my attention never escaped from the album as a whole.
The plot centers on the main character Pink’s ongoing struggle with the world and the process of completely isolating himself from everything. Thus the concept of “the wall” is created. Early metaphorical bricks are being added between childhood and adulthood, including coping with the death of his father in a war (mentioned in “Another Brick In The Wall, Part 1”), an oppressive and controlling schooling system (“Part 2”), an overbearing mother (“Mother”), and his unfaithful wife’s abandonment (“Empty Spaces”).
Now in “Young Lust,” Pink has now become a “rock and roll refugee” apparently because of the unfortunate incident with his wife. This also incites anger and depression, causing him to give up on love as well as all human connections and isolate himself in his wall (“Part 3” and “Goodbye Cruel World”). The first few tracks on the second disc (“Hey You”, “Is There Anybody Out There?”, “Nobody Home”) describe Pink’s loneliness and desolation triggered by his actions.
In order to escape the pain and suffering bestowed upon him, Pink turns to drug addiction, specifically heroin (“Comfortably Numb”). Now in a state of soullessness, Pink performs one of his shows with a hateful attitude toward different types of people, similar to the ideas that Nazis spread during the Holocaust (“In The Flesh” and “Run Like Hell”). After receiving negative actions for these thoughts, he comes to the realization that he created his own hatred of society. He makes his attempt to set his conscience straight and breaks down the wall (“Stop”, “The Trial” and “Outside the Wall”).
While I’ve specifically been discussing just the storyline of “The Wall,” I will also take time to mention the music itself. Like I said, there are tracks that don’t sound like the average Pink Floyd song. The genres include hard rock (“Young Lust” and the two “In The Flesh” tracks), psychedelic rock (“Comfortably Numb”), funk rock (“Another Brick in The Wall Part 2”) and several others. The entire first half of one song (“The Trial”) plays out like a symphony, incorporating orchestral instruments not normally found in hard rock music (obviously). The likelihood is that you are bound to enjoy at least one song from the album because they seem to have most genres covered.
“The Wall” is a trippy and unusual musical experience and I believe that is just what the band was hoping for. The atmosphere has a tendency to be moody, creepy, uplifting and poignant at different times. There may be tracks that stand out much more than others and there may be some that take a while to appreciate, but the album still packs a punch upon first listen.