Phew. Ok, so in the last entry I mentioned that before listening to prog metal, I had a Pink Floyd period in my music life.
Today I saw a video called “Donald Trump’s The Wall, a video collage of Mr. Trumps life set on top of Pink Floyds masterpiece-album “The Wall“. I really didn’t had a choice not to listen to the whole album and watch the video today. The floydian in me couldn’t stop after listening to the first two songs. I do not want to get political in this blog although a huge part of the music I listen to does make political statements (and by the way, for example Roger Waters does exactly this now more than ever). And because of that, the post will concentrate on the album, but in reference to the “Trump-version” I have to state that the musical really doesn’t fit the cause and the footage, except the scenes shown during the songs “In The Flesh?”, “The Thin Ice” “The Show Must Go On” and “Run Like Hell”.
Before I begin to explain what the album means to me, there has to be a larger context of what the band does have to do with my life. A little history: In my teenage days I used to listen to Hard Rock, Heavy Metal (especially Power and Speed Metal) and related genres all the time. It gave me something to look up to and equipped me with willpower some tennagers seek during those wild times of their whole hormone system collapsing ;D . At some point of life this process finishes and you get the time to reorder yourself. At this point I came to a very sudden realisation that I only had music for wild and or aggressive hours but not a single tune of relaxing or mental challenging art. To be honest, the first aspect of relaxation was way more important than the search for art to think about. However, I had “Planet Caravan” by Black Sabbath on my portable music player and while Power Metal was on the lose being my favorite genre, this little track gained more and more plays. I don’t remember how I got to it but someday I listened to The Dark Side Of The Moon (which I won’t describe here because it surely will be mentioned in a lot of posts in the future of this blog). To keep it short: I loved it. And as always, once I get to the ponint where a whole album is my favorite of the band, it is only a matter of time until I got great parts of the discography of the band. That was also the case with Pink Floyd and so it is not surprising that sooner or later I also possessed the concept album “The Wall”. Being part of the Waters-led era it contains sarcastic and highly political and social critical lyrics. If I had to rank the eras of Pink Floyd, I would go with the equal era first, than with the Waters-led era followed by the equally rated Barrett- and Gilmour-led era. The band did create evergreens in nearly all stages of their career. The keyboard of Richard Wright (especially in his bigger parts like in Shine On You Crazy Diamond), the guitar-play of David Gilmour, the lyrics of Roger Waters and last but not least the jazzy yet sometimes epic drum parts of Nick Mason
form a timeless musical landscape. With their feeling and curiosity for new technologies some of Pink Floyds recordings were way ahead of the times recorded. For me, the band means having powerful, bombastic music combined with great lyrics. Dark Side Of The Moon for example is the album in my opinion, the highest point on some kind of scale. The band led me in a music I really hadn’t noticed before and -unlike power metal- gave me a mirror for feelings I hadn’t let occur to me in a long time. I mean listening to metal lets you feel strong and hard, but there are times in your life where you are just weak and need rest. Or you enjoy being sentimental. This whole field of emotions was opened up with help from Pink Floyd, the reason why this band means so much to me even today.
Back to the album and the movie “The Wall” as they were made in 1979 and 1982. First of all, I will just concentrate on the album as a whole as there surely will be blog-posts about certain songs and not dive into every single verse. For a very good step-by-step interpretation and quite a few meanings of the “Wall” I recommend the website The Wall Analysis by Bret Urick.
Okay. Well, the Wall. To be honest I am pretty sure I still haven’t figured out about half of the meanings the wall includes. I discovered that the wall has different meanings, based on the life situation you’re in. You can focus on the personal desaster the protagonist Pink undergoes. Or you can focus on the social and political criticism not hidden by the band, especially with the images and symbols used in the film. Or you can focus on the depiction of being an artist, slowly losing contact to his fans and his very own creation. Oooor you could focus on the psychological aspects of the wall, seing this human being who loses his father early being overwhelmed by the world, success and the loss of love, which at first builds up the wall as a protection while later realising that it caged itself into a nearly unbreakable emotional prison. I am pretty sure there are lots of other perspectives on the lyrics and the music, the ones presented here are those I discovered by listening to the album at various times of my life. Like in Dark Side Of The Moon, Pink Floyd pick up fundamental human behaviours and mass phenomena and reflect them back to their audience, mirroring some aspects of every humans self. This is also an aspect of why The Wall is something more than an album for the very special time of it’s release but by far something that has the potential to still be up to date in ages. The perspective most used by me is the one of Pink being trapped in his own world, not being able to connect to the outside world and feeling misunderstood. Not to the extend where the protagonist goes completely insane but I can relate to some aspects of his experienced isolation. I also like concept albums and I am pretty sure this was the first one I listened to. Music does tell a tale in every situation it exists, but the moment it accompanies a story and strengthening it by focusing on some hidden aspects, it reaches a complete new level. All of these points are combined within the album the Wall, and that explains why it is so magnificent for me. Being led through the life of Pink from the beginning to his mental breakdown, seing the social criticism about governments tearing people apart for their own reasons, showing the dark sides of being selfish… all this combines to a massive experience this album is to me and surely to a lot of other people too.
For the full experience, here is the playlist (which hopefully works): https://youtu.be/iLFwTqdsuxw?list=PLlAIujS66Q6BIZ799kvxRVyzuWRnZzdMt
I also do highly recommend watching the movie … in a mental stable state. Everytime I watched it I felt comfortably confused, Gerald Scarfe puts the music into real great visuals and Bob Geldorf is pretty believable as the protagonist Pink 🙂