My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: The Wall is the eleventh studio album by Pink Floyd. It is a double album (a rock opera or concept album) that tells the story of a performer who has events throughout his life which break down his contact with others leading to mental seclusion (bricks in the wall). The performer eventually walls himself off from the rest of the world and sees himself as a Hitler-type character. He has a moment of clarity and regains some emotions and is able to force himself to tear the wall down. The storyline was written by Roger Waters and the album was recorded throughout much of 1979 being released in November of that year.
What I think: I haven’t listened to this album since I was a teenager and had dismissed it (in my Wish You Were Here review) as “too dark and bloated”. Upon further review I would like to take that back or at least amend that. It certainly is dark at times, but I don’t think the actual music is bloated (In the concept of the late 70’s prog-stadium-rock fashion yes). It’s actually rather sparse and even beautiful in places. Take the span of “Mother”, “Goodbye Blue Sky” and Empty Spaces” for example, they are stark and sad and represent the quickening decent into madness… but there is beauty in the music as well. In that way that artists can be off kilter yet show us something special in moments of chaos. There seems to be hope throughout much of it, which does disappear briefly at a point before making a brief reappearance.
I also have to give it credit for being the only concept or rock opera album that I understand. None of the Who albums make sense to me, Green Day’s American Idiot is impossible to follow, etc. This is the only one with a cohesive story. I am willing to admit that seeing the movie may have helped in that sense, but I’ve seen the Broadway version of American Idiot and that didn’t help there.
As far as my favorite songs, no real surprises here, the three Bricks in the Wall, “Run Like Hell” and “Comfortably Numb” are all up there.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I agree that you should hear this album… I’m also glad I listened to it again as the album is not as hopeless as I remembered.
Rating (Out of 5) 3.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (108/459)
Amount that are new to me: 76%