The Final Cut (1983)


 
1. The Postwar Dream 2. Your Possible Pasts 3. One of the Few 4. When the Tigers Broke Free* 5. The Gunner's Dream 6. The Hero's Return 7. Paranoid Eyes 8. Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert 9. The Fletcher Memorial Home 10.Southampton Dock 11.The Final Cut 12.Not Now John 13.Two Suns in the Sunset *Bonus song on later CD releases

 

Never has there been an album that has divided the faithful fans of any band as this record. At this point, the band was deteriorating. Richard Wright had been fired during the last album, The Wall, and it left the group as a three piece. The irony is, it seems as though there's not even that many members here. It seems as though this is completely Roger Waters.

This was the first (and only) Pink Floyd album that was written entirely by Roger Waters. Whether no one else wanted to contribute, or whether they were shoved out of the way is a bit unclear. Waters maintained his innocence by claiming that the band wanted to record it, whereas he attributed he was perfectly happy to go ahead and make it a solo record. It's obvious that David Gilmour and Nick Mason had very little to do with anything on the record. This album "rocks" the least of anything the band has ever done. There's very little guitar or drums. The album is mostly orchestrated, with the grand piano added throughout for effect. The mood is somber, the music is quiet. The concept is obvious. It's another anti-war album. In some later interviews, Waters claimed that these songs were "leftovers" from The Wall sessions. As it were, that album had to be trimmed at the last minute to keep it as a double album, and it did have a lot of "war" on it, so it's definitely possible if that were the case.

So the album doesn't really sound much like Pink Floyd, and it seems that for the most part that we only hear Roger Waters. This is why many diehard fans reject the album out of hand. The flip side of the coin is that this is an outstanding album. Waters manages to replicate what he did so brilliantly on The Wall by mixing mood, atmosphere and music to take the listener inside his mind and feel the pain that he's experiencing. As someone who lost their father in World War II, Waters has every right to scream louder and pound his fists harder than anyone when he looks around, forty years later, and sees that leaders and countries still haven't learned. It's a very angry and sad album.

Sometimes the anger is a bit much. The Fletcher Memorial Home (his deceased father's middle name) is a very brutal piece. In it, Waters sings, quite literally, about taking all of the world leaders, locking them in a room, and applying "the final solution". Most of the rest of the album doesn't quite succumb to this level of desperation, but you can't write an anti-war album without being bitter and somewhat cold. A lot of it is just about losing loved ones, and not being able to understand, nor come to grips with, the reality of the tragedy. Particular strong in this area are The Gunner's Dream, Your Possible Pasts and Paranoid Eyes. There all quite depressing, but in a "good" way. In other words, Waters succeeds in his goal.

Probably the most "Pink Floyd" song on here is the one that sounds the most out of place. Not Now John doesn't seem to fit in lyrically nor musically, yet we finally see that David Gilmour is still with us and they deliver a strong reminder of what this band is capable of writing and delivering. For many fans, though, this one song wasn't enough, and the fact that they didn't tour (how could they?) seemed to confirm what everyone was suspecting. The band, at least in this form, had reached an end.

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