TITLE: The Wall
YEAR RELEASED: 1979
CHART ACTION: #1 US, #3 UK
SINGLES: Another Brick in the Wall (Pt. 2) (#1 US, #1 UK), Run Like Hell (#53 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably all of them, in order.
LINEUP: Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright (though he’s not credited). They had a boatload of help, from Toni Tennille, to Bruce Johnson, to Jeff Porcaro, to Bob Ezrin, etc.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: One of the most famous rock operas of all time, both brilliant, and pretentious.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Roger Waters’ story of a rock star with abandonment issues and subsequent mental breakdown has been a double album, a concert extravaganza, a major motion picture, and a stage show. It’s a brilliant conceit, and in the right mood, a work that demands attention.
It’s also overlong, and some of the tracks don’t hold up that well in retrospect. Some tracks could use an editor for sure. Not to say it would work as a single album, but this is so densely packed (in fact they had to trim a couple of tracks to make it fit on a double LP) that the songs don’t breathe.
The highlights have David Gilmour’s hand all over the songs, whether he’s co-writer or not. And Richard Wright, maligned for his work and lack of creative input (and then fired), adds some nice keyboard touches and atmospheres. But Waters has stretched himself by being the lead vocalist on most of the songs (Gilmour and Wright have much better voices, to be honest) and he doesn’t come across as sympathetic in some of the tracks, thanks to his natural sneer in his voice.
All-in-all, it’s about mid-pack for me in the Pink Floyd pantheon, and an album I don’t put on that much anymore to be frank.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: There are so many stories about this album that one blurb won’t do justice. Suffice to say there are chapters of books about it.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE B+: Some of this doesn’t work that well, and some tracks are problematic. Yet the highlights are definitely part of the rock pantheon.