The Wall – Pink Floyd – 1979
Claimed Sales: 30m
First listen?: No
Format Listened?: Apple Music
If The Dark Side of the Moon is conceptual prog rock at it’s most accessible, The Wall is surely the opposite extreme. This is no simple general concept to follow, here’s an entire narrative across 1hr20m of storytelling soft rock and swirling orchestral score. It’s more of a Rock Opera at times than Prog Rock, where the titular Wall is built brick by brick by protagonist Pink as the first record reaches its conclusion. Everything about The Wall excels thanks to it’s format, the double album even allows for an interval of sorts. The chorus of children singing on Part II of Another Brick In The Wall captures that kind of thrilling theatrical mood perfectly, while the orchestral arrangements on tracks like Nobody’s Home only further pushes the boundaries of the genre. I love the way that elements of Another Brick In The Wall are heard across so many of the early tracks, it works as a striking motif as the plot builds. Of course Pink Floyd somehow manage to make the individual elements of such a well constructed album sound as thrilling by themselves, Comfortably Numb features the strongest hook of the album, while the two guitar solos it houses are easily the highlight of the second record. A song like Run Like Hell feels a chorus away from being a radio rock hit, while the interruptions of dialogue and random sounds pulls you straight back into conceptual territory. The clearest narrative moment of The Wall is easily the penultimate track The Trial, which is possibly the only moment the lyrics are so obviously direct in their storytelling that it launches from Rock Opera straight into a musical. For me this broke the flow I’d felt just a few tracks earlier, but it’s obvious that this is the entire point. The Wall is uncompromising in the most admirable of ways, and unlike some of the albums that it well and truly inspired, part of me feels like the actual music here holds up much more than it does in its imitators. For me I’d say that The Dark Side of The Moon is arguably still the more consistent record, but to go all out like Pink Floyd did on The Wall is truly inspiring.
Will I listen again?: I should probably make more of an effort to listen to Pink Floyd given how much my mum’s taste in music has stemmed from them.
Best Track: I’d totally go for Another Brick In The Wall here, but that’s pretty much the running theme of the opening 12 tracks. Instead I’ll have to go with those guitar solos on Comfortably Numb.