Picks and Pans Review: The Wall

UPDATED 02/11/1980 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/11/1980 at 01:00 AM EST

Pink Floyd

The band's signature sound is a gorgeous product of studio technology employing wild guitar chords, synthesizer space music, background teasers in the tradition of the Beatles' Revolution No. 9 and a tasty overlay of acoustic British folk harmonies. Indeed, Pink Floyd has been one of rock's most distinctive and successful recording groups of the past decade, and this four-sided release surpasses even The Dark Side of the Moon and Animals. A "concept album," it is Floyd's most accessibly melodic and lyrically purposeful work to date. The Wall is a symbol woven through the 27 titles, representing both authority (parents, teachers, TV) and alienation (one cut is titled Another Brick in the Wall). Roger Waters again shows himself to be a savvy social critic, although the band's no-profile posture has made him one of the most underacknowledged of writers. The Happiest Days of Our Lives, scathingly anti-school, is about "teachers who would hurt the children anyway they could," then go home, where "their fat and psychopathic wives would thrash them within inches of their lives." Run like Hell, a very un-Floyd-like funk-rocker, is about autoerotic lust. The band's own rock fans take flak too: On In the Flesh, the lyric goes, "So ya thought ya might like to go to the show/To feel the warm thrill of confusion/That space cadet glow..." A better idea is to stay home and listen. The album—sure to be one of the finest of the year—gives that thrill on all four sides. Floyd has gone through the Wall.

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