Picks and Pans Review: The Final Cut
05/09/1983 at 01:00 AM EDT
Here, then, is a peek at what lies beyond the Dark Side of the Moon and behind The Wall: not some grotesque phantasm or menacing monster, but merely an outraged moralist. He is Roger Waters, chief songwriter and artistic point man for this durable ensemble of Englishmen. The Final Cut is a powerful protest against Evil with a capital "E"—injustice, suffering, war, greed, cruelty. In the past the Floyd-oids shilly-shallied about these subjects, but there are more than oblique references and translucent metaphors here. The mad-as-hell message comes through loud and clear. The album started out last year as a few tunes dashed off to follow up the release of the film Pink Floyd The Wall, but it grew into a full-bodied LP with a dozen new songs. The bomb that opened this particular artistic cavern was the British-Argentinian confrontation in the Falklands. The song cycle opens with a dour musical meditation, The Post War Dream, a lament for the lost peace after World War II. There follows a series of songs outlining the outrages of jingoism, terrorism and stifling public education (a cherished PF theme). The nastiest of these is The Fletcher Memorial Home, an imagined asylum where world leaders—Nixon, Brezhnev, Reagan, Thatcher and "a group of anonymous Latin American meatpacking glitterati"—are rounded up and allowed to preen and strut before suffering a "final solution." The finale of this grim reaping is a vision of nuclear holocaust, Two Suns in the Sunset, which conjures up the most disturbing images of what lies beyond the finish line of the arms race. Musically, too, the album is a tour de force. Through artful orchestral arrangements (the work of keyboardist Michael Kamen and the National Philharmonic Orchestra), fairly simple melodies are brilliantly embellished with rock I electronics and sound effects augmented by an experimental 3-D audio process called Holophonics. This LP marks the departure of keyboard player Richard Wright, who dropped out due to artistic differences. Waters remains at the helm, aided by long-time members drummer Nick Mason and guitarist Dave Gilmour. The album is dedicated to Eric Fletcher Waters, Roger's father, who was killed at Anzio in 1944. It is a son's requiem for a lost father that is also a plea for peace and prosperity. Who would ever have thought Pink Floyd would be accused of being touching?