30 Years Ago: Pink Floyd’s ‘The Final Cut’ Album Released
Itâs a concept album, an abandoned soundtrack to âThe Wallâ movie and the last straw between the increasingly controlling Waters and his bandmates. Itâs also a mess of a record, a sprawling indictment of war that plays like fragments of frustration built over years by Waters and uncorked in a dizzying display of untethered emotions. More than anything, âThe Final Cutâ is Watersâ first solo album.
But is it any good? Thirty years after its release, Watersâ last Pink Floyd album sounds like the record Waters, who left the band not long after âThe Final Cutâ came out, needed to make to make his clean break. David Gilmour sings on only one track, and keyboardist Richard Wright had already quit. The story is Watersâ, and heâs the one who tells it. The remaining members of Pink Floyd, plus various studio musicians, are just along for the ride.
And as far as antiwar concept albums that bridge World War II and the Falklands Crisis of the early â80s go, âThe Final Cutâ has its moments. But all 12 songs must be consumed at once. A story develops about loyalty, betrayal and fallen World War II British soldiers, including Watersâ father, who was killed in battle and whose ghost haunts every note of the record. This isnât an album for best-of pillaging.
Thatâs why itâs so easily dismissed among Floyd fans. A handful of songs managed to receive some airplay in 1983: âNot Now John,â âYour Possible Pastsâ and âThe Heroâs Return.â But these tracks make little sense outside of the albumâs concept and even less wedged between classic-rock staples. The melodies are thin; the music is complex. Still, âThe Final Cutâ made it to No. 6 and eventually sold more than two million copies. But itâs a complicated record with a thorny history. Is it Pink Floydâs worst album or Roger Watersâ best solo LP? Probably yes on both counts.
Watch Pink Floyd’s Video for ‘Not Now John’