Music is one of the most powerful and influential things in my life. To me, music is therapy. When I’m down, music lifts me up. When I go on my 4-hour drive from Connecticut to Vermont, what gets me through is music. It’s such a huge part of my life. This column will dive into my love for music from different perspectives. My fourth column will be the third and final part of my column from the past two issues, which focuses on another iconic concept album from Pink Floyd. This column will bring the album full circle, literally.
The Wall. Part 3.
In part two of “The Wall,” I focused on a short sequence of songs ranging from “Hey You,” to “Bring the Boys Back Home.” This sequence welcomes us to life behind the wall, an entirely different world.
The next string of songs is amazing. “Comfortably Numb” is literally one of the most iconic Pink Floyd songs. The song in itself is a musical journey.
During this song, you reach a complete euphoria. The guitar solos will lift your soul to serenity. It displays the total peace created by the wall, blocking you from the darkness of the outside world.
“The Show Must Go On” is next, and this song interests me. Especially since the very first lyric of the album is, “so ya, thought ya, might like to go to the show.”
This song is basically just saying that life behind the wall is the “show.” It’s a different reality. This is where you come to a realization of what brought you down in the outside world.
In the song, there is a lyric that goes, “I didn’t mean to let them take away my soul. Am I too old, is it too late?” This is your epiphany – that the hardships of life have held you down and, in a sense, “taken your soul.” The expectations of others have completely covered your true identity. The expectations are your “disguise.”
And the next song that follows perfectly is “In the Flesh,” a reprise from the first song in the album. The song that told us you had to “claw your way through this disguise.”
The first part of the song is cheerful and uplifting. You have now reached a complete feeling of joy. You hear praising, and this is when you begin to feel a complete isolation behind the wall. All the hardships are gone, and you are alone. You begin to realize your true self.
This begins a sequence of songs that includes “Waiting for the Worms” and “Stop.” At this point, the music is fully consuming you. Perhaps this is one of the messages of the song – music is an escape from the hardships. Pink Floyd sends us on a journey through music.
There’s a story here. There are cool, new sounds. We begin to hear chanting, and the music slows down and speeds up.
In “Waiting for the Worms,” we here Waters say, “Goodbye cruel world, it’s over. Walk on by.” He then says, “Sitting in a bunker here behind my wall, waiting for the worms to come. In perfect isolation here behind my wall, waiting for the worms to come.”
This stumbled me for a bit, but after listening to the last few songs closely, I interpreted the “worms” as the creature behind the wall that determines whether you have learned what you need to learn from life behind the wall. This becomes clear in the second to last song, “The Trial.”
We also reach total isolation from the outside world in this song. It’s at this point where you begin to realize there are aspects of the outside world that you miss.
The first lyric in “Stop,” the next song in the album, is, “I want to go home.” It’s time for you to leave the show. It’s time for the lesson to be learned.
The second to last song of the album is called, “The Trial.” This is where it is determined if you are ready to be released back into the outside world. In a chanting manner, the “worm,” or in this case a judge (which is where the reference from “Waiting for the Worms” comes in), makes the decision if you’ve learned the proper lesson.
The music in the album taught you what fears you have in your life. The fears, of course, were caused by the hardships.
This song is an adventure. It’s almost theatrical.
It is also key to mention the lyric in this song that mentions the “bleeding hearts and artists.” This lyric comes up again in the very final song of the album, and it’s important.
I love the final group of lyrics in this song. “Since, my friend, you have revealed your deepest fear, I sentence you to be exposed before your peers, tear down the wall.”
A crowd begins to chant, “TEAR DOWN THE WALL!” It’s an intense build-up, until you hear the explosion.
You have discovered exactly what has held you down, which was your “deepest fear.” The wall was a safe place for you to be yourself, but now you’re back to the outside world. You’ve taken your journey through music, you are outside the wall, and the challenge now is to continue being yourself.
“Outside the Wall” is the final song on the album.
“All alone, or in two’s, the ones who really love you, walk up and down, outside the wall. Some hand in hand, and some gathered together in bands, the bleeding hearts and the artists make their stand. And when they’ve given you their all, some stagger and fall, after all it’s not easy banging your heart against some bad bugger’s wall.”
Those are all the words in the song.
Although life behind the wall is happiness, we learn that the people who truly love and care about you are outside the wall. You need them.
This is the lesson: you learn from the negatives in your life. You grow from them. You learn what your fears are, and you conquer them. This is what makes you, you.
When you live a life behind the wall, you learn who you really are. It’s euphoria. And when you’re free from the wall, you’re freed from the hardships of life. You just need to continue being yourself and learning who you really are.
“The bleeding hearts and the artists” are a key part to life. The “bleeding hearts” are those who are struggling, and the “artists” are the musicians, inspiring the bleeding hearts with their mesmerizing sounds of music and meaningful lyrical masterpieces.
The wall taught me to be myself, live my own life, and let the music guide me. It changed my life. It could change yours, too.
Also, fun fact, at the end of “Outside the Wall,” we here a voice say, “Isn’t this where,” and then it cuts off. If you play the beginning of “In the Flesh?” you here a voice gently say, “… we came in?” If you connect the last and first song of the album, it says, “Isn’t this where we came in?”
The album is a cycle. Pure genius.