Dissecting Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ Part 2

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 third column will be the second part of my column from last issue, which was another iconic concept album from Pink Floyd.

The Wall. Part 2.

If you didn’t read my column from the last issue, first off go read it (I think you kinda need it for this one to make sense), then come back to this column.

This was originally going to be a two-part column, but after I started to write this one, I realized it needs to be three parts. There’s so much that goes into this album.

Last issue, I wrote my interpretation of the first half of “The Wall,” another Pink Floyd concept album.

I talked about how Floyd took us on a journey through all the hardships in your life. Each hardship was a brick in the wall. They eventually built the wall, and you are now behind it. You needed the escape. You’re in a new world. You are safe, you are happy, and you are yourself.

The second half of the album begins with a cool sequence of songs that range from, “Hey You,” to “Bring the Boys Back Home.”  This small part is very interesting.

The entire second half of the album is a musical masterpiece, but this first sequence is a wide range of magical. It’s basically an introduction to life behind the wall.

“Hey You” calls for someone who is, “out there in the cold, getting lonely, getting old.” When I first listened, this to me was almost like a stage of purgatory. You’re not quite behind the wall, you are being welcomed to the wall. Pink Floyd is calling you into the music.

The final lyric of this song has always stuck with me. Roger Waters ends it by yelling, “Together we stand, divided we fall.” That’s a powerful message in and of itself.

The next song is “Is There Anybody Out There?” which is one of the creepiest songs I’ve ever heard. That question is the only lyric, repeated over and over again. This is your first experiences behind the wall. You explore, realizing that you are alone. You desperately search, but in the end, no one is there.

The next song is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, “Nobody Home.” Richard Wright plays a tear-jerking piano, and Waters’ voice seems drained and almost lifeless at first. There are many references to the late Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd’s founder, but at this point you are reflecting on the lows of your life.

There are references to drugs, loneliness, and defeat. The first lyric, however, sticks out to me.

“I’ve got a little black book with my poems in.”

First, we hear it screamed in the background right before the piano introduction to the song, and then Waters opens with it. To me, this little black book’s poems are actually lyrics to songs. The lyrics must have a purpose.

You’re lost, and you start pouring out your emotions. You pour out your fears. Perhaps the lyrics in the little black book have powerful messages to help you overcome this low.

You’re burnt out. The hardships have run you down. One of my favorite lyrics is, “I’ve got a strong urge to fly, but I got nowhere to fly to.”

The next two songs, “Vera” and “Bring the Boys Back Home,” confused me a bit, I’ll be honest here. I did look up some meanings to these two songs. There are references to World War II, but it took me a few close listens to the lyrics and tone of the song to find my interpretation.

At the end of the album, there is a reference to learning your deepest fear.

“Vera,” in my interpretation, is a revelation of your deepest fear. In part one of “The Wall,” we learn that a heartbreaking relationship was one of the bricks in the wall. In “Vera,” Waters says with his sorrow voice, “Vera, Vera, what has become of you? Does anybody else in here feel the way I do?”

This woman, Vera, said she would meet you again, but she is gone. Perhaps this final plea instigates that the heartbreak from a woman could be that deepest fear.

Now, in “Bring the Boys Back Home,” the tone completely changes. The mood is uplifting, and a choir comes in and begins to cheer “Bring the boys back home!” To me, this is voices from the wall officially calling you in. You’ve made an important realization that has allowed the entrance to life behind the wall.

The fears were holding you back from being yourself, and now, you’ve been introduced to life behind the wall. You’ve been brought back home to a place where you have no hardships.Before the song “Bring the Boys Back Home” ends, we hear Waters ask for the last time, “Is there anybody out there?” The music abruptly stops. Now, you’ve officially been welcomed to your new world: your life behind the wall.

Prepare to be taken on a journey of music.In the next issue, I will write the third and final part of my interpretation of “The Wall.”

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