Sound — 7
The Final Cut. The last Pink Floyd record ever. Under the instruction of Roger Waters, anyway, and personally, I enjoyed 'A Momentary Lapse of Reason' and 'The Division Bell' quite a bit, despite it being very much NOT Pink Floyd-like at all, but so many people consider The Final Cut to be the last Floyd record, so I thought the title was appropriate. After the success of 'The Wall,' and having stamped their names as one of the greatest bands of all time, Roger Waters (who, at this point, basically owned the band) went in the same concept-album direction he'd been doing and explored the loss and tragedy of war more explicitly than in 'The Wall.' Many of the tracks were actually demos for 'The Wall' which never made... Umm... The final cut. He also went in a musically different direction than a lot of the stuff we'd heard from the band in the past, and went more along the lines of 'The Wall' tracks like "Mother," "Is There Anybody Out There," "Bring The Boys Back Home," etc, to form some sort of story about a guy going off to war and a bit about his son crying because his pa's dead. Something like that. If you've listened to those tracks, you'll have a good idea of what this record sounds like--love it or hate it, I personally think it was a good direction for any band but this one; a step further in the same direction and we'd be listening to a different band entirely, much like with 'Lapse.' While it does sound great and all, it's not really like any of the other Pink Floyd releases, and so some of the fans of works like 'Dark Side of the Moon' and the more classic records may not like this so much, but I can't see why the casual rock fan wouldn't enjoy it fully. There's not much to compare it to; I've yet to hear artists that sound like Pink Floyd as it is (besides the copycats and the bands they say they were influenced by) and this record makes it even harder, unless we go to some kind of musical stage production about war, or Waters' solo work. One of the few complaints I have is the inexplicable lack of heart-wrenching Gilmour solos in some places. Where'd all the great guitar go? Hello? We've just had great riffs like "Comfortably Numb," "Hey You," "Another Brick in the Wall," etc, and now we've got next-to-nothing? I'm starting to understand why the rest of the band hates Roger so much. Gilmour is present, but not as much as in previous works. Notable exceptions are "Your Possible Pasts" and "Not Now John." As a whole, the record sounds mostly interesting and somewhat original, and I'd give it an 7/10. While I think it's a great album, a lot of Pink Floyd fans aren't really feeling the love.
Lyrics — 6
Alright, I'll just talk about the singing for a second before I get to the lyrics. We all know David Gilmour is a better singer than Roger--and neither is incredible. We're not dealing with Josh Groban or anyone here. This is Pink Floyd. So, it goes without saying that the singing isn't exactly fantastic. It works for the genre, sure, but as we all know, you don't go to Floyd for great vocals. The good thing about Roger's vocals, however, is the sheer emotion he tends to back it up with--"Don't Leave Me Now" from 'The Wall' comes to mind. The lyrics themselves are also what you'd expect from Roger: that is to say, interesting and fairly well-written. Whether or not this is one of their more popular releases, Pink Floyd keeps their head(s) screwed on tight and stay in the same lyrically creative mindset as we would expect them to. The biggest annoyance here is probably "Not Now John," where you've got the female chorus we see again later on (see: 'The Division Bell') in some of Pink Floyd's shadier moments. It's entertaining to hear the girls singing "F--- all that" over and over again, just because I can imagine Roger sitting there, sort of waving his baton like the composer he evidently thinks he is, conducting them like some sort of obscene chior director. This being all about war, many of the songs have an expected air of misery about, which is actually pretty great. It would've been interesting to see this made into a film, too. "One of The Few" is tear-jerking like very few songs are, and the way "When the Tigers Broke Free" proceeds it is spot-on. "Paranoid Eyes" is highly overlooked; it's a very nice outro for the first half of the record. Why the 6 rating? Well, because it's not perfect. Political ranting is just not doing it for me with this thing. "Bring the Boys Back Home" was enough.
Overall Impression — 7
Firstly, don't expect to hear David singing at all with this record, because you will be highly disappointed. Secondly, I'm sure you know how people always say they wish celebrities would keep their politics to themselves? Hah. Yeah, me too. Of course, we all know Roger Waters to be above that (as well as... Well, everything and everyone, as far as he's concerned). Here, he howls all about "the wily Japanese" and "nips" and how they ruined his childhood or something. I wonder if there are any Japanese fans left? Well, that's basically the entire album, just with more emotion and a few interesting musical curves. Great tracks like "The Fletcher Memorial Home," "The Gunner's Dream" (sax solo is excellent), and "The Hero's Return" are all over, and are, of course, all over-emotional. This can be good or bad. With emotion, however, comes political ranting. It gets old. Emotion, not opinion, drives music. The only somewhat up-beat track is probably the outro, "Two Suns In The Sunset," which makes me wonder if the band has seen Star Wars too many times (if there's such a thing as too much Star Wars--maybe they and Brian May, a known fan, get together on weekends? ), referring, of course, to the fact that Tatooine has two suns... Anyway, the song itself is about nuclear apocalypse or something, but we're past that. Conclusion, then? It may not be as satisfying a story as 'The Wall' or 'Tommy, ' but this is within my top five. Though far from perfection, it is definitely highly underrated. Even as a stand-alone record, this thing keeps its ground, and hasn't really aged. Certainly an interesting listen, definitely one of the better theatrical albums of our time. The best tracks are "The Final Cut," "When the Tigers Broke Free," and "The Gunner's Dream."