Sound — 6
The more I listen to this album, the more I become ambivalent towards it. It is an album that offers a great concept, some very great guitar playing and instrumentation, and a lot of unnecessary music that makes listening to The Wall in full a chore at times. Don't get me wrong, Pink Floyd is one of my favorite bands, and although I have never felt that the slight change in direction from the earlier progressive music was bad in itself, this album leaves me with the realization that less is actually more. There are a number of short songs that could have easily been omitted all together (most notably, the song Vera); they are dull and do not offer anything to the overall story. While most of the music does move the story of Pink and his celebrity life forward (which is why I am hesitant in labeling any song as "Filler"), much of the second CD seems unfocused, put there simply to add more unnecessary drivel to the narrative. The album includes many great moments, though- the solos in Mother, Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2), and Comfortably Numb; the dark, heavy rhythms in The Thin Ice, Hey You, and Waiting For The Worms; and some quite lively, emotional moments such as Young Lust and One of My Turns. However, listening to the entire one and a half hour album from beginning to end seems to leave me overwhelmed with all of the dull moments in songs such as the aforementioned Vera, Bring the Boys Back Home, and The Show Must Go On (all of which are, incidentally, on the second CD) that seem to overshadow the truly great moments on the album.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are definitely the highlight of this album. They are intense, emotional, metaphorical, and are able to tell an entire story without directly stating their purpose. There is a certain frustration throughout the entire album that is portrayed really well from song to song. From the furious lyrics in Happiest Days of Our Lives and Another Brick In The Wall, the almost sarcastic lyrics in Mother, the blatantly frustrating sarcasm in One of My Turns, to the depressing conclusion of the first part in Goodbye Cruel World, the first album is a perfect example of emotional lyrics at their best. The second album also includes a fair share of great, emotional singing in In the Flesh, and climaxing with the terrific chanting in Waiting for the Worms and the subsequent courtroom accusations in The Trial. The only complaints I have with the album, lyrically, are the cliched rhymes that sometimes creep in (such as "The wall was too high/As you can see/No matter how he tried/He could not break free."), and the somewhat disappointing conclusion in Outside the Wall, which seems to be a little too direct, compared to the rest of the album.
Overall Impression — 7
Compared to other Pink Floyd albums, this is, frankly, a disappointment. It was not as focused or as consistent as The Dark Side of the Moon or Wish You Were Here, and it did not leave me with the greatest impressions. It is not a bad album, though. It has some very great songs and lyrics, which make it an essential record in any CD collection. To put it bluntly, if I lost the album I would purchase it once more for the great songs, and because it is a significant album in music history.