So why is Pink Floyd’s The Wall on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
At a certain point in my teenage years, I decided I was a “classic rock guy.”
I doubt that I thought about it very deeply at the time, but it became part of my identity during the rough and tumble years that most of us tend to go through between being a “kid” and getting to the other side of the wall (so to speak), past high school and into college life.
There are several “go to reasons” I usually point to as to the “why” of “why classic rock.” A big one was a rejection of the hair metal and other soulless pop that was ascendent during the George H.W. Bush (that’d be the dad, not the son) administration* .
* I’ve come to appreciate some of that stuff much more over the years. SOME of it, mind you.
There were two other major events that also factored in. One was when my friend Jake – a high school teacher in New York these days – gave me a Led Zeppelin mix tape, the playlist of which I’m sure I had memorized at some point from the number of times I wound up listening to it. And another, a few years later, was seeing The Doors movie, directed by Oliver Stone. I didn’t really love the movie (and still don’t), but there was something about the music that hit me on a deep, visceral level. It still hits me on that level to an extent even today.
In thinking about Pink Floyd specifically, they seemed to be a band that was “around” in my life from a young age. I specifically recall Jake (the same one who gave me the Led Zepp tape) and his mom picking me up at a pre-dawn hour to go on a skiing trip*, with the great Wish You Were Here album to accompany the journey.
* A handful of times, we’d head out from western Suffolk County on Long Island and drive to the Poconos in Pennsylvania to ski on what might be considered moderate-sized hills. It’s a long drive.
Going back even further, my older brother (by eight years) Robert was into The Beatles and Floyd. I recall that he had Sgt. Pepper’s on vinyl in addition to a Pink Floyd album called The Wall.
To this day, I’m not sure exactly what I feel about The Wall, all told. In doing research for this piece, I read a synopsis of what the story of this massive concept album is about, and I was like, “Oh wow, that’s what it’s about?”
Musically, it’s a sprawling, weird, unsettling, eclectic, exciting, and moving smorgasbord. Overall, its many strong moments demand to launch The Wall into the top half of the best 1,000 albums ever.
“Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2” is a funky, dark rock number that you can get with on a lyrical level without having any idea of the story of The Wall. Of course, in 2023, you can read and react to the lyrics in any number of ways.
We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teacher, leave them kids alone
“Comfortably Numb” is one of Floyd’s most iconic songs, for good reason. The insistent bass line and slightly trippy, slightly droning melody concoct the feeling of being drugged. It’s a strange song that is utterly compelling and even pretty at the same time.
I’ll end with showcasing “Young Lust,” simply to relay the wild array of styles you get with The Wall. This one can to this day slip in nicely on a dive bar jukebox and no one would question its selection. It’s a hard rocker with a grimy edge, and executes on what it’s trying to do perfectly.
Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Pink Floyd’s The Wall
Okay, more personal stuff!
I’ve only seen the movie version of The Wall just once. I was probably around 19-years old, and completely sober during the viewing if you’re wondering. I don’t recall a lot about it except to say it’s… a trip.
The only things I recall about it offhand is that there’s a scene where the main guy shaves his eyebrows off, which I found a bit off putting, and then there are animated sequences involving the proverbial “wall.”
Can’t say that I recommend it, really. Stick with the album.
Final bonus anecdote: there was a brief period in high school when my nickname was The Wall. Check out my last name, and I’ll let you do the math on that one from there.
Some stats & info about Pink Floyd – The Wall
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? British Bands, Rock Music, Prog Rock, Art Rock, Album Rock, Concept Albums
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #129
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was The Wall released? 1979
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #499 out of 1,000
Pink Floyd’s The Wall on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from Pink Floyd’s The Wall that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
Crazy, toys in the attic, truly gone fishing. They must have taken my marbles away!
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.