We’re going with a bona-fide mega hit today. Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall is a classic rock radio anthem that has evolved into the opposite of itself, from antiauthoriarianism and misanthropy to just another safe and fuzzy baby boomer standard. I feel that certain songs, certain bands need to be rescued from Boomer cuddling and looked at with fresh eyes. The entire baby boomer culture has become repugnant and hypocritical. What was once rebellion and idealism is now smug complacancy. What was meant to be counterculture is now status quo. But just because fat old hippies claim something as their own doesn’t diminish its quality. Of course there’s no denying that that this music is enwoven in the memories and experiences of a certain generation, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, good music will outlive its makers and its times. There are a lot of songs that were spawned by the 70s that have already disappeared into oblivion. Some of them I’d like to resurrect. Some deserve their fate. This song need no resurrection. Someday, Another Brick in the Wall won’t be associated with ‘good times great oldies’ or nostalgia or your dad’s college days, but will be seen as a work of music in a wider context.
1979’s double album The Wall was Floyd’s last really great work. It was the brainchild of Roger Waters. Hid deep misanthropy was kept in check during the early years by the creative input of Syd Barrett, but after Barrett left the band and took his whimsical sense of humor with him, Waters’ become more powerful and his negative attitutudes influenced the band’s music more and more. The Wall is the most dark and venal expression of the Waters’ worldview outside of a Waters solo album. Throughout the album he rants about the dehumanizing effects of fame, family, schooling, and society in general. In this song he tackles the miseries of the British educational system, accompanied by a schoolchildren’s choir. My personal suspicion is that if Roger Waters had been born a tad better looking he’d probably be a bit more well adjusted.
The video is from the 1982 film adaptation. It is not a good movie in any traditional sense, but more like the world’s longest music video. It is full of frightening unforgettable images, especially the grotesque animation of Gerald Scarfe. It starres, for no good reason, Bob Geldof, whom you do not see in this particular clip. The casting in the lead role of someone who doesn’t have anything at all do to with the band just once again reinforces the idea that the members of Pink Floyd are all way too ugly to appear in their own movie. The scene when Geldof cuts himself while destroying a nice hotel room is real.