on 2 December 2003
As big a music fan as I am, there are very few albums which would move me to write a review.
By the time I first purchased The Final Cut when it was first released, I already owned the entire back catalogue including all the solo stuff by all the members.
I was seventeen at the time and spent hours and hours listening to albums through my headphones. From the first time I played the album I was utterly transfixed by the compositional brilliance of all involved. Although Roger dominates every aspect of all he touches, David Gilmours contribution - brief as it is - is wonderfully judged.
The production is faultless, from the strained and bitter screams to the barely audile whispers that encircle your head to the beautifully interspersed sound effects; every moment on the album is achingly involving.
Many reviews comment on the "gloomy" and "negative" nature of the album. I've always viewed this as a work of enormous naked passion which ultimately tells of his terrible loss. As sad as it is, it is also a thing of great beauty.
One last word: there exists somewhere a video of four tracks from the album with Roger singing whilst hidden in shadow. Utterly brilliant. I only ever viewed it once but i can still remember the tingle that crept down my back. Wonderful.
on 31 January 2001
If you are able to skip, the somewhat dated juxtaposition of the main subject matter (The Falklands Conflict), coupled with the then, well publicised frictions within the band itself, this album is an excellent album by any standards, but the vast majority do feel (along with the facts of history),that "The Final Cut" was not the final Pink Floyd album with Roger Waters, but a complete solo effort by Roger Waters. To understand this album better, it is an advantage to understand the situation surrounding Pink Floyd at the time of recording. The conflict within the band itself, regarding this album, was near breaking point. The sacking of keyboard wizard and original member, Richard Wright (which was instigated by Roger Waters during the recording of "The Wall", by holding the master tapes to ransom!),was still very fresh in the memory, thus coupled with Dave Gilmour and Nick Mason protesting that this was not a Pink Floyd album, in the truest sense,but a blatant ego trip by Roger Waters, which was resulting in an album of songs, that were deemed too inferior for "The Wall". The input of Gilmour and Mason, was very limited, due to Waters insistance on using session musicians. This explains the lack of collaberation on the album, alas "Not Now John" was the only co written song. Roger Waters also demanded that David Gilmour was removed from the production credits, thus creating the straw that broke the camel's back, between Waters and Gilmour.
With all this in mind, it was a complete miracle, that anything of quality (or anything at all) was released after the world dominating "The Wall". From the angst ridden opening of "The Post War Dream", through to the silent scream finale of " 2 Suns In The Sunset", this is most definetely a very forgotten and vastly underrated classic. The pure meloncholy of " Southampton Dock" tugs at the soul whilst, " The Gunner's Dream" is as original as it is thought provoking. However, even though Waters, Gilmour and Mason are playing on the songs, you can't help feeling that Waters couldn't care less if they were there or not, as there is absolutely no trace of any Gilmour inspired brightness or trademark virtuoso on this album (with the possible exception of the co-written "Not Now John")
On this album, we are treated to the full, unedited version of " Not Now John", which, if the "political" situation within the band at the time was different, would of been reveered as a solid stage favourite and one of those tracks that Pink Floyd dare not leave out of the setlist. It is unfortunate that this masterpiece was seen as(and in fairness, probably was) a total ego trip by Roger Waters, to the total exclusion of everyone and everything around him. You can't help feeling that if Waters had gone one step further and had released "The Final Cut" as a Roger Waters solo record, as opposed to a final offering from a very divided unit, then "The Final Cut", would have recieved the worldwide adulation, that it was sadly never given.
As a Roger Waters solo effort I would give "The Final Cut" 5 stars, however, as a Pink Floyd offering without the real creative input of Richard Wright, Dave Gilmour and Nick Mason, "The Final Cut" (regretfully) rates 4 stars.
on 22 November 2004
melancholy, powerful and introspective. This isn't one to listen to if you're feeling a bit down.
I came across this album 14 years ago, during my obsessive search for all things Floyd (there was a point where i listened to nothing else for 18 months), and instantly clicked.
Most of the reviews on here (even the negative ones) capture some of the essence of this album. 'harsh in places... but it's truly, truly beautiful!' is a good summary to me of this album.
Yes, given the state of Floyd as a 'group' it is easy to dismiss this as only Waters album - his ego, and determination to define Floyd purely in terms of 'his genius' is undeniably seen here. However, there are blasts of Gilmour which penetrate so deeply into the 'Floyd Soul', that you'll instantly know the difference between this and 'Pros & Cons'.
Also, you will notice is that the 'creative psychedelia' of previous albums is missing. It has a completely different vibe to Dark Side & Wish You Were Here.... but if you are into 'The Wall', then it seems to be a 'logical' extension to Water's frame of mind that started with 'Animals' and finished (musically - listen to Radio K.A.O.S to confirm) with 'Pro's and Cons'.
I don't think that 'When The Tigers Broke Free' belongs on this album. It belonged on 'The Wall' and this, although perhaps conceptually (in Water's mind) is appropriate in 'The Final Cut', watch 'The Wall' film and you'll see where it should be.
Bottom line is that Waters doesn't appear to have reconciled his anger at losing his Dad in WWII.
'I would only recommend it to die hard Pink Floyd or Roger Waters fans' is probably good advice. If you liked 'The Wall',chances are you'll grow to like this. If you're looking for the Floyd magic that Dark Side and Wish You Were Here brought you - avoid. If you remember the Falklands war and Maggie, then i think some of the stuff will STILL strike a cord.
Personally & for my money, buy it. You'll never hear anything else like it - even 22 years on.
on 16 September 2008
This has always been one of my favourite Floyd albums, and I'm glad this reissue includes the terribly moving 'When the Tigers Broke Free' (the original single from 1982 said that it was from the forthcoming album The Final Cut, but was never included until this CD reissue).
OK, the band were imploding at the time they recorded it, but I think that has had an added effect on the music, in other words, this is incredibly disillusioned, angry, sad and cynical stuff. With references to the Great Beast Thatcher and the Falklands, shipyards closing and the IRA, this is clearly the work of people (or persons, namely R. Waters) who have lost faith in just about everything.
But this lack of faith is what makes the album incredibly affecting - I would go so far as to say that it is one of the most moving records ever made by a rock band. This is almost as far as it goes. Utter, total contempt for our rotten society, summed up perfectly in The Fletcher Memorial Home, a song which doesn't seem too far removed from Spitting Image or The Comic Strip presents. I particularly like the line 'Did they expect us to treat them with any respect?'
Enough of my fervour. Listen to this and make up your own mind. For me, it's been a landmark these last 25 years. And I think it will continue to be so. Floyd may hate it, but I don't think they realise what a beast - and a wise beast at that - they created with this magnificent album.
on 15 June 2004
Sometimes it's really hard to explain apparent contradictions, like something that is beautiful even though it is ugly on the surface. That's how I feel about this album, and how the music affects me - it's harsh in places, and Roger Waters is more spitting venom than singing, but it's truly, truly beautiful!
I don't think Roger Waters managed to capture the same amount of emotional range in his voice on any other album, and he sing every track here with the exception of 'Not Now John', which features Dave Gilmour.
The horror of war, the jingoism that sends a country's young to die, and the lives of those forgotten after they are no longer needed are all covered here in Waters' inimitable way. 'The Gunners Dream' is a great track, and followed by the sad 'Paranoid Eyes'.
From start to end this album is very emotional. Not emotional in the way that brings a tear to your eyes, but emotional in that it's hard not to stop, listen and take it all in.
This is one of the forgotten Pink Floyd masterpieces.
on 10 September 2011
This is a superb album which is musically intelligent, original and contains touching and emotional lyrics by Waters. I'm a little confused why so many claim it is not really a Floyd album. OK Richard Wright was sacked but seemingly he contributed little for years and Nick Mason was always predominately just a drummer with the band a la Ringo anyhow. The session musicians used compliment the high production and style of the record. I'm also sure that Gilmour played a bigger part in this record than is acknowledged: a bit like Lennon and McCartney, he seemed able to contain many of Waters excesses. The 'final' Floyd record with Waters fits entirely with so much of his groups previous work since Syd left: especially Dark Side, Wish You Were Here, Animals and the Wall. It is again introspective, sentimental, depressing and cynical in large parts, yet also original and musically adept. Floyd were so unique for many reasons including their use of covers as public art, diverse instruments, clever songs, etc.
As well as the poetic lyrics this CD also contains great songs and innovative ambient effects. This record is still relevant because many of the political messages that dominate about unemployment and war have not dated but become more relevant if anything. We still have millions on the dole and new wars are almost an annual event. Its just a pity that Waters and Gilmour can't make up their differences and perhaps produce one last great record.
on 9 November 2015
It pains me that this album is often seen as one of Pink Floyd's worst. As far as I see it, it's a beautifully dark and moving album. Many people label this as a Roger Waters solo album, but David Gilmour's guitar is always nearby, and it feels like a natural progression from The Wall.
It's wouldn't be too difficult to choose some standout tracks, but the magic of this album is that all the tracks you consider to be lesser on the first listen creep out at you the more times you give it a spin, such as Paranoid Eyes and The Fletcher Memorial Home. I would consider the song The Final Cut one of Floyd's all time greatest songs, with amazing lyrics (I held the blade in trembling hands/prepared to make it but just then the phone rang/I never had the nerve to make the final cut).
If you are avoiding this album like the plague like I did for a while due to what you've heard before, give it another chance! Take the risk, because this album is a deeply rewarding record for those who are willing to give it time. The best send off Roger Waters could have given us!
on 4 July 2005
First things first, this is more or less about the lyrics than Rick Wright zooming around on keyboards. It is easy to be disappointed by this album if you're expecting it to be in the same vein as 'Wish You Were Here'. If you liked the lyrics to 'The Wall' more than the music then you will probably like this.
The album's theme of anti-war protest is much more focused than the many themes of 'The Wall' album and is better for it. The album's songs remain very emotional throughout and the quality is always high, a sign of a good album surely.
There are some songs that sound like whole band compositions rather than Roger Water's solo work however, 'Not Now John' features Gilmour on vocals and stands out from the rest, however this makes it seem like the ugly duckling if you happen to enjoy the rest of the album and so damages the album as much as it helps it. 'Paranoid Eyes' is a track mainly made up sound effects and vocals and works surprisingly well, provides a pleasant break from the more emotional songs on the album, not that the track is much of a joker itself.
The sound effects throughout are superb and put some of the effects heard on 'The Wall' to shame, the clarity of the sound effects also adds greatly to the emotion of the album.
Dave Gilmour's guitar solos remain intact and while they are not to the level of 'Comofortably Numb' or 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' they do their job well as a break from water's voice while still keeping the mood. Water's vocals are the better than any Pink Floyd album and are very moving coupled with his lyrics.
If you enjoyed the lyrics on 'Animals' and 'The Wall' as much as or more than the music then this album is a very worthy purchase. However if you have never ventured inside an inlay booklet for the lyrics or have never been too inspired by water's lyrics then you may want to think twice before buying this album. Finally, if you are just starting with Pink Floyd then I suggest 'Dark Side Of The Moon' as it seems much more accessible than this album.
The Final Cut is often, very unfairly, discarded as a mere collection of trimmings from The Wall. On the contrary, Water's genius shines brightly through this amazing album, in my opinion one of the finest ever to bear the Pink Floyd name.
Certainly this is a very different journey than we have been on before with Floyd, different even from The Wall which was designed to be theatrical in tone. The Final Cut is cinematic, melodic, and beautifully written.
The Final Cut is one of my favourite albums, a true masterpiece which any Floyd fan should not be without.
With masterful understatement, Melody Maker described `The Final Cut' as "A milestone in the history of awfulness". It would be regarded as Pink Floyd's least memorable album if it were actually a Pink Floyd album. But it's not: it's a Roger Waters solo album released under the Pink Floyd name.
Waters is credited with all the composition and songwriting on `The Final Cut' and does all the singing, excepting one brief duet with Dave Gilmour. Rick Wright had been pushed out of the band by Waters, so the creative keyboard-dominant soundscapes so characteristic of classic PF are absent. Nick Mason didn't feel up to recording most of the drum parts so they were performed by session musicians, and such was the heated animosity between Gilmour and Waters that they hardly spoke to each other throughout the recording sessions.
The album's theme continues the preachiness and banality of the `Animals' & `The Wall' projects: overtly political in that juvenile, pompous way typical of the Waters-dominant-era PF. Musically TFC is unmemorable and dull, and doesn't come close to PF at their classic best (Meddle, DSOTM, WYWH, The Division Bell).
However, the album is not all bad. The closer `Two Suns in the Sunset' is good but not really a PF track, as there is no Rick Wright, no Nick Mason (drums played by Andy Newmark) and Dave Gilmour is sidelined. `When the Tigers Broke Free' is also a good song, though it appears only on the 2004 re-release and not on the 1983 original.
So overall, TFC is not a career highpoint for PF. The resurrected band led by Gilmour with Wright and Mason but absent Waters, which produced `A Momentary Lapse of Reason' and the epic `The Division Bell' through the late 80s and 90s saw a welcome return to form.