Writer: Roger Waters
Original Release: March 21, 1983
Band: Pink Floyd
Album: The Final Cut
After fully immersing myself in the Beatles for a year or so in my early teens, I was ready to explore beyond. Pink Floyd was the next band I pursued with any depth. While the heart of the group's opus is contained on three masterful albums - The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall - there are plenty of treasures to be found beyond those.
One late album drew my early attention: The Final Cut, especially the title track. Whereas far too many of Roger Waters's lyrics are devoted to former band member Syd Barrett's descent into schizophrenia, The Final Cut is instead dedicated to Waters's father. Waters felt the ideals of his father and the rest of the War Generation were betrayed when Britain entered the Falklands War. The album's material is the usual Pink Floyd dark but unusually political. The title track, however, is deeply personal.
Here's the funny thing: until I started putting this post together, I'm not sure I'd actually listened to the song or the album in at least 25 years. I owned it on vinyl back in the day and never upgraded to CD. As closely as I connected with it in my adolescence, it's not exactly cheery stuff.
I didn't know a lot about love at that age but I knew enough to understand the fear of betrayal. "The Final Cut" goes beyond the typical petty jealousy one finds in every fifth song. Even now, I would say I am a fairly guarded man and easily relate to a reluctance to be vulnerable with people. Over time, if you're lucky, you surround yourself with people you trust but I didn't really have much of that at 14. Rather, I did but not in the places I was looking for it. The line about selling "your story to Rolling Stone" is an honest appraisal of the pitfalls of love for a famous man, which Waters certainly was by 1983.