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Music / The Division Bell

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Stuck in the world of isolation while the ivy grows over the door.

The Division Bell is the fourteenth studio album by Pink Floyd, released in 1994. It is their first album to officially feature the returned Richard Wright, who was a session musician for A Momentary Lapse of Reason. The album would also be the band's last to feature Richard Wright during his lifetime; he passed away of cancer in 2008, with The Endless River only featuring archival recordings of his. The band launched a successful stadium tour in support of the album, which would also turn out to be their last. A live album of the tour, featuring a complete performance of The Dark Side of the Moon, titled Pulse, was released in 1995.

Preceded by A Momentary Lapse of Reason. Proceeded by The Endless River.



  1. "Cluster One" (5:58)
  2. "What Do You Want From Me" (4:21)
  3. "Poles Apart" (7:04)
  4. "Marooned" (5:29)
  5. "A Great Day for Freedom" (4:17)
  6. "Wearing the Inside Out" (6:49)
  7. "Take It Back" (6:12)
  8. "Coming Back to Life" (6:19)
  9. "Keep Talking" (6:11)
  10. "Lost for Words" (5:14)
  11. "High Hopes" (8:31)


Principal Members:

  • David Gilmour - lead vocals, guitar, bass, talkbox
  • Nick Mason - drums, percussion, tambourine, church bell
  • Richard Wright - organ, backing and co-lead vocals, piano, keyboard, synthesizer

"Beyond the horizon, in the place we troped when we were young":

  • Album Title Drop: "High Hopes" is an inversion - the lyric came first, and Douglas Adams suggested the band use it as the album title:
    Our thoughts strayed constantly and without boundary
    The ringing of the division bell had begun
  • Alliterative Title: "High Hopes"
  • Alternate Reality Game: The album was promoted with an early example of this trope in the form of the "Publius Enigma" phenomenon, in which an anonymous internet user (nowadays believed to be an EMI employee) promised a reward for anyone who could uncover the riddle that was supposedly contained within The Division Bell. To this day, the puzzle still has yet to be solved— and some people doubt whether or not it was meant to be solved at all, or even if the puzzle existed in the first place for that matter.
  • Anti-Love Song: "Take It Back".
    So I spy on her, I lie to her, I make promises I cannot keep
    Then I hear her laughter rising, rising from the deep
    And I make her prove her love for me, I take all that I can take
    And I push her to the limit to see if she will break
  • Award-Bait Song:
    • "Marooned", which won Pink Floyd a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
    • "Lost for Words" has all the traits of one, except for the Lyrical Dissonance. See Take That! below.
  • Call-Back:
    • Gilmour's acoustic guitar part in "Lost for Words" quotes the intro to "Wish You Were Here".
    • The church bell and buzzing bee sound effects that open "High Hopes" recall "Fat Old Sun" and "Grantchester Meadows".
    • The talkbox guitar on "Keep Talking" recalls "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" while the song's synth solo recalls "Run Like Hell".
    • "What Do You Want From Me" has an electric piano-driven groove similar to "Have A Cigar".
    • The opening instrumental "Cluster One" has an ambient, spacy feel similar to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". Justified as it is a musical tribute to Roger Waters.
    • "High Hopes" closes with the line "the endless river, forever and ever," recalling the "float on a river, forever and ever" line from the band's second single, "See Emily Play", released nearly 27 years prior.
  • Concept Album: The album's themes revolve around communication, and the problems its absence can cause.
  • Creepy Circus Music: The middle section of "Poles Apart" predominantly features this, possibly as a tribute to Syd Barrett.
  • Creepy Crows: During the aforementioned middle section of "Poles Apart".
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The album cover was designed by Storm Thorgerson, aka Hipgnosis.
  • Earth Song: "Take It Back" is about humanity's degradation of the environment, using the metaphor of an abusive relationship.
  • Epic Rocking: "Poles Apart" (7:04), "Wearing the Inside Out" (6:49), "Take It Back" (6:12), "Coming Back to Life" (6:19), "Keep Talking" (6:11), and "High Hopes" (8:31).
  • Feelies:
    • An odd case in that the packaging is the feely; the initial CD run of the album featured the 1994 Pink Floyd logo, a stylized sound wave, and the words "THE DIVISION BELL" in braille on the disc tray's spine.
    • One rare CD release featured the jewel case inserted in a small metal sculpture of the heads on the album cover.
    • The original 7-inch single of "High Hopes" came on clear vinyl and included a poster, while the 12-inch single of the song came on blue vinyl included a set of film cards, along with an etching on the B-side of the disc. Some vinyl copies of the album also come in translucent blue.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: "High Hopes".
  • Green Aesop: "Take It Back", according to David Gilmour, is about humanity's tumultuous relationship with nature.
  • Hidden Track: Shortly after the fadeout in "High Hopes", one can hear a phone call between band manager Steve O'Rourke and David Gilmour's stepson Charlie.
    Steve: Hello?
    Charlie: Yeah.
    Steve: Is that Charlie?
    Charlie: Yes.
    Steve: Hello Charlie.
    [Charlie hangs up]
    Steve: Great.
  • Instrumentals: "Cluster One", "Marooned".
  • Longest Song Goes Last: The album closes with "High Hopes", which runs for 8:31, or 6:50 on the original single LP edition.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Take it Back", an upbeat and anthemic-sounding track sung from the perspective of an abusive lover.
  • Non-Appearing Title: The instrumentals, "Poles Apart", "A Great Day for Freedom", "Lost for Words" and "High Hopes".
  • One-Word Title: "Marooned".
  • Questioning Title?: "What Do You Want From Me?"
  • Sampling: The British Telecom advert (featuring the synthetic voice of Stephen Hawking) in "Keep Talking" (it also provided the title).
  • Series Fauxnale: "High Hopes", the album closer, is said to be an autobiography of the band's history, and was widely considered the band's sendoff by fans and analysts. However, the classic lineup eventually reconvened for Live-8 in 2005, and David Gilmour & Nick Mason put together the band's true final album, The Endless River, in 2014.
  • Shout-Out: The music video for "High Hopes" made an appearance on Beavis And Butthead. Predictably, Beavis and Butthead dismissed Pink Floyd as "just another gang of wussies from England".
  • Spoken Word in Music: Stephen Hawking's synthetic voice in "Keep Talking".
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Richard Wright sings most of the lead vocals on "Wearing the Inside Out", his first major lyrical contribution to a Pink Floyd song (barring backing vocals) since "Time" more than 20 years prior.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: "Keep Talking".
    I'm feeling weak now, but I can't show my weakness
  • Take That!:
    • "Lost for Words" seems to address David Gilmour's infamous feud with Roger Waters, especially in its ending verse:
      So I open my door to my enemies, and I ask—could we wipe the slate clean?
      But they tell me to please go fuck myself, you know you just can't win
    • According to co-writer Polly Samson, the second verse of "Poles Apart" is also addressed to Waters.
      Hey you, did you ever realize what you'd become?
      And did you see that it wasn't only me you were running from?
  • invoked Unpleasable Fanbase: Addressed in "What Do You Want From Me".
  • Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell: An interpretation of "A Great Day for Freedom": specifically, a commentary on the euphoria that came after the end of the Communist bloc in Eastern Europe, and the disappointment that followed.



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