Take a seat and dim the lights
Do you want my blood, do you want my tears?
What do you want? (What do you want from me?)
Should I sing until I can't sing anymore?
Play these strings until my fingers are raw?
You're so hard to please
What do you want from me?"
The Division Bell is the fourteenth studio album by Pink Floyd, released on 28 March 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 on 5 June 1995.
The Division Bell was supported by five singles: "Keep Talking", "Lost for Words", "What Do You Want From Me", "Take It Back", and "High Hopes". A music video for "Marooned" was also released in 2014 for the album's 20th anniversary.
- "Cluster One" (5:58)*
- "What Do You Want From Me" (4:21)
- "Poles Apart" (7:04)*
- "Marooned" (5:29)*
- "A Great Day for Freedom" (4:17)*
- "Wearing the Inside Out" (6:49)*
- "Take It Back" (6:12)
- "Coming Back to Life" (6:19)*
- "Keep Talking" (6:11)
- "Lost for Words" (5:14)
- "High Hopes" (8:31)*
- 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 boundaryThe ringing of the division bell had begun
- Alliterative Title: "High Hopes"
- Alternate Album Cover: Four different cover photos are used depending on the format. The CD release features the metal heads lit directly by the morning sun, with four lights glowing in the background between them. The LP release features the metal heads lit from the side by the midday sun, with nothing between them except Ely Cathedral. The cassette release is shot similarly to the LP release, but uses two "stone" heads (actually polystyrene and fiberglass) instead of the metal ones. The digital download/streaming release uses a resurfaced outtake that features the metal heads in overcast weather, with three red flags in the background between them.
- Alternate Character Reading: The album's Japanese title is the Kanji for "versus," 対, but uses the reading Tsui.
- 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" uses an abusive relationship, described from the abuser's point of view, as a metaphor for humanity's abuse of the environment.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:
- 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.
- Changed for the Video: The music video for "High Hopes" omits the telephone conversation at the end.
- 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, designed by Hipgnosis alum Storm Thorgerson, depicts a pair of giant, stylized heads facing each other in an empty cornfield, with Ely Cathedral (and either glowing lights on the CD release or red flags on the digital release) between their mouths. The alignment of the two not only form two faces communicating with one another, but also a single third face, representing Syd Barrett.
- 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).
- Fading into the Next Song: "Cluster One" hard-cuts into "What Do You Want From Me", which segues into "Poles Apart".
- An odd case in that the packaging is the feely; the initial CD run of the album by EMI featured the 1994 Pink Floyd logo, a stylized sound wave, and the words "THE DIVISION BELL" in braille on the disc tray's spine.
- The limited edition CD release featured the jewel case inserted in a small metal sculpture of the heads on the album cover. The Columbia Records release of this edition also includes the embossed CD tray from the initial EMI run, which is absent on Columbia's standard edition.
- 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" opens with the haunting sound of a church bell, tying in with the minor-key, downtempo composition of the main song and the wistful, almost mournful tone of the lyrics.
- 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?
Steve: Is that Charlie?
Steve: Hello Charlie.
[Charlie hangs up]
- 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.
- Market-Based Title: The Japanese release renames the album 対 (Tsui).
- Non-Appearing Title: The instrumentals, "Poles Apart", "A Great Day for Freedom", "Lost for Words" and "High Hopes".
- The Oner: The music video for "Marooned" consists of long, unbroken panning shots from the International Space Station and in the ruins of Pripyat.
- 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
- Surreal Music Video: Both "Keep Talking" and "High Hopes" take the form of artsy video collages themed around the songs' lyrics.
- 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?
- "Lost for Words" seems to address David Gilmour's infamous feud with Roger Waters, especially in its ending verse:
- Title Drop: For the album itself in "High Hopes":Beyond the horizon of the place we lived when we were young
In a world of magnets and miracles
Our thoughts strayed constantly and without boundary
The ringing of the division bell had begun.
- Unpleasable Fanbase: Addressed in "What Do You Want From Me".
- Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell: According to David Gilmour, "A Great Day for Freedom" is about the aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse, first focusing on the initial joy of liberation before veering into the chaos and disappointment that followed in the form of economic hardship throughout eastern Europe, the Yugoslav Wars, the Bosnian genocide, and the rise of new dictators to replace the old ones.
"Is that Charlie?"