The Final Cut is the twelfth studio album by Pink Floyd, released in 1983. It is their last album to feature Roger Waters, and their only album not to feature Richard Wright at all (Wright appeared on their following album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason. However, he didn't regain official status until The Division Bell).
In many people's eyes, The Final Cut is a Roger Waters solo album in all but name, to the point where the back of the album outright calls it his own, solely crediting Pink Floyd for performing it. Waters wrote every song off the album, and sang lead vocals on every song (only sharing lead vocals with David Gilmour on "Not Now John"). To this day, The Final Cut remains the most polarising Pink Floyd release. Due to the tensions between Waters and Gilmour, there was no tour for the album, with both of them working on solo albums instead.
The Final Cut is occasionally subtitled A Requiem For The Post-War Dream By Roger Waters.
- "The Post War Dream" (3:02)
- "Your Possible Pasts" (4:22)
- "One of The Few" (1:23)
- "When the Tigers Broke Free" (3:16) note
- "The Hero's Return" (2:56)
- "The Gunner's Dream" (5:07)
- "Paranoid Eyes" (3:40)
- "Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert" (1:19)
- "The Fletcher Memorial Home" (4:11)
- "Southampton Dock" (2:13)
- "The Final Cut" (4:46)
- "Not Now John" (5:01)
- "Two Suns in the Sunset" (5:14)
- David Gilmour - guitar, backing and co-lead vocals
- Nick Mason - drums, percussion, tape effects
- Roger Waters - lead vocals, bass, guitar, synthesizer, sound effects, tape effects
The Fletcher Memorial Trope:
- Album Title Drop: The title track contains the line:I never had the nerve to make the final cut
But in the bottom of our heartsWe felt the final cut
- Also present at the end of "Southampton Dock," which transitions into the aforementioned title track.
- All Are Equal in Death: From "Two Suns in the Sunset"As the windshield melts my tears evaporateLeaving only charcoal to defendFinally I understand the feelings of the fewAshes and diamonds, foe and friendWe were all equal in the end
- Atomic Hate: "Two Suns in the Sunset"
- Bilingual Bonus: Towards the end of "Not Now John", Waters yells "Excuse me, where's the bar?" in Italian ("scusi, dov'é il bar?"), Greek (the badly-mangled "Se para collo pou eine toe bar?") and French ("s'il vous plait, ou est le bar?") with increasing intensity, culminating in English with "OI, WHERE'S THE FUCKING BAR, JOHN?!". (Before that, one can hear a background voice going "Why don't you say that in Brit, fairy!?!")
- Blatant Lies: The 1982 single version of "When the Tigers Broke Free" proclaimed it was from the forthcoming album The Final Cut. The song was not actually included on said album until 2004.
- Bling of War: A very, very subdued version on the original cover (as befits the album's anti-war message).note
- Call-Back: In the title track "The Final Cut", dogs can be heard barking and whimpering, a reference to Animals.
- Chamber Pop: Most of the album, thanks to Michael Kamen's orchestrations.
- Cluster F-Bomb: "Not Now John".Fuck all that we've got to get on with theseGot to compete with the wily Japanese
- Concept Album: As with all Pink Floyd albums starting from The Dark Side of the Moon.
- Control Freak: Roger Waters by this stage of Pink Floyd's career.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Referenced in the title track:There's a kid who had a big hallucination, making love to girls in magazines
- Deus ex Nukina: The final song, "Two Suns in the Sunset".
- Downer Ending: Again, "Two Suns in the Sunset".
- Epic Rocking: Averted, unlike most Floyd albums. The focus here is less on solos or catchy riffs, and more on the anti-war themes and somber tone.
- Fading into the Next Song: The whole album.
- Final Solution: "The Fletcher Memorial Home" has the singer planning one for the "incurable tyrants and kings" and the "colonial wasters of life and limb" by putting them all in one place and then applying "the final solution" on them.
- Horrible Hollywood: As mentioned below on Take That!, "Not Now John" has a dig on filmmakers, possibly because Waters helped make The Wall into a Troubled Production.
- I Am the Band: The Final Cut is essentially a Roger Waters solo album, with Gilmour and Mason (Wright having been fired in 1979) being relegated to sidemen. It was credited as "By Roger Waters, performed by Pink Floyd". The back cover with the infamous credit now provides the page image.
- Interrupted Suicide: At the end of the title track, the protagonist "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."
- Killed Mid-Sentence: In "The Final Cut", the line that (according to the lyric sheet) goes "And if I'm in I'll tell you what's behind the wall" is in fact cut off by a gunshot after "I'll tell", suggesting that either the narrator or the listener failed to "make it past the shotguns in the hall", something a previous line expresses doubt about the listener's ability to do.
- List Song: "One of The Few". "The Fletcher Memorial Home" lists various post World War Two politicians who are described as incurable tyrants fit for retirement. See also Shout-Out below.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Several songs, most notably "Two Suns in the Sunset", which is about the destruction of human civilisation in nuclear war, but is a subdued, major-key ballad.
- Manchild: "The Fletcher Memorial Home" describes various world politicians as such:Take all your overgrown infants away somewhere
- Minimalistic Cover Art: The album cover is a group of World War II medals.
- Mythology Gag: Right before the above-mentioned Bilingual Bonus of "Not Now John", Waters chants, "One, Two, Free, Four!", as a reference to the band's earlier single "Free Four" (from Obscured by Clouds).
- Past in the Rear-View Mirror: "Two Suns in the Sunset".In my rear view mirror the sun is going downSinking behind bridges in the road
- New Sound Album: The album has a more orchestral sound compared to the band's other work.
- Precision F-Strike: "Not Now John" remains their definitive example with lines including "Fuck all that we gotta get on with these" and "Oi, where's the fucking bar John?". In the context of their discography, it's also this, as most of their songs that contain profanity use it sparingly, while this one has about half a dozen F-bombs.
- Protest Song: Nearly the whole album.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: The teacher from The Wall is revealed to be one.
- Shout-Out: "The Fletcher Memorial Home" lists various heads of state who are "overgrown infants" and "incurable tyrants" who should be sent to a retirement home and have "the Final Solution" implanted on them: Ronald Reagan, Alexander Haig (Reagan's Secretary of State (1981-1982), Menachem Begin (Prime Minister of Israel), Margaret Thatcher, Ian Paisley (Northern Irish politician and reverend), Leonid Brezhnev (General Secretary of the USSR from 1964 until 1982), Joseph McCarthy (who led the anti-communist witch hunts in the USA between 1945 and 1954) and Richard Nixon.
- Step Up to the Microphone: David Gilmour sings co-lead vocals on "Not Now John".
- Stiff Upper Lip: "The Hero's Return", "The Final Cut" and "Paranoid Eyes" all hint at the horrible consequences of emotional repression.
- Take That:
- The album is directed at England in general for its involvement in The Falklands War.
- In the song "Not Now John", Waters expressed his displeasure with Alan Parker, who directed the movie version of The Wall:Not now, John, I've gotta get on with the film showHollywood awaits at the end of the rainbowWho cares what it's about as long as the kids go
- In this vein, the album's art included a picture of a soldier holding a film canister with a knife in his back.
- This part of the title track is likely one, given Waters' dislike of the media:And if I open my heart to youAnd show you my weak sideWhat would you do?Would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?
- Textless Album Cover: The original LP release was this once you removed the shrinkwrap. Most reissues of the album include the "pink floyd the final cut" shrinkwrap sticker as part of the front cover, similarly to early CD releases of The Dark Side of the Moon.
- Title Track
- Trilogy: Was partly written at the same time as The Wall and Waters' solo album The Pros And Cons Of Hitch-Hiking, and there are several Continuity Nods to both works.
- The Troubles: The line "And maniacs don't blow holes in bandsmen by remote control" in "The Gunner's Dream" is a reference to an IRA bombing that happened around the time of the recording of this album. Ian Paisley is also mentioned as one of the statesmen who ought to be sent to a retirement home.
- Uncommon Time: "Two Suns in the Sunset", in 5/4.
- Vocal Range Exceeded: Waters, infamously, in "The Post War Dream". It's worth noting that Waters' vocal range has been measured at four and a half octaves.