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Music / The Final Cut

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"Through the fisheyed lens of tear-stained eyes..."

The Final Cut is the twelfth studio album by Pink Floyd — er, by Roger Waters, performed 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, albeit as a very minor session musician providing the occasional bit of keyboards and backing vocals; 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, this was their first studio album not to have a supporting tour, with both of them working on solo albums instead. To promote the album, a video EP of four songs, "The Gunner's Dream", "The Final Cut", "Not Now John" and "The Fletcher Memorial Home", directed by Waters' then brother in law, Willie Christie, was released on home video and aired on MTV. Alex McAvoy, who played the Teacher in the film adaption of The Wall the previous year, appeared as a World War II veteran in the short film.


The Final Cut is occasionally subtitled A Requiem For The Post-War Dream By Roger Waters.

Preceded by The Wall. Superseded by A Momentary Lapse of Reason.


Side One

  1. "The Post War Dream" (3:02)
  2. "Your Possible Pasts" (4:22)
  3. "One of The Few" (1:23)
  4. "When the Tigers Broke Free" (3:16) note 
  5. "The Hero's Return" (2:56)
  6. "The Gunner's Dream" (5:07)
  7. "Paranoid Eyes" (3:40)

Side Two

  1. "Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert" (1:19)
  2. "The Fletcher Memorial Home" (4:11)
  3. "Southampton Dock" (2:13)
  4. "The Final Cut" (4:46)
  5. "Not Now John" (5:01)
  6. "Two Suns in the Sunset" (5:14)

Principal Members:

  • 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

Oh Maggie... Maggie what did we trope?:

  • Album Title Drop: The title track contains the line:
    I never had the nerve to make the final cut
    • Also present at the end of "Southampton Dock," which transitions into the aforementioned title track.
      But in the bottom of our hearts
      We felt the final cut
  • All Are Equal in Death: From "Two Suns in the Sunset"
    As the windshield melts my tears evaporate
    Leaving only charcoal to defend
    Finally I understand the feelings of the few
    Ashes and diamonds, foe and friend
    We 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!?!")
  • Black Comedy: The fade-out on the closing track, "Two Suns in the Sunset", has a faint snippet of a radio news report with a weather forecast of "4000 degrees celsius", a reference to the temperature of a nuclear fireball.
  • Bling of War: A very, very subdued version on the original cover (as befits the album's anti-war message).note 
  • Bowdlerization: The single version of "Not Now John" replaces "Fuck all that" with "Stuff all that".
  • Call-Back:
    • In the title track "The Final Cut", dogs can be heard barking and whimpering, a reference to Animals.
    • "The Gunner's Dream" references the "dark sarcasm" line in "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" from ''The Wall
  • 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 these
    Gotta 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.
  • Day of the Jackboot: "The Gunner's Dream":
    Where you can speak out loud about your doubts and fears
    And what's more, no one ever disappears
    You never hear their standard issue kicking in your door
  • 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".
  • End of an Age: With Roger Waters' departure after its release, the album marked the end of the "classic" era of Pink Floyd.
  • 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.
  • Exact Words: The 1982 single version of "When the Tigers Broke Free" proclaimed it was from the forthcoming album The Final Cut; the song did get included on the album... in 2004, over 20 years after it first released.
  • 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 previously provided the page image. The "Performed by Pink Floyd" part would be omitted in the Discovery and Pink Floyd Records CD releases, but would be maintained on all LP copies.
  • 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."
  • Japan Takes Over the World: The old Western superpowers' paranoia (with a racist undercurrent) over Japan's rapidly expanding economy in the 1980's is a minor recurring motif on the album.
    • It pops up "The Post War Dream"...
      If it wasn't for the Nips
      Being so good at building ships
      The yards would still be open on the Clyde
    • ...And in "Not Now John"
      Fuck all that, we've got to get on with these
      Gotta compete with the wily Japanese
  • 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 down
    Sinking behind bridges in the road
  • New Sound Album: The album has a more orchestral sound compared to the band's other work.
  • The Poppy: A motif throughout the album artwork. "The Gunner's Dream" also mentions Remembrance Sunday services.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • "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 from 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.
    • This part of the title track is likely one, given Waters' dislike of the media:
      And if I open my heart to you
      And show you my weak side
      What would you do?
      Would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?
    • 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 show
      Hollywood awaits at the end of the rainbow
      Who 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.
  • 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 The Wall and 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.
  • Updated Re-release: The 2004 reissue added "When The Tigers Broke Free", from the film version of The Wall, to the album. It had only been released as a single before.
  • 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.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Implicitly occurs in-universe in "Not Now John", where the narrator admits to dismissing the plot and content of a movie if it draws in family audiences. This is in the same verse that takes a jab at Alan Parker, the director of the 1982 film adaptation of The Wall, which is decidedly not for kids.


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