The songs create an approximate storyline of events in the life of the protagonist, Pink (who is introduced in the songs “In the Flesh?” and “The Thin Ice”), a character based on Syd Barrett as well as Roger Waters, whose father was killed during the Second World War. Pink’s father also dies in a war (“Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)”), which is where Pink starts to build a metaphorical “wall” around himself. Pink is oppressed by his overprotective mother (“Mother”) and tormented at school by tyrannical, abusive teachers (“The Happiest Days of Our Lives”). All of these traumas become metaphorical “bricks in the wall” (“Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)”). The protagonist eventually becomes a rock star, his relationships marred by infidelity, drug use, and outbursts of violence. He finally becomes married and is about to complete his “wall” (“Empty Spaces”). While touring in America, he brings a groupie home after learning of his wife’s infidelity. Ruminating on his failed marriage, he trashes his room and scares the groupie away in a violent fit of rage. (“One of My Turns”). As his marriage crumbles (“Don’t Leave Me Now”), he dismisses everyone he’s known as “just bricks in the wall” (“Another Brick in the Wall (Part 3)”) and finishes building his wall (“Goodbye Cruel World”), completing his isolation from human contact.
Hidden behind his wall, Pink becomes severely depressed (“Hey You”) and starts to lose all faith (“Vera”). In order to get him to perform, a doctor medicates him (“Comfortably Numb”). This results in a hallucinatory on-stage performance where he believes that he is a fascist dictator performing at concerts similar to Neo-Nazi rallies (“The Show Must Go On”), at which he sets brownshirts-like men on fans he considers unworthy (“In the Flesh”). Upon realizing the horror of what he has done (“Waiting for the Worms”), Pink becomes overwhelmed and wishes for everything around him to cease (“Stop”). Showing human emotion, he is tormented with guilt and places himself on trial (“The Trial”), his inner judge ordering him to “tear down the wall”, opening Pink to the outside world (“Outside the Wall”).
The album turns full circle with its closing words “Isn’t this where …”, the first words of the phrase that begins the album, “… we came in?”, with a continuation of the melody of the last song hinting at the cyclical nature of Waters’ theme.
[–]mrsuns10 2136 points 3 hours ago
You can’t play Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 without playing The Happiest Days of Our Lives first
[–]zeroblitzt 1745 points 3 hours ago
This, to me, is the true distinction of a real “classic rock” radio station.
[–]walterpeck1 749 points 3 hours ago
I forgot for a long time that they’re two different tracks because the stations growing up always played them both (because of course).