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The Final Cut by Pink Floyd

Album: The Final CutReleased: 1983
  • Written by Roger Waters, this song is about Pink, the main character in Pink Floyd's album The Wall. The song describes what it's like to alienate yourself from the world. Pinks tells us about his young life, and how hard it was for him to socialize with humanity while he was behind his wall. The final part of the song tells us how he almost killed himself. The song is pretty much an epilogue to The Wall, telling the story of Pink while he was "behind the wall."
  • Many believe this album to be the sequel to The Wall album, but it is mainly songs that were written from a narrative point of view for the 1982 movie, which starred Bob Geldof in the leading role. (thanks, Kieran - Glasgow, Scotland, for above 2)
  • "The Final Cut" is a movie term used to describe the last edit before the film is sent to theaters. Having the final cut means ultimately deciding what's in the film. In the context of this song, the term relates to suicide, as Pink declares, "I never had the nerve to make the final cut," meaning he couldn't work up the courage to end his life.
  • The Final Cut was a pivotal album for the band. Their previous album was The Wall in 1979, which was wildly successful but led to tensions in the group as Roger Waters asserted control. The grandiose tour that followed - a spectacular artistic achievement - was Waters' brainchild.

    When Pink Floyd began work on The Final Cut, it was spearheaded by Waters, who wrote all the songs and did nearly all the vocals. The theme of the album was the repercussions of war.

    The album was Waters' last with Pink Floyd. He released a solo album called The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking the following year; the next Pink Floyd album (without Waters) came in 1987 with A Momentary Lapse of Reason.
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Comments: 38

The best album they put out in my eyes. Noone writes lyrics like this without living it or experiencing it. This is the only Pink Floyd album that makes me weep as I listen...Prashant - Kathmandu, Nepal
The lyrics of this and most of the other songs on TFC are very well crafted and among the most emotionally powerful of anything bearing the Pink Floyd name. In my opinion any 'Floyd fan' who dislikes the message of this album is no fan at all. However, I believe I speak for many Floyd fans when I call the presentation of that message to be somewhat of an artistic failure.

TFC is the only album I have ever experienced which requires one to keep a hand on the volume knob in order to be able to enjoy it. Too quiet, too loud, too quiet, too loud... I can only compare the experience to dating a VERY attractive and articulate person who went deaf long ago and forgot how to control their volume, thus making every otherwise delightful conversation a sequence of mumbles and screams.

After my discovery and subsequent memorization of this album in the early 1990's, it hit the mothballs. I took it out recently for a trip down memory lane. I still love the lyrics and still hate that they did the opposite of 'normalizing' the playback.
Its8up - San Jose, Ca
And if I show you my dark side
Will you still hold me tonight?
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?
Would you take the children away
And leave me alone?
And smile in reassurance
As you whisper down the phone?
Would you send me packing?
Or would you take me home?

i've got an eerie feeling that this fourth stanza points to the times that Pink Floyd was going to face following this album, keep in mind that those were troubled times for the band with Rick gone and the discomfort in Waters being the sole contributor:
In the first half of the stanza he asks if he shows his dark side and is mean towards the other members,what would they do to him.
"Would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?" is Waters asking if you (other members) would tell people all about whats really going on in the band and how they are going to break as was relly done later ('which one's pink'). "Would you take the children away" is asking if all their songs written together, would be taken away from him (the legal suit that followed).
With nothing much in it for him he was left with nothing but 'reassuring smiles' and the question "Would you send me packing? Or would you take me home?". As in the end he was indeed sent packing as we see.

well i know this is a song about his "wall" and his pacifism and that this is a shot in thin air but thre's a wee bit of chance that he predicted what was going to happen.
Vivek - Varanasi, India
In my opinion this album is about the Falklands War. Roger Waters was a pacifist and many of the lyrics in the song direct anger at people like Margaret Thatcher for starting the war,
For example, "Oh Maggie, Maggie what have we done?"

The first song in the album is called, "The Post War Dream" the lyrics of it are saying how politicians claim to want world peace after the disaster of the first two world wars, but, really they are being very hypocritical and continuing to try and find peace through violence.
The song warns of the danger of modern warfare with new WOMD with the opening radio bulletin saying how Peterborough has been Nuked.

The album develops to talk about the horrors that took place in the war, and, how it scarred the fighters who believed they were heroic by fighting it. Some of these people became mad, and others even committed suicide hence the name "The Final Cut".

Thats my opinion anyway.
Ben - Cranleigh, United Kingdom
And if I ..
Show you my dark side
Would you still hold me
To night
And if i open my hearth to you..
Show you my week side
what would you do
Would you sell your story to rolling stone
Wold you take the children away and leave me alone..
Pressure ..This man (Waters) have some (maybe) small secret to hide.
But he is public person
Also seems its one one mind in the prision and always under the public eye.
And if we iclude whole album (just one song does not feet ,Not now John) its about the value of the
sacrification and how it looks be one of the few to land on your feet.

PS ,sorry for bad English
Jackie - Sarajevo, Bosnia And Herzegovina
"The Final Cut" is a progressive album. Actually its a conclusive part, or say, a sequel of "The Wall",Its a actual description of The main character Pink (Roger Waters)about how he suffered in the dark side and behind the wall. This song is a depiction of the vexated character who tries to make some conversation within himself. He struggles a lot but cannot find a way to exist in the phony world, he thinks he has a dark side and wonders if the world would accept him or not ( Depression )....and finally, he decides to "pull the curtains down" (commit suicide and die) and holding a blade in his shaking hand, he attempts but with the ringing of the phone he halts and could not continue the motive that was to make a final cut (to finally conclude his life) because he could not gather that courage again.Conspiracy - Kathmandu, Nepal
This song always brings me to tears. I've always wondered if Roger Waters ever tried to kill himself... He seems to be a depressive person.Giselle - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Bravo, Tommy, Levittown, Pakistan....you got itTerry - Wickford, Ri
When I listen "the final cut", I don't need any more things among this world..............Ramu - Kathmandu, Nepal
The best Floyd album ever. Long live Roger Waters!Richard - Syracuse, Ny
the final cut is a song of desperation and insanity. its speaks of pinks life of silent desperation and loneliness, or roger waters life if you've seen the video. it begins with roger singing about how he is looking through his "tear stained eyes" and can't "define the shape of this moment in time", which is about how roger lost control of his life and is living in isolation and apathy. he is behind the wall, with the longing to make love to girls in magazines but feels it was a hallucination and will never happen. and then midway through the song roger talks about how he is paranoid about his wife or girlfriend and what she will think of him or if she will still hold him even afte he shows his weak side or dark side, and he feels she would go and rat him out to rolling stone magazine. he doesn't trust anyone and in the video is actually speaking to a shrink, which explains the insanity of it all. one key point is that he is a guy and he is so screwed up he is questioning himself about women and if he can trust his own wife. it explains how far a hole hes dug himself.Chris - Boston, Ma
I really don't find this song to be about suicide. The gunshot, the way I see it, is someone trying to get through to Waters but failing. The whole second stanza is about the obstacles one would have to overcome to reach him. "If you negotiate the minefield in the drive..." and so on and so on. Before he's able to finish with "what's behind the wall", someone is already taken out by the "shotgun in the hall".

The "final cut", itself, I also believe is not about suicide. If you've ever seen the music video, Waters is sitting in a shrink's office. At the end the phone rings, and he's unable to finish the session:

"Thought I oughta bare my naked feelings,
Thought I oughta tear the curtain down.
I 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."

The "final cut" would have been him completely cutting down the "curtain" -- aka the wall -- and finally coming to terms with his true feelings and problems only he "never had the nerve" to make it.

Here's the music video, if anyone would like to watch it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKKOsVS3VQ4
Tommy - Levittown, Pakistan
I've heard from a self-described Pink Floyd "expert" that this album is only tangentially about Pink, the recurring character through PF's previous four albums and the war-ravaged soul in the movie "The Wall". In fact, it's a full-circle indictment of Great Britain's imperialism and how it's led to so many pointless wars and mindless deaths.

Waters' father apparently died in WWII before Roger was born (refer to dedication on the album cover), and Waters never forgave England or the world for it. He saw the Falklands invasion in 1983 as the ultimate in the pointlessness of war, but he saw the only difference between the two wars being the rhetoric used by those in power to sell the public on the war in question.

"The Post War Dream" and "Gunner's Dream" were both supposedly about and/or tributes to his father. "Not Now John" was about how the movies glamorize war. "The Fletcher Memorial Home" was blatantly about the Falklands conflict.
S.d. - Denver, Co
This is probably the best song on this album. When Roger sings the line "would you sell your story to rolling stone?" and hits that final note in his trademark whine, it's amazing. It is also clearly about Pink, from The Wall (though not all of the songs are). David Gilmour even admits he was in favor of placing this song on The Wall. Excellent vocals.Bryan - New York, Ny
The Final Cut is one of my favorite Pink Floyd albums! Absolutely Brilliant! To be a true Floyd fan, one must appreciate it. And thank you Damian from Canada, for the extra info. Pretty helpful! :)Mourad - Lebanon, Other
In "Post Ware Dream" right at the beginning if you turn your sound up you here a television broadcast explaining that the replacement for the Atlantic Conveyor - a civilian cargo vessel brought in to help bring troops and war machines to the fight - is to be built in Japan, the UK's once mighty ship building capability is no more. This whole album is exactly what it says on the tin, "A requiem for the post war dream" It is stuffed full of references to the UK, it's politics, politician's, ongoing domestic troubles - terrorism, industrial demise, the vicious circle that today as I attempt to put my thoughts on this screen seems to be continuing with the UK's involvement in Iraq. The "cattle trucks" are being called upon once again. It's a fantastic album, those of you who dislike it for whatever reason should understand that truly great music has meaning, just listen to it again that's all you have to do.Damian - Ontario (formerly Uk), Canada
"Southampton Dock" , well,, it brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it. As the ships were leaving for the Falklands with all the sailors and soldiers onboard, me and my friends (in our late teens at the time) went to see them sail out from Portsmouth Harbour. I sailed across that harbour twice a day during my school days and it was a noisy hive of activity. When the ships were leaving there were thousands of people lining the shores, but you could have heard a pin drop. All you could hear was the distant throb of the ships . engines. But more importantly as all the sailors were stood around the flight decks they were singing "we are sailing" - Rod Stewart. It was the most ghostly thing I have ever heard and incredibly moving. Although not directly connected with TFC it, for me, makes so much sence. He hit the nail on the head.Damian - Ontario (formerly Uk), Canada
In "The Fletcher Memorial Home" he makes reference to "a group of anonimous latin american meet packing gliterati" Now, anyone who knows anything about british grub will no that we all got packed off to school at least once in our childhood with corned beef "sarnies", and virtualy all corned beef is or at least was at the time, produced in Argentina. He is making reference to the war in the Falklands between the UK and Argentina.Damian - Ontario (formerly Uk), Canada
In "The Gunners Dream" he refers to being able to live where.... people can relax on both sides of the tracks, and maniacs don't blow holes in bandsmen by remote control..... clearly a referance to the ongoing terrorist situation in the UK at the time due to the IRA and there bombing campaign. Catholics and Prodestants, and either the huge explosion and loss of life at the Britsh Army barracks at Deal in Kent, where bandsmen were killed or the Hyde Park bombings where many bandsmen were blown to pieces along with there horses during a parade.Damian - Ontario (formerly Uk), Canada
Ok, I am not going to sit here and say what this album is about, only Waters himself can answer that. What I will say is that it is by far THE BEST Floyd Album in my humble opinion, mainly because it captures the feelings of a time and place so perfectly. Let me explain. To truly begin to understand TFC it helps if you grew up in the UK or at the very least have a good understanding of that country's history and politics with particular regard to the following. "Post War Dream" - Trying to convey a sense of disgust and distrust in polititians and there lies, never sticking by their word, and again sending fathers, brothers, sons to war again ( The Falklands Conflict ). It was all supposed to be so much better after WWII, we were supposed to have learned our lesson. Waters father died in Italy during WWII, its plainly obvious in Waters song writing that he hurts, and to see it all "Kicking Off" again for a new generation opens his own wound again.Damian - Ontario (formerly Uk), Canada
The gunshot in the song actually does symbolize a homicide. But, the homicide is not exactly Pink, it is the dictator that Pink was. He then comes back to his normal state of mind and realizes what is going on, thus the thought of suicide at the end.Eugene - Cleveland, Oh
One thing I think everyone should take into account when attempting to interpret any lyrics is that they don't only have the meaning of the Artist/songwriter, but the lyrics have the meaning of the impact they (lyrics) have on you. Alot of people think the lyrics are all about Roger Waters and his dad,(maybe they are) but they have a profound effect on people when you look past the songwriters own reason for writing them. There is soooo much passion in the way R.W. sings this song.Rey - Mercedes, Tx
Many seem to interpret the gunshot as Pink's own suicide, but Roger Waters' description of the wall may argue otherwise. According to waters, the wall between himself and his audience symbolizes the his being alienated by the audience. What is not to say that the gunshot is actually Pink's homicide, gunned down by a derranged fan (it's happened twice before 12/8/80,12/8/04)? Just another interpretation. :)Max - Orlando, Fl
I personally love Roger Waters' stuff, not that David Gilmour isn't good as well. Anyways, for those of you who are looking into the meaning of this song - don't let the whole suicide aspest take over: think about the whole "I'll never have the nerve to make the final cut..." Think that could be touching on the problems he was having with the remainder of the band?? I think so...Nicole - Wetumpka, Al
MAN....You've got to be crazy if u dont like this album. If you understand and appreciate this album then you are a true Floyd Fan. I hate when ppl say don't buy this album or it sucks...and take a moment to look at the lyrics on this CD...the most brilliant I've ever heard...I tingled when I heard the gunner's dream and the final cut and I think I spent an hour just replaying themDave - Palm Beach, Fl
Thought the song was about how soldiers in the war gamble to make the final cut. Definately addresses suicide, think the narrator feels the war is suicide ("shotguns in the hall") and feels he just as well should inflict it upon himself near the end. I really like the song before it, Southampton Dock. A song about the departure of a platoon.Jl - Raleigh, Nc
I'd say the people who don't like this album only like Pink Floyd for their...trippiness.

I, for one, love this album. One of my favorites.
Ben - Winona, Mn
I read all of that and did not find the meaning. Personaly, I think it is about a guy commiting suicide. You know its last straw.
That would expalin THE GUN SHOT IN THE MIDDLE.


Jeremy / Atlanta, GA
Jeremy - Laffeyette, La
Terrible album that was all about roger waters. It is all about his family during the war and so is the wall. In my opinion, the wall AND the final cut are terribleEvan Voorn - Flower Mound, Tx
Look Past Waters and Floyd, You'll See Some Meaningful music, if You can't do that you shouldnt listen to PF.David - Port Hawkesbury, Canada
No offence to all people who like the album, but whoever dosent have it, DON'T BUY IT! It's the worst PF album. It's Mainly just Roger Waters. It's a waste of money!Takashi - Tokyo, Japan
One of My All time pink floyd favourites
great lyrics, great Instrumentation, Just a Great peice of work.
David - Port Hawkesbury, Canada
Guys, what happened to the post war dream ??? refers to Falklands War (Islas Malvinas), that`s what the whole record is all aboutMarcelo - Buenos Aires, Argentina
When you refer to "John Roger Waters" (whoever that is/was), do you mean "Eric Fletcher Waters", who was Roger Waters' father?Mark - London, England
The album is about Water's dad but it is also mostly stuff left over from The Wall. I wouldn't call it a sequel but doing so wouldn't be that off.Matthew - Tampa, Fl
and no it shouldnt be about syd you will see dedicated to John Roger Waters who is George "Roger" Waters dad you ppl should honestly let me write these because you are all way offWhitey - Aktown, Oh
umm no not really if you read the full title of the album its called "The Final Cut The Post War Dream" and this album is dedicated to Roger Water's dad who died in wwii and this is not a sequel to the wall where do you ppl get your info?Whitey - Aktown, Oh
seems like it should be about Syd Barrett.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc