Pink Floyd- The Final Cut 2004 remaster (EMI)
review by Joe del Tufo

Track Listing

1. Post War Dream
2. Your Possible Pasts
3. One of the Few
4. When the Tigers Broke Free
5. Hero's Return
6. Gunner's Dream
7. Paranoid Eyes
8. Get Your Filthy Hands off My Desert
9. Fletcher Memorial Home
10. Southampton Dock
11. Final Cut
12. Not Now John
13. Two Suns in the Sunset

After Pink Floyd's seminal Wall release in 1979 it was a long four years of touring, fidgeting and fighting before their next release. Largely unheralded except by diehard fans, the Final Cut went down in rock history as Roger Water's largely depressing homage to is father, a semi-biographic tale of an ill-fated soldier and a general condemnation of war and the Thatcher politics of the 80's. Lyrically much of this was true, but musically TFC was a complex and impressive beast, and very much the laudable followup to the Wall that never fully received its due.

The 2004 remaster (not to be confused with the 1997 remaster) arrives in the office and one thing is immediately obvious from the start is the fact that there is a new track wedged between One Of The Few and The Hero's Return. As a purist, I'm generally very wary of reissues that rearrange or dramatically change an album's original running order. Stick a bonus track or six on the end, pump the levels all you want, expand the liner notes and add a bonus disc of demos, and I'm fine. But if you start moving Bohemian Rhapsody up on the running order of A Night At the Opera, I'm coming for your children. So here we have When The Tigers Broke Free, the track that you may remember from the Wall film, where the soldier dresses and then commits suicide. It's a great, plaintive track, but what the hell is it doing on the Final Cut? A little research reveals that it was originally intended for the album, but moved to the film when needed for that very memorable scene, and also served as the film's only single. The track, which details the British invasion of Anzio Italy in which Water's father was killed, is a track that really should never have been left off of The Final Cut, and hearing it in its proper place feels natural and proper. The production blends the track very well with its bookend tracks, perhaps to drive home the point that this revisionist version of TFC is in fact the definitive version. And indeed it makes a stronger, more powerful disc.

The purchase of the remaster would easily have been validated by that addition alone. The icing on the cake is everything else. The stereo imaging on this disc is amazing, and you will immediately hear effects and samples that were embedded very deeply in previous versions, including the previous remaster. There is nothing dramatic here, just a clearer, more profound version of what you're already familiar with. From the opening car whoosh of The Post War Dream, the cleaner horns, shimmering choruses, thundering bombs, the sound of the standard issue kicking in the door, chattering children, it now has a wider, more cinematic sense to it. Again, it feels more right.

It's hard to complain, but I would have loved the addition of some of the Final Cut demos and outtakes that surface on the web every now and then. There is a great second part of The Hero's Return that would have been incredible to have in an official release.

I have now purchased Final Cut on vinyl, cassette, the original CD, the original remaster, and now, finally, the 2004 remaster. I'm sure when the SACD or DVD-Audio version comes out I'll get that too. I'm not proud of it, and I'm sure I'm playing right into some corporate marketing net, but I don't care. The disc just keeps getting better.



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icon- icon II, icon live
the pineapple thief- tightly unwound
planet p project- levittown (go out dancing part II)
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the who- endless wire
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richard butler- richard butler
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