Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back To Holywood Part 4: Echoes from "The Wall"

"Hello, hello, hello, is there anybody in there?"

I'm sure every generation has listened to Pink Floyd's "The Wall" and watched its companion movie. But very few times do we come to a point where we can actually understand what was going on through Roger Water's mind.

It was said to be based on personal experiences, like many songs out there. In this particular case it explores one of the topics that's been around the history of mankind; the search for the self and the resorting to isolation.

The need to feel protected is fairly approved, while the desire to not feel at all to stay away from society as far as possible is not.

Holywood (in the Shadow of the Valley of Death) has some parallels to "the Wall" even though there is not a defined plot or storyline. However at the end of Manson's album we find out that its main character Adam choses to be deprived of all feelings due to the major depression he suffers after being judged and sentenced by the people of Holywood. If you explore further into the Mechanical Animals it handles every now and then the concept of feeling "numb", i.e. "Great Big White World" which lyrics say:

"it's a great big white world where we are drained of all colors."

Colors might be referring to "feelings" since everytime we watch them they produce a different effect.

As an expriment to see how much Marilyn Manson was influenced by "The Wall" I decided to mirror both albums to compare the storylines and their outcomes.

Let's start with "The Wall" and Track 1: In The Flesh?

"Tell me, is something eluding you sunshine? Is this not what you expected to see?, and you'll just have to claw your way through this disguise..."

And now Track 1: GodEatGod

"Dear God, do you wanna tear knuckles down and hold yourself, dear God can you climb off that tree, meat in the shape of a "T"...

Both songs have a narrator which calls out to a common enemy. In the case of Pink, the main character in "The Wall" addresses the public, Adam openly addresses "God" but not sure if the traditional one. What both of these characters have in common is that there is a deep conflict with the other party. And if we dig deeper in a way Adam progressively becomes famous, like a rockstar which is the same fate of Pink.

Now Track 2: The Thin Ice

The song goes back to the fragile childhood period that Pink went through with his father. In way they give him strong advice about the perils of life.

On track 2 of Holywood the next song is "The Love Song". Although the context that it handles is different there are still references to mother and father.

"Got a crush on a pretty pistol, should I tell her that I feel this way? Father told us to be faithful..."

In this song there is a search for approval from a higher source or for counsel.

Now Track 3: Another Brick In The Wall: Part 1 and Track 4: Another Brick In The Wall: Part 2

Pink recalls the time his father passes away after the war and laments that he has to live in a very gloomy environment.

The school where he grows up is highly repressive and conservative.

Track 3 in Holywood is "The Fight Song", an example of the lyrics:

"Isolation is the oxygen mask we make our children breathe into survive"

"I'm not a slave to a god that doesn't exist."

Most of the song gives you the impression that it's talking about an inner rebellion. This is also true with "Disposable Teens" track Number 3 and their response is similar to the one on "Another Brick In The Wall: Part 2."

Now to Track 6: Mother

In general the song speaks about the overprotectiveness of Pink's mother and her sympathy for helping him build a wall.

While Track 5 and 6 bear little to no resemblance we go to Track 7: In The Shadow Of The Valley of Death

In this case the mother is not mentioned or referenced in any way yet it's the complete opposite of the other song; a strong desire for independence and not wanting to be alone at the same time.

"I wish that I could be a king, so I'd know that I am not alone."

The song, "Disposable Teens" does tell addresses mom and dad as figures that contributed to make his existence more terrible.

Moving on to Track 7: Goodbye Blue Skies

The title speaks on its own; the loss of innocence and the side effects of war on children.

"Cruci-fiction In Space" track 8 acts like a response to this song. The violence and the media have transformed the once innocent Adam into a product, a tool:

"This is your creation, the atom of Eden was bomb."


"This is evolution; the monkey, the man, then the gun."

Now Track 8: Empty Spaces

Although it's not actually a song Pink mesmerizes and thinks already about building a wall because he is distanced with his wife.

On track 9 "A Place In The Dirt" Adam abandons all hope and decides to finish what he started to become the perfect tool; put a barrier in his heart.

"There's a windshield in my heart...dress me up and make me your dying god."

This helps to understand that while Pink's objective was to reinforce and build a wall to isolate, Adam's purpose is become a tool or by-product of society and decide to openly attack it instead of running away. Adam's intentions continue to be revealed into track "The Nobodies"

"We're the Nobodies who wanna be somebodies, when we're dead they'll know just who we are."

In "Young Lust" you can notice Pink's transition into becoming a rockstar by referring to a "stranger in this town", almost a "nobody"?

The other song also mentions, "today I'm dirty and I want to be pretty..."

and "Young Lust", "Oh, I need a dirty woman, oh, I need a dirty girl."

Now to "One of My Turns". The song doesn't have much lyrics but it describes an episode in which a groupie tries to seduce Pink and instead trashes the place.

"The Death Song", however exaggerates this reality and mocks the media, as if Adam were staring into a TV screen, "we sing the Death song kids 'cuz we got no future, and we wanna be just like you."

The next "Wall" song "Don't Leave Me Now" speaks about a rupture; echoes from Pink's past relationship with his wife and the groupie.

On "The Lamb of God" you can hear two voices; one is Adam and the other presumably a female who responds in the end,

"if you die and there's no one watching and your ratings and you're forgotten, if they kill you on the TV, you're a martyr and a Lamb of God..."

Adam is warned that if he's still engaged in the Holywood society, not only he can run the risk of being left alone and forgotten, but what's is that he can become so empty that he will disappear. Yet, if he is a victim of this society and triumphs by being a martyr he will be redeemed and become a legend, inmortal.

Now "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 3"

Pink draws his own conclusions and openly decides to abandon it all, thinking he will not "need anything at all."

In the next Holywood song "Born Again" Adam realizes after receiving some very disturbing advice that by being the "Lamb of God" he will become inmortal and be born again. So instead of being afraid to retreat from Holywood he rejoices and is welcomed

"I'm someone else, I'm someone new, I'm so stupid just like you."

The next "Wall" song is "Goodbye Cruel World", which also speaks for itself. The isolation is complete:

"Goodbye cruel world, there's nothing you can say to make me change."

On "Burning Flag" however, Adam states this;

"right now I feel I belong for the first time..."

He celebrates the idea of belonging but also there is a dark destructive side of him, so instead his true nature is so shocking that it brings death instead. And it carries on;

"multiply your death, divide by sex, add up the violence and what do you get?"

Now in "Hey You" Pink tries to get outside the wall realizing he made a mistake.

Compared to Coma Black, there is also a lament, when Adam knows his wrath has gone too far:

"My mouth was a crib and it was growing lies...this was never my world, they took the angel away..."

Coma Black is divided in two parts: Eden Eye and the Apple of Discord. The first part seems like a lament coming from the Adam that came to bring death into Holywood and the second part is already addressing the love of his life, the one he can never have:

"Her heart a blood-stained egg we didn't handle with care, it's broken and bleeding and we can never repair..."

The next "Wall" song is "Nobody Home"; a rough description of the void and the loneliness Pink is already wrapped up in.

After experiencing tragedy in Holywood Adam apparently tries to go back into the valley of Death. Sadly, in the place he once called home he's a total stranger. He recalls, as in "Valentine's Day"

"I saw that pregnant girl today, she didn't know that it was dead inside..."

This part is probably referring to the shadow of his own mother. The song parallels again to the Wall's "Vera":

"Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn, remember how she said that we would meet again..."

Apparently this song is a loose reference to a Vera Lynn song, meaning that all hope is gone.

In "Valentine's Day" the loss of hope is represented this way;

..."even though it was alive, some of us are really born to die."

Adam was a great promise but he was corrupted.

At this point both characters have realized that they're left alone and feel nostalgic, with memories of their lost childhood. This is noticeable on "Bring The Boys Back Home"

The next track of "The Wall" which is one of the most emblematic ones of the album "Comfortably Numb" Pink resorts to drugs to cope with his problems, since his isolation is deep.

The Holywood track, "The Fall of Adam" continues with a sad fate. He is apparently sentenced for his bad deeds:

"The Abraham Lincoln towncars arrive to dispose of our King and Queen..."

The Holywood citizens have decided to kill their "god", since their philosophy relies pretty much on whatever they put on TV:

"Do you love your guns, do you love your god and your goverment?"

However, in the film "Comfortably Numb" is followed by a scene where Pink is thrown into a police car for having trashed his apartment. He reveals a suit inspired by the Nazi imagery. The show he is about to play continues on "The Show Must Go On" and "In The Flesh"

Now "In The Flesh" has this little passage:

"Are there any queers in the theater tonight, get 'em up against the wall..."

By this point Pink believes himself to be a fascist dictator. And on another part of the song;

"If I had my way I'd have all of you shot!"

On "King Kill 33" you hear this;

"Is this what you wanted? This is what you get."

and also:

"You wanted so bad to make me this thing" and "I am not sorry, I am not sorry this is what you deserve."

Again, both characters are addressing an audience and expose themselves as an aberration of their society, so don't feel sorry for what you created.

The last part of "The Wall" is like the climax of the story. "Run Like Hell" depicts Nazi-like characters causing chaos and anarchy. It parallels with "King Kill 33". Be afraid, be very afraid.

By "Waiting For The Worms" Pink reassures that he is invincible and unreachable. Still on "King Kill 33" Adam is struggling to survive and claims to be unvincible and still embraces that promise to be born again. "You can never kill me..."

What's interesting to point out now is that both characters face a trial. In "Stop" Pink states;

"And I'm waiting in this cell because I have to know, have I been guilty all this time."

and on "Count To Six and Die" there seems to be the sound of the bars of the prison cell on the background. Adam is on Death Row and is waiting. And although the next songs to parallel this part would be The Wall's "The Trial" and "Outside The Wall", Adam completates in his prison cell the idea of suicide by playing russian roulette. His last words:

"I got an angel in the lobby, he's waiting to put me in line, I won't ask forgiveness, my faith has gone dry."


..."and it spins around, 1, 2, 3 and we all lay down, 4 ,5, 6, some do it fast, some do it better in smaller amounts..."

While the outcome in "The Wall" is that Pink eventually re-integrates with society, the fate of Adam is completely different. Apparently he transitions into another self. After commiting suicide he starts over into another dimension of his self, even changing his name and into a new world, as in Mechanical Animals's "Great Big White World".

In way while Pink Floyd's "The Wall" does offer an optimistic ending and a promising future,"Holywood" has an ending but also a beginning into another world which is not so optimistic.

For the next album "Mechanical Animals" I will use "Brave New World" as a guide. See you soon!

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