Floyd should have called it a day after Roger Waters left.
In fact, I dislike The Final Cut so much, they should have ended it after The Wall as far as I’m concerned. What was left after his departure was an empty shell of a band, driven by David Gilmour’s amateurish mundane lyrics – assisted by red wine and cocaine – and a vain attempt to recreate the musical feel of Shine On You Crazy Diamond.
Is this actually Pink Floyd, because it really sounds like Tears For Fears popped into the studio to write and record the instrumental Terminal Frost?
That said, Lapse is still the most listenable – and least offensively boring – of the three post-Waters studio albums. The production and sound effects hark back to the glory days of classic Floyd, and the cover art, by returning Floyd alumni Storm Thorgerson, is a great image of an endless row of hospital beds on the English coast.
But the most telling part of the record’s packaging is the band photo found inside the inner gatefold. With keyboardist Richard Wright officially out of the band due to legal reasons, and only credited in the liner notes for his contributions to the recording, David Bailey’s photograph of the 1987 version of Pink Floyd features just the pairing of guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason.
It marks the first time since 1971’s Meddle that a photo of the band has appeared in the artwork for any of their albums. But where the warts-and-all shot of Meddle presents the band as edgy students, Lapse now shows them as smug yuppy businessmen.
I remember liking the sound of Tears For Fears when I was growing up, but I never bought any of their records. These were the days where you could tape the songs you liked straight off the radio, when BBC Radio 1 did the Top 40 rundown on Sunday afternoons.
It’s a wonder anybody ever made any money from selling records in the 1980s, when you could just get a blank tape and record your favourite songs. If I remember correctly, it was every new entry from 40 up to 21, and then each song in the Top 20. Screw illegal downloads, this was probably worse for the record industry. Home taping killing music? No doubt.
The only issue with taping off the Top 40 is that you always had to get a nice clean recording. If you were lucky enough to have a double-deck stereo, you could tape the whole thing and then copy tape-to-tape just the songs you wanted, but what was the fun in that? You’d also get a little bit more tape hiss going down that route. No, instead you’d be perched next to the stereo, with RECORD, PLAY and PAUSE all pressed down, awaiting Bruno Brookes to announce the song you were waiting for, so you could set your C60 or C90 running.
In my first or second year at secondary school we once had a day at the end of term where we had no lessons. I can’t remember what we were doing instead of learning, but we were sat in our form room waiting for the hours to pass. One girl said she had taped the chart show and brought it in. Great, we thought, something to listen to. She set the tape running. It wasn’t the Top 40 she had taped off the radio; instead she had made an ambient recording of the previous night’s Top Of The Pops off the television. She had put her tape player next to the TV, and recorded the sound through the tape player’s inbuilt microphone. Needless to say it sounded horrible, with the latest Go West single drowned out by the sound of her family eating their Thursday night chippy tea.