Living alone can bring about some embarrassing epiphanies. I was reminded of this as I puttered around the house yesterday afternoon. I was looking for music to promote my interest in cleaning the house. With my wife away on a family roots mission and my son up the hill at his best friend's house, I was alone with my thoughts. What better environment then to play a little Pink Floyd?
Music for misanthropes. When I was a bachelor, I subsisted on a diet of Tombstone pizza and Pink Floyd. It was my lonely guy soundtrack. I have a very vivid memory of rushing home with my brand new copy of "The Final Cut," the last album on which Roger Waters appeared with the rest of the band. As was my custom, I plugged in my headphones and listened to both sides in a sitting. Enamored as all teen and twenties were at the time with "The Wall," I was ready to continue down the dark hallway that Mister Waters had been mining for some years. When the needle picked up at the end of side two, I was sure that I had heard what would become an instant classic.
Or not. As much as I may have enjoyed the "requiem for the post war dream," it has never been considered in the same company as he rest of the Floyd catalog. Some have even called it "overly self-indulgent." Maybe that was the appeal for me, I'm not sure, but when I listen to it now, I still enjoy it. Just not as much as I did when I was twenty-one.
The same could be said of "Urban Cowboy." I missed its theatrical release, caught up in the notion that, in 1980, John Travolta was personally responsible for the rise of disco. I didn't want to put any more money in his pocket. But a couple of years later, when I could see it for free on cable, that seemed like a good deal. Especially because I was sitting around my living room by myself, drunk. As I watched the tale of Bud and Sissy unspool before me, I was enthralled. This was honest, straightforward storytelling. It was a romance for the ages.
I'm sober now, and I know that John Travolta may not have reached his cinematic peak in 1980. "The Final Cut" is a good peek into the future of Roger Waters' solo albums. These were the observations and opinions of a younger man. A younger, lonely man. This is why friends don't let friends listen to Pink Floyd alone.