Pink Floyd revolutionized rock music with their clever lyricism and experimental music. Amongst the English band’s extensive discography, ‘The Wall’ album from 1979 takes a special place as one of their most imaginative albums ever. The mammoth album was released as a ‘double album’ with 26 songs. “Another Brick in the Wall” appears in three parts within this album.
“Another Brick in the Wall” is one of Pink Floyd’s most successful songs to-date. It became the #1 song in the UK, the US, Germany, Canada, Sweden and many more countries. The song is estimated to have sold over 4 million copies worldwide. The album itself was a major success, recording Platinum in sales in both US and UK within months of release. By 1999, the album was certified 23x Platinum, and still continues to be one of the best-selling albums of all time. “Another Brick in the Wall Pt.2” is the most successful song of all, which is ranked at #375 on Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time‘ list.
“Another Brick in the Wall” (ABITW) is divided into three parts. In part 1, we come to realize that the singer has lost certain connections of love and security in his childhood. In part 2, the lead singer Roger Waters sing about the monotony and mental and physical oppression in the schooling system. This part also contains a kid’s choir by the students of Islington Green School, close to Floyd’s recording studio. In the third part, the themes change once more into a much personal aspect of the singer: his wife’s infidelity. Splattered in by these three bricks, the singer completely isolates himself from the world.
Watch “The Happiest Days Of Our Lives” and “Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2” Video by Pink Floyd
The music video for “Another Brick in the Wall” has been extracted from the live-action movie ‘The Wall’ based on the Pink Floyd album. The story winds up around the frailing rockstar ‘Pink,’ who loses his father due to Second World War, endures abuse from school teachers and finally reaches the breaking point when his wife cheats on him. The main character ‘Pink’ has been modeled after Roger Waters and band’s original leader Syd Barrett.
Lyrics Review and Song Meaning of “Another Brick in the Wall”
“ABITW” Part 1
In this first part of the song, Pink Floyd experiences some childhood trauma. As per ‘The Wall’ movie, this kid suffers a mental breakdown as his father is sent off to fight in the WWII. Most likely he had to cross an ocean to his battlefield and he dies in the war. The child is left only with the faint memory of his father and an aging photo on his family album. His father has not left him anything behind–not even a guardian to show him the way in life. The only way he knows how to cope with this loss is to surround himself with one more brick on this wall he is building around himself. Each painful memory he endures becomes another brick in this wall. This wall shall, hopefully, keep this kid sheltered from the evils outside in the society.
“ABITW” Part 2
This kid starts schooling in the second part of “Another Brick in the Wall.” His pain does not end there. In school, he is forced to believe, think, and do to a set criteria. There is no crossing the lanes. There is no free thinking. Everyone becomes emotionless humonoids at the end of this ‘production line.’
The worst part of his schooling is the mental and physical abuse the children have to suffer. The teachers are portrayed in a very dark and cynical light in this song, where they are seen getting pleasure out of emotionally degrading and punishing the kids. In the movie ‘The Wall,’ we are shown a scene where the teacher catches this kid composing a poem. Instead of complimenting him, the teacher goes on to mock the kid and emotionally scar him. An even worse aspect of this is that Pink Floyd reveals us that this behaviour of teachers is something born in their homes. In the song “The Happiest Days of Our Lives,” a mockery on the schooling days consisting of a similar theme to “Another Brick in the Wall” part 2, Pink Floyd says that teachers behave in such a cynical manner at school because “when they got home at night, their fat and Psychopathic wives would thrash them…” at home.
The kid’s choir makes a powerful impression on the song, as they sing about the same system they are stuck in. In these lyrics, we hear Roger Waters and the kids screaming to abolish ‘education’ and ‘thought control’ system that creates tasteless human beings. What comes down as ‘education’ in schools are restricted to mathematics, science, history and a brainwash of religion. This is not education. This would be mental conditioning. No free thinkers, creators, innovators and visionaries will be born out of such an education system. These kids are protesting against this form of education only.
Pink Floyd also brings in the nature of behavioural controls used in schools back in the ’70s. Lunch provided by the school cafeteria included a pudding but was restricted to the ones who have finished their lunch only. The teachers/headmasters would be seen using this as a form of behavioural conditioning, which takes a massive toll on a kid’s personality and psychological development.
“ABITW” Part 3
The third part of “Another Brick in the Wall” talks about yet another emotionally damaging experience by this kid. He is grown up now and betrothed. He finds that his wife is cheating on him. Now he is in a refusal of any affection or love from anyone. The last stroke of happiness he could expect was from his family, and that brick has hit him the hardest. It is unlikely that he will recover from this third blow, as he completes his brick wall around him completely isolating himself from
The last line of the song probably hits us the hardest: “All in all you were all just bricks in the wall.” Is the singer trying to say that we are all part of the problem of this society? Afterall, it is us who make up the society!
In 2019, “Another Brick in the Wall” is 40 years old. But how relevant is it even today? Only one thing has changed in these years: there is no world war. But there are countless wars being faught right under our nose at this very moment. The damage these wars do to the kids will only spur up as more destruction in the years to come. The schooling system is the same and the quality of family lives have deteriorated drastically. It is no surprise that “Another Brick in the Wall” relates more today than before, and will continue to be relevant in the years to come.
What do you think this three-part song by Pink Floyd means? Write down your analysis and interpretation of the song in the comments below. Make sure to share this article with your friends.
Full Lyrics to “Another Brick in the Wall” Part 1 by Pink Floyd
Full Lyrics to “Another Brick in the Wall” Part 2 by Pink Floyd