THE FINAL CUT
The Post War Dream
The main character of the album (The Hero), listens to the news on the radio in his car and learns that the substitute for "The Atlantic Conveyer," a ship, that was sunk in the Falklands War, is to be built in Japan, not in Britain as hoped. (The scene is used as the opening even in the promotional video, although the song itself was omitted).
The first verse is written in the first person, as if Waters himself was the Hero. Again, he mentions his father's death.
Waters used the very colloquial and derogatory term for the Japanese - "Nips" and even mentioned "all their children, who commit suicide," which caused indignation.
Maggie is of course Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, who, along with Argentinian dictator Galtieri, was the person most responsible for the Falklands conflict, which became the main theme of the album.
The strings part was created by Michael Kamen.
One Of Your Possible Pasts
The line about "cattle trucks" reminds us of how the Nazis transported the Jews, the Gypsies, homosexuals and dissidents to concentracion camps.
Gimour's guitar solo is one of the few compositions on the album not written by Waters.
The lyrics printed in the booklet contain a few lines that are not sung on the album.
One Of The Few
The main character of this and the following song is a teacher (probably the one we know from The Wall), who returned as a veteran from the war and learns to live normally again.
Originally, the name of the song was to be Teach. It is another example of "lists" being used as lyrics. The name refer to a famous quotation by Winston Churchill who said, when the Battle of England was over: "Never, in the field of human conflict was so much owed, by so many, to so few."
The Hero's Return
The Hero is tormented by flashbacks of the death of his friend, a bomber gunner, and finds it impossible to talk about it even with his wife.
The song was almost surely left omitted from The Wall and used here.
It is also the B-side of the single Not Now John, divided into two parts, I and II. Part II contains one verse that is not on the album. Unfortunately, the material used on the single did not appear on the later CD edition, even though there was a chance.
The Gunner's Dream
The gunner's dream and also the post war dream was a vision of the world without tyranny, fear and opression, where everyone could walk the streets, not afraid of the police or terrorists (in reference to the 1981 IRA attack on an army band in Hyde Park).
The saxophone solo was recorded by Raf "Baker Street" Ravenscroft and is considered one of the best moments of the album. Possibly it is because of this that the song is (as one of a few) acceptable even for Gilmour and the rest of the band.
The piece of lyrics that mentions "the corner of a foreign field" is borrowed from a sonet about WWI named The Soldier by Rupert Brooke from Grantchester:
Originally, the line was different from this:
"If I should die think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England".
The video EP starts with this song and we can see that the teacher's son died in Falklands. The Hero is portrayed by Alex McAvoy, who also played the part of the teacher in The Wall film.
We can see Roger's mouth when he speaks to his psychiatrist named A. Parker-Marshall (Alan Parker was the director of Pink Floyd The Wall and Marshall was its producer).
Simply put, this is a story of the Hero's midlife, when he turns to alcohol to get rid of his fear and painful memories.
The first half of the song is almost orchestral.
Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert
The second half of the album is opened by an example of a holophonic recording - the rocket us fired in front of the listeners, flies above their head and explodes behind their back. This effect is supposedly best when one stands right between two speakers (not headphones, they don't work that well).
Waters mentions some of the most serious armed conflicts of the age, from Lebanon and Afghanistan to the Falklands.
The Fletcher Memorial Home
The title refers to Waters' father, Eric Fletcher Waters, to whom the album is dedicated. In the song, Waters suggests that all the most powerful people of the world are concentrated in one "home" to be able to try their "toys" out on each other. Then the "final soltion" could be applied (the Final Solution to the Jewish Question was a Nazi term for the extermination of Jews during WWII).
Another excellent guitar solo was the reason that even Gilmour liked the song. The song is one of the strongest moments of the Video EP, which shows Napoleon in an oversized suit and also Thatcher with various Argentinian generals arguing about the position of a croquet ball while Winston Churchill just stands by.
Southampton dock has been the place from where British soldiers set off to wars, sometimes never to return again, and the Falklands war was no exception. The second verse again refers to Thatcher, as we can see from the changed second line ("the slippery reins of state") Waters used on his 1987 solo tour.
The Final Cut
In the film industry, the term "final cut" is used for the last editing of a film before the sountrack is added. With this song this is not the case, as the title refers to Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar. In the play, Caesar's last words before he is stabbed to death in the senate are: "the final cut was the most unkindest cut of all." Then he turns around to see who had inflicted the deadly wound and says the famous: "Et tu, Brute?" Brutus was Caesar's closest friend, who, however, eventually betrayed him.
One of the pictures on the CD sleeve also refers to the title. It shows Waters wearing a WWI uniform. He has a knife stabbed in his back and he is holding a reel movie under his arm. It is an allusion on film director Allan Parker, who "betrayed" Waters by not letting him play the part of Pink in Pink Floyd The Wall.
The song features a guitar solo by Gilmour.
The video EP shows black and white pictures of women working and having fun in different ages.
Not Now John
In this song we can hear vocal sung by someone else than Waters - David Gilmour. The author of the female vocal is not credited.
The song introduces a new character, someone, who tries to bury their head in the sand and not care what the world around is like.
The last line is repeated a few times, first in bad Italian, then in poor Spanish, then in French and finally in colloquial English, in reference to the British love for holidaying on the continent.
Not Now John was the only song to be released with different vocals and added choir as a single. The choir makes the song milder, using the word "stop" instead of "fuck." For that reason, the single was sometimes called the "polite" or "obscured" version.
The promo video shows a "typical English lazybones" bored at work, tired by having to compete with the industrious Japanese.
Two Suns In The Sunset
The narrator, be it the Hero or Waters himself, drives his car and watches the sun set behind the bridges and hills in his rearview mirror. Suddenly, he is blinded by another sun, a nuclear explosion. His tears evaporate and his eyes turn into charcoal. Waters then says that the one who fired the missile did not even have to see the faces of those he killed and did not have to listen to their wailing.
The children's voices probably belong to Waters' own children, Harry and India.
Andy Newmark played the drums, because Nick Mason had "difficulty finding a style Waters would like." It is hence possible that Waters recorded his last Pink Floyd song without anyone else from the band. The sax was recorded by Ravenscroft again.
Unlike the other Pink Floyd concept albums, this one's ending is dark and pessimistic. However, the irony of the last line (we were all equal in the end) gives hope to those who decided to continue with what was known as Pink Floyd.