Artists don’t necessarily fall in love with every song they produce. Musicians pour countless hours into songs, but not all resonate with each member. Pink Floyd is a testament to this artistic tug-of-war.
Throughout their musical journey, Pink Floyd’s members never shied away from candidly expressing their feelings about their songs. For instance, in their early days, many harbored reservations about ‘Atom Heart Mother.’ However, the real pressure began mounting once they solidified their position as music legends.
After their monumental success with Dark Side of the Moon, Roger Waters aspired for something grander. Wish You Were Here became his ode to the former bandmate, Syd Barrett. Transitioning from this, he turned his gaze to the dark underbelly of the music industry with tracks like ‘Welcome to the Machine’. The album Animals then saw him drawing parallels between business magnates and characters from George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
Waters’ ambition reached its zenith with The Wall. This ambitious double-album project, steeped in personal experiences, became a colossal endeavor that tested the band’s unity as they rallied behind Waters’ vision.
Even as Waters was the primary songwriter, he was candid about some of the songs not meeting his own high bar. Pink Floyd, known for its avant-garde progressive music, had Waters feeling that the starting riff of ‘In the Flesh’ was a tad too simplistic.
This song, setting the album’s tone, is a triumphant yet uneasy number. Waters, reminiscing on its creation, mentioned seeking a “loud, monolithic, dumb” sound.
Though not intricately designed, the riff epitomized the monotony a rock star might feel, playing the same notes night after night. The track, though grandiose at the album’s onset, later morphs into a dark representation of the protagonist, Pink, descending into onstage chaos.
Post The Wall, Pink Floyd’s stadium fame saw a resurgence, but it was short-lived. Waters soon embarked on his solo journey after The Final Cut. With The Wall’s core theme exploring the confinements of fame and success, ‘In The Flesh’, especially Waters’ sentiments towards it, can be seen as a precursor to his eventual departure from the band.