By Vlad Popescu
‘The album starts with a bizarre, almost whispered sentence: “we came in”. But it ends on the same strange note, with the question: “isn’t this where…?”. This way, if you leave the album on replay and pay great attention, you will hear: “Isn’t this where we came in?”, structure that suggests the never-ending cycle of building and tearing down walls.’
This is what we would discuss after school, after my practices, or during weekends when I would stay home. Not even my departure from home at the beginning of high school interrupted that, since we live in the era of FaceTime.
My father took me to my first rock concert when I was in 6th grade. That day we watched Bumblefoot, the guitarist of Guns ‘n Roses, live. I did not grow to like Guns ‘n Roses, but music became part of me that day, and up to this date it is still ties me and my father. Sometimes I wish it were something more complex. There are sons who take their fathers’ jobs, sons who are out on a mission to honor their fathers, or sons who want to achieve exactly what their fathers have. I am none of that, but I never regret having such a simple thing that connects us, simply because it’s genuine.
Phase One of his influence on my taste was the Creedence, Led Zeppelin and Queen music he had on a memory stick. While in middle school I remember replaying any new song I would discover up to 5-6 times on the way to school and back home. I never thought one could listen to one song over and over again for a whole day, until the sound of “Bohemian Rhapsody” got to my ears.
This was relatively short, because it did not take me a lot to get familiarized with it. Once I heard it, I knew it was for me. Phase Two came very early, and I am glad and thankful that it happened that way, because I now realize how much it widened my capacity of understanding. Phase Two represented everything that the band Pink Floyd means. Up until that point I have only heard my father talking about Pink Floyd, and the only sound I was familiar with was the omnipresent “we don’t need no education” chorus. What my father did was give me some background on the story of the album “The Wall”. After that, we listened to the full album and watched the album’s movie together. It is probably still one of the most horrifying experiences of my life. Bob Geldof’s portrayal of a star, a ghost, and a spirit built by his past, all in the same person, is something worthy of the highest praises.
After not being able to peacefully sleep for a few nights, the album’s psychological depth made me understand what this band really means. Eventually, I started to discuss the themes of isolation present on the album with my father. For months we talked about his Pink Floyd listening experiences in high school, about lyric meanings, and about their instrumental mastery. During this time I would go on to discover “Animals”, “Meddle”, “The Dark Side of the Moon”, and others.
Phase Three was me getting into heavier styles of metal music that my father does not listen to. However, no phase really touched what Pink Floyd means to me, especially the way my father presented it.
I am now getting closer and closer to college, but every time I listen to an album and discover new things in it, I still feel like a 6th grader listening to “The Wall”. From that point on I started to associate every Pink Floyd album with a stage of my life, and there is no way to fully describe how well they fit.
Since I started high school and left my country I feel the absence of our music conversations in person, and now that I am almost a university student, I sadly realize there will be less and less of those.
What is annoying is that I cannot do that forever, because I wish I could. But maybe this way we cherish the limited time we get more.
“And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun
But it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death” – Roger Waters
The author of this essay is a high-school student at Tallulah Falls School , GA, USA