Pink Floyd is as influential a band as they come. From their years with the enigmatic Syd Barrett, to their years with Barrett's replacement, David Gilmour, a guitarist extraordinaire who rode the gravy train of Pink Floyd's most productive years, this band has earned their revered place among rock and roll's greatest.
After the releases of essential catalog albums — The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals — the band turned to the double album to further conceptualize the depressive works of mankind. On The Wall, they produced 26 tracks, an unusual undertaking considering the brevity of their previous albums. Those 26 songs explored the choking atmosphere of politics and isolation in our lives, usually via the viewpoint of Roger Waters, who wrote most of the music and lyrics heard on The Wall.
There is no need to go over the material here as the album is extremely well known, especially among the Pink Floyd faithful. With insightful songs like "Mother," "Comfortably Numb," "Is There Anybody Out There?", "In The Flesh," and "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2," The Wall was a charting success, loved by many. When the album first released, I found the set to be interestingly different from their earlier works. While I liked it, it still took a back seat to their previous issues. Still, The Wall has aged very well over time and has grown on me immeasureably.
With the new release of several editions of The Wall, each with varying depths of material, this album is once again (like Floyd's other remarkable works) in our field of vision. The Experience Edition contains two CDs with the complete album, and adds in a third CD with unearthed Works in Progress (demos of the songs, some that ended up on the album under different names, and a few that did not make the album cut at all). What you gain from this third disc is, as always, a high respect for the artistic process. What starts out as recognizeable works in progress become polished, shining jewels in the end result.
The three discs are housed in a high-gloss digipak in a tri-fold wallet style. Inside, the memorable artwork from the album (and movie) are seen depicting the monstrous authoritarian figures often found at the unreachable (and unavoidable) areas of our lives. The accompanying 28-page high-gloss booklet contains the lyrics of The Wall, credits, track listings, and more artwork, but lamentably, nothing else. While that might be meaningless to some fans, others might have enjoyed a new essay about the album with new peeks into its creation; I know I would have been appreciative. The set itself is protected by a slip-cover made of the same high-gloss cardboard material.
The essential point of this new re-release of a classic lies in the remastering of the music within. Remastered by trusted Pink Floyd board magician James Guthrie, this reissue sonically shines. For some of us, that's all that is necessary — to be able to hear Pink Floyd brilliance ever better than before. This 2011 remaster by Guthrie does not disappoint. This makes the acquisition of The Wall in its several forms (Experience Edition/Immersion Edition/ the all-inclusive Discovery Edition) a satisfying — and essential — thing to do.