Halftime for The Wall.
“Goodbye Cruel World” is the last song in the first half of The Wall, appearing at the end of Side 2 on the vinyl format and the end of programme 1 digitally and on CD.
The track goes all the way back to Water’s original demo and was changed very little throughout production.
The wall is complete. This is where Pink checks out. Although “Goodbye Cruel World” has sometimes been misinterpreted as a song about suicide, it’s actually about the last moments before Pink shuts his “self” out from the rest of the world. Pink has built a metaphorical wall around himself from all the “bricks” in the first half of the piece. It’s a song about emotional isolation.
This very short, simple track isn’t necessarily the final brick itself, but within the story, it’s when the final brick is placed and Pink’s wall is complete, isolating himself from everyone else. In the live shows, this track ends the first half of the show as the final brick is placed and the wall is sealed. The song ends cold and the arena goes dark, completely separating Pink/Roger Waters from the audience.
Sometimes, the track is incorrectly interpreted literally, as in ‘it’s the part of the album where Pink commits suicide.’ Among the album’s many themes, The Wall is not about Pink’s death. It’s about life, pain, and incidents large and small throughout our lives which cause us to build a wall around who we are in an effort to protect ourselves; in actuality, each brick isolates ourselves just a little more from those who care about us. In Pink’s case, the bricks start as incidents throughout his life which contribute bricks to his wall. By “Goodbye Cruel World”, they have taken their toll and Pink finally and simply “checks out,” hidden and protected behind the wall of emotional bricks that he’s been building all his life. Behind the wall, no one can get in. No one can reach him there. No one else can hurt him. It’s a metaphor for the walls we all build to a certain extent to survive emotionally.
Never released on a single or one of the unobscured promo discs. This is one of the deep album cuts which propels the narrative forward.
And, it’s also halftime for The Wall.
The Wall: Immersion edition – Work In Progress (2012). Some of the early band demos feature a slightly different melody than what was ultimately released and they are interesting to hear in the context of the evolution of the work as a whole. There are no edited extra lyrics, no deleted guitar solos. This quiet track changed relatively little.
Last Update: October 15, 2016