Roger Waters The Wall is the second theatrical film adapted from Pink Floyd's 1979 concept album The Wall, which makes this 2015 soundtrack the fourth official full-length rendition of Roger Waters' rock opera to be released. Surprisingly, Alan Parker's 1982 film never had an accompanying soundtrack -- its one original song, "When the Tigers Broke Free," appeared as a 7" but never made its way into live shows; as it happens, the 1982 film only existed because an attempted concert film fell apart (Is There Anybody Out There?, a 2000 double CD, excavated live recordings from 1980-1981) -- but that movie loomed nearly as large in the legend of The Wall as the original double album, crystallizing it as an anthem of angst. Waters eventually emphasized the opera's origins as the loss of his father in World War II. After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, Waters launched an all-star benefit show in 1990 (released as The Wall: Live in Berlin), a not unsubtle nod to WWII, and by the time he re-created Floyd's 1980 production as a solo tour in the 2010s, it had become a full-fledged, all-purpose antiwar piece. Most of the shift in message came through visuals and tone -- the only new song on Roger Waters The Wall is "The Ballad of Jean Charles de Menezes," an explicit antiwar tune inserted between "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2" and "Mother"; it also features "What Shall We Do Now?," excised for length reasons from the original double LP -- because otherwise The Wall remained the same, right down to its analog synth sounds and guitar solos. Occasionally, there might be a bit of a breakdown -- such as a bit of hard, gleaming funk during an extended "Run Like Hell" -- but there are no rearrangements, so Roger Waters The Wall could almost be mistaken for the original if it weren't for Nigel Godrich's precise, open production and Waters' disarming sense of geniality. Sour throughout Floyd and for a long spell afterward, Waters is settled into his skin as an older man, so comfortable he often performed his solo Walls with a smile. A grin can't be seen on this soundtrack but can certainly be felt throughout Roger Waters The Wall and that brings up an interesting point: it's possible to chart Waters' personal growth solely through these four full-length renditions of The Wall, hearing him transform from a dark, twisty rocker pining for isolation into an elder statesman longing to engage the world.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2