Roger Waters beyond Pink Floyd

The Wall is a 1979 album by English progressive rock band Pink Floyd. It’s a rock opera that tells the story of the character Pink, a rock star who shuts himself off from the outside world and loses his mind. The album was proposed to the rest of the band by bassist and lead songwriter Roger Waters.

Waters had come before the band with two albums, one was to be completed with the band while the other was to become a solo project. What became The Wall was, of course, chosen to be completed by the band. The other proposed album went on to become Water’s first solo studio album: The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking.

Released in 1984, Pros and Cons tells the story of an unnamed man going through a midlife crisis. This culminates in a series of dreams that make up the album. In his dreams, the man goes on a road trip through California, during which he picks up a hitchhiker with whom he cheats on his wife. In an attempt to reconcile with his wife, he moves the family to the wilderness where they experience a slew of problems and he is eventually left alone. At the end of the dream, the man wakes up to find himself in bed with his real wife.

Pros and Cons is set in “real time,” with each being titled with a time stamp. The first song is titled “4:30 a.m. (Apparently They Were Travelling Abroad)” and the last is “5:11 a.m. (The Moment of Clarity).” If one were to start the album at 4:30, the final track would start at 5:11.

The album features an impressive personnel, most notably Eric Clapton of his own fame on guitar.

In my humble opinion, The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking is a better album than The Wall. The topics it explores seem more grounded and there is more musical diversity, with the 12-string guitar, a somewhat uncommon instrument, being heavily featured throughout. The album performed well commercially, being certified platinum in the USA. It is absolutely worth a listen if you haven’t heard of it.

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