Anime

Review: Listeners Episode 6 Special Edition: Pink Floyd References

Introduction: Why a Special Edition?

I had intended for this to be just an extra, special section in my regularly-scheduled Best of Show review of Listeners, but as I got into it, I realized something. If someone was happily reading an article expecting my typical celebration of anime and ran into the jarring contrast that is my relationship with Pink Floyd, at least I’d confuse folks.

At worst I’d upset them. I really don’t want to do that.

So, in this post, I’m breaking out my thoughts on Pink Floyd through the lens of Listeners episode 6. If you prefer to keep on the positive side of life, please do stop reading now. I’m not saying this gets crazy or anything, but I’m briefly turning my filters off. So it might get awkward.

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

What’s Pink Floyd to Me?

Roz said of course Echo was in pain. How could he be otherwise? He’s in a world seen through the clarity of the Pink Floyd lens. Capture from the Funimation stream.

Listeners episode 6 was an… interesting episode for me personally. You know all that talk about me trying to build an anime site that celebrates anime? It’s like what I said in that editorial I wrote about having to make a conscious decision to stay positive about anime — because otherwise, I’d find myself on a less than desirable mental path?

Well, this episode reminded me of the time before I made that commitment. It reminded me of what’s just beneath the surface. And to be honest, I was a little surprised: I didn’t know my mental defenses had worked so well. I hadn’t remembered any of that for the last six months. I doubt I can count that as progress, though.

I listened to Pink Floyd a lot during my darker times. Oh, who am I kidding? I know the lyrics to every Pink Floyd song from Dark Side of the Moon to The Final Cut… And damn, the track called The Final Cut… The lyrics that start:

If you negotiate the minefield in the drive
And beat the dogs and cheat the cold electronic eyes
And if you make it past the shotgun in the hall
Dial the combination, open the priest hole
And if I’m in I’ll tell you…

The shot gun blast still shocks me, and I’ve listed to that damned song a hundred times. But that’s nothing compared to the last lines:

Echo had to lie to µ so she wouldn’t know that just by being herself, she was killing him. Is that real life or what? Capture from the Funimation stream.

I held the blade in trembling hands
Prepared to make it but just then the phone rang
I never had the nerve to make the final cut

Was the phone ringing a blessing? A curse? A random happenstance? I suppose that depends on what the writer made of his life after that phone call.

But as personally dark as that is, it really doesn’t compare to the song Sheep. It might be the most concise articulation of my world view of any song ever created by man.

What do you get for pretending the danger’s not real
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel
What a surprise
The look of terminal shock in your eyes
Now things are really what they seem
No, this is no bad dream

Do you want to know the punch line? In the quiet times before dawn, I still think that song was hopelessly optimistic.

Still wonder why I tried to start a site to focus on the positive?

Bleating and babbling we fell on his neck with a scream
Wave upon wave of demented avengers
March cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream

Yep. Obviously too optimistic.

To quote Sheep, “I’ve looked over Jordan, and I have seen
Things are not what they seem
.Capture from the Funimation stream.

It’s amazing to me that the darkness the engulfed me 30 years ago is still so near the surface. I think they lie when they say time heals all wounds. It only throws a thin layer of dirt on top of it. Just a little wind, or a big rain…

You know, I’d intended just to list a couple of the references here. Looks like some of the demons I locked up are getting a bit pissed…

Pink Floyd References in Listeners Episode 6

Anyway, regaining control of my own post, here are some particularly interesting Pink Floyd references from this episode:

The Wall

The Wall that surrounds Gnome evokes Pink Floyd’s album of the same name. It’d be a novel-length manuscript to analyze how all aspects of The Wall interact with this story, and it would take it in a very different direction than the series seems to be heading. But I think the last lines of Outside the Wall, which is the final track, are pertinent:

And when they’ve given you their all
Some stagger and fall, after all it’s not easy
Banging your heart against some mad bugger’s wall.

Isn’t this where….

You’ll notice that the song doesn’t complete the last thought. Why do you suppose that is? I always interpreted it as there is no answer. Your walls come down, you’re exposed, and then… nothing changes. The world is still the world. All of the pressures that triggered the wall’s creation in the first place still remain. The dark is, after all, still the dark.

No matter what Roz does, her father is still an Earless. Jimi Stonefree is… well, wherever he is. The story for her hasn’t changed, despite a seemingly major development. So even with the wall collapsed, her life is still her life.

This is a typical reaction when someone sees the world as it is for the very first time. It’s no wonder some people take comfort in conspiracy theories. They can be rooted out. The nature of the world, though? Not so much… Capture from the Funimation stream.

Good Bye Blue Sky

Good Bye Blue Sky: The title of this episode was a song from Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I’d say it was a particularly poignant song, but that would be woefully imprecise for this album. The whole thing was packed with “poignant” songs. This was just one of many. The song’s concept — that in war, there are no winners, only death — really set the tone for this episode.

Pigs on the Wing

You know those cute, adorable pig-shaped balloons that they released in Gnome? Yeah, not so cute when you know the song Pigs (Three Different Ones):

Big man, pig man
Ha, ha, charade you are
You well heeled big wheel
Ha, ha, charade you are

Those are some of the more uplifting lyrics in that particular song. The Earless and the humans releasing those balloons could be interpreted as letting go of those tendencies. If that’s the case, this is probably the most hopeful image in the episode.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

Roz still used that Crazy Diamond to attract the Earless. Capture from the Funimation stream.

Crazy Diamond: Roz mentions “this Crazy Diamond that Papa made…” (14:54). That’s a direct reference to Shine On You Crazy Diamond, a heart-breaking little song (13+ minutes) that speaks of shattered visions. Or maybe it’s simply unattainable visions. It’s from the album Wish You Where Here. The thing about this song, which is consistent with most of Pink Floyd’s songs, is that while it evokes a near complete level of despair, there’s a faint glimmer of something. I wouldn’t call it hope. But it’s something akin to what Roz feels when she accepts µ (Mu) and Echo’s help. It’s a necessity where the only other choice is death or worse. So I have to wonder. Is that even a choice? Where is Roz, mentally and spiritually, at the beginning and end of this episode?

That Seemed a Letdown…

This was a bit of a selfish post. Watching this episode of Listeners triggered some memories and emotions that I thought I’d exorcised. Since they related to the reason I founded his site, I thought it might be interesting from an anthropological perspective.

In any event, I think this episode was deceptively light-hearted, given the heavy references. Please do look forward to my regularly-scheduled review of episode 6, which should be posted on this coming Tuesday.

Reviews of the Other Episodes

11 thoughts on “Review: Listeners Episode 6 Special Edition: Pink Floyd References

  1. All those references and probably more. “Gnome” might be a reference to the early song “The Gnome” still written by Syd Barrett, and I’m fairly sure the pyramid look of the Wall is a reference to the Dark Side of the Moon Cover. And those Pig balloons were famous stage props; I think I remember one escaping once).

    I just don’t think the references went beyond skin-deep in this show, and the better you know the songs the more it becomes obvious. They sort-of align some of the more obvious images and symbols, like “wall” or “blue sky”, but why is the crazy diamond an artifact that attracts earless? If they’re going with the actual song the cary diamond is Syd Barrett and he’s lost his shine. It would have been so easy to connect that to the earless somehow better? Maybe there’s just something I’m not getting.

    Pink Floyd is definitely the band I know best so far. Personally, I like the early stuff the most, with Barrett Floyd being my favourite. And I really like early post-Barrett songs, where they lean into psychodelia (“Set the Controles for the Heart of the Sun”). Among those I’ve heard, Pink Floyd have no real weak album, and there’s always tracks I like. The Wall is great, and I also really like Dark Side of the Moon. But I’m not really into the vast sweeping soundscapes they weave so well, and I while I appreciate Roger Water’s lyrics, they also don’t really resonate. I think that’s partly why I gravitate towards the Barrett era, with it’s free-flowing nonsense lyrics.

    My own attitude towards life? Time does heal all wounds, but it can’t regenerate damaged organs. The problem is, though, in the application of the metaphor. It’s too easy to cultivate an all-or-nothing attitude, and if we do, we’re almost certain to get nothing, because life’s very unlikely to deal with ideals. You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you do, and if you’re in a bad mood because of three times you didn’t, you won’t be able to enjoy it. The great tragedy of humanity is that surpringly often we’d rather pout than receive our blessings.

    1. “And those Pig balloons were famous stage props”

      That was my take, too. I obliquely referenced them in “Pigs on the Wing” and attributed them to Pigs (Three Different Ones). I should also have mentioned Pigs on the Wing Part 1.

      “but why is the crazy diamond an artifact that attracts earless? If they’re going with the actual song the cary diamond is Syd Barrett and he’s lost his shine. It would have been so easy to connect that to the earless somehow better? Maybe there’s just something I’m not getting.”

      I’m not getting it, either. Why does it attract the Earless? What’s the significance of Roz’s father making it for her?

      “Personally, I like the early stuff the most, with Barrett Floyd being my favourite.”

      I’m the reverse, with Roger Waters being my favorite. But I like almost everything they’ve done. Even post Waters and Barrett, some of the stuff from The Division Bell still, well, resonated.

      “Time does heal all wounds, but it can’t regenerate damaged organs. The problem is, though, in the application of the metaphor. ”

      Point taken. I feel like I’ve said this in different ways in several different and recent posts, but my approach has lacked subtlety. I think I’ve relied too much on abstraction with drilling down into what those abstractions represent.

      “The great tragedy of humanity is that surpringly often we’d rather pout than receive our blessings.”

      Whichis precisely why I’ve tried to celebrate anime here — trying to light the damned candle!

      1. ****Whichis precisely why I’ve tried to celebrate anime here — trying to light the damned candle!****

        I thought as much. I like the approach; it’s probably part of why I’ve chosen to reply here. (I take my time deciding whether to reply or not.)

  2. I have been trying to stay away from blogs in general and especially commenting on them since finals… but had to pop in to say that this was amazing!
    Nothing changes my attitude faster than music. I honestly do not know much of Pink Floyd’s music, aside from the usual mega hits. Thanks for diving in and sharing this.

    1. “but had to pop in to say that this was amazing!”

      Thanks — glad you commented!

      “I honestly do not know much of Pink Floyd’s music, aside from the usual mega hits. ”

      I think their most accessible work might be The Wall. It’s a solid, self-contained story. And if you really like it, you can watch the movie, which mind-blowing. And I don’t use that phrase very often.

    1. “Waters is such an insightful and biting lyricist, huh?”

      That’s putting it mildly. I think he looked into the heart of creation and came away changed. The only way he could deal with it was to turn it into song:

      And it’s too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around
      So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone
      Dragged down by the stone

      I’ve seen people destroyed by that very concept. I’ve lived my entire adult life in a way to avoid that danger — only to find that the path I took ended up in dangerous territory, too.

      I doubt there’s actually a safe path anywhere…

      I’ve always been one to prefer knowing the facts, even if they’re grim. Some perspectives challenge that conviction, but hey — isn’t that what life is about? Living our convictions even in the face of adversity?

      1. Agree, yes!!

        And maybe they’re only my convictions if they *survive* any adversity I must face?

        (Although, maybe that’s harsh – there has to be room to fall down and get back up again.)

        Still on Waters – did you ever see the ‘Classic Albums’ documentary on Dark Side? Where he talks about school (and much of life) being framed as ‘preparing for life’ when in fact life was always happening.

        That was like a lightning bolt for me when I heard that – I think I was 21 at the time and since then I’ve occasionally forgotten that lesson but these last few years have certainly reminded me of it.

        1. “Still on Waters – did you ever see the ‘Classic Albums’ documentary on Dark Side? ”

          No — and thanks for the tip! I found it on YouTube. I’ll have to make time for it.

          “Where he talks about school (and much of life) being framed as ‘preparing for life’ when in fact life was always happening.”

          Wow. That’s cool. Kinda puts the some of the lyrics from Time in a different light!

          1. Awesome, let me know if you get a chance to see it 🙂 Yes! After seeing the documentary and then upon my next listen of the album, I definitely had a new appreciation of ‘Time’, yeah

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