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:
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 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
- Review: Listeners Episode 1: Live Forever
- Review: Listeners Episode 2: Half Man
- Review: Listeners Episode 3: You Made Me Realise
- Review: Listeners Episode 4: Teen Spirit
- Review: Listeners Episode 5: In the Embrace of the Beat / When Doves Cry
- Review: Listeners Episode 6: Special Edition: Pink Floyd References
- Review: Listeners Episode 6: Goodbye Blue Sky
- Review: Listeners Episode 7: Day of Rage/Problems
- Review: Listeners Episode 8: Real Me
- Review: Listeners Episode 9: Freedom