“Pink Floyd The Wall” is one of the most celebrated rock operas of all-time. Many of its songs (“Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2,” “Comfortably Numb,” “Hey You,” “Mother,” “Run Like Hell”) are staples on classic rock radio, but in my mind the best song on the album is “Nobody Home.” At the point where this song appears, the protagonist has alienated everyone who ever endeavored to care about him and he’s sitting alone in a trashed hotel room with absolutely nothing keeping him grounded to sanity. While some of this is due to a crappy childhood, most of his current state is due to his own poor choices, much of it drug-induced. He’s completely alone, realizes he’s blown it ,and has nothing left. The song conveys the last clear rational thoughts the protagonist has before he gives way to complete madness and nihilism. Oddly, this was the last song composed for “The Wall” when guitarist David Gilmour and producer Bob Ezrin challenged Roger Waters to write one more song for the album. It’s a good thing he did. The humanity of “Nobody Home” makes what happens later that much sadder and horrifying.
Natalie Maines’s beautiful and moving cover of Pink Floyd’s “Mother,” performed live on the Howard Stern Show earlier this month. The stellar studio version is available on the “West of Memphis” soundtrack.