This song is one of my very favorites...if not favorite by Roger Waters. It typifies much of his song writing in that he puts to poetry and music the events of his life. As he says in the lyrics---"thought I oughta bare my naked feelings" - "thought I oughta tear the curtain down".
The final cut lyrics evokes many correlations to my life as well and I think it is also true for many fans of Roger's and Pink Floyd in general. I once heard a quote by David Gilmour saying that Pink Floyd lyrics deal with abstract concepts....and that is often true, but with "The Final Cut", the storyline is more literal and tells a tale of the disintergration of a person's marriage.
I've read that this album is all Roger and that is abundantly clear in this song as well. I will attempt to give my thoughts on Roger's words....tho I must confess ignorance on how much is literally from Roger's life and how much is lyrical license....I hope my endeavors are not offensive, nor in error with the facts of Mr. Waters' life....they are merely the impressions I get from his lyrics.
The Final Cut tells of a man who's life and marriage has fallen apart. He finds himself weeping and trying to grasp the meaning of what has become of his life. "Through the fish eyed lens of tear stained eyes...I can barely define the shape of this moment in time". A person retreating to a place of solitude and reflection----of emotional isolation, " I'm spiralling down to the hole in the ground where I hide." To protection behind his defenses from hurts....a place that takes great effort to reach and see the real him.
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 priesthole
and if I'm in I'll tell you what's behind the wall
The passage above shows how he has all the defenses one can have to protect himself from others intruding into his privacy---his isolation. This does not mean he is not still functioning in the world, but that his defenses are strong and his true feelings are hidden away....in an almost religious sanctity. "Dial the combination" and "knock on the priest's door and if I'm in....I'll tell you what's behind the wall" shows that tho he is hurt and is hiding his feelings----he secretly wants someone to listen and understand.
there's a kid who had a big hallucination
making love to girls in magazines
he wonders if you're sleeping with your new found faith
could anybody love him
or is it just a crazy dream
He relates that in his youth he gained a false sense of what it is to love a girl. Seemingly in his failure his wife has turned to religion and left him...alone. He "wonders if you're sleeping with your new found faith
and if I show you my dark side
will you still hold me tonight
and if I open my heart to you
and show you my weak side
what would you do
would you sell your story to rolling stone
would you take the children away
and leave me alone
and smile in reassurance
as you whisper down the phone
would you send me packing
or would you take me home
Here he admits to himself that he has not shown her all of himself....his dark side - his weak side. He questions whether she would reject him if he did show her his true self....or if she would embrace him with love? Loving the whole person....weaknesses and all? Would she sell him out or merely smile assurances as she slowly ends the relationship? "and smile in reassurance as you whisper down the phone".
thought I oughta bare my naked feelings
thought i oughta tear the curtain down
I held the blade in trembling hands
prepared to make it fresh
but just then the phone rang
I never had the nerve to make the final cut
When I first heard this passage I thought he was speaking of thoughts of suicide----, but now it has a different meaning to me. The first lines give an entirely different slant to this section. "bare my naked feelings" and "tear the curtain down" indicate that he has reviewed his life and decided his marriage failed because he had not opened up to her and shown his honest feelings...had not truly revealed himself to her. As the process of inner examination comes to it's climax---he gathers the courage to "tear the curtain down". As he "raised the blade with trembling hands" some calling from the world distracts him from that determination and he "never had the nerve to make the final cut".