"The Final Cut" as written by and Roger Waters....
Through the fish-eyed lens of tear stained eyes
I can barely define the shape of this moment in time
And far from flying high in clear blue skies
I'm spiraling down to the hole in the ground where I hide

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 (what's behind the wall)

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?

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?

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 but just then the phone rang
I never had the nerve to make the final cut


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"The Final Cut" as written by Roger Waters

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Final Cut song meanings
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  • +11
    General CommentThis was my anthem in adolescence. As I get older, I realize it might be everyone's. The story relates just about every insecurity we face through life. It is a song about being jaded so badly that one can't even enjoy the most beautiful of moments ("Far from flying high in clear blue skies/I'm spiralling down to the hole in the ground where I hide").

    Roger Waters lays out the whole thing for us, starting with a guilty child who "makes love to girls in magazines" and wonders, "could anybody love him." He builds up an array of defenses, described in vivid detail at the beginning of the second verse, "If you negotiate the minefield in the drive ... "

    Finally, when faced with possible love later, he is so suspicious and distrustful that he is incapable of the feeling. He can "barely define the shape of this moment in time." He wonders, "If I show you my dark side, would you still hold me tonight?/If I open my heart to you and show you my weak side/What would you do?"

    This song basically sums up the entire previous Wall album in a beautiful and haunting picture of loneliness.
    ballzofsnoon April 26, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think those who believe the lyrics were speaking of commiting suicide (raised the blade) are missing what roger was speaking of. what the song was dealing with was roger's failure (fear of and failure to) to reveal his true self to his wife and showing his true feelings.
    because his youthful experiences with pornography had given him a perverted sort of perspective on what a real relationship between a man and a woman should be. in his failure to be truly honest and reveal his true self to her---he lost her. partly to her religious conversion.
    this song speaks to her in religious terms asking her get past his defenses and knock on the priest's door and if he's in----he'll show her what's behind his wall. that the real reason for his failure was how his early life was shaped. that made his fearful of truly opening up to her and showing his dark side. fear that she would not love him if he did.
    what he was speaking of when he raised the blade was making a final commitment to bare his naked feelings----to tear the curtain down. to stand naked before her, but ingrained fears are powerful and when he was distracted by a call from something else-----he turned from that decision and then (as it usually is) he never had the nerve to make the final cut.
    this is my favorite roger waters lyric. like many others I also see correlations with my own life growing up. a person's life is shaped in their childhood. that does not mean that a person cannot later change the shape of their life, but that like roger raising the blade (and making the final cut from his old self)---- the deceitful and fearful heart tends to give in to an escape route.
    like the bible says:
    "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
    xssgssxon October 28, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always saw it as Roger on the verge of suicide, reflecting on his life. Since he and Caroline went their seperate ways, that's probably what it means by "would you sell your story to rolling stone" and the other lies. Even though he's no longer with her, he still cries out for her. Anyways, that's my interpratation.
    BrainDamageon August 24, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti agree with ballzofsno. i think this is one of the best floyd songs.
    doodeon January 08, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHe knew there was trouble coming as soon as she closed the door.
    He knew that as soon as walked home, through that dreaded and only route, he would be bullied by the neighbourhood gang. His childhood was always like this. He was the boy people all picked on.
    He walked, faster and faster, until he stopped at the sign, the sign that told him he was about to die. He rounded the corner and sure enough, the boys on their bikes spotted him, and rode over. They circled him like sharks after their prey, like vultures waiting for their victim to die, so they could pick his bones clean. The leader rode off, straying from the pack of wolves they were. He put his bike on the stand and walked between two of the bicycles, which had now slowed down, their eyes transfixed on his terrified face. You couldn’t see much of it, because it was covered by the tall, bulky adolescent looking over him like a giant spider about to strike, ironic, as the fly was trapped by the web of bikes.
    He tried to run, but on of the bikes caught his foot under the wheel, the rider fell off and instantly, they all jumped off theirs and left them lying there as the boy scrambled up and ran for cover.

    Through the fish eyed lens of tear stained eyes
    I can barely define the shape of this moment in time
    and far from flying high in clear blue skies
    I'm spiralling down to the hole in the ground where I hide

    The bullies beat him, and beat him, and beat him, he was bruised and battered and could hardly walk. He lived, like he did each week. He had been visiting his elderly grandmother, who was dying of cancer. The nurse was staying with her, and answered all house and phone calls so she didn’t have to get out of bed, this is who send the boy back home, as his grandmother needed her rest. Each passing week he became numb to the pain, building up resilience, but each week the beatings got worse, his mother didn’t care. She was too busy with her numerous, and always drunk, boyfriends to care about her only son.

    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 what's behind the wall

    The boy was always alone; he had no friends, no life outside his bedroom, always on his own doing his own thing. He amused himself by creating characters in his mind and placing them in far out scenarios. He was often seen at the bus stop, sitting there, smiling to himself, completely alone. He had no solution but to create a better life inside his own mind.

    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

    The boy grew up. He became a man, and got married, and had children. He had a good adult life, but his life had no good adult. After his terrible childhood, the memories of the beatings, the death of his grandmother which sparked off new ways to torment him, he left home. He walked for hours, days, weeks, he walked until he found a girl. She helped him recover. They fell in love.
    He drank too much.
    He was violent.
    She was scared.
    She was beaten.
    The children were abused.
    He was sent away.
    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

    Mildew on the walls. Peeling wallpaper. Ripped furniture. He sat alone. He was depressed, like every previous day of his life, albeit a few. The day he left home. The day he met her. The day they were married. The births of his children. He had nothing to do, except create perfect lives in his mind. This soon wore off. It wasn’t like it used to be, he knew what life was like now, he had nothing new to imagine. He slowly became angrier and angrier.
    Angry at the gang
    Angry at his mother
    Angry at his ‘friends’
    He picked up his guitar, threw it through the thin glass window. He picked up the small television and threw it at the wall. He sat in the chair in silence.

    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 but just then the phone rang
    I never had the nerve to make the final cut
    sambennallickon January 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWow, I only read this first page of comments, but have any of you listen to the ENTIRE album? Every Pink Floyd album is a story.



    This track focuses on the dead gunner from WWII and the Veteran Teacher from the Wall who was with him. It speaks of the teacher's overflowing depression and struggle.


    Through the fish-eyed lens of tear stained eyes
    I can barely define the shape of this moment in time
    And far from flying high in clear blue skies
    I'm spiralling down to the hole in the ground where I hide



    The person speaking is the Veteran teacher from The Wall, who is crying over his life and the memory of the Gunner who fell from his plane to his death over hostile German territory. (Listen to Gunners Dream) This is what "Far from flying high in clear blue skies" is referring to, however he is FAR from them because the war is in the past and he's no longer there, yet he is still falling into great depression over it. Hence the spiraling hole. (The hole in the ground could also be a double meaning for the trenches used in the war, adding more imagery to the memory of the gunner.)




    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 teacher has become such an introvert over time with the memories of his fallen comrades and depression that he has built a wall around himself (listen to Paranoid Eyes). The first half of the stanza is a metaphorical defense system that a person would have to fight through in order for him to open up to them. Mines in his driveway, guard dogs, security systems, shot guns in his hallway, then to open a tiny preisthole in a door and if by some miracle he is in that day, THEN they MIGHT get to know what is in his head.



    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?



    The kid is him, obviously, idk if the masturbation is referring to the loneliness he is currently in with his abusive wife (known from songs on The Wall album), or the loneliness soldiers feel while at war.
    He wonders if this ungrateful world is at peace with what they have done and find comfort in all the people dying and in what the war stood for.
    Then he returns to himself wondering if anyone could love a man such as him, or is it all just a crazy dream, referring to the Post war and Gunners dream, both separate tracks on the album.



    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?



    This is a rather self-explanatory verse, obviously he is scared that if anyone finds his dark side with all it's troubles and torment, that they will reject him or take advantage of him and abuse his trust by making him a tabloid.



    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 but just then the phone rang
    I never had the nerve to make the final cut



    The last stanza is him swallowing and resisting his raw feelings and fear. I'm not sure what the curtain is, perhaps it's going back to his metaphor of his overly guarded house, and by taking the curtains down he is exposing himself a little by committing suicide. The last two lines are easy.



    If anyone really wants to understand this song, or any other Pink Floyd song for that matter, you have to listen to the ENTIRE ALBUM. They are all stories and all the songs and even albums have similarities and references to each other. You cannot just listen to them separately.





    Stryder16on July 18, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentawesome summary, ballzofsno!

    it seems that the character in this song feels that there is something wrong with him. paranoia means having the facts, which indicates to me that he has had someone close to him leave him or ignore him. perhaps this has led to the conclusion that his personality was intimidating or unstable. therefore, he has become distant and protective of his emotions so as not to let the mistake happen again. it seems that he wants to open up to his lover, but he is afraid that she would leave him as well
    piperatthewallon August 24, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe song is more 3rd person. The character is about to slit his wrist but at the end he loses his nerve and never makes the "final cut"
    usa-1on April 17, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is about me :(
    doodeon February 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAside from this being a great song, there is a great deal of meaning in the last section "thought I oughta.."

    I'd be interested to know what the "held the blade in trembling hands... didn't have the nerve to make the final cut" means... He only went half way in his confession there...

    Judging from the words, I would think he is talking to his wife.

    But you can't take out of context that he knew he was going to disappoint a lot of fans, and perhaps even knew he was throwing away his Pink Floyd career. For her? Probably. For himself? Maybe. For me? I'd like to believe so.

    It must be difficult to find emotion 3 years after writing an album like "The Wall", and its metaphysical consequences... But Roger beat the odds, and found it here.

    The cost was losing his LSD fans, and his "Sunshine", but he gained a fan in me.
    lyricstudenton March 12, 2005   Link

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