What Shall We Do Now?

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"What Shall We Do Now?"
Song by Pink Floyd
from the album Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81
Released18 April 2000
Recorded1978–1979, 14 June 1981 (in Live)
Length
  • 2:10 (Empty Spaces)
  • 3:15 (What Shall We Do Now)
Songwriter(s)Roger Waters

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"What Shall We Do Now?" (working title "Backs to the Wall") is a song by English rock band Pink Floyd, written by Roger Waters.

It was originally intended to be on their 1979 album The Wall, and appeared in demo versions of The Wall, but was omitted[1] due to the time restraints of the vinyl format. In its place is a much shorter song, titled "Empty Spaces", which segues directly into "Young Lust". This was a last-minute decision; the album's sleeve notes still feature the song in its track listing, and include its lyrics.

The film[edit]

The song was featured in the film version of The Wall,[1] coupled with an animated sequence by Gerald Scarfe. The animation — described by Roger Waters in the DVD commentary as "The fucking flowers!" — starts with the image of two flowers, a rose (the male flower) and a lily (the female flower) caressing each other. Synchronized to the music, the flowers both have sex (taking the shape of a human couple doing so) with the rose at one point is shaped like a penis, and the form of the lily is of a vagina. The flowers got into a fight (while two white doves flew away) forming into dragon-like beasts, and ultimately ending with the lily consuming and destroying the rose.

The flower sequence ends as soon as the first lyrics ("What shall we use...") are sung. The female flower, now transformed into a pterodactyl-like creature, flies into the distance as a row of high-rise and commercial buildings appears. These however turn out to be the wall of many post-war goods such as cars, electronics, motorcycles and yachts which slowly surrounds a "sea of faces". As the wall speeds up into "Shall we buy a new guitar?/Shall we drive a more powerful car?...", the animation becomes extremely morbid. Faces of people caught in the wall screaming, flowers turn into barbed wire, a baby suffers a metamorphosis and turns into a reptilian humanoid and then into a Neo-Nazi fascist who bludgeons the head of a man who appears to be emaciated, with his brains splattering on a wall formed around him. The wall destroys through a cathedral and the rubble builds into a casino-like neon temple which produces more and more bricks. A rag doll (representing Pink) violently contorts into an array of objects relating to the materialistic and troubled nature of Pink's wall: a voluptuous nude female form, dollops of ice cream, then back to the female shape and into an MP-40, a hypodermic needle, a black Fender Precision Bass guitar, and a BMW M1. The sequence ends as the ground rises into the form of a fist that becomes a hammer (a hammer that would reappear in the animated sequence of "Waiting for the Worms").

Personnel[edit]

  • Roger Waters – lead vocals, bass guitar, synthesizer
  • David Gilmour – guitars, backing vocals
  • Nick Mason – drums, percussion
  • Richard Wright – piano, synthesizer

Live[edit]

  • "What Shall We Do Now?" was performed at all concerts on Pink Floyd's The Wall Tour,[1] and so appears on Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81, released in 2000.
  • It was also included in Waters' 1990 The Wall Concert in Berlin, performed by Waters and Bryan Adams, and appears on the album The Wall – Live in Berlin, released later in 1990. Due to the song's omission from the original Wall album, and the lack of a released soundtrack for the 1982 film, this album's recording was the first officially released audio version of the song.
  • Waters also performed it on his 2010-13 The Wall Live tour, and it subsequently appears in the Roger Waters: The Wall concert film and live album.

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Manning, Toby (2006). "Soundtracks, Compilations & Bootlegs". The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 227. ISBN 1-84353-575-0. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png


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