Attempting to squeeze out any talent left before the swift guillotine of death cuts it short, psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd released its final (and ironically titled) album The Endless River last week. True to its original ambient sound, Floyd’s The Endless River surprises listeners by indeed ending with the single “Louder than Words.” Voiced by David Gilmour, “Louder than Words” is the band’s acknowledgment of the limitation of spoken language—it is the only song in the album to use vocals.
The single’s accompanying music video begins with views of clouds blanketing low-lying mountains. As ambient church bells jingle, a young man on a rowboat is seen paddling through the clouds toward the rising sun. As his vessel cuts through the drifting haze, the young man casts his eyes below in wonder as countryside passes by. After visual segments of the band members play, he continues his voyage, passing over what is now the dried-up lake of the Aral Sea. (In the 1960s, the Soviet Union diverted many area rivers for irrigation, almost completely drying up the sea.)
As the young man passes over, we are brought close to observe the state of poverty that many families in the area are forced to live in following the devastating loss of the lake. As the scene progresses, an old man demonstrates to a group of wide-eyed children how a boat moves through water. The children, too young to appreciate their tragic situation, race out into the dried lake bed where the carcasses of shipwrecked boats lie to play out the romantic lives of fishermen. In the face of poverty, the wonder and innocence of the children communicates something “louder than words,” making the song’s video a worthy endeavor for the rock legends.
Featured Image Courtesy of Columbia Records