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Roger Waters - Amused To Death CD (album) cover

AMUSED TO DEATH

Roger Waters

 

Crossover Prog

3.94 | 293 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Anything for a laugh

Roger Waters third solo album after leaving Pink Floyd finds him still mining the seam which created albums such as "The wall" and "The final cut". The opening guitar chords of "The Ballad of Bill Hubbard" may be by Jeff Beck, but they echo David Gilmour's familiar opening sounds, with a lilting, lazy feel. The addition of spoken word also harks back to "Dark side of the moon".

Waters is in good form though, the album having a fluidity to it which sets it apart from his previous solo efforts. His penchant for instrumental and vocal themes which gently tumble down the scales comes across in many of the tracks. "Perfect sense", "Bravery of being out of range", "Watching TV", etc., all feature this easy on the ear type of melody. The music is as ever generally doom laden, or at least downbeat, with little opportunity for a heads down boogie or anything so crude. Lyrically, the album bears the hallmark cynicism and political commentary which has become the trademark of much of his work.

Waters surrounds himself with highly accomplished musicians here, who undoubtedly serve to take the album from the potentially mediocre to a set of high quality performances. The aforementioned Jeff Beck contributes exemplary guitar work throughout, but it is PP Arnold who unquestionably steals the shown. Her intrusion on "Perfect sense" (singing a tumbling melody!) is simply breathtaking.

The contributions of other well known artists may be less striking, but they are nonetheless essential to the overall quality of the product. Andy Faithweather-Lowe, a stalwart of Water's "In the flesh", may be playing second fiddle to Beck, but his guitar playing provides a solid basis for the entire album. Don Henley (Eagles) and Rita Coolidge (singer of one of the finest of the James Bond theme songs) provide backing vocals on one track apiece.

It is perhaps Water's own contribution which is understated. Songwriter, bassist and vocalist he may be, but albums such as this with its lengthy list of supporting artists, only go to show that he is essentially a band musician and something of a fish out of water in a solo environment. This is emphasised by the occasional dip in quality control, with a couple of the tracks being overlong or simply dull. In a band situation, such indulgences would have been quickly curtailed. For example, the album appears to be concluding as "What God wants part 3" reaches its climactic conclusion, but we have a further half hour of closing tracks before the end is finally reached.

In all, a well produced, impeccably performed album. Only the occasional weakness in the song writing department prevent this from being acclaimed as a true masterpiece.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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