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Roger Waters - Radio K.A.O.S. CD (album) cover


Roger Waters


Crossover Prog

2.97 | 275 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I hear waves in my head...

Here is an album that marks a specific point in time and is oozing with nostalgia. At the end of the 80s Waters released this as a semi-concept album collection of songs connected by Dj announcements between pieces as though it was being aired on the radio. This was a time when cds were just coming in, music couldn't be stolen instantaneously from the internet, which did not yet exist. While this is the story of every freaking album to be released back in those days for some reason it comes through the clearest on this one. For someone who grew up glued to their favorite rock music station (even if there was a Napster in my day) it's not the music but the concept of this record that gives it the most personality and the most interest - even if the story ends rather darkly.

The music on the record itself is something of a mixed bag. Being that it was 1987 Waters was experimenting with the most poppy music that any Pink Floyd alumni would release, but being that it's Waters the music is still drenched in cynical overtones and a general distrust with humanity. There's a certain leaning towards the more Dire Straits kind of composition and vocal style on songs like Who Needs Information, but in general this is just Waters gone pop. As stated before, the best parts of the record are the story parts and reading along to the rather frightening ending that Waters was able to piece together despite the music being so upbeat. Radio Waves opens the album with a some light synths and a catchy chorus.

There's not a lot of music for the prog fans who enjoyed the old Pink Floyd material, but people who liked the more Waters oriented later material will likely get a kick out of this album. Some of the slower stuff on the album is reminiscent of those later albums, Me Or Him sounds like it could have been strait off The Final Cut with the subtle flute work and the screaming backing vocals. The album also features The Tide Is Turning (After Live Aid) for those familiar. If you don't know the song, this studio cut is quite a good one, although coming after the story it seems a bit out of place, unless you think of it as a reprise - although it will, really, always feel like a bonus track afterthought.

The dark material on the album will always be the best, though. Waters really does have a twisted mind, and that shows with songs like The Powers That Be - a dark opus that actually makes the best of the pop atmosphere. It's a shame that these songs are somewhat few and far between because an album made out of these kinds of songs would have really been something - although Amused To Death, which came out a number of years later, would be that album.

Ultimately this one is recommended to the fans of Waters and Pink Floyd completionists only. there's some very good material on the album, but in general it's not one that the average prog fan is going to listen to on repeat. However, if you want to see what Waters would sound like under the influence of the 80s then give this one a go.

Queen By-Tor | 2/5 |


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