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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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lazland
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This LP is proof to me that the moniker Waters uses on his tours, "The Creative Genius of Pink Floyd", is absolutely well and truly justified. Far more interesting and complex than anything Floyd did after he left, and certainly more challenging than any of Gilmour's solo work, this dark and foreboding album is quite simply the work of a sheer genius, and you don't need to necessarily agree with his world view to appreciate it.

Dedicated to a soldier by the name of Bill Hubbard, the album does, of course, mainly deal again with the insanities of war and corporate life, both of which Waters has themed many times. He remains a man deeply influenced by the death of his father in WWII as a young boy. Yes, there is a large degree of bitterness in the album, but I really enjoy the dripping sarcasm inherent in all of the lyrics.

What God Wants Part I is a good point in question. Set to a very catchy and almost commercial tune, slightly reminiscent of Not Now John from The Final Curtain, Waters rants against the sheer hypocrisy of the religious right of America.

Perfect Sense Parts I & II provided some of the greatest live moments on his solo tours. Expressed in Dollars and Cents, it all makes perfect sense ranks to me as one of the sharpest economic and social observations in any genre, let alone progressive rock. The female vocal is quite stunning, and the sequence where the Amercian Sports Commentators simulate a nuclear missile attack is hilarious, in a very dark sense.

The Bravery of Being Out of Range is a rockier track which rails against the backroom generals and politicians who send young kids out to die from the comfort of their armchairs. It moves along at a thrilling pace, and is a musical highlight of the album, with thundrous drums and a heavy riff throughout, again rather reminiscent of later Floyd works such as The Wall.

The album settles down again in Late Home Tonight, and there are some interesting strings and acoustic guitars accompanying Waters talking, before sound effects again bring us the effects of a domestic and world crisis in the form of a huge rocket explosion. The strings, brass, and keyboards that accompany Waters heartfelt paeon to fallen comrades in Part Two is incredible.

Too Much Rope features some incredible guitar work from Andy Fairweather Low, whose contributions to Waters studio and live career as a solo artist is sometimes very much forgotten, and really puts paid to the fiction that Waters is a egotistical maniac with no thought for those around him.

Watching TV amuses, whilst Three Wishes again features some incredible female vocalisation accompanying Waters narration. Sound effects are again to the fore in much of this track, and there are some brilliant guitar bursts again.

And then to the last two tracks. I regard Its A Miracle as the finest track that Waters has ever written, and I include Floyd era stuff in that. Intellectual genius, with a very sharp satirical eye are all over this, and musically, the piano and keyboards accompanying him set a very dark background. Then, just as you think that the track is drawing to a close, one of the finest, but shortest, guitar solos ever put down hits you. It still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. There is also the most amusing Andrew Lloyd Webber dig (where the piano lid falls down and breaks his ****** fingers) that anyone will ever hear, and is essential listening to those British viewers sick to death of him on Saturday night TV.

Amused to Death, the title track, rounds things off, with the unsettling thought of an alien space ship captain looking down upon Earth recording that the western world human population has literally amused itself to death by a mixture of junk tv, and other media, whilst the remainder perished in the face of war, famine, and pestilence.

This is an LP where careful listening of the lyrics and the story are as, if not more, essential than the actual music itself, but that is not to underestimate the careful composition and professional playing that accompany the story.

It is a shame that this remains the last rock LP released by Waters, because I especially remain impatient for a follow up. I rate this as having five stars. Vastly underrated, and an essential purchase for every Pink Floyd fan who needs to realise that there really was life outside of the band.

lazland | 5/5 |

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