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Roger Waters - The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking CD (album) cover

THE PROS AND CONS OF HITCH HIKING

Roger Waters

 

Crossover Prog

2.98 | 210 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer
1 stars Can you imagine how different music history would be if the rest of Pink Floyd, when offered the choice of doing this or The Wall, had decided to go in this direction? Maybe it would have ruined the band's career; Roger would have gone solo anyway, he would have had a mild comeback with a Gilmour-less Wall, and his solo career would be treated better by history. Or maybe Pros and Cons might have ended up a big hit in the hands of Pink Floyd, and it would have been as big a hit as The Wall has ended up being. I can't help but giggle a little bit at the thought that, instead of frat boys singing, "We don't need no education," they'd be singing, "There were arabs with knives at the foot of the bed!"

After finishing The Final Cut, Pink Floyd didn't even bother to tour the album, and Roger went straight into the studio to work on this. At this point, Roger was clearly convinced that, not only was he great than Pink Floyd, but he was so beloved and popular that he could take whatever abstract rant he had in mind, set it to a minimal amount of melodies, and the public would gladly take it and ask for more. Apparently, Roger somewhat succeeded in that vein, as this album has amassed a sizable cult following to this day. You know what, though? I don't care. This album BLOWS.

The instinctual reaction of a thousand Roger-holics may be to flame me with accusations of being a simpleton who only likes "catchy pop songs." This is, of course, a ridiculous claim, as any reasonable reading of my reviews will show that my tastes go far beyond such things. I also want to specifically point out that I often enjoy it when rock albums have obscure concepts, and I take enjoyment in attempting to uncover not only the superficial concept (or the plot) but also the deeper, "abstract" meanings behind them. Furthermore, I've found that it's easier for me than for most others to uncover the meanings of such albums: I understood the plot of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway after just two listens (and had a good grasp of the deeper, spiritual ideas within just a few more listens), and I've even glimmered meaning and substance from the majority of Yes' Tales From Topgraphic Oceans. It says something, then, that for the most part, I don't know WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON in this album. Apparently, it's a bunch of surrealistic dream sequences with a common theme of marital infidelity, rife with Roger's weird lyrical twists (though these are VASTLY inferior to his work in Floyd). At least the concept of The Final Cut, the pain of losing a loved one to war when you know that it won't mean anything in the long run, is something that a great many families can relate to. But this ... um, who exactly is supposed to relate to this? Well, I guess if you like to cheat on your spouse, but do you think about being attacked by Arabs in the process? Um. Guh. And fans of this here album love to go on about how Roger's emotions just poor out all over the place ... huh? I get a nice emotional twinge in the penultimate track, "Every Stranger's Eyes," but I can't get myself to care about the rest of this album's subject matter at all.

This could be forgivable with strong music, but compared to the ones on this album, the melodies on The Final Cut were Beatles-quality. In addition to liking that album's lyrics and concept a lot, I really liked some of the melodies, and there were a lot of neat twists that I enjoyed. Here, though, the only significant element in this album's favor is the presence of Eric Clapton, whose gimmick-free but emotionally charged and technically flawless style of playing is totally different from Dave's but sounds just fine to me. There is a lot of enjoyable guitar work on this album, and the fact that Eric's able to come up with so many good solos, given how little he had to work with in the "meat" of the songs, only speaks to his credit.

In any case, if you're a really big Roger fan, you might love this, and if you do, more power to you. But for the rest of us ... just stick to The Final Cut. Or even A Momentary Lapse of Reason ...

tarkus1980 | 1/5 |

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