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Roger Waters - Amused To Death CD (album) cover

AMUSED TO DEATH

Roger Waters

 

Crossover Prog

3.94 | 301 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FloydWright
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Before you dismiss this review immediately just based on my nickname, I want to make it clear that I have tried to review this album as objectively as possible. Where I had to insert emotional and personal perspectives, I've tried to mark them accordingly. Where things about this album were enjoyable or well-made, I've tried to call attention to them, because I do think there are aspects a person could like about this. That's why I haven't rated it lower than 3 stars...I have to acknowledge the high quality in certain respects. However, the matter stands that I think this just barely qualifies as prog (more like Bob Dylan than anything), it retreads over old opinions, and quite frankly may cross the line in the eyes of some, myself included. I finally ended up getting rid of my copy because I could tell I was never going to listen to it again.

But before I get into the reasons for that, let me tell you who should consider buying Amused to Death. First, if you consider yourself an audiophile, if you have a sound system that needs showing off, or if you're interested in music for its production aspects, I think this is a good album for you. Amused to Death is mixed in Q-Sound and rivals The Final Cut (nominally PINK FLOYD, but really ROGER WATERS) in terms of the quality of its production. All instruments and sound clips are positioned and mixed perfectly relative to each other, and you can't help but notice that even if you like nothing else. That alone earns a star for this album. The other major reason I would recommend Amused to Death is if you are an aficionado of Jeff Beck's guitar playing. He is nothing short of incredible, and this album was responsible for getting me into many other of Beck's albums. The highlights from Jeff Beck that I can recall offhand are "What God Wants", Part 1 and 3. The solo in Part 3 is especially heartwrenching. Otherwise, the music is quite passable, but nothing special.

The rest of the album I become ambivalent about if not outright irritated by, however. While WATERS sings well in some places, in others it's very clear that his voice is completely shot. The lyrics and concept, on one hand, are quite talented. It's very clear that a lot of thought went into them, as with most of ROGER WATERS' works. However, I think they go too far in many respects. First, there are many references that are so convoluted or obscure that it ends up subtracting from the album as far as most listeners are concerned. Secondly, while there is supposedly a concept (aliens observing the demise of mankind), it's not really made clear...the real concept, in my opinion, is political rantings, typically of an anti-American, anti-religious bent. (Yes, I know "What God Wants, Part 1" is not necessarily anti-ALL-religion, but I haven't ever heard WATERS have anything nice to say on the idea) And that is a point I'll get to later. The other thing I want to mention, before I deal with that, is how the personal touch sometimes evident in other works by WATERS like "If" and "The Final Cut" is not at all evident on Amused to Death except for "Three Wishes", which does make a nice change of pace, and I have to admit I don't mind that song at all. I rather like it, in fact.

There was a time when I was really, truly enamoured of this album, many years ago. I did not agree with many things that WATERS said, but I could listen in a very interested and detached way. However, that changed after the attack on America and the subesquent Iraq War. I know some will feel differently about these issues...however, for me, it made the subject matter much more personal, and I became aware of the intense hatred and hypocrisy in WATERS' words. It becomes clearer that WATERS is someone who has never overcome the wounds of Vietnam, let alone his personal past, and in trying to claim a wish for pacifism turns instead to the "bravely out of range" violence of words, which is equally hateful as a physical act. "The Bravery of Being out of Range" is one of the ugliest examples--he does not stop at attacking politicians, which is almost to be expected when one runs for office...but instead he continues and attacks the common soldier.

I daresay his father--who lived and died a soldier against the forces of Fascism--would've been quite ashamed of that indeed.

I know others will not agree with this...and I HAVE tried to give as high a rating as I can even with this, but I feel I need to say it.

FloydWright | 3/5 |

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