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Roger Waters - Amused To Death CD (album) cover


Roger Waters

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Actually , the best thing from any Floyd alumni or Floyd itself since the Wall. This was quite a surprise and the title had me worried that this would be somber than Kaos but I quickly realized that although no GonG album , this had the same cynical humour than Hitch-hiking. One cannot help but feeling that if he and Floyd had joined forces instead of tearing themselves apart, and a combination of Division Bell and Amused To Death had been combined , this would have made a gigantic album . Instead we have two good albums but this one is very much under-rated as Bell is slightly over-rated.
Report this review (#29210)
Posted Monday, April 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This recording remains today one of my all time favorites. Although this is an exceptionally dark and forboding album it does contain some of the most brilliant and thought provoking progressive material ever. This album has been recorded using the Q-sound Canadian technology (so too did FISH - "Sunsets On Empire") and offers incredible sound seperation. Roger is joined by some incredible musicians and guests. Jeff Beck add plenty of amazing guitar parts, exceeding anything that Gilmour had ever put to record in my opinion. Rogers surrounds "Amused To Death" with some of the most powerful lyrics ever written. Highly recommended!
Report this review (#29212)
Posted Tuesday, April 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is a masterpiece. It is better than The Wall in my opinion. Fantastic music, brilliant lyrics. All performed by a bunch of top notch musicians - Jeff Beck, Rabbit Bundrick, Andy Fairweater-Low, Jeff Porcaro... and boosted by guest appearances of vocallists like PP Arnold, Rita Coolidge and Don Henley. Essential for any Pink Floyd fan!
Report this review (#29213)
Posted Monday, April 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is the best album by Roger Waters. He uses here the technology to produce an OUTSTANDING record. Do you realize that the keyboardist is Patrick Leonard, the same guy who played keyboards for Madonna in the eighties? Leonard produces here brilliant, serious, addictive & very atmospheric textures, which have nothing to do with his previous work with Madonna. Like he did with Eric Clapton in 1983, Roger Waters hired here Jeff Beck on the electric guitars: it is absolutely impressive: he plays many visceral guitar solos, especially the ones on "What God wants part 3": the last solo is among the most POIGNANT ones in the music history: just play it LOUD! Beck's refined & clean guitar and Leonard's atmospheric floating keyboards begin as soon as on the spacy first track: "Ballad of Bill Hubbard", a very dramatic & ambient track reminding very much the Beck's "Where were you" track on his "Guitar shop" album. The National Philharmonic Orchestra provide the very subtle background classical arrangements, like on the "Late home tonight part 2", which has a beautiful "military award" ambience. This record is recorded with the Q-SOUND technology: Waters still uses TONS of special sounds: water drops falling into a sink, heart monitor evoking a flatline, exploding bombs, crying baby, TV sounds, whiplashes on horses and passing Christmas sleigh, contact of glass bottles, firing, dogs barks, crickets sounds, old man's narration, old telephone ring, car door closing, passing cars and train horn sounds, among others; those sounds must be heard using HI-FI products! Waters still uses many female lead & backing vocals: Katie Kissoon, Doreen Chanter and even Rita Coolidge, whose tender lead vocals on the "Amused to death" track are VERY addictive. Most of the tracks are excellent, except there are only 2 less good songs: "What God wants part 1" and "The bravery of being out of range": they are more straightforward hard rock oriented with incisive electric guitar riffs. If you listen to the lyrics on the hard to bear "Watching TV" track, you will notice that this song is for the memory of an Asian woman who died on TV. As the tracks go by, it seems the music tends to more floating and atmospheric moods, more keyboards oriented, especially on the 3 last tracks. The ambient "3 wishes", has dramatic & very sustained piano notes, CLEARLY evoking FATALITY: impressive! The "It's a Miracle" track is a total GEM: it starts with an ethereal background organ and a melodic & solemn piano a la Arena's "The crying for help 4"; Waters recorded some Quebec young boys playing hockey: one can notice a young one say: "Eille, les gars, elle a touche a la barre", talking about the hockey puck that touched the net pole; Leonard's weird keyboards effects and moog-like solos are OUTSTANDING on this track; it ends with a POIGNANT combination of a solemn choir and a nervous & emotional electric guitar solo, played by Beck the king. The last track is probably the best one on this record: "Amused to death" contains ethereal and VERY subtle electric guitars and keyboards. Rita Coolidge's duo with Roger is particularly impressive; this last track contains ambient New Age elements: I have rarely seen a more FLUID & atmospheric track than "Amused to death"; there is a heavy bit where Roger expresses how he sees the society: he is pretty right: he indirectly points the nowadays reality shows and violence shown on TV, which seem to amuse people: to AMUSE them TO DEATH; I know another band who condemn TV: "Visible Winds", and their "Face a la television" song. This serious album is another great gift from music!


Report this review (#29225)
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a real masterpiece of Roger Waters, I have got this album since it came out and I am still enjoying it today! I always found that the sound of the cd was so perfect when I discovered something after I upgraded my Hifi set. When I studied the cd booklet more closely I found out that it is recorded with "Q-Sound"! I don't have a clou what it means but the cd sounds incredibly good!

This album is always excited when I play it. When you have a good Hifi set in your home then this album is a must for al music and lyric lovers!

Report this review (#29216)
Posted Saturday, July 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars it's a fantastic album, i don't think jhat comparisons with PF albums are good in this place but i must say that power of this music is much bigger than on all postWaters Floyd albums.Jeff Beck-incredibleP.P.Arnold fantastic, lyrics-sad but true, music draws a pictrues in your mind.Masterpiece(Ballad of Bill Hubbard, Perfect Sense,It's a MIracle, Amused To death, What God Wants p.1,Bravery of Being out of Range)listen to it
Report this review (#29217)
Posted Thursday, July 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is really 2.5 stars, mainly for the excellent lyrics. The instrumentation is lacking, however.

First off, I'd like to clear up a few common misconceptions about this album. The first is the meaning of the "What God Wants" trilogy of songs in the album. Many people take this to be Waters' biased attack on organized religion. But, in context of the album, I don't think that's what it is. Some of the things listed as being "What God Wants" are not even relevant to the song, so it seems. "God wants chain stores? No way! Waters must be an atheist," is the first reaction. But on closer look, the song is about what PEOPLE say God would want. Example: George Bush saying,"God is on OUR side. He wants us to go to war. He supports US, not them." or "God wants YOU to send in money for OUR cause. He wants YOU to make a contribution." It is the blatant use of God's name to further a single cause. If you read the New Testament of the Bible, you'll find that God is the ultimate neutral. He is neither on one side or the other, neither US nor THEM. He loves everybody. That's what this song is about: the use of religious fundamentalism to further a cause.

That out of the way, I'll get started on the rest of the album. The music here is very dark and night-ish. The lyrics are absolutely amazing, Waters' best since "The Wall." It opens with "The Ballad of Bill Hubbard," an excellent minimalist instrumental backed by Alf Razzell's story of WWI and a hard descision he had to make. Then it enters into a roaring rock song, "What God Wants Part One." Probably the best song on the album, it and Part Two. Just remember what it really means by God (right-wing fundamentalist's use of God to further their cause), and you'll love it (if you like concept albums and are a lefty in politics) It's as misunderstood as "Another Brick in the Wall Part Two."

Next up is "Perfect Sense Parts One and Two." The first song is pretty good, but you have to understand the lyrics to like it. Otherwise it sounds a bit awkward, with all of the metaphors it uses. Part Two is better. Then it's "The Bravery of Being Out of Range." A great rock song about 1984-esque/neoconservative mindset about war. Then it's on to "Late Home Tonight Parts One and Two" about the mindlessness of a pilot ("no questions, only orders") as he bombs the enemy, inadvertantly killing innocent people. Part Two is his return home to be hailed as a hero, much like a football star would be after he wins the game for his team.

"Too Much Rope" is a mediocre song, followed by "What God Wants Parts Two and Three," more about people's useage of God's name to further causes and the confusion of outsiders at our activities. "Watching TV" is a pretty good song, about how people who die on TV are more important to those who watch than others less famous who died for a cause just as noble.

"Three Wishes" and "It's a Miracle" are the reasons this album isn't five-star. Boring musically, lyrically mediocre. It closes with "Amused to Death," a great closing song for a great album. The song ends with a 1984 reference in Alf Razzell's final thought about Bill Hubbard's death as told in the first song.

Overall, an nice album from the greatest member of ex-Pink Floyd, but lacking instrumentally. Buy it if you are left-wing and really enjoyed "the Wall". I personally think very much like Waters, except that I have a much more optimistic view of the world and am less experienced in lyrics (although I'm told I write great short stories). Buy this album if you think like Waters and his world view, etc. Hope this review wasn't too political.

Report this review (#29219)
Posted Wednesday, August 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The best album to come from a ' Floydian/s' since The Wall. This is an essential masterpiece and even Waters says, this, The Wall and Dark Side Of The Moon are like a trilogy in a way and conceptually you may well agree with that. The album starts with the ' Battle Of Bill Hubbard', the moving story of the desperation of trying to save a comrade in the battle lines, the failure of saving him and the having to live with the ' whatever happened to Bill Hubbard?' question for many years. It is very moving and made more so by Jeff Becks brilliant guitar work. The album moves along at a steady pace with the ' Prefect Sense' songs and ' What God Wants' themes. All the time angst, self ridicule and cynicism run deep. The only way Waters knows how!The background theatre between sets is magical. Ways of life portrayed in mere conversations, the sound of a jet flying over a hedgerow...the sound of a hangman's rope going taught on 'Too Much Rope'. Don Henley is on lead vocals on ' Watching TV', the moving story of the world famous live killing of the Chinese student in Tiannamen Square. All this through the portal of TV..get it yet, amused to death? For me the final three songs are what distinguish this masterpiece and set it on such a high pedestal. ' Three Wishes' begins with a South African mother relaying how she gassed her three children to death.The pain of humanity, the cruelty, the torture and torment of so many but thanks to media we are almost numbed by the news items that crash into out living rooms day after day. Musically ' Three Wishes' is stunning and if ever there was an album where Waters returned to the more mainstream Floyd sound then this is it.' It's a Miracle' is very sarcastic in content, again musically very slick. Waters manages some humour here joking how an earthquake managed to cause a piano lid to come down and break Andrew Lloyd Webber's fingers!A farmer from Ohio manages to repay a loan, A Brazilian grew a tree, a Doctor in Manhattan saved a dying man for free....It's a miracle....' Amused to Death' finishes the album off. A nine minute classic, lots of cynicism and sarcasm as usual from Waters but delivered in a very real, poignant and moving way. The album ends with the soldier realizing that upon seeing Bill Hubbard's death certification on a war memorial, how now all his doubts were complete and his mind could be put at rest. Bill Hubbard was at rest. Amused To death is a defiant but beautiful potrayal of mankind and the terrible mess it is in. As always though Roger Waters manages to leave a thread of hope in his works somewhere. An epic work in every sense.
Report this review (#29220)
Posted Saturday, September 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars Roger Waters is a talented force in rock, but would be better served and produce better work if he quiit pissing and moaning about war. Hey Rog! We got your point four albums ago, how about some more along the line of Pros and Cons or Radio Kaos.

More interesting, better sound and less predictable.

I've long been a fan of Pink Floyd and followed Roger Waters beyond Floyd, but it's time for something new and definitive.

His rantings are stale and without originality. He could do better.

How bout it? Are you up for the challenge.

Report this review (#29221)
Posted Monday, December 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#29223)
Posted Monday, March 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cluster One
4 stars I've avoided reviewing this album for quite some time now, not because I disliked it, but because there is just TOO MUCH to say about it. Deep, rewarding, thought-provoking and reflective, it is by far Mr. WATERS solo masterpiece. It is not even my most-favourite album by WATERS ("Pros & Cons" is), but I do recognize its significance. It is just not something to be taken lightly.

"Amused To Death" is an audiophile and philosopher's "Wet Dream" (Rick Wright reference). Musically, it is full of textures. Whether they come from the dream-like state of Bill Hubbard in the initial album track, or from HAL the computer in the Kubrick 2001 Film samples, or from Jeff Beck's guitar on 'What God Wants - Part 3", this album is extremely rich in texture.

There are a number of good rock tracks that 'stand alone' and can be enjoyed out of the album's conceptual framework: some good examples being 'What God Wants - Part 1' and 'The Bravery of Being Out of Range'. As good as they sound musically, you don't have to dig very deep to find WATERS' criticism of today's organized religion and military conflict (The First Gulf War in particular).

"Amused To Death" is also closely associated with Stanley Kubrick's film (also Arthur C. Clarke's book) "2001: A Space Odyssey". Read and watch both and you will gain a better appreciation for/of the themes presented in WATERS' magnum opus.

"ATD" has been referred to by WATERS himself as the third and final part of his "The Wall"/"The Final Cut" Trilogy. Although closest in form and feel to FLOYD's "The Final Cut", "ATD" can, and should be enjoyed/appeciated/revered on its own. Just don't expect to "get it" on the first go 'round. As with any lyric-heavy prog rock piece, read the lyrics and give it about 20-25 spins, and it should start to sink in.

Not for the faint of heart, or the weak of mind. Think CONCEPT, and multiply it by ten. A thinking-man's record, and an underappreciated gem. 3.5/5 stars

Report this review (#29226)
Posted Sunday, April 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars First of all i must say this was my fav Roger solo album for a long time. Still, it is very far away from being a masterpiece, it is a nice work, and if i was making this review some months ago i'd clearly give this album 4 stars. Now though i think this deserves 3, mainly coz it could have been much better and it has some really weak and annoying parts. Despite the horrid boringness of some songs (Watching TV and Too Much Rope anyone?), it has some great moments. It starts with a really trippy instrumental, this song is surprisingly probably my second favorite one from the album. When i listen to it i feel like i am in an astral voyage, the guitar work here is excellent, definitely a great opener (much more superior than Cluster One, from P.F.'s The Division Bell, though i love it as well). Then, it leads to another great rocking and cacthy track, the first one of the 'What God Wants' trio. I was pretty shocked with the lyrics when i first read them at the album's booklet, but then i was informed that it is actually talking about what human beings do and put the 'fault' on God for their actions. This only shows how amazing and creative Roger's mind is. After this great moment, we have other 2 amazing tracks: Perfect Sense pts 1 and 2. Now, PP Arnold HAS the voice! Her vocals kill Roger's pretty weak ones (he seems to be having an orgasm at the first lines of pt2, but let's just forget it...) - signs of Roger's ageing, we'll never hear vocal works like the Sheep ones again = (. But even though his voice got weaker, his lyrics remain amazing through the entire album. After pt2, we have the horrid Bravery of Being Out of Range. The instrumental is vey annoying, i just can't stand this kind of music. Fortunately, it ends to give space to the decent Late Home Tonight pt 1. It is a good track, though its sister is very weaker and everytime i listen to Rog saying "Hey boy, you're a hero, take this cigaaar" i feel like scratching my stomach to see if i can get a pain worse than the one my ears get when i listen to that line. Too Much Rope is a boring song, that i usually skip, fortunately What God Wants II comes and starts in a awesome way, with those very catchy lines along with the backing vocals saying the chorus, which will lead to more nice lyrics by Roger. Part 3 is very different from its two sisters, and it is very good, the best of the 3 parts, it has a Gilmour esque guitar solo that really brings back some wonderful Floyd moments. Roger's vocals weirdly get decent here, compared to some of the other tracks. I guess this is my fav track from ATD. Too bad that after the best comes the worse...Watching TV is: annoying, boring, weak, mediocre and it has those horrid lines saying "we were watching tv, we were watching tv" #$$%@!!!! Surprisingly this can be worse than the ''hey boy, take this cigar" part. To save the album, Three Wishes arrives. It is a very good song and very creative as well. Has some great moments, and it is one of the outstanding ones from the album. It's A Miracle is another strong momment. That keyboard intro is very moving, and i get touched everytime i listen to it. Plus, that guitar solo at that cosmic ending is so awesome that i dont get why so people consider this song 'boring' (though i respect their opinion, everyone is entitled to them). The last song is a bit weak, and i think it is an unnecessary one. I think that It's A Miracle would be the PERFECT closer, mainly due to the short though touching guitar solo.

It has some amazing moments and very weak ones, therefore this album is a great Roger's try, and worthy having, though it is not even close to be a masterpiece as i considered it some time ago.

Report this review (#29228)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amused to death, is definitely a masterpiece lyrics and music. What a delicate control and balanced music ! Most auditoriums have a copy for a high end audition ( or test ). Enough strong when it has to be and just smooth enough , all to bring a very rich and unique relieve amazing to achieve. CD that appeals to sensibility. "It ' s a miracle" that some of us are still able to appreciate instead of being "amused to death". Realistic, let´s just look around. Is the genius Roger Waters going to surpass that work ? Exceptional.
Report this review (#29229)
Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars now we see who mr pink floyd is!"by the way which one's pink"?is the question he asks in have a cigar;it is you rodger!it would have being a huge floyd sucess im sure,he is a lyrical wizard so clever and witty,the idea in what god wants is to me pure rock philosphy.we all ask why does god leave bad things happen,is it because he wants them to?everything is in this album,the bravery of being out of range is bush,tony blair,ha what an assault!he deals with rasicism,nuclear war,nature,entertainment,its all in here folks,turn up your stereo and listen to a rock masterpiece!
Report this review (#29231)
Posted Sunday, May 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I really do enjoy this album. I find it a lot better than The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking, as well. The lyrics are dark and brooding, the guitars (by one of my favorites, Jeff Beck), the bass, the keyboards, it all makes a great mixture and really creates a great experience. While it does not sound like Pink Floyd, it certainly is a unique sound. This album is truly Waters at his cynical best, sniping every little aspect of the government.

Songs worth mentioning are the Ballad of Bill Hubbard, an amazing and breathtaking instrumental with some of the best Jeff Beck guitar work. Perfect Sense is an outstanding two part song, with a great and catchy chorus in the 2nd part, and great vocals from PP Arnold in the first part. It's a Miracle is a slower, more atmospheric track that has some of the best post-Floyd Waters lyrics. The Bravery of Being out of Range is a great rocker, with a great riff, and great vocals from Roger. The lyrics in this song are a great example of Roger trying to fit more syllables than necessary into a verse, but it still sounds great. The final song, Amused to Death, is a great rocker as well.

Overall, I was very impressed with this piece of work. Roget Waters has had a hit/miss solo career, and this one is a hit to me. I recommend to any Pink Floyd fan who wants to delve into the solo careers of its members. 4/5

Report this review (#29232)
Posted Wednesday, June 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars

I bought this album just a few weeks ago (6/20/05). With the deluge of junk on the airwaves I have been lost in my 70's collections of albums for the last 25 years. Having visited a few sites related to Pink Floyd I stumbled across a myriad of positive reviews for the album Amused To Death.

I had not heard of it. So I proceeded to buy the album thinking it would probably rate at best to be a C album. I was emphatically wrong. If this album was done under the Pink Floyd moniker it would have hailed as an equal to the Wall and possibly Dark Side. It would have sold milliions of copies. Is it just me, or can you sense the DNA of Pink Floyd in the lyrics, sound, mood and feel of the album. I simply love this album.

I know Gilmore was and is great! But Roger takes no back seat either. Can you imagine this album redone by Pink Floyd. Then again, how do you improve upon Beck's guitar playing. Anyway, enough fantasizing.

If you like Pink Floyd, there is know way you would not like this album. I rate it 5 stars. I might have rated it 4.5, but the option does not exist. If there is any negative, Roger's voice seems to be diminished from the glory days.

Report this review (#38968)
Posted Saturday, July 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Musically, "Amused to Death" continues down the general path Waters has traveled since "The Final Cut" - muttered verses, gigantic choruses prominently featuring female voices, and epic guitar solos (provided in this case by the legendary Jeff Beck). At this point, the formula isn't as fresh as it was back in the early '80s yet is utilized to better effect than "Pros and Cons" and "Radio KAOS."

Thematically, however, the album remains just as fresh today as when it was first conceived. Given the Iraqi conflict, reality television and our worship of celebrity, Waters' condemnation of mass-media and the government is all too relevant these days.

Report this review (#49567)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This, in my opinon, Is one of the greatest albums produced. In order to agree with me, you would probably need to like the final cut, which was basically a waters solo. Waters albums are so great because of the stories they tell, and this one has a great story. I would Def recomend this album to anyone who hasn't heard it, floyd fan or not. Its Great.
Report this review (#64964)
Posted Monday, January 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Without doubt, my favourite album of all time, fantastic lyrics, atmospheric songs, fantastic solos from jeff beck.

Some personal highlights, What God Wants P3, the way the song builds, fantastically dark, beautifull solo, the end to parts of the story that has been running through the album, it almost brings a tear thinking about this song.

Watching TV, at first this is the song you will listen to the album for, a reflection on what happened in Tienamen Square, simple chords, but portrayed so well, fantastic acoustic song.

Amused to Death, Quite simply, the best title track on any album ive ever heard, it brings together all that the album has been saying, and portrays it in such an emotive way,

Without doubt, if you like any floyd, especially the darker albums, then this is for you


Report this review (#70703)
Posted Monday, February 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very very solid solo effort from Mr. Waters. I actually enjoyed "pros and cons of hitchiking" (mostly thanks to Eric Clapton spectacular guitar work). But this album is much darker and deeper. Moreover, this is the strongest album among all former Floydians (maybe only "On An Island" can be compared but it's very different). The album is a very typical Waters work with great lyrics, top-notch production and a concept. I cannot say that there are some great musical explorations and experimentations but the total impression and the "feel" of music is simply great. I doubt that this album is for everyone and I cannot recommend it to Floyd fans. For those who likes dark lyrics and atmospheric music - highly recommended.
Report this review (#73294)
Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A brillinat album that, had it been preformed with Pink Floyd, would have outdone "The Wall" and perhaps even rivaled "Dark Side of the Moon"

A houmoursely cynical album about the desensitization of the human race and how we sccumb to the mass media, "Amused to Death" paints a vivid picture of what could very well happen to us in the near future.

An interesting note, "Radio KAOS" was written during the cold war, portrays war as an immenant threat and the potential cause of death of civilization

Five years later, the Berlin Wall has fallen down and the collapse of communism in Russia destroyed the threat of nuclear holocaust, and now, in Waters eye's, war is too become a source of entertainment, showing some deep instinct in humanity that we have a need for violence.

"The Ballad of Bill Hubbard" is a nice opener for the album and sets up the mood of the piece, a man recounts a time when he had to abandon a dying friend in order to get out of a war zone. This sad peice is then blown apart by the following track "What God Wants". Probably Waters' second-best solo song, this track bashes religious leaders who think they know the "what God wants", i.e. "God is on OUR side" or "GOD SAYS abortion is wrong" etc, etc

"Perfect Sense 1 & 2" is another odd Waters song with some very blunt lyrics, think of the album cover while listening to this. I think the whole album is from the monkey's point of view as he watches TV

"Bravery of Being out of Range" is a cool rocker about how we enjoy watching wars being waged on television and how many times we fight the wars from long distances to. The title is ironic.

"Late Home Tonight 1&2" and "Too Much Rope" contain some of the best vocal preformances by Waters (except for "the Tide is Turning"). Watch out for the complex symbolism. A good song when you get into it

"What God Wants parts 2&3" carry on the message of people using God's name fore thie own cause, but aren't as fresh as Part 1

"Watching TV" one of my favorites from the album, as I love the punchline at the end. The song is about a Chinese Girl who dies on TV in Teineman Square. An emotional ballad, that once you begin to fill some sympathy for her, Waters comes right out and says everyone feels this way "because she died on TV". A very good point

"Three Wishes" and "it's a Miracle" both carry very good points but are a little dull

Finnaly the closing title track is the best part of the album. It paints a vivid picture of aliens finding us dead around our TVs, symbolizing that we have been turned into unemotional zombies by the mass media. A nice ending to a great album

Report this review (#79126)
Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another dark, cynical, and utterly socialist outlook from Roger-Dodger. Whille I don't agree with his politics, I must admit, I love his music. He is unique in his ability to write the most biting and depressing lyrics. The way this album opens and closes with the haunting voice of WWI veteran Alf Razzell talking about the death of his friend Bill Hubbard, is just brilliant. A tip of the hat to Roger's own father, no doubt. Also, the way he captures Razzell's last lines on the album, "That would have been the year 1984, . . . .1984". Fade to black. Wow! Think of Orwell and the Pink Floyd album Animals. Very clever Roger!!! As for the songs, "What God Wants (parts 1-16)" - great!; "Watching TV". . . . "and they turned Formosa into a shoe factory called Taiwan" - again - brilliant; another great line - "I just love those laser-guided bombs, they're really great for righting wrongs"; and also, "God wants slow towns and God wants pain, God wants Clean-up Rock campaigns". Lots of other goddies in here. And oh yeah, JEFF BECK. The best ever cameo appearence by the devilishly brilliant Mr Beck. No one comes close to him. I think Roger wanted to stick it in Gilmour's face, petty perhaps, but I don't care. Beck is amazing. This is not a masterpiece, but pretty darn close.
Report this review (#84386)
Posted Friday, July 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is Waters' masterpiece, Jeff Beck's guitar work is amazing and Roger Waters' lyrics are just Beautiful. The Vocal work, both by Waters and various chorists is done excellent and flawless. The topic of the album is great it is very political and emotional. The whole album is a journey that makes you think about your life and society. What god wants pt 1, 2 and 3 are a great critic to governement in a cynical way. Overall I like this album almost as much as The dark Side of the moon, and I think it is even better than The Wall and many previous works with Pink Floyd, and it is better than Gilmour's albums and Pink Floyd's latest albums.
Report this review (#84961)
Posted Thursday, July 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars The emphasis on this album are the vocals and the lyrics. So it's a bit of a shame that Jeff Beck doesn't get to show off his skills more. I prefer great instrumental music to great lyrics any day, but...this is something very special. I can't get over how good these lyrics are, they are so sarcastic, so critical, so funny, so wise. Roger takes a lot of shots at people, and groups of people, and he doesn't pull any punches. Andrew Lloyd Weber is probably still holding his jaw, ha ha.

"The Ballad of Bill Hubbard" sounds so much like a PINK FLOYD song, the guitars and samples. Jeff Beck really shines on the first two tracks. He lays down some scorching guitar on "What God Wants part I" This song rocks out pretty good, and the female vocals are great. Waters is criticizing all the groups of the world who claim God supports their interests."Watching TV" works very well with Don Henley from the EAGLES contributing on vocals.Terrific tune. "It's A Miracle" is a very emotional commentary on our society. I was blown away by all the lyrics in the liner notes, i've never seen so many words for one album.

This is Waters best solo release and well worth checking out.

Report this review (#95716)
Posted Wednesday, October 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
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.

Report this review (#103732)
Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Year that frame the challenging and clear demonstration of WATERS to demonstrate that he is a great composer and who has surpassed that called stage PINK FLOYD, with this album demonstrates the interpretativo and lírico power to us, in this disc can be seen clearly that those sounds disappear to create a so present and powerful conceptual disc that it surprises to me today, a vision of being able and characterization of the daily life and the found emotions, with a very good sound and traditional passages that will surprise the Floydianos, because to my to seem this disc most progressive it is never created by WATERS with a power that cannot be digested of a single one edge 72 minutes of power that are not easy to listen, like in the case of WRIGHT it surprised me of on way the point to think that he was somebody different one from that listened, very powerful progressions at the end of the cut make see me that this gentleman will follow effective in this progressive passage, forced for which they have the open mind and an unforgivable piece for any progressive head.
Report this review (#111580)
Posted Saturday, February 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Amused to death is a boring album, really; The hystorical context, when the work was written by Roger Waters, coincided with the Gulf war in the first years of the nineties...and as usual Floyd ex bassist wrote down in music his own socialist ideas against it. The real problem with this album is the impossibility of the audience to be coinvolved so much with what the album is dealing with, something which didn't happen with "The Wall" and in part with "The Final Cut", where the main themes (alienation, isolation, desolation after a war, and so on) were, and are, common to a lot of people. This work here is simply a political manifesto, which try in some passages to coinvolve the listener using some kind of "Waters deja vu", I'm referring to TV sounds, in this case symbol of how the masses are alienated by the media, same thing as "The Wall", but of course, as I said before, the result is totally different, in fact in this case this is only a pretest to fill the evident void present in this album, which the only argument is politics .

The music is not so good, even though Waters had on his side some great talents like Jeff Beck, Steve Lukather, John Patitucci: the other great problem with this album basically is the lack of valid musical ideas, it's not casual in fact that the same musical piece is used several times, with lyrics changed, from time to time (What God Wants P.1 and P.2)... Interesting "The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range" simply because is the only track that has some kind of capability to involve the audience, anyway from a "Rhytmical" point of view... Most of the songs doesn't really make sense, not on the musical aspect, nor on the lyrical aspect (Too Much Rope, Three Wishes); quite boring and repetitive "Watching TV". In adding: the global sound of the work doesn't recall Floyd sound so much.

A bad album, boring, cold and not worth the buying, not counting that is not prog at all.

1 star.

Report this review (#114420)
Posted Wednesday, March 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Doctor, there is something wrong with me?"

ROGER WATERS' second solo effort again, like PINK FLOYD's "Animals", uses animals as a metaphor for people. This time, it is, ironically, a monkey watching television. The album has some of my favorite lyrics of alltime, however, like PINK FLOYD's "The Final Cut", is musically weak. Again ROGER WATERS revolves around the same themes, albeit slightly musically stronger. My favorite songs on the album are probably the 'What God Wants' trilogy, as they are probably the heaviest. If you like PINK FLOYD'S "The Final Cut", or "The Wall", or ROGER WATER'S other solo material, I recommend this album to you. Otherwise, I think you'll find it boring. It could have done well as one song, but putting the idea of AMUSED TO DEATH into an album leaves too much room for music, and there's not enough of it.

Report this review (#117755)
Posted Monday, April 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Anti-War Concept album .

For sure, this is Waters' masterpiece - at least for me personally. Looking at the theme of this album which was dedicated to Private William Hubbard (1888 - 1917), Eighth Batalion of the Royal Fusiliers, City of London Regiment, this must be a very emotional album for Roger Waters. Who cares with what has happened in the past? At lest, Roger does! As my spiritual guru taught me: "If you wanna succeed in life, you have to understand history and learn people characters, comprehend them and take the best parts with you and know how to manage the worst parts when you deal with people with such behaviors", history means something for me. Oh yeah, I don't read a lot about history but it does not mean that I don't care about history. For one thing, Mr Waters taught me through his wonderful compositions that history does mean a lot!

Why liking this album?

It's better to start with what this album means to me. First off, when I looked at this album displayed at local music shop in Jakarta, I was in doubt on whether or not to purchase it. By the time I was not into internet heavily so the information about this album was not available for me. So I decided to buy the cassette version because it's cheap. I liked it at first spin so I purchased the CD couple of months later.

The way I see this album was very similar with Pink Floyd's "The Final Cut" and "The Wall" as it contains many reflections of what happened in the past and its meanings to life that went on. As for the Pink Floyd "The Final Cut", I love this album. It's not a plethora of credentials the band has earned with its previous albums but it's more on the music per se. If I was not given any information that this is a Pink Floyd album I still love this one. Two reasons that support my opinion: 1. I like the energy the singer sings throughout the album which basically has less music than vocal line. 2. The music is thematic even without knowing what's the story line of the album. In fact, I purchased this album in cassette version but I got trouble with the noise level that became obvious because this album has many silent parts. So, couple of years later I purchased the CD format. The result is remarkably different: now I can hear clearly the sighs and silent sound effects in its subtleties especially if I listen to it using earphones or decent stereo set at home.

The similar experience happened to me with "Amused To Death". Having it on CD format is much better than the cassette as I can eliminate all noises. The albums starts beautifully with "The Ballad of Bill Hubbard" (4:19) in which Alf Razzell telling the story of how he had to leave the wounded Bill Hubbard behind enemy lines. What a sad story! This ambient piece is augmented wonderfully with guitar work that at first listen was like the work of David Gilmour. It's not! When I looked at the CD sleeve, it's being played by Jeff Beck. Jeff plays emotionally and in line with the music characters of this atmospheric opening track.

The stream of music flows beautifully to next track "What God Wants, Pt. 1" (6:00) in an R&B style using female and male vocals plus blues-rock guitar work. The "Perfect Sense, Pt. 1" (4:16) and "Perfect Sense, Pt. 2" (2:50) continue in the similar style. My favorite track is "It's a Miracle" (8:30) which has a very tight composition, catchy melody, excellent lyrics and great ambient.

Two things that make this album excellent: First, on vocal line, Roger delivers his best vocal range like he did with The Wall and The Final Cut where he sings in high as well as low register notes brilliantly - some with sighs. His delivery is really top notch! Second, this album offers brilliant composition where the music does not necessary being complex but it's not as simple as pop or R&B music. For example Jeff Porcaro does not need to play dazzling drum work but he's played it "just enough" to fit the music and nothing more. Observe how he plays it at "It's a Miracle" which to me sounds very simple but it gives excellent nuance for the music.

Why (you are) NOT liking this album?

If you expect something complex and challenging, this is definitely not meeting your expectations. This album is the kind of music (and story) that fits a peaceful condition because it contains reflections about life at war. As most of Pink Floyd music are not complicated at all, you should not expect something complex from this key member of Pink Floyd.


Overall, this album represents Roger Waters' masterpiece and it has tight composition, great vocal line by Waters and backing vocals. I really love how he sings "It's a Miracle" emotionally. It's so wonderful! "We've got a warehouse of butter / We've got oceans of wine / We've got famine when we need it / Got a designer crime / We've got Mercedes / We've got Porsche / Ferrari and Rolls Royce / We've got a choice / She said meet me / In the Garden of Gethsemane my dear .".For those who like concept album with strong story line must have this album. This also applies to all of you who love Pink Floyd. It's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#121051)
Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars If you thought the Wall was cynical, then you're surely up for a surprise with this release. Politics, religion: it's all here. Water's lyrical content is the most satirical, the most jaded he's ever written. Perhaps that last is debatable, but I'm sure many agree with me. With a staggeringly enormous line-up of musicians, included legendary Jeff Beck and bassist John Patitucci (not to be mistaken for guitarist John Petrucci), Waters supports his cynical lyrics with strong music. Good melodies throughout (usually), but particularly on It All Makes Perfect Sense (1 & 2) there is a very beautiful, very vulnerable piano line. On the aforementioned song, the lyrics are especially powerful. "And the Germans killed the Jews, And the Jews killed the Arabs, And the Arabs killed the hostages, And that is the news." But a taste of dreadfully honest, painfully sarcastic lyrics throughout the album.

The music is primarily slow rock, with a touch of psychedelic influences, along with atmospheric electric stuff. It's a tad hard to describe. The first track shows what it's all about musically, slow and soft, subtle melodies, et cetera. Though the album does rise in intensity and volume, it is always still in the general style, in the same vein. It's not Rush's dense, tight compositions, nor is it the loosey-goosey Fripp & Eno ambient ramblings, but somewhere cozily in the center. Unfortunately, without any change of atmosphere on the album, or any eye-opening musicianship, the album's main flaw is an ironic one. Ironic because of the album's title. It's extremely stale, bland, and ultimately fails to amuse for long. However, some of the melodies are so beautiful, and the lyrics are all so powerful and truthful that boredom, however truly pressing it is, can sometimes be overlooked.

Report this review (#128442)
Posted Saturday, July 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Five years after Waters' worst album, Radio K.A.O.S., he surprises us all with what may well be the best album of his solo career. I'd go as far as saying that Amused to Death is even much better than The Wall and The Final Cut. It's musically interesting, the underlying concept isn't filled with mindless wandering and countless characters and is such that most intelligent human beings will get the point. I'm not sure if this is what Waters had been striving all along for, or just his past experiences guided him to this wonderful gem.

Amused to Death was inspired by the book "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman, basically a critique of mass media culture and television. You can hear this inspiration from all of the sound effects of television programs playing in the background between songs. This theme is used effectively throughout the album causing the individual songs to take on the feel of being "television programs." Between many of the songs one can hear the sound of channels on a television being changed, thus implying each song being a "program on another channel." This tie-in is just plain genius on Waters part and he pulls it off quite nicely. Furthermore, Waters briefly throws in a theme within the overall theme, basically using animals as human counterpart analogies (on the What God Wants trilogy), very similar though not as overarching as the Animals album. You may get the initial feeling that the subject matter jumps around a bit, basically various subjects that explore Waters' disillusionment with modern human civilization. But when you consider the context, a perfect analogy would be the different news stories on a CNN program, or like mentioned before, the flipping of channels. Waters really thought this one out and like most thought-out arrangements, the listener often discovers something new with each listen. I just love albums that feature this quality.

For the musical aspect of this album, Waters brought on a long list of guests and session musicians, including the likes of Jeff Beck (who provided some really stunning guitar work), Andy Fairweather-Low, Rita Coolidge, P.P. Arnold, Jeff Porcaro, bassist Randy Jackson (the American Idol judge!), among others. For the most part, this album leans more towards AOR, but with a healthy dose of progressive leanings. Many of these songs could have been AOR radio station hits. Though not like the prog rock from the 1970s Pink Floyd, it's a vast improvement over the countless whispering vocals over minimalistic pieces of music he had done on previous albums dating back to The Wall. There are places where Waters' vocals sound strained, but for some reason (at least to me), the strained style fits him and the music nicely. The album does have many dark moments, but how could it not with this type of subject matter: war, misuse of God's name, money, power, etc.

Overall, almost a masterpiece, but indeed an excellent album. Definitely worth four stars (perhaps 4.3 would be better). Recommended to Waters fans, Pink Floyd fans, and those interested in high quality conceptual works.

Report this review (#138278)
Posted Friday, September 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Tired, overwrought and bitter, this album draws my appreciation but not my enjoyment.

WATERS still has something to say, seemingly. Although, frustratingly, his message sounds remarkably like the message he's been peddling since 1973: war, madness, politics and the comparison of humans to animals, all connected by TV sfx. Sound familiar? 'Amused to Death', while clever, covers no new ground either lyrically or musically. A star-studded cast are put through their paces, and many perform brilliantly - listen to those guitars - but only ROGER WATERS could miss the mark so badly in his estimation of what the public want. Actually, many of us would rather have something that doesn't sound like an unsubtle caricature of itself.

Speaking of sound, the rasping, broken remnants of WATERS' voice are a musical tragedy. Not only can I not stand to hear his recycled message, the voice it's delivered in is practically unlistenable. Every time I hear WATERS declaiming in that breathy spoken voice, or desperately attempting to slide towards a note, I shudder in remembrance of the disaster that was 'The Final Cut'. This is the inevitable consequence of trying to do everything yourself.

I don't mean to make it sound like I see nothing of value here. There's some nice funk, some nice art-rock and a couple of excellent solos, without coming remotely close to firing the listener's soul. And it's an impressive concept, worthy of installation in a gallery, along with a few Jackson Pollock works that really can't be distinguished from each other. There's no doubt that this album has more merit than the abysmal 'Pros and Cons' and 'Radio KAOS'. A shame, though, that such a creative man appears to have lost it so badly. ROGER WATERS is a classic example of a musician who should have remained a faceless member of a band.

Report this review (#165957)
Posted Monday, April 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Roger had PLENTY of Genius after he quit Floyd. This is his best album and absolutely essential for any fan of Pink Floyd, regardless of the era. The amount of texturing and layering of moods and sounds brings a very hypnotic feel. There is a terrific blues sound, resemblant of some tracks from The Wall and other Floyd tracks. I can see how some reviewers are a bit tired of his pessimistic lyrics, but I find them honest and interesting. The only reason I don't give it 5 stars is that it feels a bit lengthy, and there are a couple of tracks that drag just a tad. I don't see any wring in giving this album 5 stars, but I see it right under at about 4 1/2. This is a superb album! Well done Roger.
Report this review (#172679)
Posted Saturday, May 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Our species has amused itself to death

A very interesting social commentary by Roger Waters. Roger's fourth solo album and admittedly his best, this is a very well written concept album with a dark topic dealing with everything from war to modern society, religion and back to war. Quite interesting, especially since Roger manages to avoid being redundant by putting out some kind of The Wall Disc 4. It's quite a cynical look at things, so if you fancy yourself a very positive and upbeat person then this might not be the kind of thing for you. Roger doesn't sugar coat, but he does use some amusing commentary, one particularly fun part of the album has two football (or some other sport) commentators announcing a game of war between two countries - ''As I speak the captain now has his cross hairs zeroed in on the oil rig!''. You can tell that Roger had a lot to say simply by opening the liner notes. You don't even need to read them to see how opinionated he is... the book just keeps unfolding and unfolding and in the end it's about 2 feet long, filled with lyrics on either side. Not a bad thing of course, because Roger knows how to sing, and he clearly likes to do it, but it never seems to be overly intrusive.

Style wise we have everything that hasn't been in Pink Floyd since Roger left. Quite literally, actually, it's astonishing at points. Take The Wall and remove Gilmour's guitar and you kind of have the style of the album. There's a lot of guest musicians on the album - in fact everyone from Jeff Beck to Randy Jackson (he's on this site quite a bit isn't he?) - but none of the musicians really let loose with their talents as one would expect. Perhaps Waters tied them down and said, ''now you play this!'' as could possibly be expected, or maybe they just didn't want to take away from the overall mood of the album. The world will never know. Still, some flashy moments here and there where Jeff Beck actually kind of sounds like Gilmour for a second or two. The rest of the album is very bass driven as could be expected coming from Pink Floyd's bass player. It's a fairly midpaced album with no songs becoming overly fast or slow. We get moments of brilliance between times of tedium, but all in all the album flows very well and never loses site of it's intended target.

What makes this album great are the really angry moments. Listening to the military pace of What God Wants, Parts I - III really get the blood boiling (in a good way) and Roger's yelling of, ''give any one species too much rope and they'll f*** it up!'' really sits well with the listener (perhaps ironically). The social commentary and poking at cowardice in The Bravery of Being Out of Range (which discusses how people can sit far away and simply launch missiles at each other) makes for a great tune when mixed with some very soothing music. There's also a few sound effect parts which work very well in context with the album (explosions and what have you). The amused musing of the title track makes for the album's standout at it's coda (also the longest song on the album), as it seems that Roger was saving the best for last.

The rest is somewhat give and take as sometimes it gets a bit slow, making us wish we had that military anger back. What's redeeming about these parts is that they still contribute to the whole of the album, because really, it's not an album you can pick a song out of and listen to that one only. Roger must have designed it that way, but isn't that what prog has always been about anyways?

This one ultimately gets 3.5 wishes out of 5. A very good album which is recommended for people looking for some Floyd flavored music and for those who really enjoyed The Wall, although those who didn't might want to give this one a shot anyways. Slightly uneven but ultimately amusing, this one is recommended!

Report this review (#175770)
Posted Monday, June 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#212375)
Posted Saturday, April 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Truth
Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars This was the greatest thing released by any Floyd member after the original the Waters/Gilmour/Mason/Wright broke up and I'll tell you why: this concept is perfect! Supposedly about aliens arriving at Earth finding us all dead in front of our TVs and they conclude we amused ourselves to death. But all through it there is a monkey randomly switching channels which is a nice addition. Waters is older now and sounds like it! Especially on Perfect Sense Part II where he sounds like he may be drawing his last breath but that fits the already dark topic. What God Wants is catchy but way too atheist for me. Amused To Death is the greatest track just because of the feeling it gives. Starting out on bongos but quickly turning to very heavy music. Excellent stuff from Mr. Waters! A lot of the music sounds the same so if you want variety don't get this! However I very much like it, so four stars!

Edit 2 Months later:

This album is definately more of a masterpiece than I thought when I hit about the 15th listen and began to understand the concept better I saw that this was no ordinary album. It is and probably always will be one of my favorite albums of all time! Sorry to give you some disrespect the first time Rog, you definately made a masterpiece.

Report this review (#213067)
Posted Thursday, April 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Some have said that this is the best Roger Waters album so far. Well, actually, this is rather easy, considering that "Pros & Cons" and "Radio K.A.O.S." were pretty weak.

The man is surrounded by a myriad of guest musicians of whom Jeff Beck is the best known one and he is influencing this work with his skills and talent.

I am not going to cover the concept of this album since fellow colleagues have done it already. So, I have to concentrate on the music only. Hummm?

A definite feel indeed of "The Final Cut" (one of my least favourite Floyd album ever - but actually it was a Waters album that the other musician didn't want to release, nor endorse). "A Perfect Sense" (both parts) is the best example to highlight this aspect.

But I can't be enthusiastic about "What God Wants, Part 1" either: this funky feel leaves me rather cold and indifferent (part II is not of my liking either to be honest, while part III features some superb guitar work).

"The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range" sounds as a glam song from the early middle seventies; gimmicking "Mott The Hoople" or "Bowie" but with less talents. Still, it is one of the good songs from this work.

As "Easy Livin" is telling, the song writing is nothing from the other world, I'm adding that I never have considered Roger as a good vocalist either. And since this is a solo album, no one was telling him to cut some parts from this very long stuff (over seventy minutes. Gosh!).

As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing new here. Just a repetition of old concepts and sounds. Served again on a platter. But the meal is not tasty ("Late Home Tonight", both parts).

In my opinion, this album starts where it could have stopped?"Watching TV" is the first song which reminds me the good old Floyd (which means before the two Rogers extravaganzas). I like the tranquil mood, Roger's whispering, and the delicate background music. The first highlight IMHHO.

The second one takes places with the gorgeous guitar solo during the closing part of "It's A Miracle". Indeed?but thanks to Jeff. The closing and title track is also enjoyable and leads to a three stars rating.

Report this review (#277241)
Posted Saturday, April 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I read the reviews that has been written about this particular work I was not shure if I will spend my hard earned coin on this. I am not a big fan of TPACOH even with Clapton but the name Beck in the rooster called to my attention. I have great respect for Beckology so at first it was a reason to listen to this concept album. Let me start telling you that there is no doubt in my mind, this is a must own. Waters is a real philosopher at work telling us about the demise of civilization due to TV abuse in 1992, now in 2010 change TV for Facebook and You'll get a grasp of what was the message back then. Rita Coolidge doing fine vocals, Randy "dog" Jackson on funky bass but specially Beck is brilliant creating guitar solos that now I appreciated more than the ones by Gilmour on any Floyd album. I am not going to cover It song by song because It is a concept and you must get It as a whole package to own It but I just wanna ask for your help here: How Do I stop from listening It two times a day? I have no willpower, I am sorry, I will be Amuse to Death.
Report this review (#279173)
Posted Friday, April 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars After a series of not the best of solo alumbs, Roger went back to his roots, and decided to make an album that I feel is the closest to The Wall that Roger will ever perfect.

This album is another concept album, based on the idea of a monkey watching the news on t.v. and pondering the decisions of human beings (I do this all the time, we really have amused ourselves to death.)

This album also contains some interesting musicians, e.g. Jeff Beck, Randy Jackson (that black guy that judges on American Idol and was bass player of Journey for like 5 minutes) & Flea (although his performance was cut out, sadly cause he's a pretty good bass player).

An amazing album that is very underlooked. This also matches whatever Pink Floyd were trying to do (although I do love The Division Bell).

1. The Ballad Of Bill Hubbard - Very Shine On You Crazy Diamonds. Amazing guitar solo from Jeff Beck. I never really cared for Jeff Beck (mainly because he's Slash' favourite guitarist, and I hate Slash), but this album has made me see him for an amazing guitar player. The voice clips add to the atmosphere. I like the way it ends abpruptly.

2. What God Wants, Part I - Very interesting lyrics.Sounds like late Pink Floyd.

3. Perfect Sense, Part I - I like the intro of this song. Quite beautiful piano intro. Roger's vocals are very eerie with a very whispery tone. Great lyrics. The female vocals are amazing and the way the chord sequence flows is amazing.

4. Perfect Sense, Part II - Very ballad like & quite epic. I like the way he justaposes war and football (their both useless and futile basically).

5. The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range - Very In The Flesh. Great chorus. Now this is the Roger Waters that I love.

6. Late Home Tonight, Part I - Very Wall like with great instrumentation. I like the chanting at the end of the song. The bomb sound is quite suprising.

7. Late Home Tonight, Part II - Great ambient like intro. Some great orchestration arranged by the late great Michael Kamen. Very much like When The Tigers Broke Free.

8. Too Much Rope - The sound effects and orchestration at the start are very eerie. It reminds me of The Thin Ice. Great lyrics. Interesting vocals from Roger.

9. What God Wants, Part II - I like how the main theme is brought back. The gang vocals are very reminiscent of The Wall.

10. What God Wants, Part III - The sonar sound is obviously taken from Echoes. Another amazing guitar solo from Jeff Beck.

11. Watching TV - Great lyrics. I love how the song dramatically changes in the middle. Great lyrics, very comical & dark. The best song on the album in my opinion.

12. 3 Wishes - I like the weird quite intro. Another dark and comical song. I love the dark atmosphere that surrounds the song.

13. It's A Miracle - Love the lyrics in the song. Very funny, even though this song is quite sombre. I love the comical stabs at Andrew Llloyd Webber (for those who don't know, the riff in Phantom Of The Opera was stolen from Echoes). The ending is very eerie with the fading choir.

14. Amused To Death - The intro is very drony. A nice calm way to end the album. Roger's whispery voice adds to the calm atmosphere of the song.

Report this review (#282230)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars This album can be considered the last studio album by Roger Waters (I don't include Ca Ira in the list). There are a lot of clues about this being the last, but let discover them through the album. The first clue is the choice of the guitarist: When Syd Barrett was excluded by the Pink Floyd, the band looked for a guitarist and the choice was between David Gilmour and Jeff Beck. Having chosen Jeff Beck for Amused to Death is like saying "Let's see what could have been...".

The album opens with a short instrumental "The Ballad of Bill Hubbard". Also the two Floyd's albums without Waters open in a similar way, but the story told by some Alf Razzel, a veteran, tells us everything we must know about Waters and his interior trouble connected to his missing father: Alf has to leave Bill die in a no-man's land. He's tormented. This is the second theme (officially the first) of the album. We are all amused to Death. After Bill's death we can switch to something more interesting.

Since "The Wall" Roger is used to songs splitted into 3 parts. "What God Wants" is the main theme of this concept. It's a classical Waters song with female background vocals, a strong leading guitar and an obsessive rhythm. "I don't mind about the war, that's one of the things I like to watch". It's how the song starts, just to confirm what the concept is about.

"Perfect Sense" is split into parts as well. Part 1 starts with a piano intro that seems coming directly from Radio K.A.O.S. The cello that can be heard just after the singing (talking) is started reminds to "The Body". It's like Waters is reviewing his life, while a female singer speaks of war and international politics. Money drives it all. This is the perfect sense he's speaking about. This is what Part 2 clarifies clearly.

"The Bravery of Being out of Range" is a high quality song that could have been added to The Wall. The keyboard intro sustained by guitar and drums, then Waters and his female counterparts singing about this kind of Bravery. Playing wars pushing buttons and moving joysticks, "Old timer what you'll gonna kill next", then let's swim in a pool or attend a party... A song about modern wars. Anzio and the second world war are far away. This is another hidden message, I think.

"Late Home Tonight Part 1" (Again a part 1) has an acoustic guitar opening. Also this song is similar in structure to Radio K.A.O.S. The subject is a young American soldier whose life is just "flight, flight, flight". This is, I think, about the bombing of Tripoli (Libia) when a daughter of the leader Khadafi was killed during the 80s. A soldier on a plane drops a bomb without knowing why or worse, without ASKING why. "And in Tripoli another ordinary wife Stares at the dripping her old man hadn't Time to fix Too busy mixing politics and rhythm In the street below " The rhythm of war drums and a baby crying complete the song until the bomb explodes.

Part 2 is just the soldier's homecoming "And the F-1 glides in nose-up Through the cloudbase and the Ground crew cheers as he puts down His landing gear Hey boy you're a hero take this cigar"

"Too much Rope" is a song that makes the pair musically with "Three Wishes" that is still to come. A short bluesy track with a good guitar on the back. The lyrics are strong instead and the few sentences below clarify the meanin better than I clould do:

"Moslem or Christian Mullah or Pope Preacher or poet who was it wrote Give any one species too much rope And they'll [%*!#] it up "

"What God Wants Part 2 and 3" are here to close the circle. In the vinyl age they would have probably closed the album. As Jethro Tull said years before on Aqualung "Man created God in his image".

"But the monkey's not watching He's slipped out to the kitchen To pile the dishes And answer the phone "

When Part 3 starts there's a "ping" like at the beginning of Echoes. This is slow and bluesy with a piano base. A counterpart to the rocking part 1 and 2. The guitar solo is quite "gilmourish" and gives a reason why Jeff Beck has been about to join Pink Floyd.

What happens next is unexpected. "Watching TV" is still about TV and Death, but this time who is watching is not a Monkey. It's himself looking at the massacre of Tien-an-men Square in Beijing. I remember bad reviews of this song on newspapers. I don't remember what they were accusing him of. The poetry is not at his highest levels, but he has probably been one of the few persons in the western side of the world to say something meaningful about a bloody massacre of innocents happened in front of the whole world. The imaginary young girl "in her bloodstained clothes" is a symbol but could easily be real as this was the kind of targets of tanks and guns of the Li Peng army. Sorry for staying so much on this song, but I think that facts like this are good to remember. Also the fact that the responsibles of the massacre have been forgiven by the western world because of economic reasons demonstrates that Waters is right: "It all makes perfect sense".

"Three Wishes" is the key to the second message. It's a bluesy song very Floydian and the only song that contains an explici reference to his father. It's like he has realized that an over-60 man can't consider himself an orphan for all his life. This song closes the circle started with The Wall. His life-long sickness for his missing father is now cured. You see someone through the window Who you've just learned to miss

This was a good thing for Waters but I'm afraid this is also the reason why he didn't release other studio albums. Once his pain is finished he doesn't feel the need to mitigate it by writing music and lyrics.

There are still two songs before the end: "It's a Miracle" opens with keyboard and bass reminding to "Careful with that Axe Eugene". The Miracle he's speaking about is the globalization. I don't know if he's a no-global, but he doesn't semm to like globalization very much. What he says is that we have exported all our products, cultural and material with our wars. I disagree when he mentions Lloyd-Webber as I liked JCS very much, but I can't disagree with all the rest.

"By the grace of God Almighty And the pressures of the marketplace The human race has civilized itself "

The closure act is the title track: "Doctor what is wrong with me?" what is amazing is the second part of the story told by the veteran. The end of the ballad of Bill Hubbard. The veteran is tormented until he sees Bill's name on a monument. Now Bill stops being a phantom in his mind and becomes a "real" person. This is the healing. Roger Waters is implicitly saying that his father is no longer the main character of a nightmare. He is now a real person who had a real life and a real death. Now also the child of the Wall can relax and look at the future.

Have a happy life now, Roger.

Report this review (#298219)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I've been exploring Roger Waters' solo career for some time in order to find another album that would illegibly resemble The Final Cut. Unfortunately both The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking and Radio K.A.O.S. proved to be poor substitute for the last great Pink Floyd release as I felt that pretentiousness was clearly taking over Waters' work. But like the soldiers in his stories, he continued marching on doing that same album until almost getting it right with Amused To Death.

Clocking at over 70 minutes, this album might be a tough journey for anyone unfamiliar with Waters to undertake, but it's definitely the one that I would recommend undertaking. Amused To Death might not be that perfect conclusion to the artist's long search for perfection of his style and I personally can't even call it an excellent release, but there is definitely something that still attracts me to this album even after all this time. Stylistically this as close to a Roger Waters album that we were going to get. The production is slick and the vast amount of performers do a great job of keeping the overall mood of the album in place, even if there are a few deviations from that rule.

I guess that my main concern with all of Roger Waters solo output is that it lacks anything new to express outside of the already well-established formulas that existed on both The Wall and The Final Cut. Yes, the message of this particular release might be a bit different but that's really not enough for me to feel any different about its music. The last four tracks are the longest of the bunch and are clearly intended to be the punch line to the album but I'm just not feeling. Watching TV is decent, Three Wishes is almost a reminder of the good old days of Pink Floyd, but lack the competent touch of Rick Wright in the arrangements. Finally we have the lengthy conclusion of It's A Miracle and Amused To Death that make up a fourth of this 14 track release. Both are expanded to the point of extreme that simply doesn't work for me. The interesting thing is that those same tracks worked marvelously when Roger Waters performed them in a live setting during his In The Flesh tour.

Amused To Death is probably his best solo release but best is just not enough when you are an ex-member of Pink Floyd. I'm sure that some fans of The Wall and The Final Cut will feel right at home with this material, even though I'm one of those people. All in all, it's a good, but non-essential release for fans of progressive rock music.

**** star songs: What God Wants, Part I (6:00) Perfect Sense, Part I (4:16) Perfect Sense, Part II (2:50) The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range (4:43) Late Home Tonight, Part II (2:13) Too Much Rope (5:47) What God Wants, Part II (3:41) What God Wants, Part III (4:08) Watching TV (6:07) It's A Miracle (8:30) Amused To Death (9:06)

*** star songs: The Ballad Of Bill Hubbard (4:19) Late Home Tonight, Part I (4:00) Three Wishes (6:50)

Report this review (#331460)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Best album by Roger Waters, and for me my favorite album of the 90's. The last by Roger, "Radio Kaos" was good but it was missing some stuff. It contained too much 80's pop sound. Amused to Death doesn't have that sound at all. This is a progressive rock album. The opening song The Ballad of Bill Hubbard is a great instrumental with Jeff Beck playing a slow guitar solo of the slow music. Then the sound of a t.v leads you to " What God Wants, Pt. 1 ", which was a hit song, even though it was banned from radio stations. Still it's a great song. Perfect Sense Pt. 1 & 2 is a moving song sung by Roger and PP Arnold. This album is filled with great songs like The Bravery of being out of Range, What God Wants, Pt. 2 & 3, Watching TV, It's a Miricle, and the best Amused to Death. The Eagles singer Don Henely sings with Roger on Watching TV. Three Wishes is another good song. Rita Coolidge sings with Roger as well on Amused to Death. For anyone who might not like Roger's first two albums and has not listened to this, give it a chance. There are some great, longer songs with much better musical direction. As all ways with Roger Waters the lyrics on here are perfect. It's filled with geast musicians and it's a great concept album.
Report this review (#463761)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Of the Roger Waters albums I have heard, AMUSED TO DEATH from 1992 is by far the best. Both RADIO CHAOS and PRO AND CONS OF HITCHHIKING I found to be short on real impact tunes and very full of borerdom or filler. AMUSED TO DEATH keeps this kind of stuff to a minimum. Although this has been hailed by some to be the best Pink Floyd album since Roger left the band, that doesn't really say much. Roger uses the same formula of songwriting as THE WALL and nothing new music wise is found here. It is a pretty good album that Iisten to occasionaly, but not too often. The sound quality, however, is excellent. All in all, though I can't rate it anything over 3 stars. Maybe 3.5
Report this review (#493842)
Posted Sunday, July 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars I would have to agree that this is Roger Waters' best post Pink Floyd solo album. His lyrics are very good, a biting look at commercialism and materialism. The music, for the most part, is very Pink Floydian. And his sound effects, once you get past the crickets that open and close the album, are quite entertaining.

While much of the music takes the same mournful sound that Waters has been using sing "The Final Cut", there is still plenty of good, and upbeat material as well. Especially good are the three What God Wants tracks. One complaint is that the drumming throughout is as simplistic a Mason was on "The Wall".

A plus is Jeff Beck's guitar solos. If anyone makes a good replacement for David Gilmour, it's Beck.

Report this review (#568367)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars ROGER'S BEST. Roger Waters is probably one of the greatest song writers to have ever lived. His lyrics are meaningful and deals with real issues. This album contains some of his best work since an early Pink Floyd. Amused to Death is a concept album that is about how society basically amused themselves to death. This album is filled with several guest musicians like Jeff Beck, Don Henly, and Rita Coolidge. This is probably the "progressive" album by Roger. The songs are longer and darker than those of The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking and Radio K.A.O.S.

1. The Ballad of Bill Hubbard: 4:19 - a nice instrumental with very somber guitar music by Jeff Beck. In the song Alf Razzell tells the story of a man he met in the war named Bill Hubbard. 3/5

2. What God Wants, Pt. 1: 6:00 - this is the best known song on the album. It went to number 4 on the billboard singles chart, though it was banned from the radio. This song is deals with the way people use religion in life. What God Wants is a perfect example of how great of a lyricist Roger Waters really is. 5/5

3. Perfect Sense, Pt. 1: 4:16 - an excellent song that begins with a shout. Roger gives a moving vocal performance witch is then followed by another great vocal performance by PP Arnold. 3/5

4. Perfect Sense, Pt. 2: 2:50 - to me this is one of Roger's best. This song is filled with emotion. With a crowd sing the lines " Can't you see it all makes perfect sense." 4/5

5. The Bravery of Being out of Range: 4:42 - a straight rock song with a great chord sequence. This is one of the songs that stands out in the album for me. Like most of the other songs on the album that makes the concept it's about war. 5/5

6. Late Home Tonight, Pt. 1: 4:01 - a nice acoustic song with Roger sing about the "beauty of military life". 4/5

7. Late Home Tonight, Pt. 2: 2:13 - a very emotional song with a brass band playing along with strings, while Roger sings with feeling in his voice. 3/5

8. Too Much Rope: 5:47 - with a rather chilling intro of a man chopping wood then fades to the sound of sleigh bells. This song is much stronger lyrically than musically, but still it is a good one. " Give any one species too much rope and he'll f*ck it up". 4.5/5

9. What God Wants, Pt. 2: 3:41 - this continues the story of religion and to me it's better than the first. This tells what certain people think God "wants". Good musically and very good lyrically. 5/5

10. What God Wants, Pt. 3: 4:08 - great words along with a great guitar solo. 4/5

11. Watching T.V.: 6:07 - beginning with a television changing channels and then Roger and an acoustic guitar comes in. Roger is then joined with Don Henly. This song really is a nice folk like song to listen to. 4/5

12. Three Wishes: 6:50 - a dark song that seems to be about hope and lost. 4/5

13. It's a Miracle: 8:30 - beginning with a beautiful piece of music makes this one of high points of the album. This songs has several different situations where "miracles" have occurred. 4/5

14. Amused to Death: 9:07 - this is the best song on the whole album for me. The music is really sharp and the lyrics have so much meaning. Roger is singing with Rita Coolidge on this one. Alf Razzell also comes in at the ending with rather kind words. To me this is his best solo song all around. I think the main theme of this album is summarized in this song. 5/5

Amused to Death is without a doubt Roger's best album since his departure from Pink Floyd. The music and lyrics as I've said before are at their best. Rogers vocals are also top notch. The album is excellently produced as well. All the small sound bits are as clear as the music itself. It definitely deserves five stars. Though Roger's solo work might not be for everyone, but for Pink Floyd fans or just any one looking for deep, meaningful music will not be disappointed. Please give this album a try.

Report this review (#614053)
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I am not a great Pink fan, I must admit!; I am more like a Pink songs fan. The reason is personal and who cares! Even though, I know their discography completely. And opposite to most "Pinkies" I think the "Final Cut" is the only Floyd record that has no "gaps" and its humour is superb. Maybe it is me. But usually they start off amazingly well, but then suddenly, they get stuck somewhere and then (sometimes) blast off again to great climaxes! (this is my humble opinion). To me these "gaps" are usually boring. They happen in the "Moon", they happen in "Wish", less in "Animals", a lot more in the "Wall". (Personal opinion not blasphemy; Floyd fans.) Most guys will tell you "The Cut" is not a Pink Floyd record, The Wall was neither ( the confessed " I hate you!" stories and the mysterious erasing of tapes by Waters himself of course). So, as many composers of music bands do, they have to become either group members or dictators.( e.g.the early Beatles, the later Beatles). It has to do with principles and concessions, there is no turning back!

So long to explain why I wouldn´t give this "Jewel" 5 stars. Yes! Because it has those PF (or should we say RW's?) "gaps". Around the final part of side "A"; (songs 6,7,8 are boring, songs 9- 10 are good, but not 11, my least favorite of them all, to be specific). To me these are "minutes of nothingness". I just want to skip them off to the next part.

GREAT thing is, side "B" the "next part" is the most stripped down beautiful Roger Waters´s music you can imagine. This of course has to with his exceptional composition skills and his own conceptual aestetiques. Also because he has been quiet productive with his solo projects. This is the 3th after-Floyd release.

And as adding insult to injury (to Gilmour, of course, not you listener!), Jeff Beck is the guest guitarist in this album. And what an excellent choice!! He adds up the suitable energy and personal touch needed for this kind of "poetic" project! (In the first after-Floyd solo project, he invited no other than Eric Clapton!). 4 PA stars,**** with some regrets!

Report this review (#971669)
Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best Roger Waters album and one of the best concept works in rock music history. I believe I got Amused To Death on a cassete the year it was released and I have not got tired of it since. Each song has a strong melody and music is absolutely outstanding. I catch myself humming or singing its songs quite often, with "Perfect Sense Parts I and II" and "Amused to Death" being the favourites. I don't remember who called this album "TV for the ears", but this person nailed it for me for each song draws a vivid picture or story in my brain. The album was underappreciated upon release but time has corrected this. It is sad but its message holds true in the 21st century as it did 20 years ago, but on the other hand it proves the timelessness of the album.
Report this review (#979957)
Posted Monday, June 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I approached this album with a bad attitude some weeks ago. It had only been a few months since I'd first dragged my ears through the messy, confusing swamp that was Pink Floyd's "The Final Cut" which could reasonably be considered Roger Waters' first solo effort. So, not knowing anything about the two "official" all-by-his-lonesome records that preceded this one, I braced myself for disappointment. But I was pleasantly surprised by what I encountered. It's a fine album. Way above average. "Amused to Death" is as impressive as "The Wall" in many ways and I dare say that any Floyd fanatic will approve of what Roger put together. I expected that he would most likely still be the caustic curmudgeon mad genius he's always been lyric-wise but the quality of the music is on a par with the best of his peers. I suspect that Waters was being influenced to some degree by one of my favorites, Peter Gabriel, at the time he composed the material because I detect hints of his fellow Englishman's world beat style popping up often and it enhances the quality of the presentation greatly.

As you may or may not know, how the blatant obscenity of warfare had somehow become yet another form of in-the-comfort-of-one's-own-home entertainment for the masses (with the live telecasts of the Gulf War being the central culprit) is the main topic of discussion throughout the record. In other words, man's inhumanity to man is right up Roger's alley and he unloads line after line of outrage about it from beginning to end. Of course, his poetic tirade didn't stop as-it-happens battlefront coverage from gaining even more widespread acceptance in the 21st century but it did provide him with plenty of inspiration to create a damn good album. Released on 9/7/92, only a year and a half after Desert Storm ended, the conflict was still fresh in everyone's minds and its relevancy helped the disc to not only rack up some decent sales figures but to bring Waters out of the semi-obscure realm he'd existed in since leaving his famous former band.

"The Ballad of Bill Hubbard" raises the curtain with a mysterious, Pink Floyd-like motif creeping in, complete with indecipherable chatter afloat in the background. The tune evolves by pouring itself into an ocean of Patrick Leonard's deep synths buoyed by Jeff Beck's noodling guitar before a light rhythm emerges to guide the music beneath an old bloke's relating of his tragic story about having to leave a wounded fellow soldier behind. If Waters had stayed in that melancholy mode it would've been a major mistake but rude synthetic rips abruptly tear the listener away into an atmospheric setting for "What God Wants, Pt. 1" with a strident female vocal leading the charge. Then drums burst in to provide a strong downbeat for Roger to wail atop but it's the subsequent stunning, provocative guitar work from Beck that elevates the number to the level of greatness. It was at this point I realized that the album had serious potential. After another alarming rip "Perfect Sense, Pt. 1" begins with a subtle pulse, some scattered voices and ominous thunder. Patrick's delicate piano floats in and serves up a delicious musical entrée consisting of a serene melody that fully sates the mind and glides under Waters' and his female companion's singing of politically-infused observations. The two factors present a poignant contrast of the beautiful with the horrid. "Perfect Sense, Pt. 2" follows, dropping down to only Roger and a piano for a while and then sliding into a gospel-tinged aura where he admixes Marv Albert's excited sportscaster-describing-a-fierce-battle spiel with more of his acidic social commentary. "The Bravery of Being Out of Range" is next and it's a doozy. Its slow but heavy-handed drumbeat opens this one up behind penetrating power chords and a growling Hammond B3 organ to provide a sturdy foundation for Waters' sarcastic warbling about the insane absurdities of war.

Little birdies chirp merrily along with an acoustic guitar on "Late Home Tonight, Pt. 1," accompanied by strings and Roger's naked vocal. It eventually builds to include syrupy, elevator-worthy orchestration as he describes scenes of bloodshed and waste. The song suddenly turns tribal and then a loud explosion rattles the room as he segues into "Late Home Tonight, Pt. 2" that features a cosmic drift segment and a nostalgic-sounding horn section. On "Too Much Rope" unidentified angry punching noises precede the entrance of a bluesy Rhodes piano. In this tune Waters fronts a hearty chorale of singers to deliver another round of his frustration and angst. At this point his endless ire starts to get tiresome but the welcome addition of Steve Lukather's stinging guitar licks saves the number in the nick of time. It fades to the sound of a television doing its thing in the distance. "What God Wants, Pt. 2" is a revival of the song's funky vibe and fist-waving theme boosted by another dose of what I'd call "electronically manufactured crowd chants" that are very effective not only here but in other instances where it's employed as a backdrop. Again the music fades down, this time to crickets and a lonesome train's horn. A droning organ arises for the intro to "What God Wants, Pt. 3" wherein Roger's impassioned, strained vocal screams over Leonard's ethereal blanket of synthesizers. The tune then cops a heavy Floyd-ish presence for Jeff Beck to fill with his amazing guitar runs. Subsequently a phone rings loudly and an old man happily sings a barroom ditty from the other end of the line.

But it's the last four songs that made the biggest impact on me. I could be wrong but I suspect that they were formulated prior to or after the rest of the album was assembled because they can easily stand on their own merit outside the context. "Watching TV" starts the way you'd think it would but then a folksy acoustic guitar and a lilting vocal melody distinguishes this track from all that's come before. It's a delightfully satiric look at China's Tiananmen Square rebellion filtered through the tragic death of a young lady and it works from all angles. "Three Wishes" possesses a low key groove that lurks under Waters' breathy voice. It benefits from an intriguing arrangement and a glorious guitar ride from Jeff. "It's a Miracle" utilizes a lazy tempo to efficiently paint the tune with sad tones that surround Roger's mournful, softly biting lament. It meanders a little in the last movement but it wisely avoids becoming maudlin. "Amused to Death" is the closer. A plucked guitar pattern establishes the smooth-sailing mood that rolls alongside Waters' typically droll delivery before it grows larger and more intense in the middle. The old bloke from the first song reenters the stage in its last act and finishes telling his sentimental tale, bringing a sense of closure to the record. Crickets ensue.

One of the other reviewers said that if Roger had included his Pink Floyd mates in the construction of this concept album it may've been a spectacular masterpiece. He may be right but we'll never know because, like bratty spoiled children, they couldn't play together without fighting at that juncture and had to stay in their rooms. Nonetheless, it's apparent that Waters spent a lot of time and energy in creating this disc and his hard work paid many dividends. The overall sound of the record is astounding and the performances of those who contributed their talents to this undertaking, Jeff Beck in particular, are top notch. It's an album that Roger can be proud of and that all Pink Floyd fans can feel confident in purchasing if they haven't already. 3.9 stars.

Report this review (#1040104)
Posted Friday, September 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's got a fairly simple philosophical message, but there's genuine heart burning ? or perhaps, beating tragically feebly ? under the overt cynicism at the top of Roger Waters's Amused to Death.

The way everything is spun out of and related, sometimes wildly tangentially or only in the vaguest universal sense, to the story of Bill Hubbard is a curious artistic move. On the one hand it grounds the album, but on the other hand it grounds it too much. Waters is making incredibly serious statements, particularly with the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-detached title track. When one is speaking of alien excavators uncovering people frozen in transfixed and absent glares at their televisions after extinction of the species, a soldier's tale ? however heart-wrenching and sincere and powerful that is in its own right ? just doesn't quite seem to do the grandness of the topic justice.

Take a look again at the end of the title track. The way Waters concludes it is almost as if the statement, "This species has amused itself to death," is less important than what follows. What follows is beautiful and tender and very emotionally seizing, but it's a much less grand statement; the only musical excuse to so jarringly conclude the final proper chorus is if a statement of greater emotional weight follows, or a shift in the emotion being experienced, but instead it's just something slightly less sad. Much as I love the song, its lyrics, and its message, it always disappoints me at exactly the moment the final chorus ends.

But, maybe that's the point. Roger Waters never won points for making things easy on his listeners. Even during Pink Floyd's heyday, there is much to question in terms of melody or delivery, but it works because of the emotions it's tied to. And Waters is definitely dismayed that his species is destroying itself ? in his telling, mostly through war, media, and profiteering, which doesn't sound so far off to me. It's an ambitious record that mostly backs itself up, and it's as psychologically heavy as anything Waters has done.

And yet the album does have tremendous heart. The animals taking notes on "What God Wants" are whimsical, charming allegorical flourishes that save this album from being too heavy to bear. Funny moments abound, and the aforementioned Bill Hubbard does provide a nice, if almost entirely unrelated, secondary narrative to follow. I'm not entirely sure who Bill Hubbard was, but a war buddy of his recounts Bill's death, their time serving together, and conversations he had with Bill on subjects of life and philosophy. I actually wish there was more of it on the album; it basically just bookends it. The Bill Hubbard sections are atmospheric, told by one of the most honest voices you'll ever hear, and backed up with quiet guitar passages from Jeff Beck.

Aside from the Bill Hubbard sections and the title track, much of the album is fairly standard Roger Waters fare. This means it isn't standard at all, but if you've listened to The Wall in its entirety or The Final Cut, nothing should really surprise you. Actually, the most surprising song to me, and still my favorite, is What God Wants. Waters is at his most aggressive and determined, spouting off a list of frivolous, dangerous, and important human advents that God ? a figure who's not supposed to be the Abrahamic deity, but might just as well be ? has ordained. It stomps in a manner very similar to Waiting For the Worms, but its far more in your face about it. I'd also say the lyrics are better, and I'm a big fan of Waiting For the Worms. And while there's virtually no lead on Worms, Jeff Beck reigns terror all over What God Wants, screeching and wailing and trilling like he's a guitar god or something.

Other than that, you really have to get to the end of the album before anything else really grabs you. The last four songs really change things up, and if they formed more of the album's basis it's easy to imagine the album having done better. Each is entirely distinct from the others, unlike much of the first ten tracks. Don't get me wrong, there are moments of beauty and poignant stings throughout the other songs, but you sometimes feel lucky when you get to them. The last four songs, though, each present an entirely different musical idea and use distinct instrumentation.

Watching TV is an acoustic ballad following in the vein of some of Pink Floyd's famous acoustic outings, with very simple chords strummed in very simple strokes. It's weird, and the way there's a different number of syllables in every verse will likely throw many listeners off, but it's very charming. It's also very dark, but its dark story is told in such a whimsical way. The point, I guess, is that we watch these historical atrocities ? like the massacre at Tiananmen Square ? on our televisions, from a happy distance. It's programming to us, not real-world killings.

Three Wishes is a big highlight. It probably comes the closest to resembling the kind of thing Pink Floyd might have put on the radio at one point, but like nearly all of the album, its instrumentation is so spare it could never have made it. However, it does have a somewhat standard structure. It's also got great lyrics, an emotional and catchy melody, the record's best guitar solo, and lots of clever use of the bass.

It's a Miracle is good, although Waters sounds perhaps too bitter on this one. It's very dark, and the lyrics are probably the most pessimistic thing he ever wrote (and this is Roger Waters we're talking about). I like it. A lot. The part I like best, though, is when he sings about an earthquake hitting one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's operas. The piano player gets it the worst ? at one point, "The piano lid comes down and breaks his [%*!#]ing fingers." Waters can say "[%*!#]" like few other people I know, and he should be proud of it.

Sadly, it's just far too overstuffed of an album. It's difficult to listen to without hitting the skip button a few times. I can still recommend it, because there's enough good in it to fill an entire album. But there's too much sludgy atmosphere weighing the whole affair down; with more judicious editing, it could've been a minor masterpiece. I know it's difficult to delete one's work, but sometimes even some stuff that might not be necessarily bad has to go in order to let the truly great bits really shine.

(For those interested in numbers, I'd probably call it a 3.5, but with the option to round up or down, I'd round it up).

Report this review (#1117846)
Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Will the real genius behind Pink Floyd please stand up?

That, in a nutshell, was one of the main points that the warring factions between the two Pink Floyd camps were fighting over in the late eighties and early nineties. This madness also carried over to the fans of the Gilmour led Floyd and the fans of the self exiled Roger Waters.

This hero worship mixed with brand loyalty really deprived Waters and Floyd fans of more objective views of their output, which I, being not being a particular fan of either, hope to place in a more objective context. (No artistic view can be totally devoid of subjectivism, but this is probably as close as one can get.)

Let's recap. The Gilmour led Floyd by the time of this album's release produced two soulless and forgettable albums in A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell . Water's, up this juncture, produced the stiffly awkward Pros And Cons of Hitchhiking and the chaotic Radio KAOS.

The score so far: zero/zero.

Then, low and behold, Waters produced this memorable offering from 1992 called Amused To Death. Teamed up ace guitarist Jeff Beck and keyboard player/arranger/producer Patrick Leonard, Waters returns with an album that sports some of the best work offered by any current or post Floyd member since the Wall in 1979.

Unfortunately, the loose concept of Amused to Death is again Water's main political concern: a world run amok with war and violence. A theme heard many times before by Mr. Waters, but at least it's a coherent theme this time around.

The first five songs on this album, The Ballad Of Bill Hubbard, What God Wants part 1, Perfect Sense parts 1 and 2, and The Bravery Of Being Out of Range are absolutely killer. Great melodic hooks, wonderful lead and backing vocals from Katie Kissoon and Doreen Chanter, and some absolutely fantastic lead guitar work from Beck. These songs simply rock.

By the time we get to songs 6 and 7, Late Home Tonight parts 1 and 2, respectively, Water's switches over to a softer ballad approach with Michael Kamen supplying a moving string arrangement that forgoes the his typical Floyd scores that evoke confusion and nightmare and support Water's heart felt vocals with an equally heartfelt orchestral score that is effective, but never overpowering.

Where Waters, and Amused to Death start going south is with the following songs that bracket a welcome reprise of What God Wants parts 2 and 3, that sport overlong verbiage and crawl at a musical snail's pace: Too Much Rope, Watching TV (completely overlong and dragging), Three Wishes and It's A Miracle would probably have been better tolerated if Water's ended the album with a song that was either climatic, dramatic or cathartic. Unfortunately, the album's title track is none of those things. There is nothing on the scale of Eclipse, The Trail, or Rick Wright's ethereal closing to Shine On part 2 here. Just another 'anti war/silly human race' song as a recap.

It's always hard not to think that the old Floyd that once contained Waters would have made this album a 5 star classic. However, the hard fact is that Roger Waters, for all his creative talent as evidenced here, is not and was not Pink Floyd, as also evidenced here, and the best rating this album can garner from me is 3 stars. It's the best Roger could do solo, that being well off his former band's high watermarks. However, it's still light years ahead of his former Pink Floyd associate's eighties and nineties output, and that's really saying something.

Report this review (#1444677)
Posted Saturday, July 25, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Intellectual and Thought-Provoking. One of Water's Two Best Solo Albums.

One of the best-recorded albums ever, this solo album sees Waters come up with a very complex, multi-layered, and insightful musical statement. Using a number of very talented guests (including Jeff Beck on lead guitar), Waters here delivers an album in which he criticizes a number of the intellectual currents undergirding neoliberal politics and international relations circa the 1990s. With a mix of deadly-serious insight and dark humour, this album forgoes the bizarrely-concocted storyline of 'Radio Maos', and instead weaves together a number of intellectually-related pieces that do not fit neatly into any story but instead sum up to something greater than their parts. Like a number of separate paintings of different topics, when placed together they invoke a series of related messages and critiques. Much of the critique is about the relationship between a market-based policy and the uses of war, with one (of the many) of Water's critiques built around how so much of what passes for official policy, whether around international conflict or choice in the marketplace, is merely 'amusing to death' the polity and hiding the real underlying relations of power from them. Waters is open about being influenced by Neil Postman's book 'Amusing Ourselves to Death', from which the album title and many of its themes derives. The album begins and ends with "The Ballad of Bill Hubbard", essentially a recounting of a story of a fallen soldier who had to be left for dead in the heat of war, and the pain this caused the veteran telling it. But really holding together the album is the song, broken into three separate parts (and thus appearing in three different places), 'What God Wants'. This is classic Waters, both in musical style and lyrics, comparing the market to God (or the fundamentalist pro-market religion to actual religion). In the middle are a number of pieces that relate international trade policies and the use of force ('Late Home Tonight', 'Perfect Sense', 'The Bravery of Being Out of Range'). These are mostly great (although I am not so keen on 'The Bravery of Being Out of Range', or 'Too Much Rope' - I feel these could have been cut from the album without any real loss). But the best songs are saved for the end. Among the best on the album is "Watching TV", a song about Tiananman Square, and the tensions and potentials (both good and bad) involved with media reporting of this event. Awesome track, full of emotion and power. 'Three Wishes' (about the possibility of asking the Genie to grant three wishes, and the inevitable remorse associated with one's choices), and 'It's a Miracle' (about the emptiness of seeing market relations and market power as some sort of benevolent force, or God), are both excellent. The latter tune uses some dark humour to get back at Andrew Lloyd Webber's use (theft?) of the Echoes theme for Webber's stage version of Phantom of the Opera. And of course, the title track that closes the album is awesome. Really, the last half of this album is fantastic, essential, and it could have been a five-star album if some of the weaker material in the first half had been left off (especially considering how long this album is). Overall, I would highly recommend picking this up. I give this 8.8 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is the same score I gave to 'Pros and Cons', and translates to (high) 4 PA stars.

Report this review (#1698235)
Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 | Review Permalink

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