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RADIO K.A.O.S.

Roger Waters

Crossover Prog


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Roger Waters Radio K.A.O.S.  album cover
2.91 | 152 ratings | 28 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1987

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Radiowaves (4:57)
2. Who Needs Information (5:56)
3. Me or Him *(5:24)
4. The Powers That Be *(4:36)
5. Sunset Strip (4:46)
6. Home (6:00)
7. Four Minutes (4:00)
8. The Tide Is Turning (After Live Aid) (5:44)

Total Time: 41:13

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Roger Waters / vocals, guitars, bass and the odd keyboard, including the shakuhachi on "Me Or Him"
- Andy Fairweather Low / electric guitars
- Jay Stapley / electric guitars
- Mel Collins / saxophones
- Ian Ritchie / Fairlight programming, drum programming, piano, keyboards
- Graham Broad / drums and percussion
- John Linwood / drums on "The Powers That Be"
- Nick Glenny-Smith / DX7 and Emu on "The Powers That Be", including the great bass line
- Matt Irving / Hammond organ on "The Powers That Be"
- Paul Carrack / guest vocal on "The Powers That Be"
- Clare Torry / guest vocal on "Home" and "Four Minutes"
- Suzanne Rhatigan / main backing vocals on "Radio Waves", "Me Or Him", "Sunset Strip", "The Tide Is Turning"
- Katie Kissoon, Doreen Chanter, Madeline Bell, Steve Langer & Vicky Brown / backing vocals on "Who Needs Information", "Powers That Be" and "Radio Waves"

Horn section on "Who Needs Information" and "The Powers That Be":
- Ian Ritchie / Tenor saxophone
- John Phirkell / trumpet
- Peter Thoms / trombone

Releases information

Lp: Columbia-FC 40795-Can-1987 / CD: Columbia-VCK-40795-Can-1987

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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The Pros and Cons of Hitch HikingThe Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
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ROGER WATERS Radio K.A.O.S. ratings distribution


2.91
(152 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
10%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
25%
Good, but non-essential (31%)
31%
Collectors/fans only (27%)
27%
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)
7%

ROGER WATERS Radio K.A.O.S. reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars This is where Waters looses it completely and IMO was ready to follow Syd to the asylum. Short and uninteresting songs tied to a dark and gloomy athmospheric concept album that also came out at the wrong time since this Third World War spectre with nuclear catastrophe was almost completely out of context as Glasnost and the End of Cold War were to deny Waters any messianic messages. This did actually interest me at the time because Floyd was also making a relatively poor album at the time and I amused myself to death comparing those two albums. I think Lapse Of Reason was better

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#29246) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 05, 2004

Review by The Prognaut
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This album is indeed the result of the sudden decadence of WATERS as he departures from PINK FLOYD. It was the year of 1983 when PINK FLOYD released "The Final Cut", an unforgettable postwar requiem to Eric Fletcher WATERS and the crucial time for WATERS to overcome not only his father's loss but also the reemerging to new prog music paradoxes for him. After several years of touring, without any surprisingly new record releasing, "Delicate Sound of Thunder" hit the music stores fulfilled with enigmatic new songs and incomprehensible reprises from some other PINK FLOYD records from the past, determining the end of the ROGER WATERS era within the early 70's psychedelic band. And so, he encouraged himself to overcome the scraps of yesterday with his former band and the constant struggle from within by releasing the still inexplicable RADIO K.A.O.S. in 1987 after his solo debut album "The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking". This album is a mixture of incontrovertible 80's sounds and the beginning of the end of concept albums in the early 90's upon the Progressive Rock platforms. Anyhow, WATERS taught himself a lesson with this "Radio K.A.O.S." experience and evidenced his wit and creativeness in the years to come in masterpieces such as "The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking" and "Amused to Death". Even the great ones stumble a little bit! so give this album the chance to be part of your PINK FLOYD and ROGER WATERS CD collection!

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Send comments to The Prognaut (BETA) | Report this review (#29245) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Radio K.A.O.S." shakes off the sleep borne from Hitchhiking and delivers WATERS' most vibrant and vital entry since "The Wall". The concept is complicated: Billy, a young man in a wheelchair, receives radio waves in his head and uses them to communicate with a revolutionary radio deejay. Billy's brother, Benny, has been imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. Against this backdrop, Billy finds a way to manipulate the world's missile systems to simulate a nuclear attack, an act which sobers the world to the dangers of nuclear weapons and closes with the positive global response of Live Aid. (Don't panic: the inner sleeve explains all of this and includes the lyrics, which'll help you navigate through "Radio K.A.O.S."). It's a suitably momentous scale for WATERS' epic and idiosyncratic sound, although references to Libya show the strange misfortune he's had in not having experienced a battle big enough to cast his pacifist polemics without also marginalizing them. The music is the real story anyway: energized where Hitchhiking was impossibly languid, a surge of emotion similar in effect to "Not Now John" from The Final Cut, oddly danceable but still principled and compelling. Several singles were peeled from the complete painting, though as with most of WATERS' solo music these aren't individual songs but rather separate acts in a single play. What's most impressive about "Radio K.A.O.S.", and probably lost in the translation to the real radio waves, is the way that WATERS blends the dialogue from Billy (delivered in mechanized voice) and Jim, the cynical deejay who pre"Sides" over the album. (If memory serves, WATERS employed a radio tower complete with deejay inside on stage for the "Radio K.A.O.S." tour, perhaps as much to capture the audience's imagination as compete with the theatrical stagecraft of PINK FLOYD's A Momentary Lapse of Reason tour.)

The effect is engrossing, sometimes stunning, often entertaining, and as good an amalgam of stage and recording studio as fans could hope for. It's ambitious, as befits as large a talent as ROGER WATERS, and reveals more nuances with repeated sittings. "Radio K.A.O.S." is clearly the Waters album to tune into first.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#29248) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record is pretty well recorded. Songs are unequal. Some songs are really accessible (radio waves, sunset strip). Some keyboards are varied and really interesting. I like those beautiful female backing vocals. But the composition are generally bland, except for the 2 last songs. The powers that be sound like the bravery of being out of range. Sunset strip sounds like a pop DIRE STRAITS. When I play this record, it is for the last 2 songs: "Four minutes" and "The Tide Is Turning". You have to hear this beautiful voice of Clare Torry (great gig in the sky), through dramatic floating keyboards sounds, tic tac and radio animator voice! I've been stuck on it for a while! On the "tide is turning", there is a perfect match between clean electric guitar and floating keyboards.

"Amused to Death" is definitely better...!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#29251) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Probably the least successful album by Roger Waters. OK it was the eighties and there is a little too much synth in parts but generally Radio KAOS is very good. The storyline of Billy, the befriended DJ, and world obliteration and the final message...hope are typical Waters trademarks for the concept albums he released.' Radio Waves' for me the weak link on the album otherwise it is finely crafted ' Sunset Strip' and ' Home' are worth listening to on agreat sound system just for the sound effects alone. Three and a half stars.Andy Fairweather Low's guitar work is excellent as well.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#29252) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 24, 2004

Review by FloydWright
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I was very torn between giving this album 3 or 4 stars...especially since I rated Amused to Death--which I despise--with 3 stars. Unfortunately, I just don't know how to justify a 4-star rating for this one, because there just isn't enough to qualify it as completely prog, or even as high quality music. While in sound effects there was clearly a lot of work, this is more like "Bob Dylan-meets-prog-meets-I Love the 80s". So as you read ahead, try to consider this one a 3.5 instead.

There's simply no way around it...the music is 80s pop. There are no out-of-the- ordinary chord structures, and if you are at all offended by the 80s sound, this is not for you. However, I must compliment the guitar work of SNOWY WHITE, the same guitarist from RICK WRIGHT's first solo album Wet Dream, because it is just as pleasant as always to listen to. I should also note that Clare Torry of "Great Gig in the Sky" fame makes an appearance on this album, although she doesn't play a central role. No songs stick out as horrible, if you are OK with the 80s, and some are actually fairly memorable to me: most notably the final triad, "Home", "Four Minutes", and "The Tide is Turning".

The concept is definitely cheesy, and better described by the liner notes and prior reviewers, but no sillier than anything AYREON has written lately. But if you can live with that, it does offer something never before seen (and never seen again!) on any ROGER WATERS work: a hopeful ending. One drawback, however, is that some songs were cut from the album and performed in concert only (most notably "Living in LA", which I really like), that could have made the concept easier to understand--they flesh out things that are in the liner notes but don't appear in the final version of the album. If you can track down a copy of that song, I think you should.

Radio KAOS is also highly political, just like Amused to Death after it, but the comments aren't quite as bitter, plus...it's only the second time around for this set of complaints. After this it gets old. But here, it still works out OK. Plus, given that Radio KAOS was recorded in 1987, I think that distance from the events in question can help too soften any hard feelings about what he's saying. Like The Final Cut before it, this can be treated as something of a historical artifact.

I would not recommend this album to someone who is not already a serious fan of PINK FLOYD and doesn't enjoy the ROGER WATERS-dominated works by the band. However, if that's your cup of tea, I suggest getting Radio KAOS...and stopping there. Once you've heard this and The Final Cut, you don't really need any more unless you're an audiophile, in which case I'd suggest Amused to Death as well.

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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#29254) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Review by Cluster One
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars I found this album hard to review as I adore all things from PINK FLOYD and ROGER WATERS; except "Radio K.A.O.S."! Oh, how the mighty have fallen! I thought hard about giving this album a 2 star review, but I dislike it so vehemently that I gave "Radio K.A.O.S." what no other reviewer has to this point: 1 single star...

Intriguing concept aside (really the only reason it warrants a star in the first place), the music and lyrics that WATERS created for this pop monstrosity make GENESIS' "Invisible Touch" look like a prog masterpiece. The 1980's were a poor era for music in general, but especially for the prog giants of the 70's (GENESIS, YES, and to a lesser extent FLOYD) But for ROGER WATERS this is an all-time low. There is nothing progressive about this record. Heavy synth and pop sounds (of which 'Radio Waves' is the typical example) abound in this plasticized attempt to 'appeal to a wider audience'. This is the same man who wrote "Animals"?!? Blech.

Replete with back-up singers, tacky DJ commentary and completely forgettable music, this is one of the toughest CDs in my FLOYD/WATERS collection to listen to from start-to-finish. 'The Tide Is Turning' is the first real (extremely patronizing) evidence of WATERS exhibiting his new found conscience in life. The last thing fans want is ROGER WATERS to be positive, warm & fuzzy! "Radio K.A.O.S" may be even worse than RICK WRIGHT's "ZEE: Identity". Ok, maybe not...

It's easy to see how FLOYD fans in 1987 would have swarmed to the "Momentary Lapse of Reason" Tour(s) instead of going to see WATERS' attempt to tour this anamoly. I'm sure the few hundred people who actually did attend his live shows were just as disappointed as the diehard FLOYD fan reviewing this album. Poor, in every sense of the word.

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Send comments to Cluster One (BETA) | Report this review (#29255) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 27, 2005

Review by progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 1987 saw two camps of fans emerge from the Waters and Gilmour/Mason mess. Fans that stuck with the Pink Floyd name as Gilmour released the first post-Waters Pink Floyd album and fans that stuck with the Waters-version of Pink Floyd (starting with The Wall). All these years later this now seems like it was a silly debate to be a part of because both albums released by these two versions of "Pink Floyd" were a far cry from their glory years. Waters' contribution to 1987 was his second solo album called Radio K.A.O.S.

Again, like similar Waters projects, Radio K.A.O.S. is a long-winded concept album that wanders around in a lost mess of half-thought ideas and complexities involving several characters. This time Waters couldn't get enough of the ideas into the music that he had to explain the storyline in the liner notes. Why not just write a book? If you're curious you can read a summary of the storyline on the Wikipedia page for this album. After reading it, you'd probably wonder if Waters had lost his mind as it sounds more like the storyline to one of those B-rated Sci-Fi channel movies.

A couple big changes are very apparent on this album. Waters seems more cheery than usual, with his biting commentary not as pervasive in this set of lyrics. Oh, it's there, but it seems more hidden due to the rosier style of music. The music is much more developed on this than in prior albums, however it takes on a more song-oriented and radio-friendly approach. I assume the idea behind this was that most of the album revolves about the Billy character and his interactions with a radio DJ, making the album sound like one is listening to the radio. Thus, the songs sound like they would be the kinds of songs one would hear on the radio. The downside to this approach is that Waters' voice and delivery does not fit this style very well and the 1980s digital synths and programmed drums are frankly annoying. It basically boils down to a middle-aged, bitter man singing pop music about a long-winded, complex, and silly concept that is basically lost to most listeners (even skilled ones). However, I applaud Waters for the detail he gave to the between-songs effects and character interactions. These are well done. The songs are where more work was needed.

Clearly A Momentary Lapse of Reason has aged better of the two "Pink Floyd camps" albums of 1987. Radio K.A.O.S. probably could have been pulled off even though the concept idea is not really that good. Waters failed in my opinion on this one making this the worst release of his career. Definitely worth the effort to look for if you're a die-hard Waters fan. All others probably should avoid. Even Pink Floyd fans might find this one hard to digest. Collectors only. Two stars.

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Send comments to progaardvark (BETA) | Report this review (#137869) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars You are only coming through in waves

Radio Kaos is an album of positives and negatives, the results being paradoxically reasonably balanced. The concept is based on a short story, told in the CD booklet, about a Welsh coal miner and his family. In the story, Waters manages to bring together pretty much all his political grievances in a contrived tale which involves a paraplegic son, Reagan and Thatcher and the nuclear threat.

Musically, we start on a positive note with a very 80's sounding and reasonably lively Radio waves, a song which offers the immediate reassurance that this album will not simply prolong the one dimensional mood of Pros and cons, Final cut, etc. There is almost a pop feel to the song with the repetition of the title and the toe-tapping rhythm.

The following Who needs information may take things down a bit in terms of pace, but there remains a spark, perhaps enthusiasm, here which has been missing for some time. At times on this song and the following Me or him Waters sounds remarkably like a cross between Mark Knopfler and Leonard Cohen. The female backing vocals, such as Cohen used on his The future album and many others, can become rather irritating being very much of their time, but they do give tracks such as The powers that be a welcome burst of life. That track even includes a brass section of the type used by Phil Collins! If that were not remarkable enough, Sunset strip moves squarely into Bob Geldorf and the Boomtown Rats territory, the song being virtually Rat trap part 2.

The closing track, The tide is turning (after Live Aid) is a wonderfully positive conclusion to the album in the form of a delicate ballad. A Welsh male voice choir add a truly emotional backing to a song which is quite out of character for Waters.

Radio kaos is Roger Waters most commercial and accessible album. The ill-advised concept and some of the lyrics are easily ignored, leaving a slightly superficial but ultimately listenable collection of songs. With this album, Waters alienated a significant number of his faithful following, while failing to attract new devotees in sufficient numbers to render the project a success. Taken in context though, it was time for Waters to stretch out and to once again challenge himself. To that extent, the album does actually work; an album for the 80's.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#165956) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 07, 2008

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
5 stars 01. Radio Waves The story begins (read the summary at the end of the review). The sound of the disk is 80's but even then for some reason I think more than fantastic, all that atmosphere created. I think the strongest there is the way that Roger can interpret the songs, always in a way that makes you really believe that is the main character of your story that you are telling the story for you. Musically speaking the song is directed to simple and direct, which in my opinion, was purposeful and wise. It takes time for a sound and understand the proposal, but if you give a chance to disk will hear it many times. The impression that I happening is that all this sound-8's was purposeful for the story seemed more real, since everything is happening at the time of the launch of the disc (1987). The song as a trademark of Roger, is full of female vocals, and full of great guitars. When a track and another between the conversation between the characters come to light, and the songs complement the roadmap.

02. Who Needs Information In the case of Who Needs Information, is a semi-ballad, telling the story of 'actors'. The chorus is a totally political typical case of the writing of sensational Waters. I still get excited with the way that it consists of simple but sensational. And once again the vocals recorded by him are of extreme sensitivity. The female choir once again makes an incredible difference. More amazing is the choir and in the end, imitating the sound waves.

03. Me Or Him This track represents one of the strengths of Waters, the songs simple, full of melancholy and layered with vocal exciting, always so emotional. The vocal parts of duplicates, and the road cars are typical of Waters and in my view is sensational. To tell the truth to mix music with the sounds of 'urban' which are much more interesting and Roger can do it very well, since the days of Pink Floyd. We have also, soon after the speech that comes into play down a row of simple but very melodic.

04. The Powers That Be Round the DJ just to announce what I would almost be a fright. The Powers That Be, is the last industrial, electronics, full of sound and programming. The chorus of the song has a pop melody that seduces anyone, and with the help of the voice of Paul Carrack the thing is even more interesting. This way the settings and battery acoustic go side by side. In the second chorus Paul and Roger share the vocals and the result is even more interesting. I could say that despite the strange sound is one of the highlights of the disc. Special attention to the lines of guitar.

05. Sunset Strip Like any conceptual disc that values the shares are repeated, the melodies are used in various subjects. The low on the track is usually a very simple line, such as monitoring it. The voice of the 'girls' on the disc are great, reminds me a little Motown, a melody means' train' (listen and will understand). And the voice of Roger is always welcome. And Mel Collins always doing a great job with the saxophones. One of the most interesting things on the disc are the dialogues between the DJ and the listeners of Radio KAOS (give the letters that are together in the file).

06. Home Roger melodist that is! And point! The verses that theme throughout the show extraordinary melodic sense of the arrangements of the 'boy'. The track is surrounded by noises, but among them the band is firm and strong, with a very interesting base, including the battery. But what impresses me and moved me is the chorus, singing along with those for all lungs. And ... Surprise! Who is doing the voice of surprise? Clare Torry! To those who do not know is the voice or brings to The Great Gig In The Sky. I need to say something about?

07. Four Minutes We've started well, but with one foot in the past. In addition to the tic-TAC Clare again we do not need to say or what watches and Clare remember right? The piano's range is excellent, reminds me quite a few tracks from The Final Cut the beginning. Man, this track is really a leap in The Dark Side, then a schedule of Synth, parecidíssima with On The Run, but what excites all the paraphernalia that is behind the sound track, Roger is excellent with these ideas, almost a small symphony.

08. The Tide Is Turning (After Live Aid) This band seems to have been composed of the rest of the disc, as well as not having to do with the concept the previous track makes clear that history has ended. Not something that panic. An interesting track, and could not fail to be, political, matter of great importance to Waters. Towards the end the chorus of vocalizations to the church only embellishes the track and the end of the disc.

The story means (over) the disc is as follows: The Radio KAOS this is one of the last meetings where music boa.E this is where the main character can deduct their anguish, as the boy lost his brother (who was arrested) for stealing a modern phone equipment for fun, this device is in the hands of Billy, who discovers that mentally can communicate through the wireless phone and its mente.Uma strange story, but sensational.

www.progshine.com

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#197364) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 05, 2009

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I hear waves in my head...

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#204984) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars When you listen to the opening track "Radio Waves", you are indeed brought back in these "glorious" eighties. Synthetic (plastic?), cold and repetitive music. John Foxx (Ultravox!) is not far away. But I prefer the later to this Waters affair. "Sunset Trip" is made of the same mould. Not too bad, but nothing special either.

Actually, I am not at all a fan of Roger's solo career. Nor the last leg of his Floyd trip ("The Wall" and the pitiful "Final Cut"). This one reminds me (at times) "The Wall" like the second track "Who Needs Information". And I am not very impressed to say the least. Same sort of comment applies to "The Powers That Be".

The feeling of boredom is definitely reached while your CD player will reach the third track: "Me Or Him" (I made up my choice here).The whole dark side of the man can be felt here. Monochord and inexpressive voice, monotonous music: in all quite a weak moment. Press next, I guess?

There are hardly great moments in here. KAOStic music, I'm afraid. Average, no more. The good and bombastically Floydean "Four Minutes" maybe?

Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#275970) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 02, 2010

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars I'm pretty surprised to see that Radio KAOS has a lower rating than Pros and Cons. Respect to that one, this has a stronger concept even if not properly a masterpiece of literature. From a musical point of view it features more sax than guitar, but after the poor (IMO) performance of Clapton on Pros and Cons this is not a bad thing. Also the sax is played by Mel Collins.

When it was released it caused different reactions within the Pink Floyd fans: from one side Waters' style is still recognizable. Gimmicks are everywhere but less invasive than on Pros or on Final Cut and his singing is helped by a number of singers including Clare Torry (The Great Gig in the Sky voice) and Paul Carrack.

The counterpart is the horn section. It's very well played and arranged, but the funky parts are a bit too much for a former Floyd's album. Just to make a comparison, Gilmour's About face contains only one "funky" song, even if it's the main track: Blue Light. Radio KAOS has at least three tracks full of funky accents. Not bad, but this is not what Floyd fans are used to look for.

Speaking about the songs, none of them is outstanding on its own, but effectively the album follows its route and all are good contributors to the final result. Only The Tide is Turning, played also at the closure of The Wall concert in Berlin, has something more. Another good track is for me "The powers that be". This is the seed from which Amused to Death probably came from. The guitar here sounds very similar to what Jeff Beck will later do on What God Wants.

I don't think it's an album for collectors only. The average quality of the songs is acceptable, there a story concept and is played by skilled musicians. Some songs are poppy, most have funky contaminations, as I wrote, but if this is a weakness for Pink Floyd fans, can be appealing for all the others.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#291392) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars An album which has attracted massively negative comments on this site, and, in truth, in the wider music community. Indeed, I remember reading a review of this at the time of release in The Independent newspaper which concluded with the quote: "Mr Waters, Sir, you are mad".

Well no, he's not. This is a loose concept album, based around a profoundly disabled Welsh kid named Billy, who can only communicate via radio waves, who strikes up a friendship with an LA disc jock, tells the story of how his brother, a striking coal miner, was jailed for throwing a boulder off of a bridge killing a taxi driver (this is based on an actual event in the 1980's coal miners' strike in the UK), and then foretelling the ultimate nuclear fight, before making an upbeat statement on how the ultimate holocaust might be averted following the world coming together in Live Aid.

In other words, your typical Waters day at the office!

There is some great music in here, and it is always a hugely emotional album. Who Needs Information is the brother story, and it oozes bitterness and regret over the treatment by Thatcher of the coal miners, their industry, and the communities which were decimated by the foolhardiness of both sides. The brass section is fantastic on this, as is the Welsh Male Voice Choir chanting gently in the background. This was, by the way, the Pontarddulais Male Voice Choir, based just a few short miles from where I live.

They also make a massive contribution to The Tide Is Turning (After Live Aid), and I find the signature vocal extremely uplifting.

Elsewhere, the acoustic guitar and Waters keyboards effects on Me Or Him, combined with a wistful and plaintive vocal when the boy gets jailed for his crime, is as good as anything Waters has committed to vinyl. The bass line is something else as well. Taut and full of emotion, together with a hilarious radio line parodying Reagan, I love this track.

All in all, I think this is a hugely underrated album. I suppose if you think that Waters is the devil incarnate, then nothing will persuade you that this is anything other than awful. If, however, you are open to the idea that this represented the true spirit of Floyd, with exceptional songwriting, musicianship, and political commentary, as compared with the relatively anodyne stuff that the official band were putting out at the time, then this album is for you.

Please do not consider this to be a "Waters goes pop" album (not that there would be anything wrong with that in itself). No, there are no boy meets girl, takes her to bed for a lovely lay types of songs here. This is a serious piece of work by a very serious artist and commentator.

Four stars. An excellent addition to any prog rock collection.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#321128) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 15, 2010

Latest members reviews

2 stars I suppose it should be daring to try go "main-stream" for people like Roger Waters, in this case as with others (Roxy Music-"Manifesto", Yes-"Tormento" (I know), ELPs "Love Beach", Zappa's "Sheik Your Booty" and a whole list of attempts in this tenor). So not all are successful, rather the opposite. ... (read more)

Report this review (#974623) | Posted by admireArt | Sunday, June 09, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is not a bad album, it's just that it was made in '87. Radio K.A.O.S is my least favorite album by Roger Waters as a whole, but I don't think it deserves the one star reviews at all or the two star for that matter. When I first started to listen to this album I wasn't very impressed. I th ... (read more)

Report this review (#466416) | Posted by FloydZappa | Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The same year as Floyd, now led by Gilmour releases "A Momentary Lapse of Reason", Mr.Waters releases a new solo record. He then goes and criticizes the new Floyd record, saying it's not up to Floyd standards...well what the heck are this guy's standards? Obviously he's interested in being a ... (read more)

Report this review (#458004) | Posted by Buh | Tuesday, June 07, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I remember me comparing Radio Kaos with A momentary lapse of reason, when the Waters - Pink Floyd battle was even fresh. At this time I was liked both two, but with the time they became not so good for me. Anyway, Radio KAOS has good things. It's not progressive rock, except because the conce ... (read more)

Report this review (#297904) | Posted by genbanks | Tuesday, September 07, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I'm a big fan of Pink Floyd. I love no other band more then Floyd. So, of course, I like the solo-projects from Waters and Gilmour too and I always enjoy listening to "Radio K.A.O.S.". I don't hear this album very often but when I do it I like it. But this my opinion as fan. Objectively I h ... (read more)

Report this review (#294627) | Posted by Elveeye | Sunday, August 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars When Pink Floyd went their seperate ways (basically as far away as Roger as they posibly could), they continued as a 3 piece (a pretty good one at that), while Roger complained and moaned about them non stop. He released some solo albums during the time he was moaning and this was one of them. ... (read more)

Report this review (#281790) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Thursday, May 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Not good, not good at all, I call it Tommy version 2. The story its the same from the one that came from The Who, the music is definitely as close as what they did, and to be honest I don't like Tommy that much. Anyway, there is something here that reminds me from The Final Cut, the creation of ... (read more)

Report this review (#262143) | Posted by FenderTramp | Saturday, January 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I used to love this album and firmly support it, but after recently listening to it, I've changed my mind a bit. Sure, "Radio Waves" is a wonderful 80s-synth pop tune, and "The Tide Is Turning" may be waters best post-Floyd tune, but most of the other songs lack anything special. Waters' usual ... (read more)

Report this review (#128370) | Posted by Anonymous | Friday, July 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I will never understand so that a musician as WATERS I incline to a clearly POP variant doubtlessly like many bands at a similar time, as if each band had to happen through that stage of irremediable way, a step that the truth is a black spot, to my to seem I cannot understand so that of that ... (read more)

Report this review (#111579) | Posted by Shelket | Saturday, February 10, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Radio K.A.O.S. is really concise and each song I've had stuck in my head at some point in time. I don't identify any weak points as far as the tunes go, but the overall concept of the album I think is a little... strange.. I can't say I like it either. Farfetched is what it is, and some parts ... (read more)

Report this review (#82634) | Posted by Supertwister | Tuesday, July 04, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A huge step up from "Pros and Cons of Hitchiking". This album contains a good concept and his best solo work, a song that would fit in perfectly on a Pink FLoyd album, "The Tide is Turning". A song, that comming just before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, is quite f ... (read more)

Report this review (#79125) | Posted by echoes2112 | Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Have you ever read any of Toni Morrison's novels? She creates so brilliant plots gently interlacing them with problems of Negroes' situation after slavery age. She is said to build the highest forms of narrative. Every single book wrote by her deserves to be put on shelf among another sort of amb ... (read more)

Report this review (#29253) | Posted by JungleMan | Saturday, March 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Listen to this album i realize that Roger Waters uses a formula to compose his music, and he was repeating himself since " The Wall" in his compositions.This record, not speaking about the even original " story" of Billy and the DJ but in the originality of music, is so dissapointed that a sec ... (read more)

Report this review (#29249) | Posted by | Monday, May 24, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars on this album Roger drifted more into pop style but the arrangments are really symphonic. Story told this time is even better than on prevoius record. The Tide Is Turning is probably the best song in his whole solo career. Great CD. ... (read more)

Report this review (#29247) | Posted by l-s-d | Tuesday, April 06, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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