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ROGER WATERS

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Roger Waters biography
Born in Cambridge in 1944, Roger WATERS' musical career took off when he joined the band PINK FLOYD in 1965 along with highschool friend Syd BARRETT. After BARRETT's drug problems got him kicked out of the band, WATERS became the primary creative force, and thanks to such inspirations as his father who died in World War 2 before they could ever meet, his strongly left wing political views, and his ex-bandmate BARRETT, he went on to compose such masterwork concept albums as "Dark Side of the Moon", "Wish You Were Here", "Animals" and "The Wall" during his time with the band. However, by 1983 when the band completed "The Final Cut", he had taken total control, and guitarist David GILMOUR wasn't going to take it. The two began to fight feverishly, eventually resulting in WATERS quitting the band thinking they could never go on without him. They did however, leaving him to his own solo career. Roger's solo music bares striking resemblance to the final few albums he did with PINK FLOYD, in that it is very dark and driven by a concept. Any fans of "The Wall" or "The Final Cut" would do well to give his solo work a listen.

Roger's solo career actually dates back to 1970 when he worked with avant-garde composer Ron Geesin on the soundtrack to the film "The Body". His first real solo album came in 1985 with the brilliant "Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking" though. This is an essencial album for fans of his later work with PINK FLOYD, although some may find it a bit boring and overly personal (it's based on a dream he had, and touches on almost all of his typical themes in his lyrics). In 1987 he contributed music to the film "When the Wind Blows", and also created another concept album in "Radio K.A.O.S.". This is the least essencial of his solo albums, and is really plagued by the horrible 80s sound that was dominating music at the time. That said, it still has some bright spots, and is by no means a weak album. His next solo work didn't come until 1992's "Amused To Death". Many consider this his best, and it is without question his most political album ever. None of these are particularlily accessible, so it couldn't hurt to just go from the beginning and start with "The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking" if interested in his work, though you can't go wrong with "Amused To Death" either (that is, if you agree with his strong political views).

Roger's solo work is recommended, but it's not for everyone. Those who enjoy his dark, conceptual style will lov...
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Roger Waters - In the Flesh (Live)Roger Waters - In the Flesh (Live)
Multiple Formats · Anamorphic
Sony Legacy 2001
DVD$7.54
$3.36 (used)
Amused to DeathAmused to Death
Box set
Sony Legacy 2015
Audio CD$10.78
$14.47 (used)
In the Flesh: LiveIn the Flesh: Live
Columbia 2000
Audio CD$6.34
$1.13 (used)
The Pros And Cons Of Hitch HikingThe Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
Audio CD$3.02
$3.01 (used)
Roger Waters The WallRoger Waters The Wall
Sony Legacy 2015
Audio CD$6.58
$4.76 (used)
Radio K.A.O.S.Radio K.A.O.S.
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2011
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$2.66 (used)
Roger Waters Collection (box set) - Roger WatersRoger Waters Collection (box set) - Roger Waters
Box set · Import
Sony import 2015
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Wall: Live in Berlin 1990Wall: Live in Berlin 1990
Mercury 1998
Audio CD$13.72
$0.99 (used)
The Wall: Live In Berlin [2 CD Remastered]The Wall: Live In Berlin [2 CD Remastered]
Remastered
Mercury 2003
Audio CD$13.34
$10.97 (used)
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ROGER WATERS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ROGER WATERS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.91 | 89 ratings
Music From The Body (with Ron Geesin)*
1970
3.00 | 260 ratings
The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
1984
2.91 | 187 ratings
Radio K.A.O.S.
1987
3.94 | 372 ratings
Amused To Death
1992
3.49 | 82 ratings
Ça Ira
2005

ROGER WATERS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.15 | 91 ratings
The Wall - Live in Berlin
1990
3.56 | 126 ratings
In the Flesh - Live
2000
3.71 | 15 ratings
The Wall (The Soundtrack From A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans)
2015

ROGER WATERS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.12 | 60 ratings
The Wall Live in Berlin
1990
2.64 | 9 ratings
What God Wants, Part I (VHS)
1992
4.29 | 125 ratings
In The Flesh (DVD)
2001
4.23 | 20 ratings
The Wall (A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans)
2015

ROGER WATERS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.52 | 40 ratings
Flickering Flame - The Solo Years 1
2002
3.45 | 11 ratings
The Roger Waters Collection (7CD + DVD)
2011

ROGER WATERS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Every Strangers Eyes
1984
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking
1984
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Tide Is Turning (After Live Aid)
1987
5.00 | 1 ratings
Who Needs Information
1987
4.00 | 1 ratings
Sunset Strip
1987
2.11 | 14 ratings
Radio Waves (EP)
1987
2.29 | 5 ratings
The Wall - Berlin '90 - Commemorative EP
1990
4.50 | 2 ratings
What God Wants, Part I
1992
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range
1992
5.00 | 2 ratings
Three Wishes
1992
3.13 | 25 ratings
To Kill the Child / Leaving Beirut
2004
4.00 | 1 ratings
Hello (I Love You)
2007

ROGER WATERS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Wall (A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans) by WATERS, ROGER album cover DVD/Video, 2015
4.23 | 20 ratings

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The Wall (A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans)
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by uribreitman

4 stars After Alan Parker's film and the Berlin political show, what can Roger Waters do to excite us, Pink Floyd veterans? well, it seems that quite a bit. First, the visual presentation is absolutely stunning: Waters uses cutting-edge 3D projection techonology to transform the huge wall into a virtual reality platform. The projections are utterly captivating, moving around the stage like it was real, making our eyes wonder if it's real or some kind of trickerry. It's a sight to behold. Waters uses every magic in his vault to include modern political references, satire and social commentary. This is the main reason to get the blu-ray edition (don't settle for DVD, it's not good enough, sorry).

So it's a huge show and it's visually very satisfying. In the musical department, there's not much room to improve, really. OK, the audio quality is much betterh than Berlin or the 80s, easily. But although the mix if fine and the performance of Dave Kilminister and Snowy White is superb, it doesn't really innovate. Roger's vocal performance has deteriorated because of his age, so most of the time he's using playback, which is a sad sight to see.

The live footage wasn't good enough for Rog, apparntly, so he's added a sad and gloomy documentary, which sometimes interrupts the show and makes us wish it won't. Honestly, the docu parts should have been dumped into the "EXTRAS" section of the product. Too many graves, too many dull moments, too many "Sad old Roger" talking about war like a really old man.

So if you're considering getting the blu-ray version, enjoy the stage spectacle but don't expect to be thrilled with the docu bits, thrown here in there to make stuff more "serious-looking". The Wall show in its 2010-2013 version was really a fine audio-visual production, but it has been slightly marred by Roger's car trip around Western Europe, looking for dead people in the grass.

 The Wall (A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans) by WATERS, ROGER album cover DVD/Video, 2015
4.23 | 20 ratings

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The Wall (A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans)
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars This concert film is not only appealing because of the music of "The Wall" presented by Roger Waters and his band, but because of the story behind the stage. The story reveals the anti-war message and the movie offer to the viewer other surroundings than the actual stage. But don't worry, we have the complete show here. The fact that it was not only a concert made me appreciate more the music of "The Wall" which has never been my favorite Pink Floyd album. The visuals are spectacular in this super production with the big wall, the lights mainly in the red color and the projections on the screen. The musicians are almost out of the picture, except Roger. The surround "atmospheric" sound place you in the show. And on top of that, you can watch this in plenty of languages choices with the subtitles, while this is more important in the extras with the documentary. In the extras, you can see David Gilmour played "Comfortably Numb" on top of the wall. My favorite parts of the show are the atmospheric songs outside the typical rock songs of the "Another Brick in The Wall" suite. The story behind the concept of "The Wall" is beyond the simple anti-war message, but is also based on the concept of alienation that humans fear in their lives in general. The idea of Roger Waters to dedicated this show to the people who have died in the war is really touching considering the fact that his father and grandfather died in this situation so that his universal message of peace has a personal resonance on him. Recommended not only to music listeners, but also those who enjoy a good musical movie.
 The Wall (The Soundtrack From A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans) by WATERS, ROGER album cover Live, 2015
3.71 | 15 ratings

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The Wall (The Soundtrack From A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans)
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by Shad

3 stars Well, I believe that The Wall is one of the greatest and grandest music works of the XX century, but I doubt I would have fallen in love with it had this been the original. It is abrasive and to my ears is not as captivating or monolithic or smooth as it was captured on another live show Is There Anybody Out There - The Wall Live 1980-81. I don't like new sound effects, keyboard and guitar tones which are used and additions to the original. I think that the show itself is fantastic and I enjoyed the movie, but since this review is about the soundtrack only three stars.
 Amused To Death by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.94 | 372 ratings

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Amused To Death
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by SteveG

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 4 stars, rounded off from 3.5. 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.

 The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.00 | 260 ratings

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The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by SteveG

3 stars The pros and cons of hitchhiking yourself away from Pink Floyd.

Trying to disentangle Roger Water's first real solo album from the entire 'He abandoned Pink Floyd' soap opera of the mid eighties is difficult to do. Even 30+ years later. Yes, it's been that long.

For those who don't know the background to this album, the concept was initially offered to Floyd to record along with the concept of the Wall. The band rejected the former, and the rest is history, as they say. So after the big split, Roger walked away with this concept of an album under his arm, and went to work. Enlisted were guitar god Eric Clapton, keyboard player and arranger Michael Kamen, along with David Sanborn on sax.

The vibe of this album is blues based so the inclusion of Clapton probably seemed like a good idea to Water's at the time, and he does help. But it's Sanborn that really gets the album to swing at times. And of course, there are the female background singers oohing in the choruses.

What this album documents is what Water's once contributed to the sound of Pink Floyd, especially on the albums Animals and The Wall, and The Final Cut, obviously. The songs on this album are far from mediocre. But unlike songs like Mother, from the Wall, they simply lack the musical gravitas that co visionary and co musical director David Gilmour gave to them. And there's nothing here to rival the punch of Pigs, the majestic flights of fancy of Comfortably Numb (co wriiten with Gilmour), or the dark abyss brought into the light on Hey You. What we do get is Water's 'Hey Laddie' persona that only goes so far in being entertaining and, more importantly, musically satisfying.

If listening to The Final Cut was akin to listening to The Wall deprived of coherent song structure, then listening to The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking is akin to listening to The Wall deprived of it's musical highlights.

So, is it possible to disentangle Roger Water's solo output from that of Pink Floyd 30+ years later? No.

Water's is one part of an equation where the sum was greater than the parts. That's all. Nothing more. Nothing less. That is what The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking documents, for all times. If you don't believe that, than I suggest you listen to David Gilmour's solo albums and see what part of the equation he's equal to or remiss at.

Water's would go on to redeem himself eventually with the excellent Amused To Death album in 1992.

It would be the closest he would get to being whole. But still only close.

3 stars for an album that still has many pros and cons 30+ years later, and could never have been any better than it was.

 The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.00 | 260 ratings

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The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by Tristan Zaba

4 stars Really 3.5

I actually love this album so much. Judged objectively, I can't say it's musically amazing like some of his other works, but the crazily convoluted concept makes for just as effective lyrics (which is really why we listen to Roger).

Before I get into the review I'll give everyone some background info. Most people know that after the fiasco that was the 1977 In The Flesh tour, Pink Floyd took some time off to recharge their creative batteries. Roger Waters went back home and made some really angsty demos in his shed that eventually became the wall. What a lot of people don't know is that he actually recorded all the demos for this album as well. When he came back to show everything to his band mates, he gave them the option to do one or the other, and whatever they didn't choose would be his first solo album.

And so Roger Waters did The Wall, The Final Cut, and took off to make this. You can hear exactly what he wants this album to be from the get-go; something to upstage The Wall (which it doesn't). It has more sound effects, more crazy screaming, a pretty interesting concept, and just generally a hell of a lot crammed into one album (lyrically at least).

Conceptually the album takes place inside dreams within dreams (think inception, but without a plot), going steadily deeper and deeper inside Reg's (the protagonist) psyche to show his deepest emotional weaknesses and fears. If you take a minute to think about going on a journey through Roger Waters' subconscious, you'll understand why this album is so f$%king weird. Furthermore, just like The Wall, The Final Cut, and Amused To Death, it's going to take you a while to interpret the lyrics and understand what you're listening to.

And so I leave only the music to be discussed, which is where this album suffers. I personally think that the delivery is impeccable and could not have been done better. However, the music itself doesn't have enough variance to be as strong as The Final Cut (which is what it comes closest to). In bits with heavy, confusing narrative, its seems as though Roger opts to keep it purposefully repetitive in order to not distract the listener too much from the lyrics. That being said, it does sometimes work. There are even short glimmers that reach the heights of The Wall.

Hopefully that makes you want to listen to the album, because I personally think it deserves more ears than it has. It's also the first Roger Waters album to be really humorous, and the only Roger Waters album ever to have a happy ending.

 Music From The Body (with Ron Geesin)* by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.91 | 89 ratings

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Music From The Body (with Ron Geesin)*
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Even Syd would approve...

There are a lot of negative review of this album across the web. What the hells not to like here? This is an excellent album that sounds like a lost title from late 60s Floyd, arguably the most "progressive" period of the band's existence. Certainly their most fun from a psych adventurers' standpoint. For me there is some personal nostalgic bias at play. This album was always in the rotation back when a certain friend and I would wile away endless summer days and night swimming in copious amounts of THC. There is no denying it was magical. Things happened that to this day I cannot comprehend. We are all magical beings until we become inhibited and responsible. Of course most of us grow up at some point. And yet a piece of music like this can transport you back a few clicks with ease and without regret.

This collaboration between Ron (Atom Heart) Geesin and Mr. Waters is an absolute winner. Recorded in the heady days of early 1970 it is a treasure of the first Floyd wave mindset, when they were still capable of having fun and trying weird things with no thought of commercial potential. This album is the product of Ron and Roger striking up a friendship at a dinner party and becoming golf mates. Ron had written much of the music but he needed someone to sing some vocal oriented tracks for his film project. Who better than this weird new friend? Eventually the guy would become a big star and swear off music like this, Ummagumma, and even the glorious Atom Heart Mother. But Roger's opinion of this slice of youthful endeavor is only a sad reflection of himself, not of this music. We, his fans, know better.

Alastair: Did you enjoy working with Roger? Ron: Yes, very much.

Alastair: Would you have liked to have worked more with him? Ron: Yes, I think we were a potentially lethal team.

Alastair: Do you have any thoughts on Roger's music today? Ron: Not much. I can't stand the Bob Dylan-ish American accent, or the meddling in politics. He's got plenty of money coming in, so he should make pure expressionist pieces and not try to conform to some imagined acceptability factor.

-Ron Geesin interview by Alastair McLean

Go Ron! The music of "The Body" is a pure treat for those who love the albums like More, Ummagumma's studio side, and Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast. This has all the avant-garde doodling of Breakfast and craziness of "Several Species of Small Furry Animals" mingling in a puddle, and yet manages much more. Off the wall cello breaks, Italian sounding piano bits, and of course the Floydian feel of Grantchester Meadows Roger. The Roger we knew and loved. The acoustic haze of Roger and the crazy ideas of Geesin will of course appeal to the young "inspired" Floyd fan, but I found this album holds up nicely even for an oldster. There are good melodies on display in some of these tracks. There are clues to the future Roger brilliance to watch for, like when he utters the line "Breathe in the air" on this album's "Breathe." There are the Floyd themselves guesting on a track, and soulful female background singers that will surely remind you of Pros and Cons. There are simple spring songs not unlike Roger's "If" and there is Geesin's love of collage music, stereo panning, and flat-out experimentation. The album is a self-contained afternoon off the rails, when you're drooling for a slab of Pink Floyd moments that never actually happened. Except they did, here.

Far from a throwaway title to be ridiculed by the masses, "music from The Body" is a first class psychedelic gem and a successful smoothie of progressive ideas from two acclaimed musicians in their young hearted days. Don't be cynical. Remember a Day.

 In The Flesh (DVD) by WATERS, ROGER album cover DVD/Video, 2001
4.29 | 125 ratings

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In The Flesh (DVD)
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by genbanks

4 stars Very good DVD. With some shadows, but the good things here are really good. Waters divides the show in a Pink Floyd section for one side, and his solo projects for the other, putting the focus in Amused to death, cos it was its tour. He did not play anything from Radio Kaos, unless in the DVD. The Pink Floyd section is divided in five parts, The Wall, Final Cut, Animals, Wish you were here and Dark side of the moon. And here there are some lights and shadows.

The Wall: Perfect rendition, superb intro with In the flesh. But the best thing is this version of Mother in which the extraordinary female singer Katie Kissoon sings the Gilmour part. Just perfect and emotive.

Final cut: After the hyper short Filthy hands, he goes to an incredible version of Southampton Dock. A small song that means almost nothing (unless for me) in the original recording, appears here completely transformed in a piece of art with those female voices. Pure emotion and feeling. Every time I listening it gives me the chills.

Animals: Great really, Pigs on the wing and the epic Dog wiht John Carin in the place of Gilmour. He did a decent job. But the best is the guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, just stunning. Great version of Dogs, very powerfull.

Wish you were here: Things start to goes downhill here. Welcome to the machine, really good for me, but Wish you were here, completely ruined by Roger's voice, impossible to replace Dave Gilmour here, unless IMO. Shine on you just good, but sounds cold.

Dark side of the moon: Just the worst, impossible to replace Gilmour on these songs.

After that things get really better with the solo stuff. At first with Every stranger´s eyes from Pros and Cons, in a perfect version of this great track. Then with Amused to death and superb renditions of all this four tracks. Outstands Pefect sense part I, again with Katie Kissoon in a version even better than the original recording. The same I could say about The Miracle.

At the end Brain damage and Eclipse sounds great but Comfortably numb without Gilmour, just almost nothing. As an overall effort is an excellent addition, mainly because Waters goes over the best from the Floyd catalogue. A megalomaniac guy, but I must recognize that he is one of the few that continues playing really old stuff with the same passion, and that's is much to say.

About the DVD production, good sound, the show is a bit dark, with some films, not great thing, but enough to go with this great music. Four stars

 Amused To Death by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.94 | 372 ratings

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Amused To Death
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by KyleSchmidlin

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).

 Amused To Death by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.94 | 372 ratings

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Amused To Death
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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