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Roger Waters - Radio K.A.O.S. CD (album) cover


Roger Waters


Crossover Prog

2.97 | 275 ratings

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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.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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