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


Roger Waters


Crossover Prog

2.96 | 320 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Less powerful than his other albums.

With a very dated 80s sound (both in terms of production values, and in terms of the dominant time signatures, keyboards, and new wave beats), this album tries but in the end can't muster the same level of emotion as Waters' other albums. Much of the reason relates to the story being told here, which is just too far-fetched to feel authentic or believable. Billy - the (perhaps autistic) twin-brother of a laid-off and incarcerated Welsh coal miner - learns to communicate through a 'cordless' phone, and eventually to control computers all over the world through this (in the age before the internet). Billy becomes friends with a DJ of 'renegade' rock radio station Radio Kaos in Los Angeles, and the world generally hears from and about Billy through this DJ. When Billy decides to bring the world to its knees by potentially setting off a nuclear war, the world is on the edge. Not only does the story ring a bit hollow, but the songs don't really tell it. This is a single album containing only eight tracks. The first song is 'Radio Waves' about Billy being able to hear radio waves in his head. The second song is a polemic about the need for, and abuse of, information ('Who Needs Information'). Other songs talk about the nature of power ('The Powers that Be'), or act as token 'Young Lust'-like side-stories ('Sunset Strip'). In the end, it is up to the spaces between the songs to try and communicate what is going on with this very complex story, and only the track 'Four Minutes' is much engaged in this exercise. Not only does the listener not really understand what is happening as they listen, but the story itself is just so concocted and pretentious, it just doesn't jibe. The last song, 'The Tide is Turning' is probably the best track on the album, but it doesn't need the story at all to make its point. Indeed, the last tune comes AFTER the story is over. The end result is an album that is both less musical (all those 80s new-wavish songs), and less engaging and less powerful politically and emotionally. I would say this is Water's least successful post-Floyd album. The music isn't 'bad' though - indeed, there are some catchy tunes here and there. But overall, I give this album 6.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is on the lower side of 3 PA stars.

Walkscore | 3/5 |


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