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Roger Waters - Amused To Death CD (album) cover

AMUSED TO DEATH

Roger Waters

 

Crossover Prog

3.92 | 472 ratings

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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 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.

SteveG | 4/5 |

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