AMUSED TO DEATH
ONE WORD: MAN, OH MAN, sometimes music is something else!
Roger Waters started out as the bass player in the Pink Floyd band, way back then when it was known as the Abcabs, in the mid sixties. Since then, he has been a part of what should be considered one of the best musical movements, aside from the Beatles. While Pink Floyd with Roger Waters started becoming a bit of a 'heavy handed band' with lyrics that at times weren't pleasant, the band at least stood up for a level of revolutionary ideals, The Final Cut being the prime example, which the sixties had, but since the demise of the John Lennon's of our time, a lot of it has been sorely lacking. And this album takes up where Roger has been before and possibly done in the prettiest and best way ever.
Roger's departure from Pink Floyd was not an amiable one, but he is showing that he does not need a Pink Floyd back up band when you have plenty of creativity to spare and enough music to fill many records, tapes and CD's. Pink Floyd has gone on turning out good music, but it does not have the conviction that it once had,... as David Allen once said about the second generation of his Gong band without him,... " ... it's nice music, but has little soul, or spirit,... " ....Roger, of course, doesn't know when to stop convicting his opinions, but he sure has a knack for creating some awesome music to display his wares. While the albums don't have the 'tripping' feel that Pink Floyd does, their music goes well with a beer or two, while Roger's has a certain sober-ness to it. But man, who needs a beer when you have music like this.
AMUSED TO DEATH has all the grandiose-ness sounding ability which (I think) Pink Floyd kind of lost in its later days. The album features as usual a super power guitarist, along with a powerful band to deliver licks which a rock'n'roll band can not even conceive. This isn't rock'n'roll. This is artistic living at its best.
The album is mellower than the previous efforts of Roger's. THE PROS AND CONS OF HITCH HIKING featured Eric Clapton on guitar. It had a bluesy feel, and probably really wasn't the type of music Eric loves to play, though it appears he had a free hand as to what he wished to do. RADIO KAOS is an outstanding album, and partial to my experience since I knew Jim Ladd, and Joe Collins, who were major air people at KMET in Los Angeles, before rich jerks came by and took rock off the air, and from midnight on became the WAVE radio, playing antiseptic music for an elevator ( not elevated ) generation. Sadly, what the album is about, few are interested in listening to. It is a revolution onto itself, because it exposes corruption, shit faced-ness, and it forces you to make a decision or two, about the corruptible forces around us. I feel I have, and have always done so, being an artist and writer. Perhaps Roger's most important feat has been his THE WALL concert done next to the old Berlin wall, and with a few pieces also falling off of it as the show went on. Without any doubt, one of the most powerful artistic statements about the political fervor of these times, when people tend to live in a fog, unaware of the real world, and its oppressive nature, even in America. THE WALL featured the cream of the crop of English musicians from Bryn Adams to Van Morrison, even Scorpions ( Run Like Hell ) and many other musicians who felt the combination of oppressed human rights and political isolationism had a lot in common. The best Pink Floyd could do was a concert over water in Venice and sink the city another half inch, and pollute the city with more garbage from the fans on boats. AMUSED TO DEATH is a step further beyond RADIO KAOS and THE WALL. It still is typical Roger in that it is powerful, strong in language ( several f... words around ), and enough sound effects telling a visual story which adds a depth to the work which is uncanny. A true artist for our time, and more deserving of attention than half of the material heard over the airwaves.
The single "What God Wants" is good Roger fury. With the now familiar crowd and choirs backing him up, it helps one feel that there are more people out there that can relate to what is going on. In this sense, this album is a bit more listenable than Roger's previous albums,... you wonder, what was that,... what did he say, all through out the main themes of the story, and the curiosity level gets addictive, much like the DARK SIDE OF THE MOON album once did.
Kudos go to the band menders, and specially JEFF BECK. Along with ANDY FAIRWEATHER LOW, these rip up the album with guitar licks and pieces that will just fry your brain. It has the spaciness, and the beauty. It has the hardness and the softness. It also features the orchestrated sounds by Michael Kamen ( who recently helped Nirvana ) who got his start with THE WALL as an arranger and keyboard player. It has been said that the WALL was Kamen's more than it really was Pink Floyd's. AMUSED is closer to the WALL. Kamen's presence adds depth and a special class act to the work.
Compared to the previous efforts of Roger, he has mellowed out incredibly. His anger and bitterness is now fine tuned and buried a little better. There is a larger suggestion of anger and disarray in the sound effect collages through out the album, than there is in the lyrics themselves. Basically, as is Roger's custom, this is a complete album, to be listened from start to end, and appreciated as a complete piece of work, rather than a song or two. Any song taken out of context ( even the single ) just doesn't make any sense at all. It is about the fact that we are all so busy and amused and entertained by it all, the media, that we don't even know what to appreciate in life. And an old man tells his story, the finality of it being that he only realizes its beauty just before he is about to die,... thus missing out on the real loving and enjoyment of living. Roger's point of view, relates to the fact that the airwaves, television, film, and any other media, are over crowded with stuff that shouldn't be there. I agree to the extent that a certain freedom ( American style ) of anything should be allowed,... for ex.. I don't care, or like Guns'n'Roses at all,... it's street crap,... but I defend their right to create it and play it. Meaning that maybe there is another side which I do not know about, and could learn from. In the radio circles, we called this 'professional' courtesy. We don't really criticize another's music, though we have our own choices and predilections. However, I agree with Roger that the over abundance of crap, makes it difficult to discern what is good and what is right,.... in America it all comes down to your own choice as being right, and it may not be the correct path.... things worth thinking about if you like your music to act, and work, like a real friend should.
This is highly conscientious stuff, and only those who think that way will appreciate it....
Highly recommended for music fiends,... specially those with serious music tastes and appreciation for an ARTISTE, rather than a rock'n'roll soloist. It has that, too.!!! Jeff Beck is alive and well.!!!
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