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5.0 out of 5 stars Waters' finest hour as a solo artist
Former Pink Floyd bassist/vocalist/mastermind Roger Waters released his third post-Pink Floyd solo effort Amused to Death in September of 1992. Amused to Death was over five years in the making due to his battle with his ex-bandmates on the rights to the Pink Floyd name. When Amused hit record stores, it was modestly received peaking at #21 on the US album chart and had a...
Published on June 21 2004 by Terrence J Reardon

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A sub-editor, a sub-editor, my kingdom for a sub-editor...
Here Roger Waters displays his usual genius, which flawed by his usual failings in the sub-editing stage. The product (if I may be so bold as to commoditise an R. Waters record) is in part essential, in part thoroughly disposable. Which is ironic, given that that's what Waters spends over an hour railing against.
Should you have recently purchased a flash hi-fi...
Published on June 21 2000 by Olly Buxton


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5.0 out of 5 stars Waters' finest hour as a solo artist, June 21 2004
By 
Terrence J Reardon "Classic rock guru" (Lake Worth, Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Amused To Death (Audio CD)
Former Pink Floyd bassist/vocalist/mastermind Roger Waters released his third post-Pink Floyd solo effort Amused to Death in September of 1992. Amused to Death was over five years in the making due to his battle with his ex-bandmates on the rights to the Pink Floyd name. When Amused hit record stores, it was modestly received peaking at #21 on the US album chart and had a huge rock radio hit with What God Wants Part 1. Roger's third solo album's sound was a return to the sound of his estranged former band, Pink Floyd unlike his two 80s works Pros and Cons or Radio K.A.O.S.. There are plenty of moments here (the aforementioned What God Wants(pt.1), the opening Ballad of Bill Hubbard, Three Wishes) that recall the sound of later Floyd works like Animals, The Wall and The Final Cut. Like those works, this is a concept album--the concept (as ever with Waters) being the crappy nature of modern life as depicted on television with the Gulf War and the Tijanamen Square incidents as examples and also the rise of a corporate world. His satire is blunt as usual and the targets of his scorn are obvious. Eagle drummer/vocalist Don Henley duets on Watching TV(which was about the Tijanamen Square incident and the collaboration of Henley and Waters triggered a friendship between the two which is still strong today). Legendary rock guitar legend Jeff Beck(like Clapton on Pros and Cons was a Yardbird) contributed taut, lyrical solos to a number of tracks(Bill Hubbard, What God Wants(pts. 1 and 3), Watching TV, Three Wishes, It's a Miracle and the closing optimistic title cut). The late conductor Michael Kamen contributed some stirring orchestrations on this album as well. Waters' voice was mainly reduced to a weary whisper, positively dripping with contempt due to the strain his vocal cords suffered from all the screaming on The Wall, The Final Cut and Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking. This album is a classic and a welcome return for Roger Waters. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Roger's best solo album without question, June 11 2004
By 
Terrence J. Reardon (South Carolina and Mass., USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Amused To Death (Audio CD)
Former Pink Floyd mastermind Roger Waters released his third post-Pink Floyd solo effort Amused to Death in September of 1992. Amused to Death was over five years in the making due to his battle with his ex-bandmates on the rights to the Pink Floyd name. When Amused hit record stores, it was modest received peaking at #21 and had a huge rock radio hit with What God Wants Part 1. Roger's third solo album's sound was a return to the sound of his estranged former band, Pink Floyd unlike his 80s works like Pros and Cons or Radio K.A.O.S. There are plenty of moments here (the aforementioned What God Wants(pt.1), the opening Ballad of Bill Hubbard, Three Wishes) that recall the sound of later Floyd works like Animals, The Wall and The Final Cut. Like those works, this is a concept album--the concept (as ever with Waters) being the crappy nature of modern life as depicted on television with the Gulf War and the Tijanamen Square incidents as examples and also the rise of a corporate world. His satire is blunt as usual and the targets of his scorn are obvious. Eagle drummer/vocalist Don Henley duets on Watching TV(which was about the Tijanamen Square incident and the collaboration of Henley and Waters triggered a friendship between the two which is still strong today). Legendary rock guitar legend Jeff Beck(like Clapton on Pros and Cons was a Yardbird) contributed taut, lyrical solos to a number of tracks(Bill Hubbard, What God Wants(pts. 1 and 3), Watching TV, Three Wishes, It's a Miracle and the closing optimistic title cut. The late Michael Kamen contributed some stirring orchestrations on this album as well. Waters' voice was mainly reduced to a weary whisper, positively dripping with contempt due to the strain his vocal cords suffered from all the screaming on The Wall, The Final Cut and Pros and Cons. This album is a classic and a welcome return for Roger Waters. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars REVOLUTIONARY WATERS, May 20 2004
This review is from: Amused To Death (Audio CD)
This great recording reflects an essential fact about Roger Waters that I have found no allusions to in either the pro or con reviews here. Without some appreciation of this fact, I believe there can be no real understanding of AMUSED TO DEATH, so I would like to focus on it instead of the music itself which I love ( Waters' ability in extended composition continues to grow and Jeff Beck is fabulous).
Let me begin by noting that one of the central criticisms aimed by Waters on ATD at the various interconnected power structures of the world is the refusal to acknowledge and apply the facts-lessons that history abundantly offers us and to proceed instead to construct civilization as though history were irrelevant and thereby become more and more destructively blind to reality. Well, I would like to apply this observation here and look at a defining fact of Water's own personal history that I believe many Pink Floyd fans, particularly the ones who condemn Waters for separating himself from the other band members, either deliberately ignore for selfish reasons or are simply ignorant of: Roger Waters is one of the original, genuinely revolutionary music-artists to emerge in the 60's. For him, Rock music was not merely a different kind of music with no particular implications beyond the area of music itself, it was in fact inseparable from the desire for and intention to pursue a social-system revolution. All the anger, pain, sadness and bitter, inflexible defiance that Waters exudes on ATD was there, at least in seed form, from the beginning. There is not a single power structure or human behavior aimed at on ATD that Waters was not aiming at from his revolutionary artistic youth. His primary desire was not to be a Rock Star, but to contribute to the revolution which, I repeat, was not merely artistic, but aimed at the whole of society including the educational, political, military and economic systems. A REVOLUTION, CHILDREN! And of course now it is so easy for so many (including Pink Floyd fans) to laugh at the 60's and it's silly flower fantasies, and it's quite true that there were many self-centered phonies on the scene such as are lampooned in Frank Zappa's great WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY, but the facts go deeper and darker than just that, as Zappa, another original revolutionary, well knew. They reach down into very murky places where capitalist economics mingles with fascistic control and Rock Stars have their bluff called. Roger Waters watched and saw that the more popular and wealthy Pink Floyd became, the more ineffectual it became as a revolutionary force. The capitalist economic system with all its ramifications into education, religion, politics, military, etc., was something that Waters wanted dismantled and yet the more people listened to him the more he found himself in the control of that system. He had wanted to be a revolutionary and he had become a mere Rock Star. Instead of being able to help people find and live out a different definition of human life, he merely provided fans with a sort of music-drug to help them cope with life in the hated system. Waters saw most 'revolutionary' Rock Stars grow rich, tame, emasculated and accept the identity of a successful entertainer. This problem is at the core of Waters' fight with the other members of Pink Floyd, however well or poorly it may have been dealt with. This continues to be the central struggle for Waters who has watched the original revolutionary movement crushed down over decades into near non-existence. So, I ask you who say Waters should have kept the original band together: To what end? So you can have the sort of music-dope you want that will help you ignore the very issues that the music is supposed to be about? Or is there some other reason? When you listen to AMUSED TO DEATH ask yourself what the purpose of Rock music is. Waters thinks its purpose is revolution.
What do you think?
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4.0 out of 5 stars It's a welcome addition for any Floyd fan, March 11 2004
This review is from: Amused To Death (Audio CD)
I have to be honest, sometimes Roger Waters' lyrics just are annoying at times and can be used as tool to mock him. As he croaks " Old timer who you gonna kill next?" Some will believe he will if he would just shut up! It can be a hard time taking his views seriously
But that's the whole deal with Waters - you either love him or you hate him. There's nothing inbetween really. I must say I hated this album on first listen. Mocking his voice, some of his lyrics and so on. But given time my opinion has changed. It's nowhere near the greats that he produced with Pink Floyd but you should never expect him to do that.
What we get here from Waters is the essential mix of all that he hates about the modern world and TV is the main ingredient. This would be a boring exercise in tedium had it not had the one thing needed to boost this - humour! And there is a fair bit of it here but only if you consider Roger's particular sense of humour funny. It's particularly caustic and probably wouldn't seem very funny to some politically correct conscious people but what do you expect?
Highlighting songs is useless because they're to all gel as one really and not otherwise. Although towards the end the songs tend to drag on a little ( hence the 4 stars ) but overall this is a good album and possibly the only Roger Waters album you need if you aren't particularly bothered by the rest
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4.0 out of 5 stars A tough one to review, Feb. 18 2004
By 
Neil Fitzgerald "sdhkbsdalhthoclhnjkhowh" (asdhajklwehrjkhijhlks;ahng) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Amused To Death (Audio CD)
The disintegration of the collective Pink Floyd brain saw the Roger Waters 'frontal lobe' become permanently detached from the David Gilmour 'temporal lobe'. Subsequently, and predictably, one of them made weak music with inventive lyrics and thematic continuity, whereas the other made slick, technically accomplished music that didn't really mean very much.
Pros:
After the bitterly disappointing Pros&Cons and Radio KAOS, I'm pleased to say that this is *by far* the best of the three Waters solo albums. As the Amazon reviewer suggests, some of it sounds tantalizingly 'Floydian'. More importantly, it's well written and well produced to the point that it Actually Sounds Quite Good (miraculously enough). The three parts of What God Wants are perhaps the most impressive tracks here. Part 1 sort of 'clunks along' amiably, and serves to set the stage for when the same musical phrases return with greater tension and emotion in parts 2 and 3.
This is a huge piece of work - nearly as long as The Wall - and totally idiosyncratic. Roger has something to say, and it's clear that he's put his heart and soul into getting it across (in contrast to the distinct sense of 'half-assedness' that one gets with MLoR and The Division Bell).
Cons:
Why oh why did Roger decide to do most of his singing in an ugly, 'croaking', put-on American accent? Why oh why couldn't someone have talked him out of it? I actually kind of liked Roger's nasal, badly-in-tune vocals from his Floyd days, whereas this just sounds false and annoying.
It has to be said that, for all his various strong points, Roger can't and doesn't write complicated, technically sophisticated music. This didn't matter so much in the Floyd, where Gilmour and Wright were on hand to contribute their ideas and musicianship, but here, with no-one to help him, this central deficiency becomes all too evident. The music here is often compelling, but don't expect it to contain 'killer songs' like Comfortably Numb and Wish You Were Here (or even Learning to Fly).
Conclusion:
I guess I've just about summed up my mixture of feelings about Amused to Death. If you belong to the minority who found something to enjoy in Roger's earlier solo albums, then you'll absolutely love this. If you're just a random Floyd fan, then you'll probably still get something out of it - especially if what you like about Pink Floyd is partly the conceptual content and meaning of the lyrics.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Point In Roger's Solo Career, Feb. 18 2004
By 
"breathe127" (Summersville, WV USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Amused To Death (Audio CD)
In my opinion, this is the best solo album released by Roger Waters. It outshines "Radio KAOS" completely, and barely edges out "Pros And Cons Of HitchHiking". Of course, the quality of this album depends upon whether or not you like Roger Waters as a solo musician. For quite a few, Waters solo career is lack-luster, angst-ridden, artsy garbage. I do not share this view, and I believe that Roger's solo music is very unique, insightful, and brings more to music than impressive guitar licks and catchy rhythms. The concept of this album and the views put forth by Waters on this album are near brilliant. It's a good album to sit by yourself and listen to, but it may not be good to play at social gatherings or looking for something to "rock out" to. My only complaint is that the music, as a whole, doesn't really cut loose... most of it is too mellowed, but I feel the album's concept helps make up for this quite a bit. It's not much like Pink Floyd at all, but even still, definately worth a listen.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad Roger......, Jan. 27 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Amused To Death (Audio CD)
It is common knowledge that all, or at least 99% of Floyd fans, fall into 2 categories...the Waters camp, and the other three. While I understand the deal with the breakup...Roger looked at it as firing Gilmour and Mason (Wright had already been canned), and the others looked at it as Waters quiting. I personally think it was a mistake for the others to continue with the name because Momentary Lapse and the other thing is NOT Floyd (there is a ton of money involved with the NAME 'Pink Floyd'). It is obvous that Waters and Gilmour apart will NEVER do the things they did, whatever they call themselves. That being said, I have always preferred Waters' music to the others. But again, it's NOT Floyd, so don't think anything Waters does will be Floyd, anymore that what the other three guys have done (or will do). But I will say that 'Amused to Death' is the best thing Waters has done since The Wall. I often wondered, after the breakup, what would it be like if Jimmy Page got together with Waters, or Alex Lifeson, or maybe Jeff Beck. Well, Mr. Beckola is here and he is awesome. There are parts where Beck makes his Strat sound like a monkey. The last 1/3 of this disc, beginning with 'What God Wants pt III' is absolutely stunning!! To those of you who didn't like 'Pros & Cons' (as I didn't, but loved the show in 85), and to those who maybe who have never heard KAOS, but heard it was a bore (as I haven't and did), then you will love this part of the recording. There are parts that are 'disgusted and pi@#ed off at the world' as is the norm for Roger, but some of this stuff is outta this world! Instead of Dogs, Pigs, and Sheep...we now have vultures, raccoons, magpies, and goundhogs, to name but a few. Every race, color, nationality, and religion, is insulted. There is a shadow of 'Echoes' (from Meddle) which has the same EXACT tone of Rick Wright's piano (I wonder if it was taken directly off the master tape), and Patrick Leonard has some erie keyboard work like that found on Animals. And in the midst of all this turmoil and insanity, 'they had sex in Pennsylvania' (interesting that Pennsylvania is mentioned, where 9 years later, 9/11 happened). This album, I truly believe, will have a much stronger message in the middle of this century, because of the GENIUS of this man, Roger Waters. But REMEMBER....THIS IS NOT FLOYD. But neither is any album, released by anyone, without this man. 4 stars only because of the mid part of the album bogs down a bit, and also Don Henley deserves no place on a work of art. By the way, why does this man not perform these albums in their entirety in concert? This man writes in a conceptual form, not a 'singles' frame of mind. And I hope Andrew Lloyd-Webber's fingers are healed. Certainly the most hilarious part of a musical work I have EVER heard. Roger Waters is SICK!
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5.0 out of 5 stars the best CD that no one ever heard..., Dec 19 2003
By 
Kevin B. Kolber (Manchester, CT United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Amused To Death (Audio CD)
Near flawless. Previous posters noted correctly that this is no casual listen. The pacing and dynamics are entirely lost when this isn't listened to in its entirety. That's not to say that the individual tracks don't stand up by themselves, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For its 75 or 80 minutes, "Amused to Death" is experiential in a way that is far more akin to film than music. And while I detest the breathless melodrama that comes with saying that X, Y or Z "transcends the medium," this work comes as close as any I'm aware of.
Substantively, "Amused" is Waters' most focused leftist commentary. While there are predictable broadsides on canned religion ("What God Wants") and war ("The Bravery of Being out of Range"), Waters' target is the dehumanizing effect of consumerism and a pop culture that serves only to perpetuate the bogus virtues of supply and demand.
Sonically, this disc was among the best of its time. Unlike Radio KAOS, its production style has aged gracefully. 11 years after its release, "Amused" sounds sharp and timely. Q-Sound, an effect which expands the stereo spectrum, is used sparingly throughout. (If you're sitting in the sweet spot between your speakers, EFX such as ringing phones and barking dogs will sound as if they are originating in the next room.)
Those who hated the production style of KAOS will appreciate the organic approach of "Amused." For example, Graham Broad's kit in the beginning of "Bravery" may be the biggest of the era's BIG DRUM sounds.
More importantly, vocals are less processed than on previous efforts. The character of Waters' vocal style is found more in the mouth noises (clicks and pops) than in his less-than-perfect pitch. Here it is recorded with amazing intimacy (presumably with a shotgun mic to pick up the tics and "imperfections" that most engineers try to filter out).
Much has been made of the guest appearances of the sidemen. While I'm not a huge Beck fan, it's hard to argue he wasn't a good choice here. His best work can be found in (the seemingly misplaced?) "Three Wishes."
Standout cuts are "The Bravery of Being out of Range" (this version is superior to the live take on "In the Flesh") and the title track. "Perfect Sense," which became something of a centerpiece of Waters' live show, is a great setup for "Bravery" complete with cameo from Marv Albert.
David Gilmour is among my favorite guitarists, period. But let's face facts -- Waters' solo work has a life to it that post-Final Cut PF simply doesn't have. When they parted ways, Waters took PF's sense of drama, suspense and lyrical edge with him.
For those who can't help feeling that PF's post-Waters work is vaguely flat, the missing ingredients you're looking for are packed into "Amused to Death." "Pros and Cons" and "KAOS" only hinted at what "Amused" would become. And while some of us hope for a belated encore, it's tough to imagine Waters can top himself.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I Guess He's Not Amused, Sept. 1 2003
By 
Paul Beaulieu (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Amused To Death (Audio CD)
I remember first hearing this 11 years ago, and being so pleased at how good this album was- and at how good Roger Waters' material still could be.
OK, this is not everyone's cup of tea. Certainly the reaction of some critics was less than effusive. 'Yet another doom laden LP' was a typical comment. And although I'm glad he's doing what he's doing, sometimes I do wish he'd lighten up a bit every now and then. The good news, though, is that this set contains some great songs, and has the feel of a Pink Floyd concept album without being a pale copy. Waters' love of the blues is comes through here (he was always responsibile for the bluesier part of the Floyd repertoire), especially since he has Jeff Beck play some amazing lead guitar. As usual, the songs are linked by an almost cinematic soundtrack of background sound. The first part has more concise rock songs, the highlights being 'What God Wants Part 1", 'Perfect Sense Part 2', and 'The Bravery of Being Out of Range'. Then we have 'What God Wants Part 3', which still sends shivers down my spine, especially that Beck guitar solo, followed by Waters yelling 'Christ it's freezing outside, the veteran cried". It also starts off with the same piano 'ping!' that started off Floyd classic 'Echoes', before Waters sings "Don't be afraid/It's only business"- a not-at-all subtle dig at his former collegues, but then Waters has never been known for his subtlety. Towards the end, the songd get longer, more droning and more atmospheric- Floyd fans will probably like it, those insisting on concise, to-the-point songs will not.
Waters does have a tendancy to put things on his albums that are there to advance the 'concept' of the album, which are too wordy and add too little of musical value. In my view, 'Late Home Tonight' Parts 1 and 2 are in that category. Another complaint- Waters (never much of a singer) does not sing so much as croak. I had thought this was because he was getting older, but in fact he would sing some of these songs much better seven years later when he performed them live. Sometimes, though, his vocal limitations do create a certain something that helps the song. For instance, on 'What God Wants, Part 1", he sounds like an old prophet warning of death and destruction- which is rather fitting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars About "Amused to Death" (review written in February 1993), Aug. 22 2003
By 
Modemac (Cambridge, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Amused To Death (Audio CD)
Last fall, Roger Waters' song "What God Wants" was rising up the charts, and it caught my attention. I've always liked Pink Floyd, but not enough to go out of my way to get their solo projects, and I'd not heard any of Waters' work since he left the band. But "What God Wants" was a great song, sounding as Floydian as anything off of "The Wall," and on the strength of that song I bought Waters' "Amused To Death."
I've been listening to that album almost every day since then. I've been won over completely: the album is a masterwork, definitely one of Waters' best works. It's better than "The Final Cut" and perhaps better than "The Wall," too. The theme Waters works with is shocking and relevant. "Amused To Death" is a biting, angry statement on the decrepit state of our society. It may be a little hard to get through the first couple of listenings, simply because this is one of the most depressing albums you're likely to hear in a long time.
Waters' tenure in Pink Floyd helped cement the band's reputation for doom-and-gloom, as they cast the spotlight on the way our society is doing its best to erase any spark of Humanity from the common man. "Wish You Were Here", their tribute to ex-lead singer Syd Barrett, gives one version (not necessarily the only one) of how life in the fast lane can murder an up-and-coming artist; "The Wall" was the story of a young man who, through the pressures of an uncaring school, an uncaring Mother, and and uncaring society, grows up to become a hate-fostering Hitler wannabe (and when he actually shows some feelings, Society roars up to crush them); while "Animals" uses dogs and sheep to paint a dark picture of the way we have to kill to survive (Dogs), or else be led to the slaughter (Sheep).
But now, with "Amused To Death," Waters does his best to open our eyes and warn us that if we sit back and let the people on high tell us what to think, we'll lose our right to survive as a species. We're being carefully manipulated by governments, who use religion and television to make us think what THEY want us to think.
"What God Wants," in addition to being a damnation of the way money and religion are inextricably linked today (churches have to make money to survive; televangelists weep and moan and, through the power of television, persuade innocent viewers to open their wallets and shower them with cash), gives us the idea of God being used as an excuse to go war: "God wants freedom," "God wants war," "God wants famine."
Religion has always been one of the strongest weapons used by dictators (elected or otherwise) to persuade the masses; and since the coming of that black box known as television, people have been more and more willing to sit back and let others do their thinking for them. This is made especially clear in "Perfect Sense" and "The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range," which focus on that sham called the Gulf War (it's never mentioned by name) and the way it was presented to the public as a flashy video game: we sat back, watched things blowing up on TV, and cheered the pilots who delivered the bombs. (Even the pilots were carefully conditioned: "There is no right, no wrong/Only tin cans and Cordite and white cliffs and blue skies and Flight/The beauty of military life...")
If we reduce war - the slaughter of thousands who always die needlessly when we set out to "punish" someone like Saddam Hussein - to merely the latest in prime-time entertainment, then what have we become as a race? Have we indeed been given "Too Much Rope" to hang ourselves?
(By the way, Ted Turner's CNN has a standing order: in the event of a national crisis such as a war or an earthquake, its advertising rates immediately shift to a higher level so that it can make more money on its commercials. After all, more people seemed to pay attention to CNN than the major news networks during the Gulf War - so what better place for the advertisers to run their commercials? What IS the difference between the Gulf War, where we see video cameras mounted on the tips of ballistic missiles, and movies like "Top Gun," when both are broadcast on TV solely to sell us detergent, cars and beer?)
And what's more, this reduction of Humanity to mindless drones is being done in the name of God - ALL religions are doing so. So-called "holy wars"...Presidents asking for blessing on their "police actions"...priests on TV condemning those who dare question the righteousness of what they tell us to do...they all say the same thing. They don't want us to THINK FOR OURSELVES. Just sit back, watch the TV, and shell out cash.
This is the warning of "Amused To Death." From places like Tiananmen Square, where people were massacred (we saw it live on TV, of course - but our government still hasn't officially acknowledged it and still kisses up to China); to our own country where people can't afford enough to eat or keep warm; to anywhere in the world that there is pain and suffering - we know it's happening, and yet our country would rather switch the channel and watch something happier. The only way to bring things to our attention today is for someone to die on TV ("...because she died on TV.")
And that's why this album is such a depressing work: because it's all TRUE. It opens our eyes. We KNOW that these things are happening as we speak.
This message is one we've all heard before, of course. But until there's no more war, no more suffering, no more sadness, it's a message that should be repeated again and again - until we actually get off our duffs and DO something about it.
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