on September 1, 2003
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.
Excellent album by Mr. Waters. Defiantly his best solo work outside of the "When The Wind Blows" soundtrack. The 5.1 mix on the Blu ray is outstanding be it only in PCM not DTS-HD or Dolby True HD. I had not heard this album in years and forgot how good it was but the 5.1 mix brings you into the music in a whole new way. I would rank this as one of the best 5.1 Blu rays out there and the price is incredible. $18.99 for the CD/ Blu ray is a steal. Now we have a new David Gilmour album coming out in 5.1 in September, fantastic. Now if they would only put out Meddle and The Wall in 5.1 we would be getting somewhere and let's be honest Pink Floyd music solo or as a band is made for the 5.1 experience.
on March 11, 2004
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
on February 18, 2004
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.
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).
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).
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.
on February 18, 2004
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.
on February 12, 2002
As an enormous fan of Pink Floyd, I figured I'd branch out and try some of Roger Water's solo material. After a bit of research, it seemed "Amused to Death" was his most popular solo album. I bought a copy and spent the next few days listening intently. I found I really enjoyed the CD for its great lyrics and Jeff Beck's guitar licks as well as guest vocals from Rita Coolidge and Don Henley (eagles). What it does lack however, is the strength of Waters's vocals which were somewhat disappointing in this album. Waters was generally considered a weaker vocalist than David Gilmour but was successful w/ Pink Floyd on gems like "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" and "Pigs (3 different ones)" as well as nearly all the tracks on "The Wall", which I consider to be the greatest album of all-time. On "Amused to Death", Waters keeps his voice at a whisper for nearly all the tracks, which almost comes across as an effort to hide his faltering voice. "Amused" also lacks the great, beautiful melodies typical of "Floyd's" "Wish You Were Here', "Dark Side" or "Wall" albums. All in all a good album with high points including "Watching TV" and "Amused to Death." I would assume that if you are a fan of mainstream rock or pop, you will not enjoy this album. (4* out of 5*)
on March 21, 2001
This album is very good. The lyrics are great, and there are some great songs to be found on here. My personal favorite song is "Watching TV", a rather sad song about a girl killed during the Tianamen Square riots (sung from the point-of-view of the girl's brother)...Don Henley made a spectacular showing on this song, singing with Waters with emotion. The "What God Wants" songs are good, with my fave being part one. "Perfect Sense" was okay but a little too extravagant for my tastes (the Marv Albert [yes, THAT Marv Albert, the NBC sports guy] monologue seemed corny, but the backwards message where Waters practically slanders Stanley Kubrick was good). "The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range" is a very good rocker. And one song, "It's A Miracle", takes a few potshots at Andrew Lloyd Webber...Waters stated in past interviews that parts of Webber's "Phantom Of The Opera" sounds too similar to Pink Floyd's "Echoes", so Waters threw in a line that states "We cower in out shelters, with our hands over our ears, Lloyd-Webber's awful stuff runs for years and years and years/An earthquake hits the theatre, but the operetta lingers, then the piano lid comes down and breaks his [blank]-ing fingers...It's a miracle"
This is easily Waters' best solo album.
on February 19, 2001
Amused to Death is Roger Waters' most accomplished and pleasing solo work to date. Surprisingly some material on this album was written and even recorded during breaks from his previous album's (Radio KAOS) tour. In a change for the better, it has little remnants of predecessor. Also it sports a barrage of guest musicians. Most notably guitarist Jeff Beck on a few tracks and Don Henley (Eagles) singing backup on "Watching TV".
As far as the material on this album is concerned, Roger makes a subtle return to the sound of his days in Pink Floyd. Although the full spectrum of those golden days isn't found here, this is a truly touching piece. Without a doubt Roger Waters is one of the greatest lyricist in rock history and his genius is shown in full force here. He brings the social ills of the world to the attention of the listener in this song cycle. In typical Waters fashion a handful of stronger songs hold together a bunch of weaker ones to complete its form. Moments of brilliance include the slowly paced and dark "It's A Miracle". Personally, I think it's one of Roger's best songs and I still get all shivers down my spine when I listen to it. Other highlights include the two-part "Perfect Sense" and the touching acoustic "Watching TV". All in all this album is an epic journey somewhat comparable to his earlier works with the Floyd that proves he still can make a fantastic album. Worth a listen, even if you're not a Floyd fan.
on November 29, 2000
The title says it all, I suppose. War, capitalism, greed, subversion of humanity for the sake of entertainment.. good to see Roger's back, and pleasant as ever. This is heavy stuff - it's not recommended for a sunny afternoon on the road. Not an album to put on in the background for reading or working either. This album demands your attention, and for the most part deserves it. Getting through the lyric sheet is like reading a book. Considering that much of the album was written in the 80s before the Gulf War even started, and especially considering the advancement in entertainment technology and the emergence of the internet since its release, Roger seems damn near prophetic. Not that the music is neglected in favor of the lyrics - it's some of the best he's come up with since before Animals (imho, at least). This time Jeff Beck, Andy Fairweather-Low and Don Henley (among others) are brought in to help. The sound, even more than previous albums, is impeccable. The thing with the dog fooled me too...
Then, why only 4 stars? Well, the words do go over the top sometimes. "You don't have to be a Jew to disapprove of murder".. "That's ok, let the children bleed, it'll look great on TV"... nothing like a little subtlety, eh? The vocals are a little strained too; it sounds like Roger had a sore throat while ATD was being recorded (I saw him in concert in Aug 99 and he sang better than ever, however). Why the cheesy ELO arrangement of "Late Home part I"? Why the ill-fitting 80s synth sounds on "Too Much Rope"? Who knows? Get past those flaws (Beck and the female vocalists help greatly in this regard), and you'll find an amazingly inspired work here.
on August 3, 2000
alright. let me begin by saying that i am 15 years old. not your average floyd fan, let alone someone likely to purchase a solo album of the members. the earliest i own is saucerful of secrets (currently getting into syd) and the latest, "is there anybody out there, the wall live." i had gotten tix to roger's madison square garden show and figured i'd better brush up on some solo stuff so i wouldn't be a dolt about it when he performed. i did kind of wrinkle my expression when i first heard it...i was worried that his voice sounded rather scratchy and old and much of the album is sung-spoken rather than just sung. though, in certain songs, he did hit his wonderful vocal shouts, like what god wants...etc. still, i was a wee bit worried. enter the concert. roger shattered all of my doubts by singing beautifully, looking great, and capturing my attention with both the floyd and his solo work. the show had its higher points than others, but nothing ever failed to grip me. how is this relevant to the album? i went home and finally appreciated it. now i can listen to it regularly and i do feel it more...since, i obviously can't really feel anything, having been born about 25 years too late. so i guess my viewpoint will remain different in that vein, but everything about the show put me in contact with an era i've sorely missed, and roger's album is now a warm place in my heart and an aching that he will tour again. i would not reccommend this album to anyone, certainly get into the floyd first...since i am a diehard fan for my age, the album came as a side thing, but my devotedness grows as i begin to understand. pink floyd and its members (i do love david gilmour with a passion, but that's not for this review) have touched me in a spectacular way, and if roger can continue to do this at 56, i believe that is a wonderful accompolishment.