on August 19, 2015
Great album but very poor quality vinyl. As with most picture discs, this one has waaaay too much surface noise, clicks and pops. Quiet moments in the music not listenable due to the noise.
I sent this back and I'm getting the cheaper 200 gm version.
Edit---It is some time later and I now have the 200 gm audiophile replacement of this album. It is no comparison. It sounds amazing with no pops or clicks. As expected the picture disc is a pure collectors only album for those who aren't interested in playing it...strangely enough.
on January 24, 2000
Once again, I fell victim to glowing reviews and purchased a CD without listening to it. What are you people talking about? This album is not good. Waters' voice is shot and I resent being beaten over the head with his social commentary. A little more lyrical subtlety would have suited me.
Musically, I was nearly lulled to sleep several times before even reaching the fifth track. Plain and simple, John Lennon needed Paul McCartney, Roger Waters needs David Gilmour. And vice versa on those, by the way.
I respect Waters as an artist, and usually revere him as a lyricist, but he missed the mark CLEARLY on this CD.
Overly long, funeral-paced, and not lacking for obvious social cliches, Amused To Death dies a slow one.
And what the heck is he thanking FLEA for in the acknowledgements anyway?
on April 19, 2000
No album more clearly displays the wasteland that is Roger Waters' solo "career" than this. In terms of overall sound, it is a sluggish rehash of "The Wall." The lyrics are the usual adolescent whine (only at his very best did Waters overcome his tendency toward lyrical childishness); but the biggest problem by far is Waters's own vocals. Each track is rendered all but unlistenable by his tone-deaf wheezing and shrieking. (David Gilmour, where are you?) The post-Waters Pink Floyd may be a watered-down, money-grubbing affair, but at least their music is tuneful. This is atrocious.
on June 13, 2001
Waters packs his songs full of "too many" words. His themes are compelling, but he could have been better served editing his material by half. What he sings is almost unlistenable, like a combination of Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler. Arrangements and mix and instrumentation are good, particularly the guitar work of Jeff Beck. I came away disappointed. THe brief instrumental "Ballad of Bill Hubbard", all by itself, said what Waters wanted to say with the entire album.
on April 29, 2000
I will defend "Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking" and "Radio KAOS" until the bovines come home, but this disc truly makes one wonder if Roger Waters has lost it. Unfocused, untuneful, utterly disappointing. There are about three good songs here and the rest is repetitive, confusing, slow and, a first for Waters, not even very interesting. What a letdown.
on April 17, 2000
Roger Waters has to pull to side of the pretentiousness highway right now. What was he thinking? A track featuring Marv Albert ("Yes"!, that one) with a play by play a an oil rig being blown up? Pul-eease! Good production, but dull songs. Only for the die-hard fans.
on January 1, 2004
Fans of Pink Floyd cannot ignore Roger Waters, and do so at their own peril. Very much the brains behind much of Pink Floyd's titanic efforts of the 1970s, it is very natural to seek the same quality from his solo efforts. My first piece of advice to listeners is to do nothing of the sort! Give Roger Waters a listen, but do so as if you never heard Pink Floyd, since this is the only fair way to judge it.
For me, the album features a wonderful lyrical layout. Even where we don't find Waters's lyrics, we can find moving word themes, such as in the "Ballad of Bill Hubbard". The lyrics on this album will no doubt challenge the listener to question the dominant media culture that smothers us today. Roger Waters has always been a masterful songwriter, and none of this is suprising to me.
On the downside, is the music itself. The most positive comment is to call it minimalist, but this would only be covering up what I truly think. Despite the presence of great musicians such as Jeff Beck on the album, there is little here to show for it. There are occasional bright spots, but the music otherwise tends to drag down the quality of the listening experience.
Much has been said of Waters's vocals on this album, and to me they lack the passion and depth of which I know him capable. His vocals are tired and nearly whispered, and do little to carry these lyrics, which deserve better.
I would love to have seen a better emphasis on the music and vocals, to carry what could have otherwise been a masterpiece.
on August 28, 2002
This album is in my collection because 1) I'm a Pink Floyd fan and 2) There are a few great tracks here. The rest of the album is pretty much unbearable to listen to.
"The Ballad of Bill Hubbard" is a great ambient track and serves as an appropriate opener with a haunting narration from (I believe) a veteran of World War I. On this track as well as the thundering "What God Wants Part I," Jeff Beck contributes some phenomenal guitar playing. On the latter, his solos are seething and taunting as if he WAS a god. "The Bravery of Being Out of Range" is my favorite song here, a harsh indictment against war mongers. "Watching T.V." is good, too. These are the best songs. "Perfect Sense, Parts I & II" are pretty interesting with beautiful female vocals, but soon become kinda ridiculous and then ridiculously bombastic. I really can't stand the rest and it's true that Waters' cynical preaching can be tiresome, not to mention his weak singing voice. I don't respect any artist who feels the need to diss other artists in their music and he unfortunately takes a mean-spirited jab at Andrew Lloyd-Webber (during an awful song no less).
Yes, we watch the world go by on T.V. and many watch war on T.V. like it's some kind of game. Too bad this album isn't the fantastic indictment on modern life it could have been.
on August 12, 2002
While "Amused To Death" boasts a crisp musical sound, it drags in the familiar gutters of Roger Waters' predictable preaching on the violent aspect of the world. With some sort of concept about violence and war (of course) and the mindlessness of televison, this third solo album is a disappointment at best. Many seem to want to ignore the fact that the album is merely a lackluster repeat of the concepts that Waters hatched in his days with Pink Floyd, repeating the themes of "The Final Cut" and "Animals" in particular.
There are some highlights, however; the opener 'The Ballad Of Bill Hubbard' features interesting guitar and keyboard work, and 'Perfect Sense (Parts 1 & 2)' is a great addition to the songwriter's catalog, and 'Watching TV' is hauntingly heartfelt. But many songs find Waters straying from the album's main theme, into nonsensical rambling ('3 Wishes,' 'Late Home Tonight').
Roger Waters has had better moments, and his solo career still hasn't reached any spectacular heights (so far). "Amused To Death" proves that his habit of constantly revisiting his old rants about war and Maggie Thatcher are part of the problem.
on November 24, 2001
Like too many other bands who had staggering commercial success and clout as well, Pink Floyd splintered no thanks to pressures both outside and inside the group. No small amount of blame should be assigned to Roger Waters, bassist and singer, whose increasingly autocratic attitudes towards his bandmates alienated them for good.
Since he couldn't prevent the others from calling themselves Pink Floyd and picking up where they left off (with dubious success), and he had little luck reclaiming the Floyd crown with live versions of his material, Waters proceeded to embark on a solo career that made the narcissism and closeted self-pity of "The Final Cut" (which was basically a Waters solo album with Floyd as session musicians) seem almost sunny in comparison. The first of these records, "The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking" started with a sexist mess of a sleeve and went downhill from there -- "like a cheapskate restaurant commercial stretched out to two album sides," was how one critic slammed it. He wasn't far from wrong. Without the band through which to shape his material, Waters's work had become wordy, insufferably self-important, and worst of all, lacking in any real melodies. He wrote the kind of music that was more interesting to read about than it was to listen to.
"Radio K.A.O.S." took a stab at being more listenable, but the paucity of total material (the album is barely 40 minutes long) and the pretentiousness of the subject matter -- would you believe WWIII as instigated/warded off by a wheelchair-bound cripple talking through an osmo-box? -- made it a weak offering. The fans were not exactly tearing down the doors for this one, either. The only thing worth mentioning on any of these records was the density and technical excellence of Waters's production; he is one of the few musicians who is able to use studio technique to extend and enhance his work in directions that others don't even come near.
And it's a shame, too, because if he had material that was worth remembering as more than finger-pointing, soppy dirges or impotent ranting he would still be one of the greatest musicians working, his slender post-Floyd output notwithstanding. "Amused to Death" (the title cops from Neil Postman's book on media culture as a substitute for the real thing) has the germs of great ideas scattered through it, but none of them come to fruition for one simple reason: Waters has not written music that makes anything he's talking about worth remembering. Worse, his voice is a shattered husk of what it once was, making his message (what there is of it) even more uncompelling. The whole thing is so marvelously engineered and assembled, though, that it deserves an extra star just for the way it's been put together.
Then there's the problem of the message itself. What's Waters saying with this record -- that everyone who listens to music or watches TV is a helpless, media-addicted boob? Does that exclude people who listen to Roger Waters records? Or Waters himself, who seems to think he's exempt from anything he attacks because he's the one on the offensive? Evidently it does, because Waters doesn't even confront this problem anywhere -- like so many rock stars grappling with Big Issues, he's just too sour and doltish to really come away from it with any answers. This is middlebrow rock at its most loathesome and pompous, the sort of music that desperately wants to Be About Something.