Roger Waters - Amused To Death (1992)

This is the best album by Roger Waters. He uses here the technology to produce an OUTSTANDING record. Do you realize that the keyboardist is Patrick Leonard, the same guy who played keyboards for Madonna in the eighties? Leonard produces here brilliant, serious, addictive & very atmospheric textures, which have nothing to do with his previous work with Madonna. Like he did with Eric Clapton in 1983, Roger Waters hired here Jeff Beck on the electric guitars: it is absolutely impressive: he plays many visceral guitar solos, especially the ones on "What God wants part 3": the last solo is among the most POIGNANT ones in the music history: just play it LOUD! Beck's refined & clean guitar and Leonard's atmospheric floating keyboards begin as soon as on the spacy first track: "Ballad of Bill Hubbard", a very dramatic & ambient track reminding very much the Beck's "Where were you" track on his "Guitar shop" album. The National Philharmonic Orchestra provide the very subtle background classical arrangements, like on the "Late home tonight part 2", which has a beautiful "military award" ambience. This record is recorded with the Q-SOUND technology: Waters still uses TONS of special sounds: water drops falling into a sink, heart monitor evoking a flatline, exploding bombs, crying baby, TV sounds, whiplashes on horses and passing Christmas sleigh, contact of glass bottles, firing, dogs barks, crickets sounds, old man's narration, old telephone ring, car door closing, passing cars and train horn sounds, among others; those sounds must be heard using HI-FI products! Waters still uses many female lead & backing vocals: Katie Kissoon, Doreen Chanter and even Rita Coolidge, whose tender lead vocals on the "Amused to death" track are VERY addictive. Most of the tracks are excellent, except there are only 2 less good songs: "What God wants part 1" and "The bravery of being out of range": they are more straightforward hard rock oriented with incisive electric guitar riffs. If you listen to the lyrics on the hard to bear "Watching TV" track, you will notice that this song is for the memory of an Asian woman who died on TV. As the tracks go by, it seems the music tends to more floating and atmospheric moods, more keyboards oriented, especially on the 3 last tracks. The ambient "3 wishes", has dramatic & very sustained piano notes, CLEARLY evoking FATALITY: impressive! The "It's a Miracle" track is a total GEM: it starts with an ethereal background organ and a melodic & solemn piano a la Arena's "The crying for help 4"; Waters recorded some Quebec young boys playing hockey: one can notice a young one say: "Eille, les gars, elle a touche a la barre", talking about the hockey puck that touched the net pole; Leonard's weird keyboards effects and moog-like solos are OUTSTANDING on this track; it ends with a POIGNANT combination of a solemn choir and a nervous & emotional electric guitar solo, played by Beck the king. The last track is probably the best one on this record: "Amused to death" contains ethereal and VERY subtle electric guitars and keyboards. Rita Coolidge's duo with Roger is particularly impressive; this last track contains ambient New Age elements: I have rarely seen a more FLUID & atmospheric track than "Amused to death"; there is a heavy bit where Roger expresses how he sees the society: he is pretty right: he indirectly points the nowadays reality shows and violence shown on TV, which seem to amuse people: to AMUSE them TO DEATH; I know another band who condemn TV: "Visible Winds", and their "Face a la television" song. This serious album is another great gift from music! - Review by greenback

Track Listings

1. The Ballad of Bill Hubbard (4:19)
2. What God Wants, Pt. 1 (6:00)
3. Perfect Sense, Pt. 1 (4:16)
4. Perfect Sense, Pt. 2 (2:50)
5. The Bravery of Being Out of Range (4:50)
6. Late Home Tonight, Pt. 1 (4:01)
7. Late Home Tonight, Pt. 2 (2:13)
8. Too Much Rope (5:47)
9. What God Wants, Pt. 2 (3:41)
10. What God Wants, Pt. 3 (4:08)
11. Watching TV (6:07)
12. Three Wishes (6:50)
13. It's a Miracle (8:30)
14. Amused to Death (9:07)

Total Time: 72:31

- Roger Waters / vocals, bass, synths, 12-string guitar, acoustic guitar

- Jeff Beck / guitar
- Luis Conte / percussion
- Geoff Whitehorn / guitars
- Andy Fairweather Low / acoustic, electric, & 12-string guitars, vocals
- Tim Pierce, guitars / John Pierce, bass
- Randy Jackson / bass
- Graham Broad / drums
- Patrick Leonard / Hammond, synths, keyboards
- B.J. Cole / pedal steel
- Steve Lukather / guitars
- Rick DiFonso / guitars
- Bruce Gaitson / guitars
- James Johnson / bass
- Brian Macleod / percussion
- Denny Fongheiser / drums
- Steve Sidwell / cornet
- Randy Jackson / bass
- John Patitucci / upright & electric basses
- Guo Yi & the Peking Brothers / dulcimer, lute, zhen, oboe, bass
- John Brundrick / Hammond
- Jeff Porcaro / drums
- Alf Razzell, Katie Kissoon, Doreen Chanter, N'Dea Davenport, Natalie Jacson, Lynn Fiddmont-Linsey, Jessica Leonard, Jordan Leonard, Jon Joyce, Stan Laurel, Jim Haas / various background vocals
- The National Philharmonic Orchestra Limited & The London Welsh Chorale
Releases information

1992 CD: Columbia #CK 47127
1992 CD: Columbia #COL 468761 2


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