Artist: Roger Waters
Album: Amused To Death
Release Date: 07/24/2015
Roger Waters understands barriers. The former Pink Floyd bassist did pen The Wall after all, a double album built around the concept of self-imposed isolation behind the title obstacle. And on his third solo album, Waters returned to the subject of being cut off, only this time the separation was not due to some mental construction of white brick, but technology instead.
Now seeing re-release with a 5.1 surround remix, Amused is perhaps an even more relevant and sharper sounding record today than in 1992. In fact, in an age where social media and smart phones rule the lives of many, an album about the power of television might appear to be an understatement. Not that Waters has ever been shy about employing a heavy-handed argument.
Lyrically, Amused To Death is filled with Waters’ touchstones like sex, death and oppression. However, it’s the music that steals the show. Jeff Beck adds his brand of guitar pyrotechnics to several tracks. Eagles’ drummer Don Henley contributes vocals to “Watching TV.” And Waters himself appears in fine voice throughout. Just don’t overlook the intricate soundscapes.
There are electronic samples and layered orchestrations galore, all originally mixed with a process called QSound, meant to enhance the spacing and feel of the sounds themselves. Heightened by this 2015 remaster, the result is a disc meant to be played loud in order to create full immersion in the experience.
One quibble might come with the hour-plus running time. But, in 2015, when an activity like “binge-watching” has become a national pastime, spending some time “binge-listening” a record like this one might equate to a greater feeling of well-being, or at the very least a smaller dent in your couch cushions.
– Michael Cimaomo