Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

All discussion related specifically to Roger Waters.
ZiggyZipgun
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Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

Post by ZiggyZipgun »

"My view is that I've been involved in two absolutely classic albums – The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. And if you haven't got Amused to Death, you haven't got the full set."

One of these things is not like the others...

"It is extraordinary that Andy Gill and Adam Sweeting and Charles Shaar Murray didn't notice The Wall. They are supposed to be music journalists; how could they not have noticed this extraordinary well constructed, deep and meaningful and moving and important piece of work? What the fuck's the matter with these arseholes? And now, with Amused to Death, they've missed another one, Adam Sweeting and Andy Gill and the other fucker and all the rest, they should be in hospital. I am confident that I am really clever and that I am really good at what I do so I'm not going to have prats like Sweeting and Andy Gill and Shaar bloody Murray telling me that I'm no good because they're wrong. Amused to Death is fucking, fucking good. Isn't it?!"

It's natural for Roger to feel very, very, very, very strongly about it, but I think it is merely a good album that is riddled with weak moments. The title track and the first verse of "Perfect Sense, Part 2" are the highlights, and I've always liked "It's a Miracle" as well. Take those away and there's still 53 minutes of other stuff. The rest of "Perfect Sense, Part 2" grew out of his live rendition of "Wish You Were Here" from the Pros and Cons tour (and presumably the KAOS tour). One of my other favorites - "Late Home Tonight, Part 1" - seems to be everyone else's least favorite. Jeff Beck certainly adds another dimension to a number of tracks, but none of his leads are given any real focus - to Roger, they're just sound effects; one exception is "What God Wants, Part 3", which is really unfortunate since it might be Roger's worst lyric, period (Rick had to stick with Tim Renwick and Steve Bolton when Jeff Beck couldn't commit, and Broken China ended up with some fucking, fucking good solos). And then we get American Idol's Randy Jackson playing bass on "What God Wants, Parts 1 & 2". Just about every song has at least one eye-rolling attempt at humor and goes on a few minutes past its climax, wearing out any momentum that the album had gained by that point. I'm already bored thinking about it. I really liked this album in the late '90s, but I don't know if I regularly skipped a number of tracks, or if I was just high.
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theaussiefloydian
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

Post by theaussiefloydian »

Where did he say this?
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

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theaussiefloydian wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 1:15 am Where did he say this?
Q Magazine, 1992
http://www.pink-floyd.org/artint/34.htm
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theaussiefloydian
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

Post by theaussiefloydian »

Hmm. In that case...
I don't mind him being proud of himself for Dark Side and The Wall, but there comes a point when it crosses into pigheadedness, and dropping F bombs over someone not having a look at his work is definitely over that line. Had he been like "oi, have a look at my album please?" I wouldn't mind so much.
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

Post by FreeFour »

I think even Roger would admit he wasn’t in a good place back then. He had been well and truly trounced by his ex band mates at the box office during the late 80’s and still wasn’t quite at ease about it.

AtD is a great album
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

Post by theaussiefloydian »

I've cooled a little on AtD personally in recent years. When I was in high school I could get through the thing front to back no problem, but the further I get from my buying the CD (must have been 16 or 17, can't remember now) the less I enjoy it. Why that is, I wish I knew.
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

Post by battra »

1. Never use an artist's hyping up of their latest product as anything other than just hot air. Seriously.

Lars said St. Anger was the best thing Metallica ever did. Tommy Thayer said it was great to record Sonic Boom, because he got to spread his own wings and not just play those Ace Frehley solos...(wherein he took bits and bobs of Ace Frehley solos and called them Tommy Thayer solos).

The list is endless.

2. Amused To Death is a masterpiece in my mind, even if it's a little bit bloated. I'd personally take out Three Wishes, not that it's not great, but it doesn't fit.

3. Masterpiece might be an overstatement. But it's, in my sincerely subjective opinion, better than the following albums: The Final Cut, Ummagumma, Saucerful of Secrets, Atom Heart Mother, Meddle, Animals, David Gilmour (but only just), A Momentary Lapse of Reason, About Face, The Division Bell, On An Island, and Rattle That Lock.

4. Had Roger presented that to Pink Floyd, we'd be calling it a masterpiece.

5. Roger has every reason to be bitter watching his exbandmates filling stadiums by playing his songs.
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theaussiefloydian
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

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battra wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:44 pm I'd personally take out Three Wishes, not that it's not great, but it doesn't fit.
I'd personally do away with "Watching TV" too, because that really feels like Roger saying "ya get it yet? THE ALBUM'S ABOUT TV."
battra wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:44 pm 4. Had Roger presented that to Pink Floyd, we'd be calling it a masterpiece.
Maybe. I've oft maintained AtD might have been a better album had it been a Floyd album, but I'm still not sure I'd call it a masterpiece just going off my own relationship with The Wall for example.
battra wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:44 pm 5. Roger has every reason to be bitter watching his exbandmates filling stadiums by playing his songs.
Don't get me wrong I totally understand the knee jerk reaction he'd have about it, but we have to really consider that these songs are still Pink Floyd songs. Musically most of the ones Waters wrote the lyrics to are still a team effort so Pink Floyd had every right to continue to play them, especially since Gilmour does have a credit on the vast majority of them (exceptions being "Money", "Brain Damage/Eclipse" and "Welcome to the Machine"). So while he might have a reason to be bitter it's not a completely justified reason.
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

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ZiggyZipgun wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:26 am "My view is that I've been involved in two absolutely classic albums – The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. And if you haven't got Amused to Death, you haven't got the full set."
battra wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:44 pm 1. Never use an artist's hyping up of their latest product as anything other than just hot air. Seriously.
Sorry - that first quote was from 1999. I think it was even printed in the In the Flesh tour program.
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

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theaussiefloydian wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 1:32 am
battra wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:44 pm I'd personally take out Three Wishes, not that it's not great, but it doesn't fit.
I'd personally do away with "Watching TV" too, because that really feels like Roger saying "ya get it yet? THE ALBUM'S ABOUT TV."
battra wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:44 pm 4. Had Roger presented that to Pink Floyd, we'd be calling it a masterpiece.
Maybe. I've oft maintained AtD might have been a better album had it been a Floyd album, but I'm still not sure I'd call it a masterpiece just going off my own relationship with The Wall for example.
battra wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:44 pm 5. Roger has every reason to be bitter watching his exbandmates filling stadiums by playing his songs.
Don't get me wrong I totally understand the knee jerk reaction he'd have about it, but we have to really consider that these songs are still Pink Floyd songs. Musically most of the ones Waters wrote the lyrics to are still a team effort so Pink Floyd had every right to continue to play them, especially since Gilmour does have a credit on the vast majority of them (exceptions being "Money", "Brain Damage/Eclipse" and "Welcome to the Machine"). So while he might have a reason to be bitter it's not a completely justified reason.
To the first points, Roger Waters has done his best work when working within the confines of Pink Floyd. When he has to answer to more than just himself...the work is much, much better.

The Wall was my introduction to Pink Floyd, so I will always overrate it.

Roger is as justified bitching about their making buckets of money as they are playing his songs.

That doesn't mean either of them look great for doing it.

One of the things I love about both Pompeii and Thunder? They play LOADS of songs that Roger had naught to do with. Kind of like how Roger plays a lot of songs the others had little to do with when he breaks out Pink Floyd tunes...

When I bought Pompeii...it was Pompeii or Pulse...because I didn't think I'd have the scratch to get them both.

I chose the former because it had less Roger songs.
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

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ZiggyZipgun wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 2:59 am
ZiggyZipgun wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:26 am "My view is that I've been involved in two absolutely classic albums – The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. And if you haven't got Amused to Death, you haven't got the full set."
battra wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:44 pm 1. Never use an artist's hyping up of their latest product as anything other than just hot air. Seriously.
Sorry - that first quote was from 1999. I think it was even printed in the In the Flesh tour program.
Oh.

You don't consider a tour to be a product a musician is selling?

I'm sorry, but most people would consider it that.
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

Post by ZiggyZipgun »

battra wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:35 pm You don't consider a tour to be a product a musician is selling?
Unfortunately for Roger, his record company didn't agree that a tour was in order. After all, he had no new product out, so what was he promoting by going out on tour? When asked about this, Roger said, "I never get on with corporations. I mean, CBS is a machine. They have no interest in music at all. They tried to dissuade me from touring. They just don't understand." - Amazing Pudding, Issue 11, 1985
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

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ZiggyZipgun wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:59 pm
battra wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:35 pm You don't consider a tour to be a product a musician is selling?
Unfortunately for Roger, his record company didn't agree that a tour was in order. After all, he had no new product out, so what was he promoting by going out on tour? When asked about this, Roger said, "I never get on with corporations. I mean, CBS is a machine. They have no interest in music at all. They tried to dissuade me from touring. They just don't understand." - Amazing Pudding, Issue 11, 1985
I'm sorry.

I'm not sure if you meant yes or no in that word salad from Roger that for some reason you decided answered a question about what you thought.

Doesn't need to be a winner and a loser...just have a conversation, dude.

Seriously.

How old are you?
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

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battra wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:39 pm I'm not sure if you meant yes or no in that word salad from Roger that for some reason you decided answered a question about what you thought.
If by "most people" you mean Andrew Lloyd Webber or Cirque du Soleil, then that may be true. But within Pink Floyd, it had been unanimous that they shouldn't tour without having new material to promote. Until the '90s, tours really only existed to promote the records; tickets were cheap, and everyone made their money from the record sales. Touring with old material and playing the hits was called "selling out" - this was one of Roger's biggest complaints about the latter-day Floyd. David knew this and has never toured without having a new album ready. Album sales became less and less profitable, and ticket prices have continued to climb ever since. Roger's solo album sales were never really profitable, and neither were his tours - until 1999, when he figured the dust had settled, no one would remember all of that crazy shit he had said, and he could hit the road again just in time for Is There Anybody Out There? to hit the shelves. Even then, the record company insisted on having a new album to sell at the shows, hence the crappy Flickering Flame CD.
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Re: Why 'Amused to Death' isn't the masterpiece Roger says it is

Post by Yucateco »

ZiggyZipgun wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:26 am Roger's solo album sales were never really profitable, and neither were his tours - until 1999, when he figured the dust had settled, no one would remember all of that crazy shit he had said, and he could hit the road again just in time for Is There Anybody Out There? to hit the shelves. Even then, the record company insisted on having a new album to sell at the shows, hence the crappy Flickering Flame CD.
FF was only released in 2002, so way too late to promote the 1999/2000 leg of the tour. It was sold during the 2002 leg though, funny enough alongside with the 2000 ITF live album.

I always find it quite interesting to see that Waters did it twice (and with the same music no less): Going with the Floyd from small arenas to full blown stadiums and then the most spectacular show ever (original Wall show). By 1994 he was completely gone from touring. Then he started again with small arenas and a very small production with only some slides in 1999, only to have the highest grossing tour of all time and once again the most spectacular show just 13 years later.