In-depth reviews of classic or neglected albums, mainly from the 1960s and 70s, plus a weekly newsletter featuring all the latest news, views and music. Artists covered include Beach Boys, Beatles, Belle and Sebastian, Buffalo Springfield, Byrds, Crosby Stills and Nash, Dire Straits, Grateful Dead, Hollies, Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Kinks, Nils Lofgren, Monkees, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Searchers, Simon and Garfunkel, Small Faces, 10cc, The Who and Neil Young.
Friday, 4 July 2008
Review 96) Roger Waters "Amused To Death" (1992)
On which the ex-Floyd kills off our species in the name of media entertainment, military cowardice and great music…
Track Listing: The Ballad Of Bill Hubbard/ What God Wants (Part I)/ Perfect Sense (Part I)/ Perfect Sense (Part II)/ The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range/ Late Home Tonight (Part I)/ Late Home Tonight (Part II)/ Too Much Rope/ What God Wants (Part II)/ What God Wants (Part III)/ Watching TV/ Three Wishes/ It’s A Miracle/ Amused To Death (UK and US tracklisting)
ALAN’S ALBUM ARCHIVES
Putting The Album In Context:
FROM the big eye looking down at you on the cover to the heartbreaking monologue from war veteran Alfred Razzell still tormenting himself about a decision made 80 years before, Amused To Death is a radical, hard-hitting work designed to make us look at ourselves anew with every bit of the power contained in Dark Side or The Wall. Roger Waters, now nine years on from his last Floyd album The Final Cut, recovers from recording two hopelessly bad solo albums to belatedly prove he really didn’t need the other Floyds to make good music. Well received by most critics, but an album released out of time amongst the first stirrings of Britpop and the growing gung-ho American culture of the early 90s, Amused To Death is one of those albums that only a handful of people know about – but nearly all of them agree its among Waters’ best. It’s another gloomy concept album (of course – this is Roger Waters!) and as such will not be to everyone’s tastes, but its apocalyptic message about the state of mankind at the end of the cold war era and the start of the gulf war packs a punch like few other albums, even those included on this list.
The first key influence on this album is undoubtedly CNN and other news channels operating in the early 1990s. As discussed on the last review, the Gulf War is key to songwriters in this period, the first real televised depiction of war seen by a majority of people that wasn’t told either in retrospect (like WW2 and bits of the cold war), through propaganda (WW2 and Vietnam) or via hazy recollections of war veterans nostalgic for the good old days (the Boer War and – at a pinch – WW1). The reason so many soldiers go through such prestigious training (in peace time at least) isn’t to learn how to handle a weapon so much, its to put soldiers in the mindset that its OK to kill without a second thought because the enemy will be thinking exactly the same thing; indeed its rather necessary to tell soldiers this in a ‘means to end’ sort of a way depending on the reasons you are fighting in the first place. To the public at large, though, who hadn’t been given this training, to be suddenly given a near-direct link up to battle-scarred war-zones and sobbing grieving families thanks to satellite and 24-hour news channels that let you follow the war from hour to hour brought out a national feeling that the Gulf War was ‘wrong’, far more definitively than the much-derided peace movements of the 60s which touched a lot of people but not necessarily all to the same extent. The news footage that grew from the mid-80s onwards laid everything bare and nobody could hide behind the fact that the fighting that was going on in a far away place really didn’t affect anyone and that the soldiers were carrying out orders as humanely as they could. This turn around from what had taken place for most of the 1980sis quite incredible looking back in retrospect (was it really 15 album reviews ago Ray Davies was bemoaning about the ‘its-alright-for-me-Jack’ 1980s?!) As discussed in the review for Weld, the unprecedented TV coverage of the war also gave artists a chance to get ‘involved’ with the war, safe in the knowledge that the anti-war feelings that had been keeping them up at night would be shared by at least some of the population who had seen the same images.
Typically, Roger Waters goes much further than any of his fellow writers did when it came to the Gulf War. Amused To Death focuses on the theme of war almost to the exclusion of anything else, although it does delve both forward and back to the roots and consequences of mankind’s actions, showing how the war is – thanks to the attitude of world leaders – as inevitable as needless wars can ever be truly inevitable. Evolution and Darwinism is the other key influence on this album, as like many a 1990s work in any field Amused To Death does its best to kick down the 1950s-70s idea that man is ‘progressing’ towards some fixed ideal and benefit and instead shows that man is running round in circles, with modern technology simply allowing him to indulge his more primitive side along with his artistic one. Yet technology does has some benefits: the TV coverage might have been horrifying, but it did unite the world (or parts of it at least) in a way that hadn’t been seen since the moon landings (** see note). Modern technology allows man to kill ever more basefully and disgracefully than before, but what Waters seems to be saying here is that technology also gives us a chance to feel pain and dismay on behalf of other people who would otherwise just become cold hard statistics from a news report filed halfway round the world, simply because we can see their emotions in profile on our television screens.
The third key influence on this album is 20001: A Space Oddyssey, images of which litter this album, from the monkey looking at the bone in his hand and then in an instant getting up to answer the phone or watch TV news reports to the idea that mankind is evolving in ‘stages’, each more horrific and out-of-control than the last. This time, however, there is no real ‘guiding hand’ pushing mankind on to his dreadful fate: man has enough nasty tendencies inside him to do this all by himself. Hmm, very Pink Floyd. Painting man as an oversized monkey who has over-reached himself, Waters absolutely damns the state of the world in the 1990s – governed by sex-starved strategicians who get their kicks out of blowing up small countries for the thrill of war, a time where passive protestors are killed live on TV by camera crews only interested in how good looking the victims are and over-looked by a messiah who like our more ‘advanced’ (I use the term loosely) cultures is too busy being entertained by ‘lesser’ beings to step in and help end the suffering.
For non-Floyd fans this album is the epitome of ‘heavy-going’, but Waters’ clever lyrical couplets, haunting drawn-out tunes and the sheer bravery of the concept have a power to move like few others. And the Floydian use of sound effects is extraordinary - from the Cold War-cheering stadium crowd who treat war like a ‘sport’ to the nuclear missile that explodes deafeningly in the right speaker near the end of the album, Amused To Death demands our attention from start to finish, despite a rather high number of low-key songs. Death is a bit of a funny mix actually: understated songs barely whispered by an old and world-weary sounding Waters and very often with nothing more than a low mixed synthesiser for company – and yet somehow the audience grabbing booming choruses and guest star spots don’t jar the album at all but rather help it, spinning the album out into another direction before going back to base. Jeff Beck’s guitar and PP Arnold’s soulful vocals are the stand-out players in Waters’ tight band, adding their own characteristic touches without taking anything away from the work as a whole. However, Roger is again the star of this album – as he always is when he actually believes whole-heartedly in what he is singing – with his prematurely-aged vocal brought down to the level of a whisper on parts of the track, before getting into role-playing genie mode on Three Wishes and screaming his head off during the various What God Wants reprises. Amused To Death is also an impressively long and developed work – its actually not that far off The Wall’s stupendous 83-minute playing time (it’s a fraction over 72 minutes thanks to the elongated running time of CDs) – despite having only 14 tracks (the same as the early Beatles albums featured on this list which clock in at just over or under 30 minutes, far less than half this time!) Most of the songs are long and the few that aren’t are reprises of earlier long songs, with effectively just 10 tracks on this album. No wonder this complex record took six years or so to make! (Continued on next page…)
**Note: Which were, by the way, almost definitely faked, almost certainly because of this large worldwide TV coverage which gave America such an unassailable feather in its cap in the context of the cold war. Yeah, I know, I used to think these conspiracy theories were a load of rubbish too – but the whole point of albums like this one is to make you question the status quo and not accept anything outright and there are certainly more questions than answers about what exactly was going on here and, above all, why mankind has never been back to the moon, despite all the unanswered questions that the world population has been on tenterhooks to hear since 1969. I won’t go into the flags fluttering the wind when there isn’t any, the numbered rocks or the weird looking shadows for now because these can be explained (even if taken together they look very suspicious) - the fact that man has never gone back into space since the early 70s despite the prestige this would continue to give wearing world powers and the fact that man’s pioneering spirit led him through the wastes of Antarctica and into the deepest oceans without a second glance. Perhaps, in a weird kind of way, Amused To Death is Roger Waters’ apology for Pink Floyd being so linked in people’s minds to the moon landings! (the band famously provided an improvised piece of music in some parts of the UK during the moon landing coverage, though not the actual event itself– now there’s a fact that might come in handy for a game of Trivial Pursuits someday).
The album starts as it means to go on with the opening track, The Ballad Of Bill Hubbard, featuring a simple drum rhythm, some colourful guitar phrases and very Rick Wright-sounding keyboards, while a war veteran named Alfred Razzell reminds us not of the glories of war but the hard life-changing decisions caused by it, still going over in his mind whether he could have saved his friend from dying in WWI nearly 80 years before. The precursor to all modern wars, including the Gulf War still raging when this album came out, this track reminds us of the hope of these soldiers that the 1914-18 war really would be the ‘war to end all wars’ as surely after such worldwide devastation mankind could never be stupid, greedy or frustrated enough to start another one. This album - which is dedicated to Bill Hubbard – is obviously meant to prove how little mankind has changed in the last century. In keeping with the low-key start of many a Floyd album, the only real musician you can hear is the ever-busy Jeff Beck and it takes a full minute until we hear any speech at all. As for Roger Waters, he won’t be audible until two and a half minutes into the next track!
Roger has always loved using lists as song lyrics – Dogs on Pink Floyd’s 1977 record Animals is just a 16 minute list of grievances with a guitar solo in the middle for instance – and although Waters is often criticised for it, the style suits his usual coldly detached anger style well, with lists the very epitome of making order out of chaos. What God Wants, which rises up slowly from Razzell’s muted eulogy until it sounds like a full scale street bazaar is going on, is one of those such songs and the first of three such lists on the album. The lyrics just keep coming, relentlessly presenting us with the modern frustrations of man from the serious to the banal, with the individual now so out of control of their lives that they blame it on the father figure they imagine sitting above us. ‘Surely we can’t be responsible for this long list of terrors?’ says Waters, desperate to believe that he can blame the state of the world on somebody or something else. Waters doesn’t reserve his bile for the world leaders who got people into this mess either – the monkeys in this song simply ‘write the lesson in their book’, chalking these worldwide debacles up to experience instead of speaking out against them at the time. Interestingly, this song’s marching tempo and menacing gait are a near-identical revisit of Waiting For The Worms from The Wall, with a whole crowd of people getting worked up – but for all the wrong reasons. This relentless attack, complete with stinging Beck guitar, is the best of the song’s three versions and fine in its own right, but is given added poignancy with the middle eight when Waters drops his guard (‘Don’t look so afraid, I’m only joking…’, even though we quite blatantly know he isn’t). Roger would have done better to end the song here because the track just isn’t strong enough for two near-straight repeats but, well, he does like his epics does Roger and this album is nothing if not epic.
It’s Perfect Sense that makes, well, perfect sense of this modern jungle however – a heartfelt picture of man in the present day with shades of 2001: A Space Odyssey, with man still ‘cleaning his hands in the pool of holy writing’ of religious texts, unwilling to believe that he is on his own, trying to make himself evolve out of his animal instincts by listening to a string quartet playing from the other side of the world, looking up at the stars and dreaming. But the overgrown monkey gives up looking upwards and sighs, turning his back on the ‘garden’ of nature and winding his own uncomfortable way towards industrialisation in the belief that technology equals progress, however uncomfortable and troublesome the way of living. More fool us says Waters – trapped in their busy daily schedule, most humans live out their days dreaming of a return to their innocent past, looking up at the stars for inspiration instead of reaching out for them. Like the last track, the lyrics of this moving song just keep on coming and they’re among the best set that Waters ever wrote, reflecting on missed opportunities and frustrated life priorities in a way that beats even the well-regarded classic Time from Dark Side Of The Moon.
The song really takes off when PP Arnold gets a turn to sing lead, summing up human evolution in one long sentence, sounding at once full of life and totally isolated in a wasteland of cold-sounding synthesisers and slowly shifting drums. The lyrics about mankind trying to return to the ‘garden’ paradise of his ancestors by investing in war technology that has the capabilities of turning the world into an arid desert is a particularly hard-hitting Waters-ish line which Penelope Arnold sings with relish here. Waters isn’t finished there and as soon as the song comes to a complete stop he sets off again, telling us ironically that it all makes ‘perfect sense’ that we’re brainwashed by leaders obsessed with fame and money and are innocent bystanders in wars fought in our name and for ‘democracy’. Treating war as a game, two inane sports commentators take over the song, reporting nonchalantly on a ship full of people being blown up before our very ears while a hypnotised crowd all chant along with the chorus line about how this ‘all makes perfect sense’. The song is typically Floydian, moving us by treating usually emotive subjects in a casual and offhand way.
Fixing on war leaders as his next target, Waters gets rocking on The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range, with some of his most weary sounding yet mockingly cynical vocals since The Wall. Old war commanders, who grew up with the idea of war being ‘macho’ and honourable, continue to rule over politics says Waters, although in other walks of life they would long ago have been retired or been accused of being senile. Waters also cheekily hints that they can also do all the damage they want because they won’t be around to clear up the mess a few years down the line. The other twist in the song’s story is that war is not fought on the old heroic man-to-man terms when man at least used to develop positive skills of courage and bravery, even if the devastation he caused was still unnecessary in Waters’ eyes. Modern-era warfare has become faceless, with people killing each other from opposite ends of the earth or even satellites positioned around the world or on other planets if they so choose, with the dead a dispassionate statistic that no longer haunt our soldiers in the same way that Bill Hubbard’s death did the soldier fighting next to him. Knowing as we do now how world affairs have got even more out of hand since 1992, its hard not heard to hear this song without experiencing a cold shiver down the spine- especially sarcastic lines like ‘just love those lazer guided bombs, they’re really great for righting wrongs’ which is just so George W it might well be marked on his tomb-stone when he dies. Like much of The Wall, Roger is out to shock us by showing how little we have really learnt from our past and how we look like we are repeating the same mistakes all over again and the music to this song is similarly brittle and heavy, sounding more like Led Zeppelin than Pink Floyd.
Late Home Tonight is a return to the near-monologue ballad, complete with bird-song sound effects heard on many a Pink Floyd record of the 1970s (it’s the same sound effect heard on their Cirrus Minor song – and the Beatles’ Across The Universe and the Hollies’ Wishyouawish, incidentally). Lyrically, this song is another Floyd lesson in contrasts, with metallic weaponry and arid military outposts described as ‘beautiful’, mimicking war propaganda films where no one gets hurt and everyone looks happy and the scenery is beautiful. However, this song’s tranquil vibe is shattered by a tremendous explosion about halfway into the song, as if reality has suddenly broken into the military world and shown it in its real light. This sudden change of pace is deliberately sudden and the sound effect ear-drum shatteringly loud, so do be careful if you’ve just turned the volume way up to hear Waters’ quiet lyrics. The second half of this song sounds instrumentally like a re-write of When The Tigers Broke Free from the Wall film, but instead of fixing on Waters’ dad (who fought in WWI despite being a conscientious objector in the early part of the war) and his courageous but pointless battle, it sarcastically returns to the song’s earlier propaganda message. Waters sarcastically refers to the distant killers as ‘heroes’ for completing their task, mourning not for the dead who we’ve just heard die before our very ears, but for the fact that the soldiers suffered a slight delay in their escapades and will be ‘late home tonight’ following their ‘good day’s work’.
Too Much Rope, with its trickling keyboards and relentless rounds of gun fire, is another look at man’s evolutionary cycle, showing how in these more atheist times without the idea of ‘hell’ to hold him back, mankind is ready and willing to go to the end of the evolutionary cycle, convinced he has nothing to learn and has nothing to ‘progress’ for. As the biggest predator on Earth, one unable to be touched by any other animal, man now has too much leeway to do what he wants and has turned on himself, hanging himself when given ‘too much rope’. Worryingly old and hoarse sounding, Roger turns in one of his career-best vocals on this track, finally letting his emotion run through the song partway through and no longer taunting or goading us but - like his audience - sounding trapped in the hopelessness of not being able to turn things around. Listen out for the line ‘each man has his price, Bob, and yours was pretty low’ – a dig at Waters’ old (and presumably now ex-) friend and producer Bob Ezrin who was unable to work on this album because he was knee-deep in sessions for the other Floyds’ album Division Bell. I don’t know, the whole of humanity at sake and Roger is focussing on petty personal squabbles – or is he simply comforting us that he is human too?
What God Wants builds up its relentless march again, sounding all the more menacing after the last track - possibly because Waters sounds more convinced of this song’s depressing march this time round without the question mark of hope in his voice (compare this song to the very similar In The Flesh – sung with and without question marks as Waters becomes more convinced of his character’s descent into madness – on The Wall). However, a verse alone would have done the trick – giving us more or less the same track all over again is simply flogging a dead horse by this point in the album. Also, even though Waters is obviously being sarcastic and deliberately off-hand here, the witty rhyming of ‘pesetas’ with ‘small potatoes’ and the line ‘God wants clean-up rock campaigns’ (this is pre- Roger’s part in Live 8 and Live Earth by the way!) rather undermines the seriousness at the heart of this song.
After a long reflective pause, What God Wants Part 3 sounds like yet another unwanted encore, the slower and weary sounding effect of years of brainwashing on the population, set to a familiar icy wasteland of sonic pings (see Echoes via Meddle, no 51 on list for more info) and tear-jerking strings. The end of the world is near now and finally uniting both sides of the war in the terror of what they have done. Roger literally erupts out of his stupor at the end of the song with a long long long list of what might happen to us all at the end of the world, but mankind isn’t watching the warnings that Waters and others are giving him on TV – he’s out in the kitchen and washing the dishes until a friend calls up to say one last goodbye (well, sing a song actually, Goodnight Nellie, rather badly; I’m not sure that’s what I’d do at the outbreak of World War Three but it does add to the ‘human drama’ of this track!) Listen out too for the ‘groundhog’ mentioned in this song –we’ve been here waiting the apocalypse to happen several times says Waters, from both world wars to the cold war (and the fictional catastrophes that round off both The Final Cut and Radio KAOS; Roger seems to like ending his albums in the most uncomfortable way possible). Moving as this song is when it finally gets going, Roger might have done better to turn the moody atmospheric keyboard tune at the start of this track into a full song – it sounds rather like the other Floyds’ forthcoming Marooned instrumental, but better.
Watching TV is an odd little song, even for this album; another half serious half jokey track, uncharacteristically it’s played almost exclusively on acoustic instruments and is simple and repetitive, not Roger’s usual style at all. The lyrics focus on one of the true ‘heroes’ of the world, one of the ordinary people who died in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 (another heavily televised TV incident which inspired a lot of music – in an earlier age, well, a) it probably wouldn’t have happened as the communists had such a strong hold on their people until this period with the collapse of soviet Russia imminent but more importantly to this website b) it would have been another cold hard statistic in the Western world, not a moving debacle so well covered by the media that it almost seemed as if you were there watching it happen). Even Roger Waters can’t write on behalf of every innocent death over the past century, so he concentrates on one single unnecessary death here, bemoaning not only what was lost but what might have been lost – who knows what this young student might have become? Here, the young student is exactly the sort of sacrificial victim that man likes to slaughter in the name of ‘progress’ from time to time, but unlike Anne Boleyn or the dodo, her death seems more ‘real’ because we saw it happen, we didn’t have to read about it in history lessons at school. The line about being ‘half victim, half superstar’ sums this song up nicely: TV chose to make her a star because of what the girl felt she was standing for, but she was doing it anyway whether the TV cameras were there or not (which ironically makes her more of a TV superstar/hero in most people’s eyes). Despite its tale of needless death and pointless sacrifice, this song is treated musically like the most optimistic track on the album, as if Waters is hoping that seeing ‘deaths’ in person will make TV viewers more ‘human’ in the years to come. Waters later got into trouble for the song’s alleged racism and the fact that the narrator seems to be moved only because the girl was good looking (presumably the reason she was on all the TV coverage Roger saw in the first place). In the context of Waters’ message of one individual standing up for the whole of mankind, however, and the closing line ‘and I grieve for my sister’ Waters’ display of unity makes it clear that that argument is probably missing the point – the whole reasoning behind the song is that somebody had to picked out for the TV coverage to move Western hearts so naturally the West picks out a person most compatible to their soap-opera state. Listen out for Waters’ colourful description of Chaing Kai Shekh though (‘a no good low down dirty wreck’), the line that probably should have got him into trouble with the world at large in 1992 and probably will now I’ve pointed it out again here (sorry Roger!)
The album then closes with three long, long ballads; all of them superb. Three Wishes is Roger offering humanity one last chance, with a ghostly synthesised genie taunting 1990s mankind into wasting their last wish on something frivolous. But the narrator speaking up on behalf of us all has too many things to put right and doesn’t know where to start (with Roger movingly wishing that after WW2 ‘my dad had not been gone’- after travelling through 4 or 5 concept albums on this theme with Waters, that’s still a very heart-wrenching line to hear). It’s taken at least a hundred playings or so to notice it, but is Roger talking about the families of soldiers at the end of this song – the people at home have just got used to not having them in their lives and suddenly there they are on television, near enough to see and feel empathy with, but too far away to protect and help. Television, then, helps us learn to emote with the people we see in real life situations – but even that blessing can be a curse when its someone that you know splashed across the TV screens. Back to the main message of the song though: the road to glory might exist if the genie is to be believed, but mankind is too late to change his ways and has already used up his ‘last wish’. In a nutshell, with so many causes that need supporting, Roger doesn’t think there’s any hope of getting back to the ‘Eden’ paradise described a few tracks before, not in his lifetime anyway.Interestingly the music in this song this time sounds remarkably like Cluster One from the other Floyds’ soon-to-be-released Division Bell – who said the members of this group were all going in different directions in the late 80s/ early 90s?!?
It’s a Miracle is another of Waters’ long line of sarcastic songs, but this time it sounds as if all the fight has gone out of Roger as he recounts all the pointless unhelpful developments in mankind’s progress, from tatty TV programmes to Waters’ character-opposite and mainstream idol Andrew Lloyd-Webber (perhaps Roger would have been a better choice for that awful musicals voting programme, as he’d have had a field day despatching the stream of Nancies parading before him every week), before returning to the tongue-in-cheek chorus ‘its another miracle’. The music is moody, even by Roger’s standards, and his vocals are mixed so low they are hard to hear. However, if you persevere, this song is another gem, recounting news stories around the world, each one treated in such a way that the viewer is obviously meant to be alarmed at the scream ‘it’s a miracle!’ However, the true news story isn’t a Brazilian growing a tree or a couple in Pennsylvania having sex, it’s the idea that greed for money has led mankind to the end of his evolutionary road. The most chilling line on this track, perhaps the whole album, is the line about famine as ‘designer crime’, something that can be solved if the West chooses to. Following verses about the narrator trying to choose between the dozens of mass-produced cars on the market, the message of this song is clear: we could stop the problems suffered halfway round the world in an instant, but for some odd reason – some backward, inhumane, animalistic reason – we don’t, not because we can’t but because we won’t. Again though, the sheer brilliance of this track is undermined with that pointless tirade against Lloyd-Webber. I don’t like the man much either, but I don’t want him maimed for life as Waters seems to want here. On another track this tangent verse might have worked, but given this song is meant to be ‘charitable’ and has mankind’s future at stake, its grievances seem suddenly petty.
Amused To Death itself then wraps things up with a typically Waters-esque scenario, an alien race coming to earth after mankind dies out and unable to comprehend how any inter-species argument could possibly be important enough for mankind to commit genocide. When all the other tests for known diseases and possible invasion come back negative, the aliens come to the conclusion that the humans – all dotted around the world watching the outcome of the war on TV – have ‘amused themselves to death’. Actually, they’re not far wrong – Waters hints often throughout this album that wars are there not out of ideological pursuits but through greed and boredom, being – at their most basic and trivial – simply something to fill up the news reports and get people round the world talking about how great these new war weapons are and how wonderful their country—and world leaders—are. A typical Floyd like downbeat-ending singalong, in the manner of Eclipse and Outside The Wall, this song still has a gloomy glimmer of hope that our actions will teach other races in the future how not to behave. The track then plays out as it began, with Razzell movingly finding peace about Bill Hubbard’s death after finding for his memorial, feeling better know he now that his comrade’s death did matter in some small way and is recorded in the history books for prosperity (a nice parallel with man’s monument teaching aliens in the future how not to behave). A moving finale to a moving album, this third straight moody slow song in a row is storyteller Waters at his best.
After two extremely dodgy solo albums (The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking and Radio KAOS) I didn’t think Waters would ever be able to write material like this again – but thankfully he proved me wrong, not for the first or last time. Not as mainstream as Dark Side or as eclectic as The Wall,Amused is a forgotten gem, the third in Waters’ self-proclaimed ‘great trilogy’ of works and certainly deserves to be better known than the Floyd albums that came out either side of it (even if I do have a soft spot for 1994’s Division Bell, mainly the bits Rick Wright shines on). This album will be the first thing I pack for the bunker if WW3 ever does break out in my lifetime , but let’s hope the world heads Waters’ warnings instead – I’d hate to miss the follow-up to this little record, which even as late as 15 years on has yet to be released. If its anything like as inspired as this one, with all the ammunition the last decade or so of world politics has given Waters to write about, it will be the release of the decade no less.