domingo, 15 de octubre de 2017

Roger Waters Amused to Death

Amused to Death es un álbum unipersonal del bajista y compositor de Pink Floyd Roger Waters. El disco fue editado en 1992 y no fue seguido de una gira, por lo que las primeras representaciones en vivo de estas canciones fueron en la gira In the Flesh (1999-2002). El disco fue un éxito en su crítica y es considerado por muchos como el mejor disco de Roger Waters como solista. El disco trata temas que son naturales en Waters, como las críticas a la guerra y a la sociedad consumista. Éste explota la idea de un mono contemplando un aparato de televisión y sacando conclusiones a partir de ello, mostrando así la estupidez humana desde un punto de vista irónico. El álbum tiene un sonido claro y letras muy elaboradas, acompañadas por la guitarra de Jeff Beck, que se destaca en "The Ballad of Bill Hubbard", "What God Wants", "The Bravery of Being out of Range" y "Three Wishes". Se destaca en el disco "Amused to Death", "It´s a Miracle" y sobre todo la ópera prima del disco "Perfect Sense". Las ventas no lo acompañaron del todo y el hecho de que no fuese acompañado de una gira se puede explicar por la decepción de las giras anteriores, ya que Waters no era muy conocido fuera de Pink Floyd. Waters tiene un cariño especial por este disco, al que considera al mismo nivel que "The Wall" o "The Dark Side of the Moon" según su comentario emitido en una entrevista concedida a la BBC en el programa HARDTalk del 19/09/2013. En 2015, el álbum fue remaste-rizado, incluyendo otra portada (esta vez, de un niño viendo una televisión con el ojo de Roger Waters en la pantalla), hubo un pequeño cambio en "Perfect Sense Part I" (cambiando la línea del soldado fallecido, ya que en el original estaba al revés, y ahora pusieron la cinta normal) y el álbum incluyó un Disco Blu-ray con sesiones de grabación del álbum. En los Premios Grammy del 2016, el álbum recibió el premio a mejor producción de sonido, y al día de hoy, este álbum ha sido el único de la carrera en solitario de Roger Waters en ganar un premio Grammy.

Amused to Death is the third studio album by English musician Roger Waters. It was released in September 1992, through record label Columbia. A remastered remix for which Waters worked with James Guthrie was released in 2015. Roger Waters started working on Amused to Death in 1987 when he first wrote "Perfect Sense". It was several years before the album was released and it is unknown how much the material was changed in the interim. Amused to Death was produced by Patrick Leonard, Waters, and was co-produced with Nick Griffiths in London at The Billiard Room, Olympic Studios, CTS Studios, Angel Studios and Abbey Road Studios. The album was engineered by Hayden Bendall, Jerry Jordan, and Stephen McLaughlan and mixed by James Guthrie. The album is mixed in QSound to enhance the spatial feel of the audio, and the many sound effects on the album – rifle range ambience, sleigh-bells, cars, planes, distant horses, chirping crickets, and dogs – all make use of the 3-D facility. The album's artwork features a chimpanzee watching television in reference to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. The image on the TV is a gigantic eyeball staring at the viewer. According to Waters, the ape was "a symbol for anyone who's been sitting with his mouth open in front of the network and cable news for the last 10 years." The album's title was inspired by Neil Postman's book Amusing Ourselves to Death (In Postman's later book The End of Education, he remarks on the album: "(...) Roger Waters, once the lead singer of Pink Floyd, was sufficiently inspired by a book of mine to produce a CD called Amused to Death. This fact so elevated my prestige among undergraduates that I am hardly in a position to repudiate him or his kind of music."). The album is organised loosely around the idea of an ape randomly switching channels on a television, but explores numerous political and social themes, including critiques of the First Gulf War in "The Bravery of Being Out of Range" and "Perfect Sense". The first song, "The Ballad of Bill Hubbard", features a sample of World War I veteran Alfred "Raz" Razzell, a member of the Royal Fusiliers (much like Waters' father Eric Fletcher Waters had been in World War II) who describes his account of finding fellow soldier William "Bill" Hubbard, to whom the album is dedicated, severely wounded on the battlefield. After failed attempts to take him to safety, Razzell is forced to abandon him in no-man's land. This sample is continued at the end of the title track, at the very end of the album, providing a more upbeat coda to the tragic story. The track also features the sound of several animals. The second song, "What God Wants, Part I", follows and contrasts the moving words of Razzell by opening with the TV being tuned instead into an excerpt that sounds like it's taken from a vox pop of a child who says, "I don't mind about the war. That's one of the things I like to watch – if it's a war going on. 'Cos then I know if, um, our side's winning, if our side's losing..." he is then interrupted by the channel change and a burst of ape-chatter. "Perfect Sense" is a two-part song about a world where live transmissions of wars are the main form of entertainment. The first part of the song begins with a loud, unintelligible rant, and then a backwards message voiced by Waters: "Julia, however, in the light and visions of the issues of Stanley, we changed our minds. We have decided to include a backward message. Stanley, for you, and for all the other book burners." The message climaxes with Waters yelling in the aggressive Scottish voice he used to depict the character of the teacher in The Wall. In the second part, famed sportscaster Marv Albert narrates a war as if it were a basketball game. "The Bravery of Being Out of Range" includes a reference to a song written by Waters on Pink Floyd's 1977 album Animals, "Sheep" (and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"[7]). (In "Sheep", Waters sings "I've looked over Jordan and I have seen/Things are not what they seem"; in "The Bravery of Being Out of Range", he sings "I looked over Jordan and what did I see/I saw a U.S. Marine in a pile of debris".) "Late Home Tonight, Part I", which opens with the song of a Skylark, recalls the 1986 US air strike against Libya from the perspective of two "ordinary wives" and a young American F-111 pilot. The lyrics about "removing the jeans from the refrigerator" reference a 1988 Levi's 501 commercial. At the beginning of "What God Wants, Part II", Charles Fleischer (better known as the voice of Roger Rabbit) performs the greedy evangelist's sermon. "What God Wants, Part III" musically references the Pink Floyd songs "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Part I)", "Echoes", and "Breathe (In the Air)" The song "Watching TV" (a duet with Don Henley) explores the influence of mass media on the Chinese protests for democracy in Tiananmen Square. In the song "It's a Miracle", Waters makes a scathing reference to Andrew Lloyd Webber (whom he would accuse elsewhere of having plagiarised music from Pink Floyd's "Echoes" for sections of the musical The Phantom of the Opera) We cower in our shelters, with our hands over our ears Lloyd Webber's awful stuff runs for years and years and years An earthquake hits the theatre, but the operetta lingers Then the piano lid comes down and breaks his fucking fingers It's a miracle "It's a Miracle" features a sample from the 1977 low-budget zombie film Shock Waves in which the film's characters wrestle over a flashlight. The title track begins with the lyric, "Doctor, Doctor". "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the first song written by Waters, opens with the same line. Waters stated in an interview with Rockline on 8 February 1993 that he had wanted to use dialogue samples from 2001: A Space Odyssey on the album, specifically HAL 9000's 'dying' monologue. Stanley Kubrick, the film's director, turned him down on the basis that it would open the door to many other people using the sound sample. Others think that Kubrick refused because Pink Floyd had not allowed him to use music from Atom Heart Mother in his film A Clockwork Orange. Waters did use the samples of HAL describing his mind being taken away when performing live – specifically at the beginning of "Perfect Sense, part I" during his In the Flesh tour, after Kubrick's death, and it was finally incorporated into the Amused to Death album for the 2015 remaster / remix release.

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