When last seen in 1990, former Pink Floyd braintrust Roger Waters was performing The Wall at the foot of the crumbling Berlin Wall. It was a timely concert for freedom that included such guests as Van Morrison and the Scorpions. It also signaled the end of an era for Waters, who then went away to reflect on yet another epic concept album.
Waters returns next Tuesday with Amused to Death, a devastatingly acerbic, but ultimately inspiring album about the idiocy of war and the way it's covered on television. He clearly spent hours watching the Gulf War unfold - and it left him filled with revulsion. A centerpiece song is "The Bravery of Being Out of Range," with this commentary vocal: "Just love those laser-guided bombs / They're really great for righting wrongs / You hit the target and win the game." To which he adds : "With the bravery of being out of range / We zap and maim."
Waters, his stentorian, recitative voice intact (much of the music will evoke The Wall LP), also comments on everything from Vietnam to Tiananmen Square, amid thunderous backbeats and the searing guitar of none other than Jeff Beck on many blues-atmosphere tracks. The album plays like a soundtrack from a couch potato Twilight Zone, though Waters strikes the target time and again. As he finally concludes about mankind : "This species has amused itself to death." Look for a Waters tour late this year or the beginning of next.