An unblinking look at an entertainment-obsessed society, Amused to Death addresses issues that have only grown in complexity and urgency over the past two decades.
With Amused to Death, Roger Waters sounded the alarm about a society increasingly – and unthinkingly – in thrall to its television screens. Twenty-three years later, Amused to Death speaks to our present moment in ways that could scarcely have been anticipated two decades ago.
Today, television is just one option in an endless array of distractions available to us anytime, anywhere, courtesy of our laptops, tablets and smartphones. With eyes glued to our screens, the dilemmas and injustices of the real world can easily recede from view.
The 2015 CD + Blu-ray edition of Amused to Death features a new 5.1 surround remix of the album on high-definition Blu-ray audio completed by longtime Roger Waters / Pink Floyd collaborator and co-producer, James Guthrie. The art has been updated for 2015 by Sean Evans, the creative director of Waters’ 2010-2013 The Wall Live tour and movie.
Produced by Roger Waters and Patrick Leonard, Amused to Death is a musically ambitious work featuring a stellar lineup of musicians. Guitar legend Jeff Beck figures prominently on the album, bringing his signature virtuosity to eight songs. Guest vocalists include Don Henley (“It’s a Miracle”), Rita Coolidge (“Amused to Death”) and soul singer P.P. Arnold (“Perfect Sense” Parts I and II).
Also contributing were Waters’ longtime collaborators, guitarist Andy Fairweather Low and drummer Graham Broad; percussionist Luis Conte; and Pat Leonard, who played keyboards on several tracks. The album reunited Waters with composer/arranger Michael Kamen, who supervised orchestral arrangements for The Wall, Waters’ semi-autographical concept album with Pink Floyd. Kamen arranged and conducted the National Philharmonic Orchestra Limited’s contributions to the songs “Too Much Rope” and “What God Wants, Part III.” “… damned if Roger Waters’ 14-track rumination on some of our choicest social ills doesn’t score some serious points, especially in ‘Late Home Tonight,’ which, with music that evokes both a kiss at a drive-in and the peace of the wide-open sky, shows us an American pilot soaring toward Libya to bomb children, giddy as an exuberant teen with the sheer joy of flight.” Grade: A-, Entertainment Weekly, September 11, 1992
“It is the poet's responsibility to foresee the future, and it is his neighbor's duty to prevent the worst of it from taking place. With Amused To Death, surely one of the most provocative and musically dazzling records of the decade, Roger Waters has fulfilled his part of the bargain.” - Timothy White, “Music to My Ears,” Billboard Magazine, July 1992