Despite the compelling concept, music, and the scope of Roger Waters’ 1992 solo album Amused to Death, the critics and the public received it negatively. In fact, Waters’ polemical approach to the cultural and social consequences of the technological developments demonstrated a poor commercial performance, compared with Pink Floyd’s projects such as Dark Side of the Moon, or The Wall. Disputing the opinions of the pundits and the fans, in this paper I argue that the foremost reason for the negative reception of Amused to Death was Waters’ unprecedented socio-political criticism of the mass media and warfare, where he articulates that the broadcasting of war has become a form of entertainment in the television news. Following his path in writing Pink Floyd’s seminal concept albums, in Amused to Death Waters declares his harshest and gloomiest pacifistic and socialistic messages, which have evoked the adverse reactions to it. He not only denounces the superficial entertainment industry, but also tears apart the idea of war. Exploring Waters’ conceptual, lyrical, and compositional genius, as well as album’s Grammy-winning mix and sound-effects, I assert that Amused to Death stands out as Waters’ highest achievement both in the musical content and its extra-musical manifesto.
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- The Monkey is Amused to Death: Roger Waters’ Masterpiece and its Commercial Failure