Monday, September 22, 2008

The Joys of Getting a New CD and a Review

Guess what! i just got a new CD through the mail via Amazon. Well, really I got two CD's, but there's only one I really care about. It's called Radio K.A.O.S., and it's by Roger Waters, Pink Floyd's bassist. it's pretty awesome.

The concept is based around a 23-year-old disabled man from Wales named Billy.
Billy is confined to a wheelchair and is thought to be mentally a vegetable. However, Billy is highly intelligent but has no way of expressing himself. Billy has a twin brother Benny who is a coal miner. Billy lives with Benny, Molly his wife, and their children. Unfortunately, Benny has lost his job in the mines due to the "market forces". One night, Benny and Billy are out on a pub crawl when they pass a shop full of TV screens broadcasting Margaret Thatcher's "mocking condescension". Benny vents his anger on this shop and steals a cordless phone. Next, in theatrical fashion, Benny poses on a footbridge in protest to the closures; the same night, a taxi driver is killed by a concrete block dropped from a similar bridge. The police question Benny, who hides the phone in Billy's wheelchair. Benny is taken to prison, and Molly, unable to cope, sends Billy to live with his uncle David in L.A.. Billy is gifted and can hear radio waves in his head, so he begins to explore the cordless phone, recognising its similarity to a radio. He experiments with the phone and is able to access computers and speech synthesisers, he learns to speak through them. He calls a radio station in L.A. named Radio KAOS and tells them of his life story about his brother being in jail, about his sister-in-law not being able to cope and sending him to L.A. to live with his uncle Dave, and about the closures of the mines. Billy eventually hacks in to a military satellite and fools the world in to thinking nuclear ICBMs are about to be detonated at major cities all over the world whilst deactivating the military's power to retaliate. The album concludes with a song about how everyone, in thinking they were about to die, realises that the fear and competitiveness peddled by the mass media is much less important than their love for family and the larger community.

I'd like to say I wrote that summary, but I really just cut and pasted it from Wikipedia. I did this for two reasons. The first is that I would have written the exact same thing, just not as well, and the second is I don't have time to write an entire summary at the moment. I can, however, give you a review of the actual music that's 100 percent my own.

The CD is a very vibrant album, although slightly generic sounding. It's got that electronic 80's techno sound, and is pretty upbeat. I'm not sure if the CD should be as upbeat as it is, but that doesn't mean I like it any less. It uses a lot of dialogue to convey the story, as well as sound effects. It's basically set up as a story being conveyed over by the radio through songs and calls made by Billy (using a voice synthesiser), as well as sound effects that probably aren't actually being broadcast by the station but are thrown in just for your enjoyment. It fits together well, and even if the plot was typed up inside the insert (which annoyed me) you'd be able to get the general idea. I'm not sure why I didn't like the plot being typed up in the insert, because I'd just go on the Internet and find it anyway.

Well, overall I give it a . . .

four out of five

The reason I didn't give it full marks is because the bar is set impossibly high for Roger Waters after he wrote The Wall, and he didn't clear it with this album. However, it's got a good plot and a strong musical back, so I like it anyway.

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