Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Roger Waters - The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
The concept behind the record is a man’s thoughts while on a road trip as he goes through a midlife crisis. The tracks are supposed to take place in real time, from 4:30am to 5:12am, with the titles reflecting the time of each start.
Side one opens with “4:30am (Apparently They Were Traveling Abroad)”, a slow and tentative piece about the driver’s imaginary conversation with the female hitch hiker in his backseat.
“4:33am (Running Shoes)” is heavier rock piece, punctuated by the saxophone of David Sanborn.
Both “4:37am (Arabs with Knives and West German Skies)” and “4:39am (For the First Time Today, Part 2)” are just slightly over two minutes long apiece. The first is a bit of a jumble of imagery, but the later is a bit more mellowing.
“4:41am (Sexual Revolution)” goes back to more of Waters howling above a heavy, loud accompaniment.
The side closes on another softer note with “4:47am (The Remains of Our Love)”. I like Michael Kamen’s piano playing on this one.
Side two begins with “4:50am (Go Fishing)”, the album’s longest track at close to seven minutes in length. It starts off rather calm and peaceful, with a rolling country sound, before Waters’ manic outbursts begin to drop in. Sanborn gets another sax solo here.
“4:56am (For the First Time Today, Part 1)” is next. While it shares a similar name to an earlier track, the two are rather different.
“4:58am (Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin)” follows.
“5:01am (The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Part 10)” was released as the first single; it went to number 76 in the UK and number 17 on the US Mainstream Rock charts. It makes sense for this to have been a single as it is one of the few tracks that can be extracted from the rest and still function. I do remember this one getting some play on the album-oriented rock station, in particular the female singers (Madeline Bell, Katie Kissoon and Doreen Chanter) on the chorus.
The second single was “5:06am (Every Stranger’s Eyes)”.
The album closes with “5:11am (The Moment of Clarity)”, the shortest track of the lot at just under a minute and a half. And then it just ends abruptly.
The thing about The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking is that it is something that is best presented as a complete work. The tracks are really just pieces to an overall tapestry. For me, though, that is a real detriment. Because the tracks so easily segue from one to the next, they tend to all blend and blur into one another. That ends up really boring me. I guess I am definitely not prime audience material for Roger Waters’ music; then again I never really got Pink Floyd either.