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The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
Studio album by Roger Waters
Released 30 April 1984
Recorded February-December 1983
Genre Progressive rock
Length 42:07
Label Harvest Records (UK)
Columbia Records (US)
Producer Roger Waters, Michael Kamen
Professional reviews
Roger Waters chronology
Music from The Body
(1970)
The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
(1984)
When the Wind Blows
(1986)

The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking is a concept album by English musician Roger Waters. Some notables assisting Waters during the recording of the album were conductor Michael Kamen, actor Jack Palance, saxophonist David Sanborn and guitarist Eric Clapton. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in April 1995.

Contents

History

The album concept is about a man's midlife crisis and how he dreams of committing adultery, among other things. The album takes place in real time from 04:30am to 05:12am. Its cover prompted controversy for featuring a rear-view nude photograph of the model Linzi Drew. In some regions, the album has been released with this picture censored.

In 1978, Waters played demos of this album and The Wall to his band mates, who decided that they preferred The Wall, although their manager Steve O'Rourke thought that Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking was better.[4] In the end it was decided that The Wall would be a Pink Floyd album and, following his split from the band, this became Roger Waters' first solo album.[5]

Gerald Scarfe created all the graphics and animation for the album and its supporting tour; Fisher/Park created the stage and props. Scarfe had drawn caricatures of all the band members for the tour programme, and the caricature of Roger (that he nicknamed "Rog") had a long snout like a dog; Scarfe therefore created a character of a Dog in the image of "Rog" and named him Reg. Reg became the main character of the story and stage animation of the Pros and Cons of HitchHiking tour.

In 1984, Waters went on tour to promote the album with Eric Clapton as part of the backing band. The first half of the concert contained Pink Floyd numbers, while in the second they performed the whole album. Some of the music on the album uses melodies also found in the Pink Floyd songs "In the Flesh", "Mother" and "The Fletcher Memorial Home". Lyrics from "5:11am (The Moment of Clarity)" are used in the film of The Wall, along with lyrics from "Your Possible Pasts" (from The Final Cut).[5]

Analysis

The Pros and Cons cycle begins with a British man dreaming one night of driving across the German countryside, with "two hitch hikers slumped in the back seat". The protagonist wonders whether to indulge in his sexual fantasies with his female passenger. After an attack of fear, he awakens and propositions his wife, who rejects him. He dreams of a solution to their marital difficulties in which they move out of the city and settle with their children in rural America, the wife's native land. The venture soon collapses, and the wife begins having an affair. The protagonist responds by telling her to leave and take the kids with her, so he can set out alone "on the road again". Picked up by a truck driver, he rants about his wife's dismissal of him, and receives some sympathy that is short-lived. His dream "goes from bad to worse", moving from fantasy to nightmare, until he reaches a truck stop and a waitress treats him with kindness that restores his empathy. The moment having passed, and the "moment of clarity faded", he wakes up, reaches out to his wife and is reassured by her presence.

The following story is what Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking is all about song by song, scene by scene in Roger Waters' own words.

4:30 AM SCENE I
(A suburban bedroom somewhere near London) "Shane" plays on the TV. An Englishman, struggling with a nightmare wakes his American wife. She speaks.
Wife: "Wake up, you're dreaming"
Man: "What?"
Wife: "You're dreaming"
The man mumbles disjointedly about his dream. His wife soothes him back to sleep.

4:33 AM SCENE II
The man returns to his dream. He and his wife are driving through continental Europe. There is a vague feeling of threat. The European psyche still shrinks from memories of The Jackboot. Borders are dangerous places. The law is a fickle friend. They pick up two hitch-hikers, a beautiful girl and a hooded terrorist...
Lust conquers fear, the man courts the girl. His sensible family sedan metamorphosis into a metallic green Lamborghini. The girl is impressed. They go for a drive.
He is about to seduce her when... Fear conquers lust.

4:37 AM SCENE III
Paralysed by fear, he is whisked back to suburbia and attacked in his own home by a gang of Arab Terrorists. He rages in his impotence.

4:38 AM SCENE IV
(A small Hotel overlooking the Rhine) The man and the girl eat dinner. He takes her upstairs and orders breakfast. He locks the door. He reaches out for her...

4:40 AM SCENE V
Reaching out in his dream he wakes his wife again. She is not a pleased woman. He is horny. She rejects him and goes back to sleep. He lies in bed, brittle and angry.
"Bloody toast crumbs" He silently rants. "Hey girl, take out the dagger and let's have a stab at the sexual revolution."
He falls asleep again and dreams of a geographical solution to his marital problems — They will return to his wife's native land and live off it. She will be fulfilled. They will be happy.

4:50 AM SCENE VI
(A cabin in Wyoming) The experiment fails. Through the trials and tribulations of self-reliance the couple polarise. She falls in love with a "friend from the East". They part.

4:56 AM SCENE VII
The man realizes that his relationship with his wife is really over. He blames the wife for being his excuse for being deaf, dumb and blind. He is saddened that this is how his relationship will end, and is not pleased with the outcome.

4:58 AM SCENE VIII
(The edge of a highway — somewhere in the States) The man is now alone. He is the hitch-hiker. A truck pulls up.
"Hey kid, you looking for a lift?... Get on up here."
He climbs in and whines to the truck driver. The truck driver, happy to join in the battle of the sexes, commiserates for a while. Then, realizing that our hero is about to vomit all over his highly polished cowboy boots, he throws him out of the rig.

5:01 AM SCENE IX
(The Gutter) Things go from bad to worse.

5:06 AM SCENE X
(A truckstop) A waitress with a heart of gold sympathizes with our hero reaffirming his basic belief in life and love. He wakes.

5:10 AM SCENE XI
(Back in Suburbia) As he awakes our hero experiences a moment of clarity. He feels at one with the world. He has the answer?

5:11 AM SCENE XII
(The bedroom — One minute later.) The moment fades. The man is afraid. He reaches out and touches his wife's hair. She is awake. He loves her..."

Track listing

Side one

All songs written and composed by Roger Waters[5]

# Title Length
1. "4:30 AM (Apparently They Were Travelling Abroad)"   3:12
2. "4:33 AM (Running Shoes)"   4:08
3. "4:37 AM (Arabs with Knives and West German Skies)"   2:17
4. "4:39 AM (For the First Time Today, Part 2)"   2:02
5. "4:41 AM (Sexual Revolution)"   4:49
6. "4:47 AM (The Remains of Our Love)"   3:09

Side two

# Title Length
1. "4:50 AM (Go Fishing)"   6:59
2. "4:56 AM (For the First Time Today, Part 1)"   1:38
3. "4:58 AM (Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin)"   3:03
4. "5:01 AM (The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Part 10)"   4:36
5. "5:06 AM (Every Stranger's Eyes)"   4:48
6. "5:11 AM (The Moment of Clarity)"   1:28

Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1984 The Billboard 200 31
UK Album Charts[6] 13
New Zealand charts[7] 14
Swiss charts[8] 12
Swedish charts[9] 3
Norwegian charts[10] 4

Personnel

References

  1. ^ "The Pros & Cons Of Hitch Hiking : Roger Waters : Review : Rolling Stone". rollingstone.com. http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/322060/review/5940693?utm_source=Rhapsody&utm_medium=CDreview. Retrieved 2009-10-26.  
  2. ^ "allmusic ((( The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking > Overview )))". www.allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:f04gtq2ztu4a. Retrieved 2009-10-26.  
  3. ^ "Roger Waters - The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking (LP) at Discogs". www.discogs.com. http://www.discogs.com/Roger-Waters-The-Pros-And-Cons-Of-Hitch-Hiking/release/1697432. Retrieved 2009-10-26.  
  4. ^ Roger Waters quoted in Mojo Magazine issue 193 (December 2009)
  5. ^ a b c Mabbett, Andy (2007-10-09). The Complete Guide to the Music of "Pink Floyd". Wise Publications. pp. 128. ISBN 1844498700.  
  6. ^ "Chart Stats - Roger Waters". www.chartstats.com. http://www.chartstats.com/artistinfo.php?id=4093. Retrieved 2009-10-26.  
  7. ^ "charts.org.nz - New Zealand charts portal". charts.org.nz. http://charts.org.nz/search.asp?search=roger+waters&cat=a. Retrieved 2009-10-26.  
  8. ^ "Roger Waters - The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking - hitparade.ch". hitparade.ch. http://hitparade.ch/showitem.asp?interpret=Roger+Waters&titel=The+Pros+And+Cons+Of+Hitch+Hiking&cat=a. Retrieved 2009-10-26.  
  9. ^ "swedishcharts.com - Roger Waters - The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking". swedishcharts.com. http://swedishcharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=Roger+Waters&titel=The+Pros+And+Cons+Of+Hitch+Hiking&cat=a. Retrieved 2009-10-26.  
  10. ^ "norwegiancharts.com - Roger Waters - The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking". norwegiancharts.com. http://norwegiancharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=Roger+Waters&titel=The+Pros+And+Cons+Of+Hitch+Hiking&cat=a. Retrieved 2009-10-26.  

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