IT'S NO WONDER that Roger Waters appeals to male adolescents who harbor secret fantasies about an unappreciated outsider (very much like themselves) who will transform the corrupt world with his cleverness. Waters harbors such fantasies himself, and he has the sufficient budget to project those wishes into overblown rock concepts albums. Now a solo artist after many years with Pink Floyd, Waters has spun a flimsy fairytale into a high-tech rock opera called "Radio K.A.O.S."
You have to read the liner notes on the inner sleeve to make sense of the narrative hinted at by the songs. Billy, an apparent vegetable in a wheelchair, uses a stolen cordless phone to plug into the world's computer systems. He makes friends with a late-night disc jockey in Los Angeles and later simulates a worldwide nuclear attack that scares everyone so much that humanity has a universal shift in consciousness.
If the plot seems thoroughly contrived, the ideas are too lightweight to interest anyone old enough to vote. As always, Waters tries to compensate with musical tricks to give the project an air of profundity. So the album is full of such hackneyed devices as computer- distorted vocals, oohing choirs, symphonic synthesizers, overwrought guitar solos and Waters' old favorite: slow and slower rhythms.
Waters employs the same gimmicks in even sillier fashion on the 10 songs (or music/dialogue-effects snippets) he contributed to the soundtrack album for the new British anti-nuclear animated film, "When the Wind Blows." The other side of the album contains similarly bloated angst-rock by David Bowie and Genesis. Only the Beatlesque "What Have They Done" by Squeeze lends an adult perspective to the issue. ROGER WATERS --
"Radio K.A.O.S." (Columbia FC 40795).
The Bleeding Heart Band et. al., "When the Wind Blows" (Virgin 7 90599-1).
Waters appears Sunday at the Capital Centre.