ROGER WATERS – Is This The Life We Really Want? (2017)
After listening the initial couple of songs from “Is This The Life We Really Want?” – ROGER WATERS‘ first album of new material in 25 years to be released next June 2 – rumors are confirmed: the record it’s a nod to Pink Floyd’s The Wall concept.
Produced by Nigel Godrich (U2, Radiohead), the trademark Waters growl gets some absolutely lush instrumentation to wander around in: synths buzz and glide, string sections wax and wane, and guitars strum and scream.
There’s also a lot of sonic collaging, cutting up Waters’ speech, telephone conversations, train announcements, pilots whooping over explosions, and even a shipping forecast in there for good measure.
It sets the mood perfectly, very subtly garnished around the album to give it that sense of impending doom, but never fully submitting to it.
Musically, Waters don’t take many risks but on this new album he presents some of his most focused songs since The Wall.
“Wish You Were Here in Guantanamo Bay” he sings on ‘Picture That’. The first letters of the phrase are a direct nod to the Pink Floyd song & album of the same name. Even casual fans will spot Waters’ hint of the old melody right away.
On the other hand, in tunes like ‘The Last Refugee’ and title track you can hear Godrich’s influence, turning things more modern.
“Is This The Life We Really Want?” myriad sonic references to his work with Pink Floyd suggest that Waters is comfortable with his past. The more you accept how much his past reflects in his present, the more receptive you’ll be to this album’s charms.
Lyrics are literal, un-cloaked in any kind of intellectual smoke-and-mirrors: it’s what you get with Waters – a raw, jagged-to-the-bone stream of ideas, spat with such ferocity that you forget he’s now in his Seventies.
Sometimes he strays into cliche, but as it’s delivered with such conviction, you can forgive him such transgressions.
Many of the singer’s rock star contemporaries have become mellow, rather passive figures content to tread the golf course.
But Waters, 73, is still incandescent with rage.
01 – When We Were Young
02 – Deja Vu
03 – The Last Refugee
04 – Picture That
05 – Broken Bones
06 – Is This The Life We Really Want?
07 – Bird In A Gale
08 – The Most Beautiful Girl
09 – Smell the Roses
10 – Wait For Her
11 – Oceans Apart
12 – Part Of Me Died
Roger Waters – vocals, acoustic guitar, bass
Nigel Godrich – keyboards, guitar, arrangements
Gus Seyffert – guitar, keyboards, bass
Jonathan Wilson – guitar, keyboards
Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. – keyboards
Lee Pardini – keyboards
Joey Waronker – drums
Jessica Wolfe, Holly Laessig – vocals