Band: Roger Waters
CD Title: Is This the Life We Really Want?
Label: Columbia Records (2017)
Rating: Satisfying 3/5
I admit to struggling as to where to start in reviewing this new offering from Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters. Struggling because there is a lot that I like here and probably an equal amount I dislike. It has been a good twenty-five years since the release of Amused to Death, Water’s last studio album and within two or three minutes of listening to Is This the Life We Really Want? there is no question’s he’s picked up right where he left off. I read a portion of one review that essentially said this was the same screaming, shouting, sound effects laden Roger Waters we’ve heard in the past and in some respects that’s not wrong. If you’ve heard any of his previous albums, this new release is a continuation of that same style. There’s just under an hours’ worth of music, twelve individual tracks anywhere from one minute to just under seven. A quick description might say - lots of plaintive vocals over simple acoustic guitar gives way to lush orchestration while Water’s strained shouting harasses the listener. Song’s embody many familiar elements such as the echoing repeats of words or sounds that fade into the song’s follow-up segment. It’s difficult to pin point a memorable melody to hum or take away but that’s come to be expected. Instead fans like me will take delight in the little musical vignettes or transitions that are sprinkled throughout. As for what I disliked much of that revolved around the lyrical bent. Waters has made no bones about his left-leaning views which to my mind has always seemed to be very much a matter of “biting the hand that feeds you” if you know what I mean. He rails against the very system that has made him successful and very wealthy. It’s a kind of hypocrisy that artists like this allow themselves to exist in; shouting disdain for “the man” while driving home to their big house in a fancy car that most of us could never afford. In this case much of Waters' railing and frothing at the mouth tends to ring hollow to my ears. Nice sentiments but not a consistent worldview. Still for those who choose to agree with Water’s views or those prepared to not pay attention to the lyrics this is classic Roger Waters and a more than satisfying listen.