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Roger Waters: Is This the Life We Really Want?

Roger Waters
Is This the Life We Really Want?
(Columbia Records)

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It has taken nearly a quarter of a century for Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters to give us Is This the Life We Really Want? Was it worth the wait?

“When We Were Young,” a layered spoken piece opens into the sardonic “Déjà Vu” revealing an acoustic/piano/orchestra mix reminiscent of Waters’ last Floyd album, The Final Cut.

“Picture That,” is the first real rocker, trading strings for swirling synth leads, with flumping bass and drummer, Joey Waronker’s laid back beat. The title track begins with a Trump “I won” soundbite (there’s lots of Trump bashing throughout this album), flowing into single-guitar-note-led laconic tune, under mostly-spoken vocals. As lots do here, this smacks right into “Bird in a Gale”, with its news soundbites and ticking beat flowing into Waters’ screaming; the use of organ here took me back to Rick Wright’s brilliant turn on “Sheep,” on the equally brilliant Floyd album Animals.

“The Most Beautiful Girl” with its slow arpeggio piano, strings, and Waronker’s simple snare is pretty much beautiful. While we rock again on “Smell The Roses,” we get the treat of Waters’ signature bass sound coming to the fore.

A triplet of single-piano-note-acoustic-guitar-backed tunes ends this dark mess. The trio is basically one song with different lyrical sensibilitieslove songs to Water’s bleak rundown of humanity. By the end, one is wrung-out over the pessimism and sound-the-same production.

There’s not much that’s new on Is This the Life We Really Want? from one of the top lyricist of our time, whose delivery was so much better back during is halcyon Floydian days, I feel.

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