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Roger Waters - Is This The Life We Really Want ? CD (album) cover

IS THIS THE LIFE WE REALLY WANT ?

Roger Waters

 

Crossover Prog

3.72 | 180 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars One of the first things I noticed during my first spin of this album is how old Roger's voice is sounding these days. Not surprising I suppose given he's 74 years old. I felt the same about Bowie's last album "Blackstar" and in both cases I like them. I wasn't surprised to hear how angry he still is about the injustices that go on in this World, I'd like to think that all of us should feel this way and stand against these things. So he touches on a lot of topics in this very political album. Another surprise was how much this sounds like PINK FLOYD, mostly "The Wall" which again shouldn't be surprising given he's been touring the World playing that particular album live. But yeah I love the many samples he's put on this recording. There's lots of "F" bombs on here to get the desired result although I'd rather he hadn't.

Another unexpected surprise on here are the final three songs which are all blended together like one suite. On this suite Roger sings about love and believe me when I say this, this is from left field and very surprising to me. I believe Roger getting closure on his Dad's death in WWII (he found out where, when and how his Dad died) has helped him to heal a great deal and in turn feel a lot of regrets about his treatment of former wives and girlfriends, offsprings and band-mates etc. Let me just write down some of the lyrics from that suite. "But when I met you, that part of me died. Bring me a bowl to bathe her feet in. Bring me my final cigarette. It would be better by far to die in her arms than to linger in a lifetime of regrets." Gulp. That void left by the death of his father was filled by an uncompromising desire to be rich. And one he fulfilled through PINK FLOYD even though it meant that friendships and marriages and families would be left in ruins after it's wake.

I would rate this album as good as my other two favourites from him in "Amused To Death" and "The Final Cut" which I consider a Waters album. The emotion on "The Final Cut" can't be surpassed in my opinion and it's an album that should be played every Remembrance Day. My favourite section of "Is This The Life We Really Want?" is the last half of the title track and the following song "Bird In A Gale" that it blends into, just the stark contrast is so impressive. The lyrics are incredible really throughout this album as he touches on so many current events usually involving the USA not so surprisingly. So can we by standing up against all the negative subjects related here stop them from happening in our World. Not a chance. We should still do it of course but I would argue that like Roger the astonishing amount of kids today growing up without Dads is an epidemic and believe me when I say it affects society big time and the behaviour of those kids right into adulthood.

"When We Were Young" opens with mumblings that sound distant but they get louder and clearer as it plays out as we hear him talking about when he was young. "Deja Vu" is a sad song with Roger contemplating what he would do differently if he was God. A little tongue in cheek I think as God isn't a super human he's so infinitely beyond even what we could imagination. Strummed guitar and vocals with the strings swelling before a minute. Samples after 2 1/2 minutes with strings and piano.

"The Last Refugee" opens with samples of multiple people talking about the weather etc. as the music builds. He starts to sing before 1 1/2 minutes and there's some emotion in that voice after 2 minutes. orchestral sounds before 3 1/2 minutes then seagulls can be heard to end it. "Picture That" certainly has some amazing lyrics that all of us would agree with minus maybe the "F" bombs. Guitar and a serious sound to start. Very FLOYD-like as Roger starts to sing. It even kicks into a FLOYD groove with the bass and drums before this uplifting sound arrives changing the mood. An experimental calm before 3 minutes is brief as themes are repeated.

"Broken Bones" opens with the sound of a loon which is very popular here in Canada as strummed guitar and vocals take over. Some strings too. A moving track with those strings and Roger's understated vocals. Check out when he starts to sing with passion after 2 minutes briefly. Such emotion. Back to the passionate vocals 3 1/2 minutes in as the music rises. "Is This The Life we Really Want?" opens with a sample of Trump complaining about CNN before a relaxed beat with bass and guitar takes over. Reserved vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. Then samples of what sounds like a riot are distant sounding after 3 minutes as Roger talks about the tragedies of this modern World. Emotional stuff. It blends into the next song.

"Bird In A Cage" which is my favourite. The way the music suddenly turns very powerful is chilling and moving. Steady drums and sample after sample of people speaking. A powerful sound before 1 1/2 minutes as Roger comes in vocally. Passion is the word. Before 4 minutes we get an urgent rhythm with church bells and sampled words that come and go. Lots of synths along with vocals and samples. Next up is "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World" which has a slow beat with piano and laid back vocals. Bass too as Roger's vocals become more passionate at times. Strings join in followed by samples and a horn after 3 minutes then the vocals return.

"Smell The Roses" is where I don't really like how Water's sings. And it sounds kind of commercial in part because of the vocals I think. Suddenly before 2 minutes samples take over. So cool and much better to my ears. We hear dogs barking madly then this soaring guitar comes in ala Gilmour before 3 1/2 minutes then the vocals return. "Wait For Her" is the start of that three piece suite. Piano and strummed guitar as reserved vocals join in. It does turn fuller as vocals continue and contrasts will continue. Seagulls can be heard to end it with strummed guitar as it blends into the next tune.

"Oceans Apart" continues with the seagulls and strummed guitar, waves too as meaningful reserved vocals come in. It blends into "Part Of Me Died" where piano joins the strummed guitar. Fragile vocals follow then a beat. A fuller sound before 2 1/2 minutes. Such emotion as he sings those words I quoted in the intro. It ends like it began after a pause with distant mumbled words that can't be understood.

Man this is such a good album and I wasn't expecting it I must admit. I hope Roger gets the peace he so needs even late in life. And thanks for the amazing music including of course the incredible music of PINK FLOYD. I'm really hoping there's more of this from Roger in the future.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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