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ROGER WATERS

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Roger Waters biography
George Roger Waters, born 6 September 1943 in Great Bookham, Cambridge, UK

Roger WATERS' musical career took off when he joined the band PINK FLOYD in 1965 along with highschool friend SYD BARRETT. After BARRETT's drug problems got him kicked out of the band, WATERS became the primary creative force, and thanks to such inspirations as his father who died in World War 2 before they could ever meet, his strongly left wing political views, and his ex-bandmate BARRETT, he went on to compose such masterwork concept albums as "Dark Side of the Moon", "Wish You Were Here", "Animals" and "The Wall" during his time with the band. However, by 1983 when the band completed "The Final Cut", he had taken total control, and guitarist David GILMOUR wasn't going to take it. The two began to fight feverishly, eventually resulting in WATERS quitting the band thinking they could never go on without him. They did however, leaving him to his own solo career. Roger's solo music bares striking resemblance to the final few albums he did with PINK FLOYD, in that it is very dark and driven by a concept. Any fans of "The Wall" or "The Final Cut" would do well to give his solo work a listen.

Roger's solo career actually dates back to 1970 when he worked with avant-garde composer Ron Geesin on the soundtrack to the film "The Body". His first real solo album came in 1985 with the brilliant "Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking" though. This is an essencial album for fans of his later work with PINK FLOYD, although some may find it a bit boring and overly personal (it's based on a dream he had, and touches on almost all of his typical themes in his lyrics). In 1987 he contributed music to the film "When the Wind Blows", and also created another concept album in "Radio K.A.O.S.". This is the least essencial of his solo albums, and is really plagued by the horrible 80s sound that was dominating music at the time. That said, it still has some bright spots, and is by no means a weak album. His next solo work didn't come until 1992's "Amused To Death". Many consider this his best, and it is without question his most political album ever. None of these are particularlily accessible, so it couldn't hurt to just go from the beginning and start with "The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking" if interested in his work, though you can't go wrong with "Amused To Death" either (that is, if you agree...
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Is This The Life We Really Want?Is This The Life We Really Want?
Explicit Lyrics
Columbia 2017
$4.99
$4.99 (used)
The Pros And Cons Of Hitch HikingThe Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
$3.73
$5.90 (used)
Radio K.A.O.S.Radio K.A.O.S.
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2011
$3.73
$5.24 (used)
In the Flesh: LiveIn the Flesh: Live
Columbia 2000
$11.64
$5.44 (used)
Roger Waters - In the Flesh (Live)Roger Waters - In the Flesh (Live)
Multiple Formats · Anamorphic · Dolby
Sony Legacy 2001
$9.02
$2.03 (used)
Amused to DeathAmused to Death
Box set
Sony Legacy 2015
$14.22
$9.99 (used)
Amused to Death By Roger Waters (1999-01-25)Amused to Death By Roger Waters (1999-01-25)
Sony Music CMG
$49.10
$15.94 (used)
Pros & Cons of New YorkPros & Cons of New York
Video Music, Inc. 2018
$14.01
$17.50 (used)
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ROGER WATERS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ROGER WATERS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.86 | 117 ratings
Roger Waters & Ron Geesin: Music From The Body (OST)
1970
3.04 | 322 ratings
The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking
1984
2.97 | 245 ratings
Radio K.A.O.S.
1987
3.94 | 444 ratings
Amused To Death
1992
3.40 | 106 ratings
Ça Ira
2005
3.72 | 182 ratings
Is This The Life We Really Want ?
2017

ROGER WATERS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.25 | 107 ratings
The Wall - Live in Berlin
1990
3.60 | 153 ratings
In the Flesh - Live
2000
3.78 | 31 ratings
The Wall (The Soundtrack From A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans)
2015

ROGER WATERS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.15 | 68 ratings
The Wall Live in Berlin
1990
2.84 | 13 ratings
What God Wants, Part I (VHS)
1992
4.31 | 143 ratings
In The Flesh (DVD)
2001
3.76 | 35 ratings
The Wall (A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans)
2015

ROGER WATERS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.59 | 50 ratings
Flickering Flame - The Solo Years 1
2002
3.58 | 15 ratings
The Roger Waters Collection (7CD + DVD)
2011

ROGER WATERS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Every Strangers Eyes
1984
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking
1984
4.20 | 5 ratings
The Tide Is Turning (After Live Aid)
1987
4.00 | 2 ratings
Who Needs Information
1987
3.50 | 2 ratings
Sunset Strip
1987
2.18 | 17 ratings
Radio Waves (EP)
1987
2.24 | 6 ratings
The Wall - Berlin '90 - Commemorative EP
1990
4.56 | 9 ratings
What God Wants, Part I
1992
4.30 | 10 ratings
The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range
1992
4.75 | 8 ratings
Three Wishes
1992
3.32 | 35 ratings
To Kill the Child / Leaving Beirut
2004
4.17 | 6 ratings
Hello (I Love You)
2007
2.00 | 1 ratings
We Shall Overcome
2010
4.00 | 17 ratings
Smell the Roses
2017

ROGER WATERS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Wall (A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans) by WATERS, ROGER album cover DVD/Video, 2015
3.76 | 35 ratings

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The Wall (A Film by Roger Waters and Sean Evans)
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This movie has been available on Netflix for a while. It's part documentary, part live registration of The Wall (recorded between 2010-2013). The opening of the movie was exemplary for what was to come. Music by Roger Waters. Script by Waters. After an idea by Waters. Starring Roger Waters as Roger Waters. The cinematography of the documentary is great, but the idea is artistically corrupt. Old men chatting about, saying things that mean nothing, speaking as if it's a great revelation that comes with old age. In one scripted scene Waters sits at a dark lit bar in France with a French bartender who doesn't speak English. But he wants to tell the story of how his father died in the war anyway (in English). Roger Waters wants to tell his deep story no matter if it relevant/welcome or not.

This reflects back on the live footage of the complete The Wall record. The story has lost its relevance since WO II is more then halve a century ago. Schools have become child friendly. Drugs are known to be dangerous. People get help with their depressions. Communism and Fascism are dead. The Berlin Wall fell thirty years ago. Confusion has been replaced by a bitter understanding of reality or a flight to digital fantasy worlds. The original critique of his generation has actually changed society for the better - destroying its initial power. However, the Wall is still a work potent of a long list of classic symphonic rock songs. Yet Roger Waters has chosen to focus on an impressive show full of dated symbols. Yet again hiding the band behind a meaningless (personal) wall he has failed to tear down all his life. A plain crashing with special effects, brilliant visual material portrayed on the set and a stage full of dummy soldiers. The music sounds worn out, not even that well recorded, as if played by tired people. The average tempo of the songs is much slower then the original and extra instrumental passages add to the feeling of drag. If you would listen to a David Gilmour dvd next (choose any) you'd hear the Pink Floyd legacy played with way more fresh energy and atmosphere.

I could not recommend this film to any-one other than the hardcore fans of Roger Waters. Preferably people who have lived under a pile of bricks themselves for the past four decades.

 Is This The Life We Really Want ? by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.72 | 182 ratings

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Is This The Life We Really Want ?
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Roger Waters is still doing the things Roger Waters is known to do--and, I must admit, still doing them well. But, there is nothing here that is new, innovative, "progressive" (was there ever?), or refreshing. As a matter of fact, one might say that the stylings, sounds, and melodies present on this album sound extremely familiar. A few times I find myself even asking, "Hasn't he already done this before? (even on this very album?)" And yet I admire the fact that Roger still has creative juices flowing--that he feels he still has something to say (as well as a format in which to express his ideas). His voice is old, worn, but he can still surround himself with top notch performers, arrangers, conductors, and engineers. The strings arrangements are the highlights for me; the drums a little too intimate and "friendly" for my tastes.

Favorite songs: the Radiohead-sounding title song (despite its PF "WALL" familiarity); the Steely Danish "Smell The Roses," and; "the Stones-y Tom Waits-y "Wait For Her."

I'm not such a Waters fan as to know all of his post-Pink Floyd albums really well, but does he try to replicate The Wall with its radio/television audio samples bridging all his songs with all of his albums?

three stars; a good album; not very proggy, though, innit?

 Is This The Life We Really Want ? by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.72 | 182 ratings

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Is This The Life We Really Want ?
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars When the first original Roger Waters rock album in 25 years was released this year, I was contacted by two colleagues working in the same government department as me.

The first is a big jazz and rock fan, but also a person with principled (left wing) political views. He absolutely raved about the album, saying it was the best thing he had heard for years.

The other is a big prog rock fan with absolutely no political views whatsoever, saving that all politicians are a bunch of shysters best ignored. He hates this album, which he denounces as basically Waters ranting about the same "bloody things he's ranted about for 40 years, now".

Well, that is a measure of just how Waters splits opinion, and, in a way, both of my colleagues are right. If you appreciate a bit of Trump bashing, raging against the inequities of the world and how, if you were God, you would change it all, then this is the album for you. If you don't appreciate such things, and the somewhat hectoring tomes of Waters get on your pips, and detract from the music, it is probably best to steer clear.

Most of us, though, sit somewhere in the middle, and, certainly, long-term Floyd fans must by now be used to Waters' lyrical style. Much of Animals, now 40 years old, influenced (and continues to do so) my personal political views, and, to be fair, old Rog is correct ? the world is in a wee bit of a state.

Musically, much of this album is very reminiscent of Floyd in a way previous works were not. Picture That, for example, sounds as if it has been lifted directly from studio outtakes of Animals, and tarted up technologically. Indeed, the keyboards are an eerie echo of Richard Wright.

The entire work sounds utterly lush, and credit is due to Nigel Godrich, the knobs man. He has produced a wonderful soundscape canvas for Waters to play and speak upon, and it is here that I feel is the most crucial point about the album. Waters is Waters, and his politics are his politics, but the man is responsible for some of the most important rock music of the 20th century, and whilst this album certainly does not touch those heights, it still ain't half bad for someone the wrong side of 70 years old.

I will rate this album as excellent, four stars. I will not dip into it as often as I still do with Amused to Death, but, as swansongs go, this will do rather nicely.

 Is This The Life We Really Want ? by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.72 | 182 ratings

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Is This The Life We Really Want ?
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by FunkyM

4 stars Roger Waters is back with his first new solo studio album in about 25 years, Is This The Life We Really Want?

On this album, Waters incorporates the sound of classic Floyd albums such as Wish You Were Here and Animals into that of his later solo work. In my opinion, the result is probably the best Roger Waters solo album to date. Is This the Life We Really Want? sounds like the album that Waters' last Floyd record, should have been.

The album is a song cycle, typical of previous Waters works. Thematically, Waters takes aim at political and social issues (no surprises there) and it seems that in the current political climate he has found renewed vigour.

In the very Floydian sounding 'Picture That' we hear Waters trumpet the line, 'Picture a leader with no f***ing brains' and it wasn't too surprising to see that the CD booklet displays an image of the current U.S. president on the lyrics page.

Then, there is the title track which begins with a Trump sound bite shortly before we hear Waters sing, 'every time a nincompoop becomes the president'.

Waters is singing about more than just about Trump though. He addresses many of the themes he has written and sung about for the past 40 years. After a short spoken introduction, the album opens with the ballad "D'j' Vu" which begins with a simple acoustic guitar but soon opens up to orchestration. Waters sings about what he would do if he were God before symbolically shifting his perspective to that of a military drone. We then segue seamlessly into the beautiful 'The Last Refugee', which seems to be referring to the Syrian refugee crisis.

One of my favourite tracks is 'Bird in a Gale', a dark track which references the death of Alan Kurdi (the three-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to escape the civil war).

There's also 'Smell the Roses', which musically sounds a bit like 'Have a Cigar' part two. This was the lead single from the album and it's easy to see why. It's perhaps the most 'classic Pink Floyd'-sounding song on the album.

The album ends with three songs that work a bit like a 10-minute suite, 'Wait for Her', 'Oceans Apart', and 'Part of Me Died'. They tell the story of a man waiting for a refugee woman and when he meets her, a part of him (metaphorically, one assumes) dies.

Overall, I think Is This the Life We Really Want? is the Roger Waters comeback we've all been waiting for. Waters recalls his past without getting lost in it and his sardonic wit is as sharp as ever. If you are a Pink Floyd fan, I would consider this album a must-listen.

Higlights: "D'j' Vu", "The Last Refugee", "Picture That", "Is This the Life We Really Want?", "Bird in a Gale", "Smell the Roses", "Part of Me Died"

 Is This The Life We Really Want ? by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.72 | 182 ratings

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Is This The Life We Really Want ?
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by 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.

 Is This The Life We Really Want ? by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.72 | 182 ratings

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Is This The Life We Really Want ?
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars Weird to think that after 25 years I'm listening to a new Roger Waters record. Strange to also imagine that this is the best record I've heard so far in 2017... and it's almost the end of the year.

Well, odd in parts, I've always considered Waters' solo work of high quality, and I pretty much love all of his solo records, so the surprise is simply because it happened unexpectedly.

I've heard many people say that the album is too political, is it? Humm, commentaries like these can only come from people who do not follow Waters career. Roger Waters has been a political man since circa 1977 when he wrote Animals with Pink Floyd...

Animals, The Wall, The Final Cut, Radio KAOS, Amused To Death, Leaving Beirut... all of Waters' work over the last 40 years is political. To say that his new record is 'too political' is nonsense and not knowing what you say. Is This The Life We Really Want? is a political record and one has to listen to with that in mind. Period.

I also heard a lot of people saying that Is This The Life We Really Want? is 'a copy of everything he's ever done in his career with Pink Floyd,'. Really? So, 2 million bands can copy Pink Floyd and be praised about it but one of the creators of that sound can not? The 'critics' are funny, aren't they? But then again, everybody is a critic nowadays.

Anyway, the album is not perfect, I will give you that, but having in mind that Waters has nothing to prove by now I believe he worked hard to get a good record out and he did just that. The album has a bit of everything a Waters/Floyd fan would like to hear but with a new approach (producer Nigel Godrich certainly helps with that). I am not a political person so I can let go some of the lyrics, but for the most part I really enjoy Water's writing and is no different in the new record.

I still have to hear the record a few more times but I have the impression this one is a grower and it will come to be a favorite in the future, let's see.

So do yourself a favor and stop to listen to it. It is worth it!

 Is This The Life We Really Want ? by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.72 | 182 ratings

BUY
Is This The Life We Really Want ?
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars A Roger Waters album that sounds like a Pink Floyd album? Well, that's a first. And if not quite factually a first, its certainly welcome.

I think most Roger/Floyd fans know this album was produced by Radiohead producer and engineer Nigel Godrich and this has helped in making it a more Floyd sounding album to add to Roger's solo arsenal. Roger's past disregard of the use of synths, no doubt triggered by his toxic feelings toward the late synth wizard Rick Wright, pushed Waters into a solo guitar based sound using only real orchestrations from the late Michael Kamen to color the songs on his solo albums starting with the Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking in 1984. Kamen's sea sickness conjuring orchestrations worked wonders on songs like Comfortably Numb, but fell short on coloring the many moods required for Roger's solo songs. And let's face it, what is a Pink Floyd album or a solo Floyd endeavor without the use of synthesizers? Floyd and synths are nearly synonymous and it's a shame that Roger realized this fact after the great Rick Wright passed on. Would Wright have ever played on a Roger Waters solo album? Perhaps, but it's unlikely. But no need to fret as Waters and Godrich have assembled a handful of expert keyboardist that bring to mind a wonderful hybrid of Animals and The Wall synth colorings and tones, which does wonders both on the artistic and nostalgic fronts.

There's little guitar heroics on Is This The Life We Really Want? and that also is a good thing. Having someone like Jeff Beck shredding just to let David Gilmour know that betters guitarists exist is poor reasoning for employing him on Waters' past work titled Amused To Death. It's not the sole reason as Beck is legendary, but once again on a Waters solo album, Beck was a hired hand. He was not a musical contributor who helped arrange the songs on Amused To Death the way that Gilmour did on all Pink Floyd albums up to The Final Cut.

That was what was truly missing in Roger's solo outings. A collaborative partner. With super Pink Floyd fan Godrich arranging both the music and the dramatic strings on Is This The Life We Really Want?, that problem is firmly solved. Climatic guitar solos are missing on a few songs where they would have driven home an emotional point to the music, but we can't have everything, can we?

Is This The Life We Really Want? sounds to me like the great 1977 Pink Floyd album Animals not only revisited, but expanded upon for the 21st century, and is a really fine and, I'm sad to say, timely album. (It doesn't hurt that Roger and Godrich consciously or unconsciously resurrected the sound of the Animals' rhythm section on this album's harder rocking songs.) I rate Is This The Life We Really Want? at close to to 4 stars as it has 2 recurring faults of Waters' solo work. First off, like Waters' previous solo albums, Is This The Life We Really Want? seems anti climatic due to Roger's heartfelt "love cures all" sentiments on the album's final two tracks, the final track itself ending clumsily and abruptly, which only works with Radiohead, I'm afraid. Secondly, it's Roger once again in a political rant 25 years after releasing Amused To Death, an album I can rate no higher then 3.5 stars.

Will Is This The Life We Really Want? ever hit some type of classic status in the future? I don't believe so but I do see myself spinning this disc, if only on occasion, 25 years from now. That's more than I can say about Amused To Death, which I've only played a few times in the last 25 years. Music as art is always strange and personal and that's why we keep coming back to prog icons like Roger Waters. These icons don't always deliver, but when they do, watch out, stand back, catch your breath and enjoy yourself.

 Is This The Life We Really Want ? by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.72 | 182 ratings

BUY
Is This The Life We Really Want ?
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team

3 stars It seems that it's been a very long time that I have heard some new material from Roger Waters and I was glad to hear his voice on this new album. It's like his voice didn't change and was taking me back to the 70's and the 80's with that Pink Floyd sound. The songs are divided into two kinds; the quiet ones, and, the more upbeat songs where the tempo is faster. We can hear the same type of vocals echo in the track "Bird in a Gale" that we heard in the past with Pink Floyd. The pace is starting to pick up with "Picture That" showing some spacey keyboards, and a very nice melody. The music is also rich in classical arrangements with violin and piano. "Broken Bones" is a song about war, a theme cherishes by Roger over the years. "Smell the roses" is a more positive song remind me of "Money" with a second part close to the atmosphere of Eloy/Pink Floyd with some spacey passages. The last three tracks are connected in a suite finishing the album in a peaceful way. In conclusion, this is for me more of a nostalgia thing than a great album that I enjoy but will enjoy even more Roger Waters and Pink Floyd fans.
 Is This The Life We Really Want ? by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.72 | 182 ratings

BUY
Is This The Life We Really Want ?
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars It's been a quarter century since former Pink Floyd bass player/frontman Roger Waters delivered his greatest solo artistic statement with 1992's `Amused to Death', and despite the occasional new piece or cover song popping here and there, and no shortage of multiple lengthy live tours, a full-length follow-up studio work had not emerged. Cue 2017, and the current political climate has proven to be a huge inspiration in spurring the artist to kick up momentum, resulting in the Nigel `Radiohead' Godrich produced `Is This The Life We Really Want?'. It's a new work that's instantly recognizable as a Waters solo disc, holding plenty of the lyrical ammunition, raspy vocals, moody atmospherics and adventurous rock pieces the artist is known for, with an equal number of exciting revelations and (whisper it) oddly disappointing elements.

Completely noticeable from the first play is how producer Godrich has spared no expensive in delivering a gorgeous sonic canvass, and all the ambient sound-effects from Pink Floyd and Roger solo albums past - switching channels, news soundbites, shattering glass, explosions, ticking clocks, you name it - form a rich and evocative soundtrack in-between and around all of Roger's words and the instrumental backing they sit in. It's a reliable framing device, present on pretty much the two final Floyd works with Roger (`The Wall' and `The Final Cut') and his three solo discs that started with 1984's `The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking', and musically and vocally `...Life' is very much in the same style of those ones. So if you're not a fan of the more Waters-dominated Floyd works, his unique personality of those solo discs and the frequently political-themed lyrics that he eventually moved into, you're very likely going to struggle with this one as well. But it does offer plenty of unexpectedly safer Floyd-friendly moments worked in, Roger's voice sounds inspired and in surprisingly good form, and he still even delivers a few of those trademark histrionic multi-tracked vocal spots!

One thing that should be instantly be pointed out - in no way, shape or form is `...Life' a prog-rock album - and let's face it, Roger and Pink Floyd long eclipsed being merely a `prog' band decades ago - and nor should it have even expected to have been. There are absolutely `proggy' sections, with some passages of thick spacey keyboards popping up here and there (although the album is definitely short on guitar solos - we were spoiled by Jeff Beck's fiery wailing on `Amused to Death' all those years ago!), moments of slightly more ambitious arrangements and a couple of really dynamic diversions. But instead, at least half of the album is made up of ol' Rog strumming along on acoustic guitar, or crooning mournfully over sparse piano backed by sweeping orchestration. `Déjà Vu', `The Most Beautiful Girl in the World' and the closing trio of `Wait for Her', `Oceans Apart' and `Part of Me Died' all offer variations or reprises of these, and rather disappointingly, most of them are carried by acoustic guitar chords that all drift uncomfortably close to a mix of `Pigs on the Wing' from Floyd's heavy classic `Animals' and `Mother' off `The Wall'. It works fine and sounds lovely on the surface, even instantly comfortable, but it's also a little lazy.

Sadly the Floyd fall-back carries on, even if there's not a truly bad tune to be found amongst them. The gutsy `Smell the Roses' plunders `Have a Cigar's heavy bluesy guitars and the `Leave those kids alone' moments off `Another Brick in the Wall', and despite being one of the most overtly proggy moments of the disc, `Picture That' nearly sounds like a re-write of `Sheep's thick electronics and treated echoing voices, joined by the soulful female backing harmonies of `Dark Side of the Moon/Wish You Were Here', but it does deliver one of the only (brief) moments of soaring David Gilmour-like guitar slow-burn of the disc.

But of the proper highlights, sound collages like the intro opener `When we were Young' instantly intrigue, `The Last Refugee' holds gorgeous piano and light spacey washes to a gentle jazzy patter, and `Broken Bones' is a defiant and oddly elegant ballad, swearing and all. But best of all is the back to back ten-minute stretch right in the middle of the title-track and `Bird in a Gale'. `Is This The Life We Really Want?' drips with supreme f*cking danger, Roger's scathing malevolent purr delivering a thoroughly confronting and depressing lyric weaving between murky cutting orchestral stabs and brooding drumming, all building in hair-tearing intensity. It bleeds right into `Bird in a Gale's storm of skittering beats, strangled guitar and pulsing electronics (and is that Mellotron buried in there somewhere or heavily treated orchestration?), and the piece could have easily appeared on any of the `Kid A' onwards Radiohead albums (although the final moments ape `Dogs' droning spacey shimmers a little too closely).

`Is This The Life We Really Want?' has so much going for it. It all sounds great on the surface, Roger's voice is in charismatic and commanding form, and the fifty-five minute set is oddly quite accessible, with more causal Floyd fans likely to find great comfort in how much it sounds like the truly classic Floyd and Waters moments of the past. Those that appreciate Roger's biting social commentary and blunt political-themed lyrics will probably find `...Life' most rewarding of all (other reviewers will hopefully explore those lyrics in much greater detail than here), and there's no denying that clearly the lyrical aspect is the priority here. Others, however, may find it to be nothing more than a reliable effort that ticks all the pre-requisite boxes but doesn't quite live up to its potential to truly deliver something new and vital instead of plundering past sounds and tunes for inspiration. But it's still a relief to find such a decent and worthwhile Roger Waters solo album in 2017 that is a more than worthy addition to his body of work.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

 Is This The Life We Really Want ? by WATERS, ROGER album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.72 | 182 ratings

BUY
Is This The Life We Really Want ?
Roger Waters Crossover Prog

Review by moulsham

4 stars I just keep expecting things to blow up.

Listening to Roger Waters' music is often stressful, whether it is something to do with the ominous chord progressions or just past experience its generally not too long before something blows up. In stereo and now in HiRes.

Thankfully there are just two loud bangs in this new work but that doesn't mean it isn't a stressful album. Is it me or this guy truly pissed off... with everybody and about everything? On the plus side, the use of keyboards which has been lacking from the earlier solo albums means in many ways that this album is closer to The Final Cut which should please Floyd fans.

The use of field recordings including the Speaking Clock, Shipping Forecast, BBC Continuity Announcers, Post Office Counter and even the Tube are surprisingly not irritating. In fact they provide a reassuring "homeliness" that counterbalances some of the more disturbing musical content.

What this adds up to is an album that is at once hard to listen to and utterly engaging and unstoppable when you do. It is an album that ought not to work - the ravings and droolings of a very cross man - but works brilliantly. Utterly superb.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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