Roger Waters latest album “Is This Life We Really Want” is like seeing an old friend that you haven’t encountered in over 40 years. Everything about it seems familiar enough but something deep is hidden and you patently wait to find out what it is.
“When we were young” is the first track of the album and it delivers hypnotic waves of Roger waters eerie voice as he echoed through my speakers delivering a mantra-like chant with frightening reverb and multiple voices that begins to layer heavily as it progresses. focusing on what he is trying to say, you become more tuned to the ambient noise. A ticking clock begins ticking faster and faster in the background, increasing up the tone of anxiety. The anger of his voice sets the mood of the album almost immediately as the a faint sound of an airplane is flying in the distance.
As the clock keeps ticking faster and faster, it fades into a seamless transition into the second track of the album “Déjà Vu“.
The acoustic guitar begins to play a familiar rhythm, the simplistic strums will remind you of their 1979 hit “Mother” that debuted on “The Wall” album. The sweet swoops of the string quartet adds a soothing lullaby to his soft, aging vocals. The simplistic piano chords scaling upwards as his vocals raise higher and higher as he let out his signature scream. A sudden crash of shattering glass and ruin is highlighted as he sings “If I were a drone“. The overall theme I believe he was aiming at was the after effects of war and devastation. The title is very fitting, the entire song is a faded memory of the wall single “Mother” with the political themes of “The Wall” album
The third track “The Last Refugee” switches over almost immediately, The title opens to a static broadcast of a variety of news anchors reporting in. Similar to Roger waters single “The Final Cut” and a small hint of “Fletcher Memorial” as the drums play a steady beat and the complimentary piano helps paint the atmosphere. Roger Waters sorrow vocals is accompanied with haunting synth piano as soft sounds of seagulls and crashing waves fade out.
The fourth track “Picture that” is a rage filed roller coaster where he ask the listeners to picture a variety of scenarios over and over, describing a world of fear and intolerance to outsiders.
The fifth track “Broken Bones” begins with simplistic acoustic guitar strumming with single melodies being picked in between each strum. It seems almost uplifting at first until the haunting sounds of the E-Minor chord is struck and the saddening sound of slide guitar is added to his soft low vocals as he lets out an exhausting lyrics “who gives a shit anyways” until the drums kick in and Roger Waters scream at the top of his lungs “How could we abandon thee” This tracks main focus is how we should have looked back at all these wars and political leaders who steered a country into war and instead of learning from our mistakes, we repeat them over and over. The final verse of the song is a powerful statement “we will not listen to, your bullshit and lies”
The sixth track ” Is This The Life We Really Want” is opened with a static voice clip of Donald Trump talking to CNN about chaos, as soon as the clip is over, Rogers waters delivers his depiction of the latest political election with obvious evidence as he sang “Every time a nincompoop becomes president” this track is a clear depiction of the current state of fear and chaos in the United States . Fear is the main theme in this track, A song filled with haunting string instruments and random protest in the background. As the song progresses, Roger Waters lists a series of events throughout the song such as “Every time a journalist rots in jail” or “every time a student is run over by a tank” He began to paint a depressing picture as the listener slowly realizes that we as the public, have caused all of this, all these events he list has actually happened over the course of time and continues to happen because we refuse to see the error of our ways. He answered his own question as he sang “Is this the life we really want, it surely must be so, for this is a democracy and what we all say goes”
The seventh song “Bird In A Gale” is a continuation of the sixth track and features a strong presence of synth wave, the type of music you would hear in a 80’s horror movie. Once again the static of random news anchors are present during the wide opening of the song. Although the song only has 11 stanzas, the song is 5 minutes of synth wave music and recurring background noise of news anchors, chiming bells, reverse guitar, a News anchor repeating “A Happy New Year” as well as “on the first of January” with random lyrics of Roger waters repeating the last verse of the song. A confusing tone to say the least as the ambient noise is suddenly stopped by the incoming sound of a missile hitting the ground, followed by applauded cheering.
The Eighth song is titled “The Most Beautiful Girl” Roger Waters tells the love story of a young woman, whose life was diminished to nothing more than a causality by a committee of men in an underground bunker who decided to use a nuclear bomb during a war escapade, a simple song with a strong message.
The ninth track entitled “Smell The Roses” is Roger waters anti-war message. As a society, we should all stop and smell the roses and realize that war is destroying all the beauty around us. as the song progresses, the listener is no longer smelling the pleasantries of roses but the decaying smell of war and death.
the 10th,11th and 12th tracks entitled “Wait for her” ” Oceans apart” and “Part of me Died” is a continuous song split into 3 tracks. The first track is a simple pairing of a grand piano and acoustic guitar with hints of strong distorted guitar leads and crashing waves of cymbal drums and a mellow tone of synth piano all accompanied by Roger waters soft and mellow raspy voice.
“Oceans Apart” bridges the previous track into the final track “Part of me died“.
The 3 tracks when listen to in consecutive order, tells a grand story of a man who is clinically depressed by the evilness of life and he begins to provided a list of his own fears and doubts in life. By the end of “Part Of Me Died” he meets this girl and she becomes is everything he will always need to get through this hatred filled life because he would rather die in her arms then die in a lifetime of regret and constant state of fear. The three-part song is a perfect ending to a perfect album. 10/10
I can safety make the assumption that “Is This The Life We Really Want” is his depiction of the current political status in the united states and the destruction that follows with war. This album fits his anti-war and political stances almost to perfectly. “Is This The Life We Really Want” is a flooded memory of Roger Waters when he was in his prime and almost feels like an encore performance to Pink Floyd 1979 album “The Wall“.
I cannot express enough how much I loved this album. I would not expect anything less from a true rock legend. If you’re a Pink Floyd or a Roger Waters fan, this is a must have and If you are not a fan, I encourage you to listen to the album and truly focus on the story he is trying to convey. This album is not a variety of music trying to fill an empty space. It’s an album tell the story of Roger Waters depiction of politics, war, greed, death and destruction.
The Modern Typewriter