Is This The Life We Really Want? by Roger Waters

I’ve been trying to write about a movie or television show every Saturday, but I didn’t have anything ready for today. So you get an album review!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a long-time Pink Floyd fan, so when I saw that Roger Waters would be releasing a new album, I instantly clicked that pre-order button on Amazon. The CD and AutoRip MP3s both arrived yesterday, Friday, June 2.

I was very nervous to hear this album. After all, Waters’ last album Amused To Death is a masterwork of musical perfection. It would be hard to top it. Also, the only criticism I ever had of ATD is that Waters’ voice didn’t sound that great compared to his earlier stuff, which I chalked up to the ravages of the aging process. That was way back in 1992.

Now it’s 2017, and presumably Waters has aged another 25 years. Speaking from some personal experience, that’s a lot of mileage to put on vocal cords that didn’t sound that great to start with.

I’m happy to say his voice sounds fantastic. Admittedly there’s a lot of technology available to fix vocals these days that weren’t around in 1992, but his voice doesn’t sound unnatural to me.

The album begins with When We Were Young, a sort of spoken-word prelude that sets the tone and announces that this is, indeed, unmistakably, a Roger Waters album.

Most of the album consists of quiet, simple melodic instrumentations of piano, acoustic guitar, and bass over light drums, with accents of synths, strings, and backing vocals. But some tracks venture into more electronic, trancey, Floydian territory. Familiar, topical television sound bites pepper almost every track. And as always, the lyrics are a stinging rebuke against politics and politicians and war.

I hate to compare new music from an artist against his older music, but there are a couple of tracks that really stand out as Pink Floyd-style music. Picture That sounds like it was inspired by One Of These Days. Smell The Roses has a very similar riff to Have A Cigar.

I like every track from start to finish, but the ones that really piqued my interest were: Picture That, Is This The Life We Really Want, Bird In A Gale. I like them because they sound a bit more musically experimental.

Is it better than Amused To Death? No. But it doesn’t need to be. It stands just fine on its own.

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