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ROGER WATERS, is this the life we really want?   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Monday, 25 September 2017

...Artists do things because the art demands it – not because it's a Return On Investment....

Oh, I have missed this man. One of the most fascinating things about artists – musical, or otherwise – is seeing the journey through life. How we change. How they change. How the world changes. How we... adapt to the passing of time. And with this, finally, Roger Waters lays out his stall with an album as good as almost anything he's been part of.

Sonically the nearest touchpoint for this is Pink Floyds “Animals” : “Is This The Life We Really Want?” is an angry, idealistic album, of pulsing and urgent songs, lyrically fierce, and dripping in substance. Shorn – thankfully – of the need for a theme or a narrative to tie the songs together, this album, instead thankfully eliminates the pretence, the shoehorned story, and steers away from that to concentrate on simply writing and releasing the best songs he can.

There may not be money in releasing a record anymore, Ozzy Osborne, but artists do things because the art demands it – not because it's a Return On Investment.

25 years is a long time. And Roger Waters has had 25 years between albums. In that time there's been two live albums, a compilation, an opera, three world tours, and a short Pink Floyd reunion. There's been numerous – dozens – of songs that have been fitfully released or played live : any of which is the equal of anything on here. Waters hasn't stopped creating, but had a crisis of confidence after “Amused To Death”. At last, here, he has pulled the trigger. Has pulled no punches. Gone for the throat with a clear state-of-the-nation address this world needs artistically. Where are the protest songs? HERE.

“Is this the life we really want?” is an urgent record, a final and desperate imploring, about the state of the world, and what happens next : built on the soundscape that we are familiar with from all the previous records Waters has had a hand in, an atmospheric and elegant sound, bolstered with a pulsing and biting sound. If anything, the album is most definitely a cornered liberal animal, forced into a position of uncomfortable confrontation, trying to open eyes. Like all of his records for the past forty of so years, the eternal conflict that is our reality – the gap between power and the powerless, the seemingly eternal balance that is now sadly tipped in the wrong favour – is the cornerstone of this record, a keen fight. These are where the protest songs are – and it's embarrassing that the most powerful artist tackling this is a 70-something. Whilst this might be the only 'rock' album Waters has released in the past 25 years, it's also as good as anything he's released since 1972. (After all, most albums are better than “Atom Heart Mother”), equal then to the most part of high high watermarks as member of Pink Floyd and his own solo activity.

If Pink Floyd are your thing, try this – a searing, angry, vital and deeply moral record that breathes with an urgency that shows that passion is not the preserve of youth.


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