Roger Waters returns with Is This The Life We Really Want?

Is This The Life We Really Want?

As a long time Pink Floyd fan, one who came of age during the cold war between songwriter/bassist/vocalist Roger Waters and vocalist/guitarist David Gilmour, it was hard not to pick sides when it came to the now-tired discussion of “who is/was Pink Floyd?” I always wound up on Team Waters – mainly because as an aspiring teenage writer, I gravitated to his constantly compelling lyrics and ambition.

Gilmour and Waters would eventually reunite with bandmates Nick Mason (drums) and Richard Wright (keyboards) for a brief 20 minute reunion in 2005 at Live 8 (the greatest moment in rock history, as far as I’m concerned) and tentatively mend fences. But, while Gilmour would go on to release two solo albums (2006’s On An Island and 2015’s Rattle That Lock) and one final Pink Floyd album (2014’s mainly instrumental Richard Wright tribute album, The Endless River), Roger Waters has remained quiet in the studio, with his last studio album, Amused To Death, released in 1992.

Until now.

On Friday, June 2nd, Is This The Life We Really Want? arrived, Waters’ fourth proper solo album and first in 25 years. It’s also his most decidedly Pink Floyd sounding album. Previous efforts The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking (1984), Radio K.A.O.S. (1987) and Amused To Death often sound as though Waters was running away from the musical language he’d been developing with Pink Floyd for his entire career. The records just weren’t as warm, though there were good songs on all them (Waters views Amused To Death as a masterpiece and it’s hard to argue with him). However, with producer Nigel Godrich assisting, there’s a definite lushness to Is This The Life We Really Want?, an organic sound that makes the record the most immediately welcoming of his entire solo output. There are also more blatant Floyd hallmarks – listen to the throbbing bass and breakdown in ‘Picture That’, and you’d be hard-pressed not to recall the Floyd’s ‘Sheep’ from their 1977 album, Animals, while ‘Smell The Roses’ recalls the groove of ‘Have A Cigar’.

SMELL THE ROSES – ROGER WATERS

A nod to the past isn’t a problem for Waters, though, as lyrically Is This The Life We Really Want? is placed right in the middle of 2017. Always a political songwriter, the album is full of critical observations and unabashed attacks against the powers that be Waters holds responsible for the ills of today. Depending on your own personal politics, Waters words will either be heavy-handed and inflammatory, or right on the money. That’s up for you to decide, but if you’ve followed the man’s work, you shouldn’t be surprised by his point of view.

There are also unabashed love songs on Is This The Life We Really Want?, something that feels altogether new for the artist. For someone known for putting up a wall between himself and his audience, in a song like ‘The Most Beautiful Girl’, Waters places a part of himself out there that he’s rarely shown, as least in his music.

Following his 1985 departure from Pink Floyd, Roger Waters struggled to find an audience as a solo artist. After all, it wasn’t his name front and center on records like The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall. In 1999, enough time had passed, and the masses finally began putting the two names together, giving Waters the ability to stage multiple sell-out tours. Water had reclaimed his audience, and now, with Is This The Life We Really Want? he reclaims the sound as well.

This is the Roger Waters album we’ve always wanted.

You can heard the music of Roger Waters on Pink Floyd on SiriusXM channels including Classic Vinyl, Classic Rewind, 70s on 7, Deep Tracks and The Spectrum.

Waters is currently on his Us + Them tour across North America. Here are the dates:

Jun 7   San Jose, CA SAP Center at San Jose
Jun 10 Oakland, CA Oracle Arena
Jun 12 Sacramento, CA Golden 1 Center
Jun 14 Phoenix, AZ Gila River Arena
Jun 16 Las Vegas, NV T-Mobile Arena
Jun 20 Los Angeles, CA STAPLES Center
Jun 21 Los Angeles, CA STAPLES Center
Jun 24 Seattle, WA Tacoma Dome
Jun 25 Portland, OR Moda Center
Jun 27 Los Angeles, CA STAPLES Center
Jul 1    San Antonio, TX AT&T Center
Jul 3    Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
Jul 6    Houston, TX Toyota Center
Jul 8   New Orleans, LA Smoothie King Center
Jul 11 Tampa, FL Amalie Arena
Jul 13 Miami, FL AmericanAirlines Arena
Jul 16 Atlanta, GA Infinite Energy Arena
Jul 18 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
Jul 20 Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena
Jul 22 Chicago, IL United Center
Jul 23 Chicago, IL United Center
Jul 26 St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
Jul 28 Chicago, IL United Center
Jul 29 Milwaukee, WI BMO Harris Bradley Center
Aug 2 Detroit, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills
Aug 4 Washington, DC Verizon Center
Aug 5 Washington, DC Verizon Center
Aug 8 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
Aug 9 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
Aug 11 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
Aug 13 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
Sep 7 Newark, NJ Prudential Center
Sep 9 Buffalo, NY KeyBank Center
Sep 11 Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center
Sep 12 Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center
Sep 15 Uniondale, NY The New Coliseum
Sep 16 Uniondale, NY The New Coliseum
Sep 19 Pittsburgh, PA PPG Paints Arena
Sep 21 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
Sep 23 Albany, NY Times Union Center
Sep 24 Hartford, CT XL Center
Sep 27 Boston, MA TD Garden
Sep 28 Boston, MA TD Garden
Oct 2 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
Oct 3 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
Oct 6 Quebec City, QC Videotron Centre
Oct 7 Quebec City, QC Videotron Centre
Oct 10 Ottawa, ON Canadian Tire Centre
*Oct 13 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
Oct 16 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
Oct 22 Winnipeg, MB MTS Centre
Oct 24 Edmonton, AB Rogers Place
Oct 28 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena
Oct 29 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena

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