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Roger Waters - Is This the Life We Really Want? CD (album) cover

IS THIS THE LIFE WE REALLY WANT?

Roger Waters

 

Crossover Prog

3.74 | 220 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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.

SteveG | 4/5 |

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