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IS THIS THE LIFE WE REALLY WANT ?

Roger Waters

Crossover Prog


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Roger Waters Is This The Life We Really Want ? album cover
3.71 | 189 ratings | 13 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. When We Were Young (1:38)
2. Déjà Vu (4:27)
3. The Last Refugee (4:12)
4. Picture That (6:47)
5. Broken Bones (4:57)
6. Is This The Life We Really Want? (5:55)
7. Bird In A Gale (5:31)
8. The Most Beautiful Girl (6:09)
9. Smell The Roses (5:15)
10. Wait For Her (4:56)
11. Oceans Apart (1:07)
12. Part Of Me Died (3:12)

Total time 54:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Roger Waters / vocals, acoustic guitar, bass

With:
- Nigel Godrich / guitar, keyboards, sound collages, arrangements, production & mixing
- Jonathan Wilson / guitar, keyboards
- Roger Manning / keyboards
- Lee Pardini / keyboards
- Gus Seyffert / bass, guitar, keyboards
- Joey Waronker / drums
- David Campbell / string arrangements
- Jessica Wolfe / vocals
- Holly Laessig / vocals
- Celia Drummond, Emma Clarke, Ingrid Schram, Jane Barbe, Kathy Somers & Rachel Agnew / voice

Releases information

Artwork: Sean Evans

2xLP Columbia ‎- 88985 43649 1 (2017, Europe)

CD Columbia ‎- 88985436482 (2017, Europe)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ROGER WATERS Is This The Life We Really Want ? ratings distribution


3.71
(189 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
22%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
44%
Good, but non-essential (22%)
22%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

ROGER WATERS Is This The Life We Really Want ? reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars We can't expect that a 73 years old man renewes his music and makes something different from what he has done in the last 25 years (not considering Ca Ira). This album is exactly how you can expect it to be: a Roger Waters album, with his usual chords, screams, Dylan like singing, female choirs and all the elements which dominated his music since The Final Cut.

Is it bad? Absolutely not.

There's a number of remindings to some big Pink Floyd's high moments: short parts which seem to come from Wish You Were Here and Animals appear here and there. To give an idea of the lyrical contents, I quote a little sentence from "Wake Up And Smell The Roses":

This is the room where they make the explosives Where they put your name on the bomb Here's where they bury the "buts" and the "ifs" and scratch out words like "right" and "wrong"

Back to music, it's a good album and I wonder how it could have sounded with a bit of Gilmour and Wright inside. If you don't consider the "ballad like" songs based on acoustic guitar he has made us used to, there's enough Pink Floyd here, and let me add that this is way better than the last two Gilmour's outputs (I mean The Endless River as a Gilmour's, not a PF album).

So Waters is back with a bunch of new songs that somebody wil consider "nothing new", but this is how it has to be. This old manhas still something to say and it does it in the way he's used to do it. Even without guitarists like Jeff Beck, Snowy White or G.E. Smith, the quality of the playing and the arrangements is high.

For who has liked Amused to Death, there's less rock and screams. This album is more relaxed, more similar to Radio Kaos but luckily without the 80s sounds that album was full of.

I'm happy to have bought it. If you don't like The FInal Cut at all, stay off. For everybody else it's at least a 4 stars album. The average is 3.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars It's been a quarter century since former Pink Floyd bass player/frontman Roger Waters delivered his greatest solo artistic statement with 1992's `Amused to Death', and despite the occasional new piece or cover song popping here and there, and no shortage of multiple lengthy live tours, a full-length follow-up studio work had not emerged. Cue 2017, and the current political climate has proven to be a huge inspiration in spurring the artist to kick up momentum, resulting in the Nigel `Radiohead' Godrich produced `Is This The Life We Really Want?'. It's a new work that's instantly recognizable as a Waters solo disc, holding plenty of the lyrical ammunition, raspy vocals, moody atmospherics and adventurous rock pieces the artist is known for, with an equal number of exciting revelations and (whisper it) oddly disappointing elements.

Completely noticeable from the first play is how producer Godrich has spared no expensive in delivering a gorgeous sonic canvass, and all the ambient sound-effects from Pink Floyd and Roger solo albums past - switching channels, news soundbites, shattering glass, explosions, ticking clocks, you name it - form a rich and evocative soundtrack in-between and around all of Roger's words and the instrumental backing they sit in. It's a reliable framing device, present on pretty much the two final Floyd works with Roger (`The Wall' and `The Final Cut') and his three solo discs that started with 1984's `The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking', and musically and vocally `...Life' is very much in the same style of those ones. So if you're not a fan of the more Waters-dominated Floyd works, his unique personality of those solo discs and the frequently political-themed lyrics that he eventually moved into, you're very likely going to struggle with this one as well. But it does offer plenty of unexpectedly safer Floyd-friendly moments worked in, Roger's voice sounds inspired and in surprisingly good form, and he still even delivers a few of those trademark histrionic multi-tracked vocal spots!

One thing that should be instantly be pointed out - in no way, shape or form is `...Life' a prog-rock album - and let's face it, Roger and Pink Floyd long eclipsed being merely a `prog' band decades ago - and nor should it have even expected to have been. There are absolutely `proggy' sections, with some passages of thick spacey keyboards popping up here and there (although the album is definitely short on guitar solos - we were spoiled by Jeff Beck's fiery wailing on `Amused to Death' all those years ago!), moments of slightly more ambitious arrangements and a couple of really dynamic diversions. But instead, at least half of the album is made up of ol' Rog strumming along on acoustic guitar, or crooning mournfully over sparse piano backed by sweeping orchestration. `Déjà Vu', `The Most Beautiful Girl in the World' and the closing trio of `Wait for Her', `Oceans Apart' and `Part of Me Died' all offer variations or reprises of these, and rather disappointingly, most of them are carried by acoustic guitar chords that all drift uncomfortably close to a mix of `Pigs on the Wing' from Floyd's heavy classic `Animals' and `Mother' off `The Wall'. It works fine and sounds lovely on the surface, even instantly comfortable, but it's also a little lazy.

Sadly the Floyd fall-back carries on, even if there's not a truly bad tune to be found amongst them. The gutsy `Smell the Roses' plunders `Have a Cigar's heavy bluesy guitars and the `Leave those kids alone' moments off `Another Brick in the Wall', and despite being one of the most overtly proggy moments of the disc, `Picture That' nearly sounds like a re-write of `Sheep's thick electronics and treated echoing voices, joined by the soulful female backing harmonies of `Dark Side of the Moon/Wish You Were Here', but it does deliver one of the only (brief) moments of soaring David Gilmour-like guitar slow-burn of the disc.

But of the proper highlights, sound collages like the intro opener `When we were Young' instantly intrigue, `The Last Refugee' holds gorgeous piano and light spacey washes to a gentle jazzy patter, and `Broken Bones' is a defiant and oddly elegant ballad, swearing and all. But best of all is the back to back ten-minute stretch right in the middle of the title-track and `Bird in a Gale'. `Is This The Life We Really Want?' drips with supreme f*cking danger, Roger's scathing malevolent purr delivering a thoroughly confronting and depressing lyric weaving between murky cutting orchestral stabs and brooding drumming, all building in hair-tearing intensity. It bleeds right into `Bird in a Gale's storm of skittering beats, strangled guitar and pulsing electronics (and is that Mellotron buried in there somewhere or heavily treated orchestration?), and the piece could have easily appeared on any of the `Kid A' onwards Radiohead albums (although the final moments ape `Dogs' droning spacey shimmers a little too closely).

`Is This The Life We Really Want?' has so much going for it. It all sounds great on the surface, Roger's voice is in charismatic and commanding form, and the fifty-five minute set is oddly quite accessible, with more causal Floyd fans likely to find great comfort in how much it sounds like the truly classic Floyd and Waters moments of the past. Those that appreciate Roger's biting social commentary and blunt political-themed lyrics will probably find `...Life' most rewarding of all (other reviewers will hopefully explore those lyrics in much greater detail than here), and there's no denying that clearly the lyrical aspect is the priority here. Others, however, may find it to be nothing more than a reliable effort that ticks all the pre-requisite boxes but doesn't quite live up to its potential to truly deliver something new and vital instead of plundering past sounds and tunes for inspiration. But it's still a relief to find such a decent and worthwhile Roger Waters solo album in 2017 that is a more than worthy addition to his body of work.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
3 stars It seems that it's been a very long time that I have heard some new material from Roger Waters and I was glad to hear his voice on this new album. It's like his voice didn't change and was taking me back to the 70's and the 80's with that Pink Floyd sound. The songs are divided into two kinds; the quiet ones, and, the more upbeat songs where the tempo is faster. We can hear the same type of vocals echo in the track "Bird in a Gale" that we heard in the past with Pink Floyd. The pace is starting to pick up with "Picture That" showing some spacey keyboards, and a very nice melody. The music is also rich in classical arrangements with violin and piano. "Broken Bones" is a song about war, a theme cherishes by Roger over the years. "Smell the roses" is a more positive song remind me of "Money" with a second part close to the atmosphere of Eloy/Pink Floyd with some spacey passages. The last three tracks are connected in a suite finishing the album in a peaceful way. In conclusion, this is for me more of a nostalgia thing than a great album that I enjoy but will enjoy even more Roger Waters and Pink Floyd fans.
Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars Weird to think that after 25 years I'm listening to a new Roger Waters record. Strange to also imagine that this is the best record I've heard so far in 2017... and it's almost the end of the year.

Well, odd in parts, I've always considered Waters' solo work of high quality, and I pretty much love all of his solo records, so the surprise is simply because it happened unexpectedly.

I've heard many people say that the album is too political, is it? Humm, commentaries like these can only come from people who do not follow Waters career. Roger Waters has been a political man since circa 1977 when he wrote Animals with Pink Floyd...

Animals, The Wall, The Final Cut, Radio KAOS, Amused To Death, Leaving Beirut... all of Waters' work over the last 40 years is political. To say that his new record is 'too political' is nonsense and not knowing what you say. Is This The Life We Really Want? is a political record and one has to listen to with that in mind. Period.

I also heard a lot of people saying that Is This The Life We Really Want? is 'a copy of everything he's ever done in his career with Pink Floyd,'. Really? So, 2 million bands can copy Pink Floyd and be praised about it but one of the creators of that sound can not? The 'critics' are funny, aren't they? But then again, everybody is a critic nowadays.

Anyway, the album is not perfect, I will give you that, but having in mind that Waters has nothing to prove by now I believe he worked hard to get a good record out and he did just that. The album has a bit of everything a Waters/Floyd fan would like to hear but with a new approach (producer Nigel Godrich certainly helps with that). I am not a political person so I can let go some of the lyrics, but for the most part I really enjoy Water's writing and is no different in the new record.

I still have to hear the record a few more times but I have the impression this one is a grower and it will come to be a favorite in the future, let's see.

So do yourself a favor and stop to listen to it. It is worth it!

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of the first things I noticed during my first spin of this album is how old Roger's voice is sounding these days. Not surprising I suppose given he's 74 years old. I felt the same about Bowie's last album "Blackstar" and in both cases I like them. I wasn't surprised to hear how angry he still is about the injustices that go on in this World, I'd like to think that all of us should feel this way and stand against these things. So he touches on a lot of topics in this very political album. Another surprise was how much this sounds like PINK FLOYD, mostly "The Wall" which again shouldn't be surprising given he's been touring the World playing that particular album live. But yeah I love the many samples he's put on this recording. There's lots of "F" bombs on here to get the desired result although I'd rather he hadn't.

Another unexpected surprise on here are the final three songs which are all blended together like one suite. On this suite Roger sings about love and believe me when I say this, this is from left field and very surprising to me. I believe Roger getting closure on his Dad's death in WWII (he found out where, when and how his Dad died) has helped him to heal a great deal and in turn feel a lot of regrets about his treatment of former wives and girlfriends, offsprings and band-mates etc. Let me just write down some of the lyrics from that suite. "But when I met you, that part of me died. Bring me a bowl to bathe her feet in. Bring me my final cigarette. It would be better by far to die in her arms than to linger in a lifetime of regrets." Gulp. That void left by the death of his father was filled by an uncompromising desire to be rich. And one he fulfilled through PINK FLOYD even though it meant that friendships and marriages and families would be left in ruins after it's wake.

I would rate this album as good as my other two favourites from him in "Amused To Death" and "The Final Cut" which I consider a Waters album. The emotion on "The Final Cut" can't be surpassed in my opinion and it's an album that should be played every Remembrance Day. My favourite section of "Is This The Life We Really Want?" is the last half of the title track and the following song "Bird In A Gale" that it blends into, just the stark contrast is so impressive. The lyrics are incredible really throughout this album as he touches on so many current events usually involving the USA not so surprisingly. So can we by standing up against all the negative subjects related here stop them from happening in our World. Not a chance. We should still do it of course but I would argue that like Roger the astonishing amount of kids today growing up without Dads is an epidemic and believe me when I say it affects society big time and the behaviour of those kids right into adulthood.

"When We Were Young" opens with mumblings that sound distant but they get louder and clearer as it plays out as we hear him talking about when he was young. "Deja Vu" is a sad song with Roger contemplating what he would do differently if he was God. A little tongue in cheek I think as God isn't a super human he's so infinitely beyond even what we could imagination. Strummed guitar and vocals with the strings swelling before a minute. Samples after 2 1/2 minutes with strings and piano.

"The Last Refugee" opens with samples of multiple people talking about the weather etc. as the music builds. He starts to sing before 1 1/2 minutes and there's some emotion in that voice after 2 minutes. orchestral sounds before 3 1/2 minutes then seagulls can be heard to end it. "Picture That" certainly has some amazing lyrics that all of us would agree with minus maybe the "F" bombs. Guitar and a serious sound to start. Very FLOYD-like as Roger starts to sing. It even kicks into a FLOYD groove with the bass and drums before this uplifting sound arrives changing the mood. An experimental calm before 3 minutes is brief as themes are repeated.

"Broken Bones" opens with the sound of a loon which is very popular here in Canada as strummed guitar and vocals take over. Some strings too. A moving track with those strings and Roger's understated vocals. Check out when he starts to sing with passion after 2 minutes briefly. Such emotion. Back to the passionate vocals 3 1/2 minutes in as the music rises. "Is This The Life we Really Want?" opens with a sample of Trump complaining about CNN before a relaxed beat with bass and guitar takes over. Reserved vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. Then samples of what sounds like a riot are distant sounding after 3 minutes as Roger talks about the tragedies of this modern World. Emotional stuff. It blends into the next song.

"Bird In A Cage" which is my favourite. The way the music suddenly turns very powerful is chilling and moving. Steady drums and sample after sample of people speaking. A powerful sound before 1 1/2 minutes as Roger comes in vocally. Passion is the word. Before 4 minutes we get an urgent rhythm with church bells and sampled words that come and go. Lots of synths along with vocals and samples. Next up is "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World" which has a slow beat with piano and laid back vocals. Bass too as Roger's vocals become more passionate at times. Strings join in followed by samples and a horn after 3 minutes then the vocals return.

"Smell The Roses" is where I don't really like how Water's sings. And it sounds kind of commercial in part because of the vocals I think. Suddenly before 2 minutes samples take over. So cool and much better to my ears. We hear dogs barking madly then this soaring guitar comes in ala Gilmour before 3 1/2 minutes then the vocals return. "Wait For Her" is the start of that three piece suite. Piano and strummed guitar as reserved vocals join in. It does turn fuller as vocals continue and contrasts will continue. Seagulls can be heard to end it with strummed guitar as it blends into the next tune.

"Oceans Apart" continues with the seagulls and strummed guitar, waves too as meaningful reserved vocals come in. It blends into "Part Of Me Died" where piano joins the strummed guitar. Fragile vocals follow then a beat. A fuller sound before 2 1/2 minutes. Such emotion as he sings those words I quoted in the intro. It ends like it began after a pause with distant mumbled words that can't be understood.

Man this is such a good album and I wasn't expecting it I must admit. I hope Roger gets the peace he so needs even late in life. And thanks for the amazing music including of course the incredible music of PINK FLOYD. I'm really hoping there's more of this from Roger in the future.

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars When the first original Roger Waters rock album in 25 years was released this year, I was contacted by two colleagues working in the same government department as me.

The first is a big jazz and rock fan, but also a person with principled (left wing) political views. He absolutely raved about the album, saying it was the best thing he had heard for years.

The other is a big prog rock fan with absolutely no political views whatsoever, saving that all politicians are a bunch of shysters best ignored. He hates this album, which he denounces as basically Waters ranting about the same "bloody things he's ranted about for 40 years, now".

Well, that is a measure of just how Waters splits opinion, and, in a way, both of my colleagues are right. If you appreciate a bit of Trump bashing, raging against the inequities of the world and how, if you were God, you would change it all, then this is the album for you. If you don't appreciate such things, and the somewhat hectoring tomes of Waters get on your pips, and detract from the music, it is probably best to steer clear.

Most of us, though, sit somewhere in the middle, and, certainly, long-term Floyd fans must by now be used to Waters' lyrical style. Much of Animals, now 40 years old, influenced (and continues to do so) my personal political views, and, to be fair, old Rog is correct ? the world is in a wee bit of a state.

Musically, much of this album is very reminiscent of Floyd in a way previous works were not. Picture That, for example, sounds as if it has been lifted directly from studio outtakes of Animals, and tarted up technologically. Indeed, the keyboards are an eerie echo of Richard Wright.

The entire work sounds utterly lush, and credit is due to Nigel Godrich, the knobs man. He has produced a wonderful soundscape canvas for Waters to play and speak upon, and it is here that I feel is the most crucial point about the album. Waters is Waters, and his politics are his politics, but the man is responsible for some of the most important rock music of the 20th century, and whilst this album certainly does not touch those heights, it still ain't half bad for someone the wrong side of 70 years old.

I will rate this album as excellent, four stars. I will not dip into it as often as I still do with Amused to Death, but, as swansongs go, this will do rather nicely.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Roger Waters is still doing the things Roger Waters is known to do--and, I must admit, still doing them well. But, there is nothing here that is new, innovative, "progressive" (was there ever?), or refreshing. As a matter of fact, one might say that the stylings, sounds, and melodies present on this album sound extremely familiar. A few times I find myself even asking, "Hasn't he already done this before? (even on this very album?)" And yet I admire the fact that Roger still has creative juices flowing--that he feels he still has something to say (as well as a format in which to express his ideas). His voice is old, worn, but he can still surround himself with top notch performers, arrangers, conductors, and engineers. The strings arrangements are the highlights for me; the drums a little too intimate and "friendly" for my tastes.

Favorite songs: the Radiohead-sounding title song (despite its PF "WALL" familiarity); the Steely Danish "Smell The Roses," and; "the Stones-y Tom Waits-y "Wait For Her."

I'm not such a Waters fan as to know all of his post-Pink Floyd albums really well, but does he try to replicate The Wall with its radio/television audio samples bridging all his songs with all of his albums?

three stars; a good album; not very proggy, though, innit?

Latest members reviews

4 stars Roger Waters is back with his first new solo studio album in about 25 years, Is This The Life We Really Want? On this album, Waters incorporates the sound of classic Floyd albums such as Wish You Were Here and Animals into that of his later solo work. In my opinion, the result is probably the b ... (read more)

Report this review (#1843899) | Posted by FunkyM | Tuesday, December 19, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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 so ... (read more)

Report this review (#1734038) | Posted by SteveG | Thursday, June 15, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I just keep expecting things to blow up. Listening to Roger Waters' music is often stressful, whether it is something to do with the ominous chord progressions or just past experience its generally not too long before something blows up. In stereo and now in HiRes. Thankfully there are just ... (read more)

Report this review (#1730857) | Posted by moulsham | Wednesday, June 7, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars To be objective with Roger Waters' 2017 album, there are two levels that have to be considered. A message component, and a music background. Regarding message level, I will write down it this way. After several years of touring, promoting "The Wall" concept around the globe, as his crucial li ... (read more)

Report this review (#1730840) | Posted by cedo | Wednesday, June 7, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This must be the best Pink Floyd-related album you will ever listen to! After touring around the world with 'The Wall' since I don't know how many years, he decided that it was time to release his new album, which is probably the best album of his solo career. Roger Waters can be proud of this ... (read more)

Report this review (#1729468) | Posted by The Jester | Friday, June 2, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Nice to be the first to review this album! Floyd fans are going to be over the moon with this one. I've been listening to it non-stop for 2 days now [make that 3+ weeks]. It's not only the best Waters solo album, but the best Floyd-related *album* since The Wall (or The Final Cut, if you like). I'm ... (read more)

Report this review (#1729302) | Posted by jude111 | Thursday, June 1, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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