The first studio album in nearly 25 years from Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters since Amused to Death (1992), as well as his first solo album in 12 years since Ça Ira (2005) finds Waters in familiar territory.
Produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead) and featuring noted sessionists like Roger J. Manning Jr. (keyboards) and Joey Waronker (drums), the music on Is This The Life We Really Want? is a thoughtful distillation of Waters’ solo discography and perhaps, Pink Floyd’s The Wall & The Final Cut.
Every musical trope associated with Waters and Pink Floyd can be found here – the speech samples, the sound effects, the socio-political commentary and even the tried and tested melodies and chord progressions. Whether that is a good or bad thing really depends on your own specific perspective.
Thus, the nostalgic impact of Is This The Life We Really Want? is particularly strong and as a creative work perhaps resonates more meaningfully than anything that the David Gilmour-led version of Pink Floyd ever managed, especially that artistically vacant ‘final opus’, The Endless River.
Songs like “Déjà vu”, “The Life We Really Want”, “Smell the Roses” and “Oceans Apart/A Part of Me Died” provide the highlights on this somewhat mixed comeback. Not as angry as some might have expected, there is more wistful regret and melancholia evident in these new songs and probably the only real drawback is that Waters never quite cuts loose and rocks out anywhere on Is This The Life We Really Want?
… still there’s more …