Roger Waters critiqued capitalism and the decay of society of his native England on Pink Floyd's Animals in 1977, a body of work whose his lyrics feel eerily relevant to today's world. For his first solo effort in 25 years, Waters moves his gaze beyond Britain to take stock of the world at large in asking listeners, Is This the Life We Really Want?
Over 12 tracks, Waters paints a sonic portrait of a future that could become reality should we let it: A world consumed by the politics of fear, where "the temple's in ruins" and "the bankers get fat," as he sings on "Déjà Vu." Of course, some of these visions need no forethought, as he belts about a "nincompoop" becoming president on the record's title track after asking listeners to "picture a leader with no fucking brains" on "Picture That."
Is This the Life… doesn't come from the "rock will get better under Trump" line of thinking, nor will it soundtrack a revolution. The songs that Waters lays bare using his aged, yet still capable voice prompt more self-reflection in hopes of avoiding "silence, indifference, the ultimate crime." Producer Nigel Godrich, no stranger to helping soundtrack world-weary malaise, keeps Waters in comfortable territory with pianos, string arrangements and acoustic guitars, along with a few unmistakably Floyd-ian arrangements.
Though Waters is recognized for being more outspoken then most when it comes to his political views, Is This the Life We Really Want? finds him not quite ready to sit quiet at 73 years of age — even as, yes, his high-grossing tours roll on and the Floyd back catalogue receives its umpteenth reissue.
Pick up Pink Floyd's latest vinyl reissues here. (Columbia)