Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Only we know the answer that lays deep in our hearts, the reply to a thousand years of history and few thousand more, of politicians and so called gurus, sages all, putting their stamp down on the world in which they would like to see created, the lie in their own image; it may be wrong but it is the one that they see as the one most fitting when asked, Is This The Life We Really Want?
Thank heavens many would suggest that someone like Roger Waters still has anger in his heart, that the deep resentment he feels to those who would ply innocent minds with unfeasible rhetoric and crush them beneath the weight of often banal television, of false hope and false news, that this man after six decades of music and political insight can still answer clearly the question with passion and fury, that this world is not the one we surely would want, that for all of humanity’s greatness, we are still slaves to our own selfish behaviour and often uncompassionate animalistic tendencies.
Time has moved on from the days when Mr. Waters first fought back against the signs of Fascism, of control, of the lunatic displays of aggression and the in depth look at the mind and the way it sees such aggression; Time has moved on, six decades have passed in the blink of an eye and yet that fire still rages, it is combustible and it is delivered with an ice cold eye, it is the seething thunder that brings forth the biggest storm because the world is still, for the most part run by stupidity, by the fad and the crazed, by the empty idiom and the dangerously absurd. Time has not changed, thankfully, neither has Roger Waters.
Is This The Life We Really Want? maybe the first new album by the former Pink Floyd man in a quarter of a century, however it is one that sits perfectly between two of his most recognisable albums, one with Floyd, the dystopian and brilliant Animals and the crushing cool of his 1992 solo album Amused to Death; in these two states sits Roger as a man looking at the present day and feeling that nothing has changed, humanity is still the off shoot, television watching ape hell bent on destroying itself and the language used is pure and expressive, it is anger and beautiful.
In tracks such as Déjà Vu, Broken Bones, Smell The Roses and the stunningly vitriolic Picture That, Roger Waters delivers a poignant reminder why the battle has not been won, that for all the good intentions and lip service to the words peace, harmony and reconciliation, we are still that ape, we are still fighting the television channels in the hope of being entertained, still fighting the urge to pull the trigger from 3,000 miles away; Is This The Life We Really Want?, for the vast majority surely this is not we agreed to, not how we imagined life would be; in the hands of Roger Waters, at least though we have a conduit for our own disaffection and anger.
Ian D. Hall