There's no denying that this album is a heavy trip, man. If you thought Roger Waters might have mellowed with age ... well, friend, you were greatly mistaken.

His first studio record in 25 years shows Waters to be gruff, grizzled, and f***ed off. It's not without its softer moments, but mainly he remains preoccupied with the world's weightier topics: war, casualties, rigged elections and people's indifference to it all.

This is the concept of the album, most notably on its title track, which cuts straight to the chase, offering a powerful summation of the current sad state of the world.

"Fear keeps us all in line. Fear of all those foreigners," he sings before dropping a diss he can barely be bothered to hide, "every time a nincompoop becomes the president".


Lyrically, the record is not exactly easy listening. But musically, it's hugely reminiscent of his former band Pink Floyd, much more so than his previous solo records. The Floyd sound is most present on the grooving rock chug of Smell the Roses, the spacey jam of Picture That or the acoustic strum of Oceans Apart, for example.

But unlike, the Floyd's final effort, 2014's The Endless River, which purposefully recreated and embraced the band's signature sound, here Waters isn't particularly in debt to any one album. It's more the vibe.

Floyd fans will settle in quickly, although the album does miss the respite offered by guitarist Dave Gilmour and his deft, light fretwork, which would traditionally pierce through the darkness, pull you out of the quagmire and send your mind floating off into space.

On Part of Me Died, a comment on the glaze of TV, he sings, 'Sat in the corner watching TV, deaf to the cries of children in pain'; Bird of Gale references an awful, recent refugee tragedy "the boy is drowning in the sea"; and on Deja Vu he aims higher, claiming 'If I had been God ... I believe I could have done a better job'.

Bleak as all this is, I tend to agree with him. Waters' pain and turmoil caused by feeling empathy towards innocents, matched with his own personal loss and the vitriol for those looking to harm others, all suggest he'd have curated a much nicer world. But that's not how it works.

Much as he'd like to, Waters can't mould the world in his own image. All he can do is implore us to "wake up", bring to our attention the many ills happening right now and ask us, is this what we really want?


Roger Waters


Is This the Life We Really Want?




A heavy trip, with plenty of Floydian touches.