Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Roger Waters : " Is This the Life We Really Want"

Right from the first song it's obvious Roger Water's has more Pink Floyd in his pinkie than the other three did when left to their own devices. I have only flirted with his solo stuff giving albums like 'the Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking" and "Amused to Death" only passing listens. While Waters sounds aged in his mid range , he sounds pretty great in his lower register and most surprising his upper register which is what age normally takes first. At times in his middle register he sounds like Bob Dylan, but "Deja Vu" is still a solid first song. Odd radio samples riddle the mellow tones he unfolds.As the album progresses, Waters retain his familiar sense of dramatics with "the Last Refugee " sounds like warmed up left overs from "the Final Cut". There is a more  "Wall" like tension to "Picture That". Musically he summons ghosts from every era of Floyd here. Lyrically he casts a sardonic shadow over current events. So if you wondered what Roger Waters thinks about things today...well now you know.

He goes back to campfire folk on "Broken Bones". When it got to the ballads on "the Wall" aside from "Comfortably Numb" they hit and miss for me, though in some ways this owes more to "Pigs on A Wing". He knows his dynamics and doesn't just let it sit in the acoustic strum but builds it up to Broad Way proportions. Waters is approaching his first solo album in 11 years with a lot of smarts by bringing in  Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich to help out. It's hard to argue against the smooth groove of the title track. The grooves keep coming with the atmospheric pulse of "Bird in a Gale". Water's voice sounds great here and it's not surprising he keeps the grooves going as a bass player. "The Most Beautiful Girl" falls into the ballad zone that I am not as enthralled by.  I need something more like the "Dark side" funk of "Smell the Roses".

He drops back into introspection on "Wait For Her". Which is well done for what it is, it's just not what I like the most from him. However I am good with him keeping the acoustic guitar out for "Oceans Apart". I think it's the more melancholy tone that works for me, There is a similar tone for the closing "A Part of Me Died" . So the 3rd act of the album ends with him getting a little too mellow for me, but I also don't smoke pot. If you do then go ahead and round this up to a 9, I'm giving it a very respectable 8.5. So next time you hear someone complaining about their favorite rock stars sucking because they have gotten old , point them in the direction of this album.

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