From the mastermind of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” comes another album loathing the corruption and darkness of its time.
“Picture a leader with no fucking brains,” Roger Waters growls early in the album on “Picture That.”
“No fucking brains” echoes on, begging listeners to face the reality of what he’s saying.
“Is This the Life We Really Want?” is a one hour long, 12 track plea from Roger Waters asking the world to reflect on the election of Donald Trump.
Waters’ first studio album in 25 years comes off like a stream of consciousness reflection on the daily emotions of living in chaotic 2017.
The entire album is similar to a dark and explicit version of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”
The lyrics throughout the album are scathing and biting, just like those in Pink Floyd’s 1979 classic rock opera and double album “The Wall.”
The first track, “When We Were Young”, features a sole thumping heartbeat and the sound of distant voices arguing with each.
The song wouldn’t sound out of place on “Dark Side,” a sentiment reinforced by the introduction of a persistent ticking sound; astute listeners will recall a similar percussive flourish from the “Dark Side” deep cut “Time.”
Yet once the intro fades into “Déjà Vu”, it’s no longer anything like “Dark Side” or any other Floyd material.
With its cynical, blunt lyrics that make it almost satirical, “Déjà Vu” errs closer to the arch irony of Father John Misty.
Waters sings, “If I had been God/I would have rearranged the veins in the face to make/them more resistant to alcohol and less prone to aging.”
Sharing the same themes, sounds and ideas - not to mention Waters’s guidance - the rest of the album turns back toward “The Wall.”
There are even pieces of old Floyd songs mixed in with the new material.
The wind and titular sentiment from “Wish You Were Here,” as well as sound effects from “The Wall” and “The Dark Side of the Moon,” make appearances.
The title track stands as a summary and shining example of the album’s purpose.
It begins with a sample of Trump talking about negative media and boasting about his win at the presidential bid. Waters’s lyrics following are a grocery list of dystopian antics going on in the aftermath.
The second half of the album is more subdued and meant to offer some answer and hope following the reveal of the depth of society’s failures.
A lot of the tracks end up sounding the same, which makes it tiring.
They flow together like any Floyd record would, but the result ends up being too much of the same – anger, resentment – and lacks the engaging concept of “The Wall”.
Waters will continue to give Trump the middle finger with his “Us + Them” tour, which features a setlist made up of mostly Floyd material with a select few songs from the new album.
There are currently 61 shows stretching from the end of May to the end of October. In the Midwest, Waters will play in Columbus, Ohio, Chicago and Detroit.
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