By Jeff Cornell
Roger Waters has released his fifth solo album Is This the Life We Really Want? It marks his first rock release in 25 years, with 2005’s orchestral work Ca Ira being his only other studio recording over the past quarter of a century.
Fans won’t be surprised to find the album chock full of political commentary. Waters does not shy away from tackling hot-button social issues from the refugee crisis in Syria to skewering President Donald Trump on multiple occasions in the songs “Picture That” and “The Life We Really Wanted.”
Here are the best songs on Roger Waters’ Is This the Life We Really Want?
A sweeping orchestral acoustic ballad, the track is best compared to “Mother” off Pink Floyd’s The Wall. It shines a light on greed with lines like: “The temple’s in ruins / The bankers get fat / The buffalo’s gone and the mountain top’s black.” Waters also discusses the US election singing: “You lean to the left but you vote to the right and it feels like Déjà vu.”
“The Last Refugee”
This policial charged song tackles the fervor over the worldwide refugee crisis and President Trump’s executive order to close the US borders to people from certain countries. The dark and brooding track is made even more emotional by the Sean Evans-directed music video featuring a dancer in exile and puts a human face on the refugee situation.
This cut will remind Pink Floyd fans of “The Happiest Days of Our Lives” and “Another Brick in the Wall” off the band’s 1980 double album The Wall. Waters discusses the current state of the geopolitical world painting a picture of “a leader with no f—— brains,” and adding “there is no such thing as being too greedy.”
“Is This The Life We Really Want”
The track opens with a quote from President Donald Trump: “As an example CNN, I mean, it’s story after story, after story, it’s bad. I won. I won… and the other thing chaos, cause zero chaos… we are running… this is a fine-tuned machine.” Waters takes direct jabs at the leader of the free world with the lyrics: “The goose has gotten fat on caviar and fancy bars / On subprime loans and broken homes.” He also sings: “Fear keeps us all in line / Fear of all those foreigners fear of those crimes / Is this the life we really want?”
“Smell The Roses”
A musical throwback to Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here album, the track is reminiscent of “Have a Cigar” and “Welcome to Machine.” The psychedelic cut features great Roger Waters line: “Wake up and smell the roses / Throw a photo on the funeral pyre / Now we can’t forget the threat you brought us / God you know you couldn’t get much higher.”