Is This the Life We Really Want?

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Is This the Life We Really Want?
Roger Waters - Is This the Life We Really Want? (Artwork).jpg
Studio album by Roger Waters
Released 2 June 2017
Recorded 2010–2017
Genre Progressive rock
Length 54:06
Label Columbia
Producer Nigel Godrich
Roger Waters chronology
Roger Waters: The Wall
(2015)
Is This the Life We Really Want?
(2017)
Soldier's Tale
(2018)
Roger Waters studio chronology
Ça Ira
(2005)
Is This the Life We Really Want?
(2017)
Soldier's Tale
(2018)
Singles from Is This the Life We Really Want?
  1. "Smell the Roses"
    Released: 20 April 2017
  2. "Déjà Vu"
    Released: 8 May 2017
  3. "The Last Refugee"
    Released: 19 May 2017
  4. "Wait for Her"
    Released: 19 July 2017

Is This the Life We Really Want? is the fifth solo album by the English rock musician Roger Waters, released on 2 June 2017 by Columbia Records. It was produced by Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, who urged Waters to make a more concise, less theatrical album. It is Waters' first solo album since Amused to Death (1992), and his first studio work since the opera Ça Ira (2005).

The album peaked at number 3 in the United Kingdom and number 11 in the United States. It produced four singles: "Smell the Roses", "Déjà Vu", "The Last Refugee", and "Wait for Her".

Recording

Is This the Life We Really Want? was recorded in Los Angeles and London.[1] It was produced by Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, who met Waters when he produced the 2015 live album Roger Waters: The Wall.[1] Though Waters had not heard Godrich's work with Radiohead, they got on well and discussed working together.[1] Godrich, a fan of Waters' work with Pink Floyd, was frank with Waters, telling him he found some of his solo work "unlistenable"; however, he was reassured that Waters "really still had it" after hearing his demo of "Déjà Vu".[2]

Godrich wanted to create an album pared back to bass and strings to showcase Waters "the poet".[2] He felt Waters' creativity had been invigorated by the Wall Live tour, and that his role as producer was to "encourage him, to push him a little bit".[2] He encouraged Waters to make a concise record, reminding him that Pink Floyd's album The Dark Side of the Moon was only 43 minutes long.[1] Godrich is also credited for arrangement, sound collages, keyboards, guitar, and mixing.[3]

Themes

Waters stated that Is This the Life We Really Want was "absolutely" a concept album.[4] It was conceived as a radio play about a man and his granddaughter investigating why children are being killed in other parts of the world;[4] Waters said that the play was "part magic carpet ride, part political rant, part anguish", and featured about a dozen songs.[1] Godrich liked parts of the piece,[1] but persuaded Waters to abandon the theatrical elements and create a "far less linear" work.[4] Waters said he planned to produce the original idea in the future.[4]

Waters said of the album's themes:[4]

The concerns I have with that central question – "Why are we killing the children?" – are still there. I'm still deeply concerned that we're killing children all over the world with hardly a second thought, because we've become so insensitive to the idea of every time the curtain falls on some forgotten life, it is because we stood by silent and indifferent – it's normal. I'm quoting from the record now. And unfortunately, it has become normal; we have normalized the death of the innocent.

Waters also said the album had been influenced by having fallen "deeply in love":[1]

The record is really about love – which is what all of my records have been about, in fact. It's pondering not just why we are killing the children. It's also the question of how do we take these moments of love – if we are granted any in our lives – and allow that love to shine on the rest of existence, on others.

Release

Is This the Life We Really Want was released on 2 June 2017 by Columbia Records.[5] It is Waters' first solo album since Amused to Death (1992).[6] The album peaked at number 3 in the United Kingdom and number 11 in the United States. It produced four singles: "Smell the Roses", "Déjà Vu", "The Last Refugee", and "Wait for Her". The album was blocked from release in Italy after the artist Emilio Isgrò alleged that the cover art plagiarised his work.[7]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 73/100[8]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[9]
Consequence of Sound B[10]
Drowned in Sound 8/10[11]
Exclaim! 7/10[12]
The Independent 2/5 stars[13]
The Observer 3/5 stars[14]
Pitchfork 6.9/10[15]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[16]
Sputnikmusic 4.1/5[17]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 73, based on 15 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[8] Rolling Stone said: "The music is quintessential post-Dark Side Of The Moon Floyd, but channeled by offspring: producer Nigel Godrich brings prog-rock grandeur, multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Wilson microdose psychedelia, Lucius alt-R&B backing vocals."[16] Drowned in Sound said the album is "a long, sprawling epic that stretches out for its slightly-padded running time, but one so full of ideas and intricacies that it's an easy album to get sucked into."[11] Consequence of Sound said the album "is easily the most accessible of Waters' solo work—a distillation in many regards of the anti-fascist, anti-imperialist, anti-greed messages he's been broadcasting since Pink Floyd."[10] Pitchfork said the album's "myriad sonic references to his work with Pink Floyd suggest that Waters is comfortable with his past. The more you accept how much his past reflects in his present, the more receptive you'll be to this album's charms."[15]

Track listing

All tracks written by Roger Waters, except "Wait for Her", written by Waters & Mahmoud Darwish.

No. Title Length
1. "When We Were Young" 1:39
2. "Déjà Vu" 4:27
3. "The Last Refugee" 4:12
4. "Picture That" 6:47
5. "Broken Bones" 4:57
6. "Is This the Life We Really Want?" 5:55
7. "Bird in a Gale" 5:31
8. "The Most Beautiful Girl" 6:09
9. "Smell the Roses" 5:15
10. "Wait for Her" 4:56
11. "Oceans Apart" 1:07
12. "Part of Me Died" 3:14
Total length: 54:06

Personnel

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Italy (FIMI)[50] Gold 25,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[51] Gold 10,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Roger Waters Talks New Album, Moving Past 'Spectacle' for Tour". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  2. ^ a b c "How Pink Floyd's Roger Waters refound his fire at 72 - The Nation". The Nation. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  3. ^ "Roger Waters Details New Album Is This the Life We Really Want?, Produced by Nigel Godrich". Spin. 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  4. ^ a b c d e "How Roger Waters Will Fight Trump With Upcoming Tour, Concept Album". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  5. ^ Grow, Kory (16 February 2017). "Hear Roger Waters Tease New 'Is This the Life We Really Want?' LP". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Roger Waters is working with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 2016-10-14. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  7. ^ "Roger Waters' New Album Blocked in Italy Over Copyright Claim | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  8. ^ a b "Reviews and Tracks for Is This The Life We Really Want? by Roger Waters". Metacritic.
  9. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Is This the Life We Really Want? – Roger Waters: Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  10. ^ a b TJ Kliebhan. "Roger Waters – Is This The Life We Really Want?". Consequence of Sound.
  11. ^ a b "Album Review: Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?". Drowned in Sound.
  12. ^ "Roger Waters Is This the Life We Really Want?". Exclaim!.
  13. ^ "Album reviews: The Beatles – Sgt Pepper's 50th Anniversary, Alt J – Relaxer, Dan Auerbach – Waiting On A Song". The Independent.
  14. ^ "Roger Waters: Is This the Life We Really Want? review – protest prog". The Observer.
  15. ^ a b "Roger Waters: Is This the Life We Really Want? Album Review". Pitchfork.
  16. ^ a b "Review: Roger Waters' 'Is This The Life We Really Want?'". Rolling Stone.
  17. ^ "Review: Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Want?". Sputnikmusic.
  18. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?". Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  19. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  20. ^ "Ultratop.be – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  22. ^ "Roger Waters Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  23. ^ "Czech Albums – Top 100". ČNS IFPI. Note: On the chart page, select 201723 on the field besides the word "Zobrazit", and then click over the word to retrieve the correct chart data. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  24. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  25. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  26. ^ "Roger Waters: Is This the Life We Really Want?" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  27. ^ "Lescharts.com – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?". Hung Medien. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  28. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  29. ^ "Top 40 album DVD és válogatáslemez-lista – 2017. 24. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  30. ^ "Irish Albums Chart: 9 June 2017". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  31. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?". Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  32. ^ "Top Album - Semanal (del 09 de Junio al 15 de Junio)" (in Spanish). Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Archived from the original on 11 July 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  33. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?". Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  34. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?". Hung Medien. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  35. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  36. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  37. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  38. ^ "2017년 22주차 Album Chart" (in Korean). Gaon. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  39. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  40. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?". Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  41. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  42. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  43. ^ "Roger Waters Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  44. ^ "Jaaroverzichten Albums 2017". Ultratop. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  45. ^ "Rapports Annuels Albums 2017". Ultratop. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  46. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Album 2017". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  47. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts". GfK Entertainment (in German). offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  48. ^ "Classifiche annuali dei dischi più venduti e dei singoli più scaricati nel 2017" (Click on "Scarica allegato" and open the "Classifica annuale 2017 Album combined" file) (in Italian). FIMI. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  49. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 2017 – hitparade.ch". Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  50. ^ "Italian album certifications – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  51. ^ "Polish album certifications – Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 14 September 2017.

External links

  • Is This the Life We Really Want? at AllMusic
  • Is This the Life We Really Want? at Discogs
  • Is This the Life We Really Want? at Metacritic
  • Lyrics from this album at MetroLyrics
  • Roger Waters new album – "Is This The Life We Really Want?" on YouTube
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