It’s almost redundant to call Is This the Life We Really Want? morose and bitter. Honestly, what else would you expect from Roger Waters, the guy who masterminded The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall?

Here’s a typically dour rumination. This comes from”Déjà vu,” the album’s second track:


That last line cuts two ways: Is This the Life… — the ex-Pink Floyd frontman’s first album of original material in 25 years — suffers from a case of been-there-groused-that.

Not that Waters just goes through the motions — his perfectionism wouldn’t allow it. His melodies and rhythms soothe the ear no matter what he casts his cold eye upon. And with Nigel Goodrich (Radiohead, Beck) serving as producer, Is This the Life sounds as clear, intricate and vivid as any solo or Pink Floyd opus you’d care to name.

But for all of the album’s admirable craft, Waters does little on these 12 tracks that he hasn’t done more memorably somewhere else. Also, while guitarist Jonathan Wilson and Lucius vocalists Jessica Wolfe and Holly Laessig make welcome contributions, a few well-placed solos from, say, Jeff Beck or David Gilmour would liven things up a bit more.

Still, even if Waters doesn’t offer any new insights into drone warfare, rampant greed, racial intolerance or violations of civil liberties, it’s bracing to hear him rail against them. For example, he flips a particularly nice bird to the Trump administration on “Picture That:”

Picture That

In the end, the saving grace of Is This the Life… is the depth and earnestness of Waters’ vitriol. If this is the way the world ends, he wants to go out with a bang, not a whimper. He puts it best in “Broken Bones:”

Broken Bones