Roger Waters will put out Is This the Life We Really Want? – the Pink Floyd co-founder’s first album since 1992’s Amused to Death – on June 2nd. Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Paul McCartney) produced and mixed the album, which includes 12 new songs that, according to a press release, contain “unflinching commentary on the modern world and uncertain times.”
The album will come out as a 180-gram vinyl LP, on CD and digitally and is available for pre-order beginning Friday.
In addition to Waters, who sings, plays bass and acoustic guitar on the album, the musicians include Godrich (arrangement, sound collages, keyboards, guitar), Gus Seyffert (bass, guitar, keyboards), Jonathan Wilson (guitar, keyboards), Joey Waronker (drums), Roger Mannning (keyboards), Lee Pardini (keyboards) and Lucius (vocals) with Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig.
Although Waters has been tight-lipped about the album’s contents, he told Rolling Stone in February that he has drawn inspiration from the antipathy he feels toward the Trump administration, as well as a dramatic radio play he had been writing before working on the LP about a man and his granddaughter investigating why children were being killed in faraway lands. “Two or three of the songs from that idea are on this album,” he said. “Nigel Godrich persuaded me that for the purposes of a rock & roll record, which is what this is, he felt my theatrical idea – I’d written the whole thing as a radio play – was less than ideal.”
They reworked some of Waters’ ideas, though the singer-songwriter also looked outward for inspiration. The Is This the Life tune “Wait for Her” was inspired by an English translation of “Lesson From the Kama Sutra (Wait for Her)” by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.
The album will come out shortly into Waters’ upcoming Us + Them North American tour, which kicks off May 26th in Kansas City, Missouri. Gigs at arenas around the U.S. and Canada run through October 28th, when the tour wraps in Vancouver.
Waters told Rolling Stone the tour’s concept will be built around his album title. “I will be making the point that we’re living the life that we don’t really want to live,” he said. But it also ties into the tour moniker, which comes from the Dark Side of the Moon track of the same name. “I like to think that people would still like to live in a world where we might address the problems of climate change, where we might understand that if we empathize with others, it makes us feel happier,” he said. “Maybe we should start looking at happiness indexes rather than if we win and lose. And if we do that, then we may start to understand that the idea of ‘us’ and ‘them’ is actually an illusion.”
Is This The Life We Really Want? Track List
1. “When We Were Young”
2. “Déjà Vu”
3. “The Last Refugee”
4. “Picture That”
5. “Broken Bones”
6. “Is This the Life We Really Want?”
7. “Bird in a Gale”
8. “The Most Beautiful Girl”
9. “Smell the Roses”
10. “Wait for Her”
11. “Oceans Apart”
12. “Part of Me Died”