Is This the Roger Waters We Really Want?


By Peter Harold

Here is the new single track from Roger Waters forthcoming solo album ”Is This the Life We Really Want?”. The song is ”Smell the Roses” and this title is surely representive to an man famous for his sarcastic remarks about humanity and the rest of the world. Although rarely showing any regards about his own guilt. At least not so it is too obvious.

It starts like a 1978 demo to Pink Floyd’s ”The Wall”. Partly ”Have a Cigar” and partly ”Another Bricks in the Wall pt2”, with Mr Water’s signature on the bass guitar. And we add some ”Pigs” in the mix when Mr Waters starts to sing his as always bitterly and observing lyrics, : ” There’s a mad dog pulling at his chain. A hint of danger in his eye. Alarm bells raging round his brain. And the chimney’s broken in the sky”, he sings. The voice is older, and not as strong as it use to be, which is understandable becuase this is a man in his 70-ies.

When I listen to the vocals and close my eyes, my mind will see and hear a Roger Waters singing his song and playing his 12-string alone in front of the microphone, as he use to do with some of the demo songs he has released through his second and not so productive half of his career. And then someone has put this tape to the studio and added all other instruments, sound effects, and soundscapes and girl chorus, with the instruction of make it sound like if Pink Floyd was in their 25 today at the record studio. And there we have the first single of the first Roger Waters studio album since 1992. In those days, he was just a couple years older than I am now. I think it is pretty safe to say that this will be his last studio album, at least in the fashion he produce his albums.

With Roger Waters, age 73, meets ”If-this-was-Pink-Floyd-in-their-20-ies-today”, I can’t resist to recall how he judged the Gilmour-led Pink Floyd, then making two another records after his departure. He said they pretended to be Pink Floyd. I fear with this single ”Smell the Roses”, I have to judge Roger Water in the same fashion. I am pretty sure that the record company chosed this track because this may be the closest to Pink Floyd than anything else on the new album (well, at least for a radio listener, which are the group that has to be persuaded most to buy the record, because the hard core fans has already made a pre-order), I guess. And still, to my ears, it sounds like the singer Roger Water is singing someone else’s song.

My train of thought goes to the ex-Marillion singer Fish. Fish is a hardcore fan of both Pink Floyd and Roger Waters, or at least he has said to be that. Yes, I can imagine ”Smell the Roses” being something penned by this 3 cm taller Scottish composer. A Fish song with Floyd-Waters soundscape; in the intermezzo we hear the synth strings from ”Dogs”, the clock from ”When the wind blows”, now added with an annoying mosquito flying no-were above some barking british dogs. There is a guitar solo. I think. I am not sure. It sounds like the American way doing music without any black people.

Is this the Roger Waters we really want?

Well, I don’t protest. It is about time for another record. But ”Smell the Roses” don’t deliver a big surprise, except for the line up of musicians, which has no familiar names from his earlier era or Pink Floyd. Mr Water hasn’t even brought his son Harry to the job this day in the studio…

But I find it anyway amusing to see that Mr Waters is able to – and does want to – take a musical leap forward to the 2017 with the staff that are present today. The bloke sound old, but he doesn’t sound tired, although his pitch sinks too fast too often. Well, we are living in exciting times, and there is lot to observe and reflect by his music and in his lyrics. We are back when ”When the wind blows” was the soundtrack of our fear to die (or survive for a while) in a nuclear blast.

I read the titles to the other songs. Compared to his former band colleague, there is not much that speaks about an aged rock star that makes a retrospective over lost youth and his days of age, except for the very first track, although I can imagine that some of the lyrics may be treated introvertly. Perhaps ”Deja vu” points to my thinking about ”When the wind blows” now when all three super powers (plus India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel) has the tools of a global holocaust, and do renew the arsenals?

And here is the irony. I see so many mistakes in the song titles. Not mistakes by Roger Waters. Well, partly mistakes by Roger Waters, but he is far from alone doing those mistakes I want to headlight. If ”Déjà Vu” is what i think about, I think Mr Waters should kill some of his darlings now. After Reagan and Bush I, almost every artist put Bill Clinton up on a piedestal, and namned him as the best president ever. I don’t think Mr Waters does bother about the Lewinsky-scandal, because there is no doubt that most rock stars has taken the same advantages as Clinton did to Monica and the previous and following ladies that has been bimbo-dicked. But I do hope that now, 25 years after we were amused to death by the live broadcasted war at TV, Mr Waters would be old enough to see the pattern of what has happened everytime he thought that the new guy in office is better than the old one.

That pattern is the betrayal by the politcial heroes that artists like Mr Waters has supported. I am talking about Bill Clinton, who, because of personal greed, let the neo-conservatives into the US State Department and every known think tank from left to right and every media house, to make the road ready for the military industrial complex, and having them to expand NATO which triggered a broken and now reconstructed Russia to start expanding their military capacity. Does Mr Waters know that Reagan and Gorbatchev had the vision together of a world without nuclear bombs? Yes, they did. Two former enemies finally understanding what kind of evil they had power to do, and when they became friends, they realised that the bombs must be eliminated. Both of them got stabbed in their backs by their replacements. For the cause of greed. But don’t expect Mr Waters to sing about that.

The next betrayal is the other political hero that promised ”Change”, but delivered all the same as Bush n:o 2 when it comes to war, war and war. And over the 8 years that has past with Obama in the White House, we still have the Guantanamo military prisoner camp, athough a few degrees more humane than how Eisenhower treated the German POW:s who like Mr waters father just followed the orders to kille the others. Nothing personal.

The most important change Obama brought to the foreign affairs – which actually are the reason why Mr Waters at all has the need to rise the question if this is the life we really want – is a government that has given itself right to kill anybody around the world that is supposed to be a threat to American national security interests, and for the same reason starting wars without the approvement by the US congress. At least in the past, the congress men had to be bribed properly for agreeing on wars…

Yes, I know. Politics isn’t sexy. Not even a lyricist as Roger Waters can pen it all down what is the cause of the troubles. The big trouble is that we always trust our politicians before we vote for them. And after the election, they always screw us, in one way or another. I think the former congressman Ron Paul has nailed it each time when he had to stand alone with his opinions about non-interventionist foreign policy – war gives blowbacks. We send an air brigade to bomb Afghanistan to democrazy, but we never gain any ”demos”. Instead we only gain the craziness of terror and more wars. As for our present time: Because of the western support of rebels and islamists in Syria and Iraq, we have not seen the last refugee yet, although that is the title on one of Mr Water’s songs.

I don’t know if a part of Roger Waters died when he realised that there is not a change coming through the political way, at least not for the better. His political heroes has never lived up to promised words, and the present POTUS will not triumph any expectations either, although everyone seems to have been pretty low expectation from both sides, even if the voter is drugged by red pills or blue pills every leap year.

I do hope this is the reason why a part of Roger Waters has died, as the song title says. That part must be the trust. You can’t trust anyone. You can’t trust a politicians. You can’t always trust your partner. You can’t trust your eyes or your ears. And you may find that you perhaps one day can’t trust yourself.

What is then left when trust has died?

Hope, I think. The hope to find another thing that you can trust on. A human. A face. A message. Anything that makes sense to you after barely surviving after having your bones broken, or seeing someone else’s bones being crushed because of no good reason, like wars on something. War on drugs. War on terror. War on poverty. War on anything according to your political agenda, but only with failure as result.

Yes, we are indeed living a life we didn’t really wanted. My genereation expected something better from when we were kids. And I think that the generation that is parting us now, one by one, had the ambition to leave something better. But they failed when it comes to the general picture of the world.

It wasn’t possible for them to vote the bastards away, because they all looked like the most beautiful girl in our eyes on that election day, and the same happens in every election even in our own days. Before, not many of us observed that there is Oceans apart between us and the powers that be. Has the 73 years old Roger waters learned the lesson now? Is he going to open our eyes, or will he make us occupied listening to his great music that we forget the revolution that has to be done to bring real change – which is freedom from politics – to happen?

We seemed to be doomed to repeat the bad history, but that is because we never learn the real history; media is painting images that are far from the truth, and some are to busy to consume entertainment and forgets the reality. And the damage made by our ignorance gets even further worse as soon as the memory in our minds fade. Belive me, that process doesn’t take long – watch the news and you can find that they have even shorter memory than yourself. So read history, and read it critical. And if you see the light, put it on a record.

Now we just have to wait and see what Mr Roger Waters will deliver on the other eleven tracks on his record.

Skivbolagets svenska pressrelease

Pink Floyd & Roger Waters för fyrtio år sedan:

Om Peter Harold

Libertariansk skribent och författare. Driver den libertarianska bloggen "Skrivarens Blogg".
Detta inlägg publicerades i Musik. Bokmärk permalänken.

2 kommentarer till Is This the Roger Waters We Really Want?

  1. Robin Shadowes skriver:

    Efter att ha läst den texten tror jag nog jag håller mig till dom gamla grejorna. Fast du borde mejla den där texten till honom om det nu går att få tag på storheter som honom. För vanligt fölk alltså

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