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Sunday, August 06, 2017

Is This the Life We Really Want?

Roger Waters, who was the main creative force for Pink Floyd's glory days of the '70s, has a new album out. He's made some noise in concerts in which he takes shots at Donald Trump, most notably putting up pictures of the president while he sings "Pigs."

The album, Is This the Life We Really Want?, includes some audio of Trump, and in one line Waters refers to the president as a nincompoop (which is a great word). That's in the title song, when Waters sings:

"Fear, fear drives the mills of modern man
Fear keeps us all in line
Fear of all those foreigners
Fear of all their crimes
Is this the life we really want?
It surely must be so
For this is a democracy and what we all say goes"

This is very trenchant, but probably falls on deaf ears. If there are any Pink Floyd fans who voted for Trump, they probably won't have their minds changed. But he makes a good point--is this the kind of people we want to be, as judged by who we elected president?

Waters also takes on religion, imagining himself to be God in "Deja Vu":

"If I had been God
I would have rearranged the veins in the face to make them more resistant to alcohol
and less prone to aging
If I had been God
I would have sired many sons
and I would not have suffered the Romans to kill even one of them
If I had been God With my staff and my rod
If I had been given the nod
I believe I could have done a better job"

The album is pretty much in that vein throughout, a kind of manifesto of the Resistance (even though Waters in British). There's a lovely song about war in "Broken Bones," and an angry song called "Picture That" which refers to Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and this bit:

"Picture a courthouse with no fucking laws
Picture a cathouse with no fucking whores
Picture a shithouse with no fucking drains
Picture a leader with no fucking brains"

Musically, these songs are very reminiscent of Waters' work with Pink Floyd, especially The Wall. You would recognize immediately who it is just from a few bars. As with The Wall, there are lots of different kinds of sounds and special effects--one song has a beeping in it that everytime I heard it made me think my car was telling me something.

I think the most interesting song is "Bird in a Gale," which is a great image to begin with and then has experimental sounds that set it apart from the rest of the album.

In a few weeks I hope to find out what the other front man of Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, has been up to.

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