Yesterday, Roger Waters revealed some details on his forthcoming new album, Is This the Life We Really Want?, to Rolling Stone, including the album’s tracklist, contributors and the unfortunate news that its release date would be pushed back a couple weeks, from the previously announced May 19 to June 2.
Today, the legendary Pink Floyd mastermind has released the first single from the LP in the form of the biting “Smell the Roses.” Waters had promised a political album, and this track gives us a good indication of what we’ll get as he takes aim at our current state of perpetual warfare and the follies of those responsible, with lyrics like, “This is the room where they make the explosives / Where they put your name on the bomb / Here’s where they bury the buts and the ifs / And scratch out words like right and wrong,” and the Doors-referencing final chorus where he sings, “Wake up and smell the roses / Throw a photo on the funeral pyre / Now we can forget the threat she poses / Girl you know you couldn’t get much higher.”
“Smell the Roses” also features an instrumental straight out of Pink Floyd’s heyday, particularly reminiscent of material from mid-’70s classics Wish You Were Here and Animals, including some barking dogs in the background and a descending line that sounds ripped straight from the former’s “Have a Cigar.” Guitarist Jonathan Wilson, who’s also produced records for Father John Misty and Conor Oberst, among others, pulls off some excellent Gilmour-esque leads, and Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of Lucius provide some powerful backing vocals throughout.
Is This the Life We Really Want, Waters’s first proper solo album since 1992’s Amused to Death, is out June 2 via Columbia Records, and Waters’s massive North American tour kicks off May 26 in Kansas City, Mo. Listen to “Smell the Roses” below, and further down, check out audio from a phenomenal 1977 Pink Floyd show at the Oakland Coliseum Arena via the Paste Cloud archive.