Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Cover album tarnishes reputation of classic Pink Floyd record

In 1973, English psyche-rock quartet Pink Floyd solidified its standing as rock ‘n’ roll royalty with the release of its legendary concept album The Dark Side of the Moon. Remaining on the Billboard 200 for a record-breaking 741 consecutive weeks, Dark Side became the industry standard for musical genius, and unfortunately the subject of some of the worst cover albums of all time. Floyd has become the first choice for any artist looking to pump up a worthless album of his or her own, whether it be Korn’s ridiculous cover ofAnother Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” included on its album Greatest Hits, Vol.1, or the Easy Star All-Stars’ reggae/dancehall-styled Dark Side cover cleverly titled Dub Side of the Moon. There’s a reason Dark Side is classic, and it has nothing to do with shitty cover bands.

Instead of learning from others mistakes, The Flaming Lips were allowed to do the same goddamned thing. The combination of The Flaming Lips’ emotional, garage-rock production and the magnificence of Dark Side’s composition offered endless potential. Unfortunately, that potential was left heavily under-developed. The creatively titled The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon fucking blows.

The downfall of this album is Lips’ collaboration with Stardeath and the White Dwarfs. Is this some respected, up-and-coming psyche-rock group? Of course not. It’s a band headed by Dennis Coyne, the nephew of Lips singer/songwriter Wayne Coyne. Whatever vile sex act Dennis used to convince his uncle to allow his band to “collaborate” with Lips on this album better have been worth it, because this record defames the good Flaming Lips name.

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The album begins promisingly with warbled heartbeats mixed with a ticking clock. Admittedly, it’s pretty hard to fuck up “Speak to Me.” But Henry Rollins does just that when he reads the famous “I’ve been mad for fucking years,” from Floyd’s original record, which is spoken in a pathetic mock British accent, thereby losing all of the original album’s spontaneity.

The album is full of similar missteps. The majority of David Gilmour’s and Dick Perry’s beautiful solos are replaced with unquantized drum samples and out of tune, noisy synthesizers. The crescendos of “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse” are choppy and unmotivated ? everyone mumbles and staggers through a cold, unexpressive set list altered to such extremes that those familiar with the original material find them unrecognizable.

The two solo Lips tracks ? “The Great Gig in the Sky” and “Us and Them” ? sound beautiful and would have made a good template to follow the rest of the way. They sound distinctively like Lips tracks, but pay tribute to the source material along with Alan Parsons’ unique production.

Steve Drozd recreates Gilmour’s original clean, yet slightly phased, “Breathe” guitar sound early in “Great Gig,” and Michael Ivins provides a beautiful bass solo to replace Perry’s sax on “Us and Them.” Canadian glam rocker Peaches offers her vocals as the replacement to Clare Torry’s original. Her voice is super-compressed, and seems to have a hint of a rotary cabinet, but it’s perfect.

Simple respect for an artist isn’t enough to make a great cover, and Pink Floyd is damn close to untouchable. I question EMI’s decision to lease the rights to Dark Side, but The Flaming Lips need to watch their step and return to the glory of The Soft Bulletin.

1 star out of 5.

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