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take, for instance, dub side of the moon, that immeasurable piece of debris that once fell from the breathing mouths of the easy star all-stars. not only does this troupe of imbeciles do little more than re-arrange the tracks of the album into a satchelfull of 2-4 one-drops, but commit other offenses as well. removed is such a token moment as the cash register sounds heard during the into to “money” and in its place one hears the sound a guy pulling binger & coughing his brains out; “eclipse” is four-foured into a bass-heavy, mid-scooped rastaman nightmare; and four more best-of covers are added to the end of the album despite the fact that the band knew (or should have known) that the thing is complete in and of itself & the unnecessary extension of such a thing is treachery. don’t get me wrong, i love me some good reggae. give me some lee perry or b-marley any day, but the easy star all-stars can play hide-and-go-fuck-themselves until they unearth some acumen inside the swirling, jamaic-devoid heads ravaging their duo-tones and four-piece-trap-kits. (sweet sassy molassey, you sure are angry… yeah, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but i’m just making a point…)
anyway, cover songs tend to be little more than failed adaptations of a thing with preexisting value; a banal re-creation. the formerly discussed reggae album goes yet further than this, but emerges a poor re-conception. remember sublime? remember the bradley nowell cover of the dead’s “scarlet begonias?” gold. it certainly isn’t the original, and doesn’t simply force the object of coverage into a set of genre-specific tropes either: the song is new again. Scissor Sisters (to bring the discussion back to floyd) put out a righteous disco cover of comfortably numb on their debut, eponymous album.
so, to finally get down to it, everybody does floyd. it’s true. from the deficient dave matthews to all the four-piecers wasting away in the jamband scene to the reggae rockers and the shoegaze crybabies and (finally, dare i say) the psychotic minds of the flaming lips, stardeath, white dwarfs, henry rollins and peaches. and as one may imply from my rambling, this album is a monster of an accomplishment. in line with two analogous maxims of statutory interpretation, expressio unius est exclusio alterius and esjudem generis, good cover may be defined by the explication of what it is not. while i will say that the musical execution is spectacular and that the lips & friends succeeds in re-conceiving the album in the same seamless-storyline manner as floyd had done originally (whereas the aforementioned dark side reggae cover album failed miserably), the most impressive aspect of this work is that the first time i heard it, dark side of the moon sounded new again. and it gets better with time.
bottom line: pure genius: re-done from the bottom up with all the nuanced detail you expect, just different. and now, for your listening pleasure…
Scissor Sisters – Comfortably Numb
from: Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters [Polydor, 2003]
The Lips & Friends – Dark Side of the Moon
from: The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs With Henry Rollins and Peaches – The Dark Side of the Moon