The Dark Side Of The Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips, with their release of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, have indeed earned the title of the “Fearless Freaks”. It takes some very large cajones to cover a song by this much loved band, more so to record it, much more to release it, and even more to release an album of Dark Side’s historical importance in it’s entirety.
To do so could be considered career suicide, for if not done correctly, with love and admiration for the subject, it could alienate even the hardcore Lips fans. But the Flaming Lips have always been about taking chances with their output, and one only has to find the many excellent cover versions the band has done in the past as ample proof that they can do justice to a well-known song and make it their own. From Beck’s The Golden Age, to Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World, to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Sabbath’s War Pigs, to If I Only Had A Brain, they usually hit their mark and stamp their version with trademarked Lips weirdness.
When I saw that Henry Rollins was adding his angst-ridden vocals to the project I became a little nervous. While I loved him in Black Flag I haven’t really been a fan of his work in the Rollins Band. I found it formulaic and, quite frankly, a little on the boring side. His work here (I think—no liner notes with the itunes download) is to provide the spoken word “insights” on life and death, like the road and studio hands did for the Floyd Dark Side sessions (“I’m not afraid of dying”…etc), and he does a pretty good job, albeit with a little more anger present in his delivery.
Overall the album sounds like a live in-the-studio jam session, and for the most part offers a different and uniquely Lips approach to the music, save for their version of Us And Them, which is fairly straightforward and true to the original.
And while it may be true that I will buy and enjoy virtually anything the Flaming Lips offer as product I believe I am being unbiased by stating that this is a very good take on an already very good album. Standouts for me are Breathe, Time, Us And Them and the minimalist and eerie take on Money.
Pretty cool cover, too (but you’ll have to log on to Itunes to see it!).