The Flaming Lips
Dark Side of the Moon


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mike Allen USER (107 Reviews)
December 27th, 2009 | 63 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Haters are going to hate, but the Flaming Lips deliver an intriguing take on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

When the Flaming Lips announced that they would cover Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” I felt that the Flaming Lips had put themselves in a lose-lose situation. If their version was too similar to the original, we would be hearing criticism that the Flaming Lips did not approach the cover creatively enough. On the contrary, giving “Dark Side of the Moon” an entirely different sound would result in criticism such as, “they ruined it.” This predicament is especially present in covering “Dark Side of the Moon,” for the original is plain and simple one of the greatest albums of all-time. Despite releasing breakthrough record “Meddle” in 1971, Pink Floyd made a lasting and powerful impression on the world with “Dark Side of the Moon;” an album that we may not see the likes of ever again. This record may have been the most significant and greatest of a generation, and it’s no wonder that the release is still being glorified and revered in the present day. So, it can be said that the Lips had a bit of a job to do and a decision to make.

The Flaming Lips have proved to be one of the most intriguing and innovative bands of the past two decades, ranging from a soothing psychedelic pop to a creative, and quite frankly strange yet brilliant psychedelic mess. In terms of originality, the Flaming Lips and Pink Floyd are very similar; each delivering enough ground-breaking material to separate themselves from their peers. This is, precisely what makes this cover attempt so fascinating. The question facing the Lips now would be, what sound should be adopted for “Dark Side of the Moon?” A sound not unlike the Flaming Lips’ “The Soft Bulletin” would definitely be a viable option, for its dreamy and uplifting feel could prove to be perfect for “Dark Side of the Moon.” On the other hand, the band could opt to deliver a performance not unlike this year’s “Embryonic.” An “Embryonic”- type sound would make for a raw and noisy cover that would be interesting in its own way.

With those options in place, the listener is able to discover exactly what the Lips were going for from the very beginning. Following the heartbeat and scream in the opening seconds of the record, just when you are expecting the relaxing entrance of Breathe, a loud and purely psychedelic start is what is implemented. The Flaming Lips version of “Dark Side of the Moon” is indeed a very intriguing experience, which wavers greatly from the original. This type of style, although seemingly out of place for this particular record, is perfectly suited for tracks like On the Run. Just like the Pink Floyd development, the Flaming Lips account of On the Run is noisy, bizarre, and creative. The Lips seemed to go about the rest of the record in similar fashion, for instrumental Any Colour You Like is one of the highlights. Any Colour You Like comes off as a thunderous adaptation of the original that lacks neither the instrumental genius nor the power of the Floyd version. One of the most conflicting areas of the record is that of the Time and The Great Gig in the Sky tandem. The Lips flex their muscles with Time, providing a distorted and tumultuous introduction, and even offering comic relief by making coughing sounds. On top of this, the Lips are able to retain the themes of the album, delivering the same raw edged sound as their account of Breathe for Breathe Reprise. Unlike its descendant however, Time is quite a successful task. The beauty and masterful vocal performance of The Great Gig in the Sky is not replicated in any form here, and is actually quite a strain on the ears. The Lips opted for a distorted vocal effect here, which is conveyed as mindless and irritating screaming.

The most soothing track on the record is that of Us and Them, which is in essence a beautiful account to say the least. Although not growing to something greater like the original, the song in this case continues on its aerial ambience for the track’s entirety. Many will argue that the Lips version of Us and Them lacks power, but demonstrates to be powerful in that the sound of the song comes out of nowhere on the record. As one of the most significant tracks on “Dark Side of the Moon” the Flaming Lips replicated Us and Them with great virtuosity, which is true for the close of the record as well. Brain Damage and especially Eclipse are not tampered with a great deal, and although sounding a bit different than the originals, are very effective. Eclipse serves as a brilliant close for the Lips cover of the album, retaining the raw edge of the rest of the record and delivering a powerful climax.

In retrospect of hearing the record, the impact does not live up to the influence of Pink Floyd’s version, but to expect that would be ridiculous. It may have proved to be beneficial for the Flaming Lips to mix the styles of “Embyonic” and “The Soft Bulletin” for this cover, appropriately assigning different sounds to the necessary tracks. The Lips however, had attempted an extremely complicated task, that was overall a successful endeavor.

Recommended Tracks:
Time
Us and Them
Any Colour You Like
Eclipse



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user ratings (116)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
EVedder27
December 27th 2009


6088 Comments


Not sure how sputnik will feel about this since the ratings so far have been mixed. Interested to see how the ratings will pan out.

Prophet178
December 27th 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. I think the Lips interpretation is interesting to say the least, but it's very enjoyable and is pretty much what I was expecting from the Lips playing Pink Floyd.

Prophet178
December 27th 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Peaches does.

Mordecai.
December 27th 2009


8279 Comments


gay

EVedder27
December 27th 2009


6088 Comments


Thanks Prophet.

Blindsided
December 27th 2009


1871 Comments


pos bro. I need to listen to the original more but for right now I'm digging WYWH and The Wall.

EVedder27
December 27th 2009


6088 Comments


Thanks bro, good to see you liked those albums.

WeepingBanana
December 27th 2009


10159 Comments


I found this (Floyd version obviously) in a stack of my dad's old vinyls and played it on the record player I got for xmas. I should get this as soon as possible.

WatchItExplode
December 28th 2009


3264 Comments


your a machine veds...can't say this interests me much but i'll probably give it a cursory listen

Kashmir09
December 28th 2009


772 Comments


great review man, I'm not totally sure what I think of thiss yet

Nagrarok
December 28th 2009


8256 Comments


Never got me some Flaming Lips before, even with all the praise they get, but this could be interesting as a comparison. Pos'd as well.

Phil
December 28th 2009


1473 Comments


Hey, do you know if this is just an iTunes thing or are they releasing it physically too?

EVedder27
December 28th 2009


6088 Comments


Thanks guys. Philly I believe its just an itunes release.

BrandNewBoognish
December 28th 2009


1021 Comments


I still need to hear this

Phil
December 28th 2009


1473 Comments


Thanks. I have a $30 itunes gift card somewhere. I guess I should find it.

klap
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2009


10459 Comments


will have to get this

Digging: Cymbals Eat Guitars - LOSE

Ire
December 30th 2009


41790 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i shall obtain this

Prophet178
December 30th 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hey, do you know if this is just an iTunes thing or are they releasing it physically too?


It's digital only, but not iTunes only.

Niceinvader
January 8th 2010


773 Comments


Yeah I just saw it on the zune marketplace.

EVedder27
January 13th 2010


6088 Comments


too many troll ratings for this album...

Other than that it has been hit or miss for people.



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