2014, Music

With a Little Help from My Fwends (2014) by the Flaming Lips et al.

I avoided the Lips’ cover of The Dark Side of the Moon like the plague, figuring that was an album that absolutely did not have to be covered and also because I’ve been finding the Lips’ willful weirdness to be increasingly maddening and hard to follow. (I have no idea if I’m going to like anything by them any more – not since a long time ago – they release things in so many different ways, it’s exhausting etc.).

But then I was sitting in the Only a while ago and something was playing in the background. I had to focus on it to figure out what it was. It took me awhile. It finally dawned on me that it was their cover of the Floyd album and I got almost excited by how weird it was. I still haven’t made my way to it, but I figured when I got the chance to hear this that I should listen.

But a Sgt. Pepper cover is even less necessary than the Floyd cover, if that were possible. Not only is it the most famous Beatles’ album but it is the most arranged / produced of Beatles albums (or over-arranged / over-produced for some people). And it has arguably the weakest set of songs (outside of maybe Let it Be) of their later LPs. (I am excepting the Magical Mystery Tour double EP.)

That’s all to say, it’s a really odd choice.

But this is a radical set of covers and though they are sometimes annoying, they are rarely safe. All I want from a great cover is the performer to transform the song. Now, I’m not sure many of us could identify this band as the Flaming Lips – we might be able to identify it as late period Lips plus “Fwends”, but certainly not as, say, the Lips prior to the ’10s – without knowing ahead of time, so it’s not as though they made the album their own. But it’s certainly unusual. And thought-provoking, whatever else you may think of it.


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