Former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters has announced a new show at the London Palladium.
Fair enough. For those undeterred by the controversies surrounding Waters’ recent shows, this news seems like business as usual.
However, he will be using this date to debut his re-recordings of Pink Floyd’s seminal album 'The Dark Side Of The Moon', a retooling of the iconic album set to be released on 6 October and performed on 8 October.
The reimagined solo LP, titled 'The Dark Side Of The Moon Redux', sees him put a new spin on the 1973 classic and coincides with the original’s 50th anniversary. It was not worked on by any other member of the iconic prog-rock band. At the upcoming London show, Waters will not appear with any of his former bandmates - due to longstanding feuds with frontman David Gilmour - but will instead be joined on stage by bassist Gus Seyffert, drummer Joey Waronker and guitarist Jonathan Wilson, all of which contributed to the re-imagined album.
Regarding the 79-year-old's reasons behind the re-recording, he stated: “The original ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ feels in some ways like the lament of an elder being on the human condition.”
“But Dave, Rick, Nick, and I were so young when we made it, and when you look at the world around us, clearly the message hasn’t stuck. That’s why I started to consider what the wisdom of an 80-year-old could bring to a reimagined version,” continued his statement.
That’s fine, and while judgement shall be fully reserved for the release of the entire album in October, the lead single ‘Money’ (version 2023) is out now. It has been re-envisioned from the more upbeat version heard in the original recording, into a new acoustic track.
We gave it a listen and... Well, put it this way: When Miguel de Cervantes wrote “Where there’s music, there can be no evil,” this version of ‘Money’ makes you want to locate the final resting place of the celebrated Spanish writer, lay down the original recording of ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ upon his gravestone and whisper a silent prayer thanking whatever deity of your choosing that he didn’t have to be subjected to this ear-bleeding travesty.
It’s not about hating cover versions. Some records and tracks could benefit from a reimaging. Nor is it about rabidly protecting supposedly sacrosanct songs from what is an iconic and treasured album. It’s not even Pink Floyd’s greatest release. That title belongs to either 'Animals' or 'Wish You Were Here'.
What it is about is craving the sweet release of deafness when hearing how a once talented artist has butchered a classic song from a hugely influential record. Because let’s not mince words: 'Money' Redux is hot trash.
The first few seconds were promising: a slower tempo, stripped down and bluesy rendition that could have worked. After all, Waters has stated his rerecorded album is not a replacement of the original – unlike the re-recorded Taylor Swift albums. This is a revisit that made some sense on paper, when taking into consideration that the political and emotional messages of the 1973 album continue to resonate to this day. Why not give them a revamp and add extra moody dimensions?
But then the vocals came in, and the gimmicky nature of the project revealed itself.
It all feels like a shallow parody of Tom Waits, with Waters aping the gravelly voiced legend and his darkly theatrical universe.
Granted, it's not fair to judge this new version based off the original. Waters turns 80 in September and his voice has aged. And, in being as generous as can be, nobody can accuse Waters of putting out an easy facsimile here. But when it comes to the cringey and obnoxious segments in which he recites ‘poetry’ in a bid to out-Cohen Leonard, and says lines like “Welcome to hell” - it is to be taken literally.
This is musical hell.
Nothing has been added to the song’s themes. If anything, much may have been retracted. If the original 'Money' was a commentary about capitalism, this superfluous revision makes you want to embrace free enterprise-peddling pig dogs and celebrate the rampant and heartless individualism at the core of fat cat mercantilism. Anything so we don’t have to hear 'Money' Redux again.
Pink Floyd fans don't deserve this. No functioning ears need this. And as for the brave pup in the music video, pray for his soul. He's not coming out of this unscathed.
Roger Waters will premier 'The Dark Side Of The Moon Redux' live at the London Palladium on 8 October, two days after the album's release. As you can guess, we won’t be lining up for tickets.