“The memories of a man in his old age are the deeds of a man in his prime. You shuffle in the gloom of the sick room, And talk to yourself as you die”, states Roger Waters as the opening beats of ‘Speak to Me’ fade in. From the start of ths Dark Side of the Moon Redux, I can tell this isn’t just going to be a rehash of Dark Side of the Moon. This is going to be something entirely different.
I have to admit, I wasn’t sure I’d like this new version of a classic album, one that has been with me my entire life. Possibly the greatest classic album of them all, Dark Side the Moon wasn’t really in need of a redux, a revival or rehash.
But this Redux is a different beast altogether. The album is not an attempt to re-record or recreate the classic album – there is no attempt to recreate the opening of Time or Money, no attempts to match David Gilmour’s classic guitar solos, and certainly no-one goes near Clare Terry’s unique vocals on Great Gig in the Sky.
Instead, the original ‘Dark Side’ has been used as a canvas for Roger to share perspective and thoughts on his life and experiences. There are no political messages here, no jibes about former bandmates but the occasional poke at himself! Laughing, at the start of ‘Brain Damage’ Roger asks , “why don’t we re-record Dark Side of the Moon? He’s gone mad!”
This is an album I keep returning to, finding an element of intimacy I was not expecting. The musical themes of the original remain, in some parts Roger speaks, whispers or sings the original lyrics like Money, Brain Damage and Time. Sometimes Roger talks over the tracks – telling stories, sharing anecdotes like On the Run.
How is he going to top Great Gig in the Sky? That was the biggest question I had coming into this.
The genius is that he doesn’t. As the melody plays along, Roger talks about his old friend the writer Donald Hall. The themes of ‘Gig are played out on a Theremin, giving us a completely different take on the familiar tune.
Much like the songs on Roger’s recent Tour, these songs are fantastic reinterpretations of the original songs. There is no attempt to recreate the originals, nor an attempt to match the singing and playing of his younger self.
With The Dark Side of the Moon Redux is a fantastic solo album Roger has achieved the unthinkable. He has updated this classic album without tarnishing all that is great about the original album. You can enjoy both for different reasons – any colour you like!