All roads lead to remasters of Pink Floyd records. Sincerely, there is no way of escaping them. Redux, remaster, reworking. Whatever it is, there are three separate versions of The Dark Side of the Moon released this year. As seminal an album as it is, as rabid the fans of Roger Waters and company are, there is no need for it. A reworking of an album which was remastered just shy of a decade ago, a pieced-together live record which is now available after years of lingering on the outer rim and now a post-band divorce overhaul from controversial bassist and now singer Waters. What a mess. Money takes on new meaning, and not just thanks to the watering down Waters brings the lyrics.
Still, his shoo-in of withering pensioner poetry and potty scribbles does give The Dark Side of the Moon Redux a fresh coat of paint. It may be lined with lead and rotting your brain from the first bars of Speak to Me, but sometimes a little damage to the head is good for business. Ramblings of an elderly statesman, whose once-revered work is reworked into something profitable. Between Speak to Me and Breathe, there is a sense of last-gasp finality. Where it does not bring out the best in Pink Floyd, it does hold a weak and meandering tenderness. Waters cannot capture this fully, relying on a change in his vocal strength as the real change. Wet string sections and crawling, empty pontifications from a less-than-relevant mind are as boisterous as they are irrelevant.
Much of it feels similar to the mocked-up soundtracks movies receive. The fictional pieces which are spoken of inside a movie, the drama within a drama, are often soundtracked by these chimes and charms. Plodding and unique, The Dark Side of the Moon Redux certainly changes tact, but it also changes the necessary meaning and candour of the original work. Waters moves The Dark Side of the Moon into an autobiographical reduction and uses it more as a tapestry for his life than anything truly moving. He recalls spotty moments and tries to pull at the heartstrings with Great Gig in the Sky and gets nowhere close to managing it.
The Dark Side of the Moon Redux picks up when Spotify stops playing the album and moves on to shuffling Waters’ earlier works. Oceans Apart, to those not paying all that much attention, will delight for its post-Dark Side of the Moon potential. Still, it is not actually part of this post-Pink Floyd desecration. Some will be puzzled by how little Waters can offer an album which he was part of creating all those decades ago while others will rally behind him, for they crave the drops of Pink Floyd and anything he touches. Achingly dull and with no real steps toward a change of interesting or inherent value, The Dark Side of the Moon becomes the dull side of his discography and is a clear example of how returning to well-trodden roads can still leave you feeling lost. Even if you paved them in the first place.