It’s A Cover Up! The Beatles & Flaming Lips feat. Miley Cyrus and Moby – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

          
As a self confessed Beatles fanatic I usually have reservations about the covering of their tracks. Songs that are some of the most pivotal and important to music and cultural development of the last forty years and for the next forty no doubt. Like it or not but The Beatles will have a legacy akin to Vivaldi, Mozart and Stravinsky and so it’s becoming of more importance that The Beatles legacy is continued and though their music has already spanned the generations, it won’t forever. The general public aren’t listening to Mozart and Bach and that is partly due to it’s exclusivity and tradition. The inclusivity and lack of tradition of The Beatles music has opened it up to adaptation and reorientation that will continue to aspire new sounds, while still preserving their legacy amongst the masses for decades, perhaps centuries to come. More than just a page in a history book. For their legacy to be as dynamic and fluid as their music, it requires their work to be displayed through different sounds and methods and this has been conducted by the Flaming Lips along with a host of assisting artists from Miley Cyrus, Tegan & Sara and Moby to My Morning Jacket and Foxygen as they cover Sgt Pepper track by track on the album A Little Help from my Fwends which is released on October 28th. One of the initial tracks to be released from the album is the psychedelic anthem that is ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’.
On the 1st of March 1967, The Beatles recorded the track that was released on June 1st during the ‘Summer of Love’. A track that depicted Lennon’s “lavish daydream” as Rolling Stone put it at the time and features imagery inspired by the works of Lewis Carroll with LSD fuelled visions and imagery. McCartney’s Lowery Organ counter melody set’s the tone alongside Harrison’s washed out and fading guitar, while the bass line creeps along beneath the tracks soaring and glistening whirls and warps. These are accentuated by Lennon’s pioneering vocal sung through a Leslie speaker for a warping and rotating vocal that was also double tracked with the second track set at a slightly delayed speed to enhance and distort the vocals further. The peak in the potential of analogue production, taking it to places that digitalism has only just about grasped.
This year, Flaming Lips along with Miley Cyrus and Moby formed a eccentric trio of rather differing musicians to offer up a 2014 take on the track, replacing the analogue method and production with digital and automated programmes and systems. The result? A track that is more darker and murkier as opposed to eerie and creeping. A subtle difference, yet a noticeable one. Cyrus’ vocals are softer and lost in their presentation as opposed to Lennon’s wiry and rotating vocal. Her vocals warps and fades out with precision; offset by Moby’s very deep and rooted vocal sound. The gentle sweeping of the verses are smashed by the huge and open trap drops that blast the song in an explosion of light and sound. What can be appreciated here is that they didn’t just copy the song, nor  make it unrecognisable, but made it their own with different and innovative sounds, scopes and atmospheres. A worthy tribute.

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