Roger Waters - Dark Side of the Moon Redux (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Roger Waters

Dark Side of the Moon Redux (2023)


Does re-recording a legendary rock album work ever?! EVER?! Go ask the Dead Boys. (Yeeesch!). Go ask Suicidal Tendencies. (Bleeech!) Go ask Ozzy (Blaaaugrrrghhhh!)

Well, Roger Waters has poised the new version of Dark Side of the Moon as a “reimagined” album as seen through a more mature worldview. That’s bullshit. You know it. I know it. Roger knows it. Everyone knows it. First of all, it’s not like DSOTM makes one specific viewpoint as per, say, Crass or Public Enemy, or even as per later Floyd albums like The Wall. It’s really a collection of thoughts that might be tied together, but are also amorphous and blurred by a psychedelic mindset. So, it’s not like the album, as a whole, is anchored to a youthful perspective, which is kind of the main reason that it STILL resonates today.

But second, and more to the point, we all know, and Roger knows, that after FORTY YEARS of bitch-slapping with the other members of Pink Floyd, and after forty years of saying that HE, the great Roger Waters, is the sole genius of Pink Floyd and the others guys weren’t as “necessary," Waters is really trying to prove that he's the main man and everyone else is secondary or tertiary.

This point has been proven false continually for any number of years, mind you- have you heard The final cut? Have you heard Radio K.A.O.S.? (Hu-puuuuukkkeeeeeeee!) Moreso that anyone else, Roger Waters has proven that Pink Floyd is more than JUST Roger Waters. Roger’s eternal foe, David Gilmour has mostly played this smart by shutting up and letting Roger bury himself. And I say this not to say that Roger Waters is hack and faker- the dude WAS a lyrical, musical, vocal master and visionary. WAS.

But, as DSOTM Redux sadly makes clear, he has succumbed ot his own hubris. And apparently, is surrounded by yes men that are scared to say, “Roger, remaking one of the greatest albums ever in a slower, more dour version with your now grizzled vocals dropped on top is a fucking stupid idea.”

No, instead, the whole crew decided to try to write David Gilmour, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason out of the story by literally re-writing history. No one told roger that he’s no Taylor Swift (nor is Taylor Swift a Roger). So, here we are- a pointless album that is seeped in a sort of understated revenge fantasy.

The new version is slower than the old one. Where the Floyd version had a spacey, astral quality, letting your imagine soar in the broad, simple spots, now, a sort of melancholy hangs over the entire release. “Time,” unironically drags at a bout half speed. Roger talk-sings through the release, his own 80 year old vocal chords wearing down and in no shape to compete with Gilmour’s classic soaring sound.

The production is crisp, but there’s also sort of the problem. Floyd’s DSOTM was recorded at the height of ‘70s AOR and primo sound, so it does sound fantastic, the broad, ethereal sounds merged and marinated on physical tape- the guitar and vocals and bass and keys bled into each other, creating a massive sound column. Here, Roger Waters and Guy Seyffert try to emulate classic analogue sound with hyper-sensitive digital recording. It doesn’t work. The acoustic guitars are often way too loud, turning what was a tasteful, sensitive album into a LOUDNESS showcase. The drums sound like they are in front of everything. There’s a loop of birds singing on “Breathe” that is waaay too repetitive (they should have used a longer sample). At times, Waters voice actually gets buried in the loudness war. Also, it sounds like the mic is halfway down his throat.

At points, Waters adds new spoken word pieces. He tries to be deep or even gothic. He sounds like a sophomore in poetry class. Maybe a 28 year old high on LSD could make these spoken word interludes sound cool in 1973… but for an 80 year old in 2023… I’m cringing FOR Roger over some of these lines. “On the Run”’s extended spoken word section, which makes it a point to wash away Gilmour’s contributions, is laughable.

I mean, this record is pointless. And bad. And annoying. It’s yet another failed attempt to either re-write history or cash in. (considering music sales in 2023, it’s almost definitely the former). But, it’s more than that. It actively exposes Water’s weaknesses and accidentally makes the point that Waters’ ISN’T as talented and as genius and as masterful as he always claims. I don’t really take joy in seeing Waters destroy his own legacy, but apparently he sure does… or he’s soooo blinded by greed and pride, that he can’t see the dark side, or the even the bright side of things. Ironic move for a guy that wrote “money.”