Battle of the Pink Floyd Cover Song

Ok, this is gonna be fun!

It’s Pink Floyd week on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy’s got members of the band lined up as guests and other bands performing Pink Floyd songs in celebration of the release of the massive box set of their entire catalog, remastered and packaged with all sorts of goodies.

The first night saw The Shins performing the opening track, Breathe from the legendary 1973 Dark Side of the Moon album, and while I liked it well enough, I couldn’t help thinking of another cover of the same song, one that I alluded to nearly two years ago, when news that it was in the works came out, a version by The Flaming Lips, whose music I didn’t even know at the time, but whom I would soon become completely obsessed with.

So, I thought it would be cool to take a look and listen at both of the versions back-to-back and see how they measure up.

First up, The Shins:

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That’s an honorable performance for sure. First and foremost, it’s extremely loyal to the original, closely matching the arrangement and atmospherics, the tone and tempo, and the musicianship is first rate. Certainly no easy task!

And yet, I’ll be honest, it left me a little cold, left me wanting a fresher take on the song, something with some twists and variations, something that might put The Shins stamp on it.

Well, let’s see what The Flaming Lips do with the same song:


Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!

How incredibly exciting to have a beloved classic given a kick in the ass, pumped up from a sleepy space tune into a primal, jungle drum and feedback-driven freakout!

Let me be clear. I like The Shins a lot and I don’t in any way mean to dismiss them as a band.

That said, in my humble opinion, The Flaming Lips clearly won this Battle of the Cover Song by a long shot.


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