The Flaming Lips and Nell Smith didn’t put it on the album “Where the Viaduct Looms”. The generational difference and ignorance of the repertoire took the songs of Nick Cave to their charm

What happens when well-deserved rockers from The Flaming Lips come together with young singer Nell Smith? Can a group in which the band is more than two and a half times older than the singer work? And will she address a girl who still has everything in front of her, the same music that her parents’ peers choose?

Nick Cave has quite a few remakes of his colleagues’ songs to his credit. His repertoire includes compositions by Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and many others. His album “Kickingst Against The Pricks” even contains only cover versions. But there are not many cases for someone to rework Cave’s songs. Not that they weren’t at all, let’s mention Metallica (“Loverman”) or Johnny Cash (“The Mercy Seat”). But I don’t really remember the whole remake of Cave. And why I’m actually writing, I’ll explain below. Now the Flaming Lips have come with such an album with fourteen-year-old musician Nell Smith and it’s called “Where the Viaduct Looms”.

Covers are about finding a new spark in an existing song. New dimension. To bring a different perspective to the topic. And it’s not an easy discipline. Pavel Bobek and Maria Rottrová could talk about that, who tried in vain to find the right to life for the honored version of Cave’s probably most famous song “Where The Wild Roses Grow”, ie “Wild Roses”. , the word quite here is in place – succeeded in Poland. The organizers of the twentieth year of the Przegląd Piosenki Aktorskiej event in Wrocław in 1999 came up with a performance for which they studied remakes of Nick Cave’s songs in Polish. They even approached the singer, Nick kejv, and so he sang in several of these songs. Sure, it’s not a big hit, but it’s not a mess, you can judge it here, for example. But what can happen when experienced musicians from The Flaming Lips team up with fourteen-year-old Nell Smith? Which, moreover, shamelessly admits: “I’ve never listened to Cave, but Wayne suggested that we start the album with his cover version and later throw ourselves into some of my own stuff. It was great to listen to him, learn about him and pick the pieces to record.”

The best album, “Where The Viaduct Looms” (verse from the song “Red Right Hand”), features nine tracks, mostly quieter ones. Nell Smith proves here that she is a really good singer, but she does not get beyond casting in SuperStar. The girl needs to sing a completely different repertoire, something she understands, something she is naturally interested in, something she has a relationship with. And it doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative, it doesn’t matter if he wants to make fun of it or honor it. But an opinion is always important. Unfortunately, it is missing here. And there is only one motivation left: she wants to sing, too much. And so here we have one sterile disaster after another. “Girl In Amber” has lost its tension and touching and the sanctity and tears it can evoke. “Into My Arms” became a stripper. The moment the band is in a tight spot and doesn’t know what’s next, they hit an echo there, which seems to add an atmosphere, which is so sadly missing in the singer’s speech. And so, in fact, the only thing that works here is the song “About Children,” which Nell probably knows from the Harry Potter movie, so he can have at least some connection to it. On the other hand, it is fair to admit that Nick Cave is a big admirer of The Flaming Lips. He even sang another cover with them in 1994, the song “(What A) Wonderful World”. And he commented on the current interpretation of his young colleague in superlatives, highly praising the way she did the “Girl In Amber” I criticized by me. He confessed that she understood the song remarkably and added a beautiful and chilling feeling without passion.

Maybe “Where The Viaduct Looms” is not a completely useless record and maybe someone will get to know Nick Cave’s work thanks to it. And maybe someone will like it too. But the nine songs unfortunately could not find any new and unexpected view, what made the song a song cut off as much as possible. It could have been a good musical exercise for Nell Smith and The Flaming Lips. Playing with each other. If they actually release their own material, it can turn out much better.

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