©/™ Red Hot, 2016
If The Grateful Dead made a positive impact on your life, cozying up to this album is about as comfortable as riding a roller coaster. The list of big-name, big-talent artists just keeps going; there’s a special kind of thrill with seeing a “China > Rider” performed by Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks. However, certain songs make you question if this was another ploy to make Bob Weir a little more money. We’ll leave those tracks unnamed.
But then, Bela Fleck picks his way through “Help on the Way” with Oliver Wood; Courtney Barnett delivers mandatory grit for “New Speedway Boogie”; Jim James delivers spot-on Jerry vocals for “Candyman”; The War on Drugs, Hiss Golden Messenger, and The Flaming Lips’ contributions play like originals. You might wonder which good deeds in life led you to this audio treasure trove.
Thankfully, this album was not engineered to make Weir more money. Day of the Dead was produced by Red Hot, a nonprofit production company that uses “popular culture and artful propaganda” to raise money to fight HIV/AIDS and other related health issues. This album will be Red Hot’s twentieth in twenty-five years, marking their total money raised at over twelve million dollars.
This New Music Monday features two routes for streaming Day of the Dead, an album curated by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National. It contains fifty-nine tracks and over five hours of music, meant to serve as a “reinterpretation of Dead songs for a new generation of listeners.” Stream a few songs, then head here and click “Get the Music” to support Red Hot in their mission to provide worldwide health and wellness.
“Believe it if you need it, or leave it if you dare.”