This cover of Jefferson Airplane’s psychedelic classic seemed just wrong to me at first. Since I have heard the original so much, I was continually expecting to hear its sound rather than this new version. However, after hearing Collide’s version several times I realized it has its own merits, and it has now replaced the original version in my head.
Since the group is considered electronic/industrial, it’s not surprising that the music is primarily synthesized and even the vocals are electronically distorted. The lead female voice sounds pinched, narrowed. The driving beat holds the chaotic noise from the synthesizer and the vocals together. At one point, vocals travel wildly between the right and left channels, producing an aura of confusion if you’re listening on earphones.
This confusion and chaos fits well with the lyrics, which make an analogy between drug use and the experiences of Alice in Wonderland.
One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small…
Go ask Alice
When she’s ten feet tall.
The tension builds as the song progresses, expressed in chord changes, a rising melody, and increasing volume. In the original version, it is setting up for the climax.
When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead,
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen’s “off with her head!”
Remember what the dormouse said:
Collide has created a new version of “Feed your head” which is often stuck in my brain. I didn’t even hear it the first time I listened to the song – it’s understated and almost buried in the heavy percussion, an anticlimax in complete contrast to the original version. I had to listen with earphones to catch it, but once I knew it was there, I could not forget it. The fact that it was hard to hear made it more powerful. “Feed your head” is repeated until the song ends, like a hypnotic injunction that you may not understand but cannot escape, since it has been drilled so deeply into your mind.
I loved this song in the original, and I love it even more now!