The Hypnagogic States EP is an unnecessary and unwanted stop-gap measure placed between the end of the Cure's single series and the delayed release of their thirteenth studio album, 4:13 Dream, which comes out October 28th. When the remixer list was announced, I knew that the EP was going to be a disappointment. Instead of opting for a group of talented and experienced remixers like Junior Boys and Hot Chip, Universal culled their lads from the most popular emo and alternative rock acts they could find, resulting in a group that sounded impressive, but was essentially inexperienced. However, not all is bad, and the EP does still manage to have some interesting moments and styles.
"The Only One" remix by Jared Leto of 30 Seconds To Mars is actually a surprisingly good remix of the song, keeping the pop spirit of the song while adding in a lot of variation in instrumentation and style, making it a lovely ballad instead of a driving pop track. Considering that some 30 Seconds To Mars material like "The Kill" and "From Yesterday" is substantially better than the works of the other three emo/alternative remixers, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the remix turned out to be interesting and intelligent. The "Freakshow" remix by Jade Puget of AFI is a less inspired remix, but it's still fun and enjoyable. Puget takes the funky aspects of the track and expands on them, making it a frantic techno dance track. While it is less innovative than "The Only One," it does something fresh with the source material. And this is where the EP takes a turn for the worse.
The "Sleep When I'm Dead" remix by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance is dull and sticks much to closely to the source material. Way adds in electronic drums and the song eventually breaks down into a slow techno track, but at the end of the day, the song is still the same dark, alternative track it was on the single. Unlike Leto and Puget, Way didn't do anything new with the track regarding it's style or impact, but at least he did something original. The same can't be said for "The Perfect Boy" remix by Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, which starts out as a really bad take on "Close To Me," one of the Cure's best and most well-known tracks. It develops into a dull, distorted rock song, effectively ignoring the original pop beauty of the track in favor of some dull emo/alt. rock.
"Exploding Head Syndrome" is a remix of all four singles by 65daysofstatic, the post-rock band that opened for the Cure on their 2008 tour. Fortunately, this remix is actually quite interesting, taking the basic workings of the source tracks and building them up extensively with the band's post-rock sound. While no single part of the track really stands out as the best part of the EP, the track as a whole is fresh and innovative, and certainly something you haven't heard before from the Cure.
In summation, the Hypnagogic States EP certainly never needed to happen, but the artists' royalties from its sale go to support the Red Cross, so at least it serves a good purpose. "The Only One" and "Exploding Head Syndrome" are both excellent remixes that do something new with the material. "Freakshow" is interesting but not particularly captivating, and "Sleep When I'm Dead" and "The Perfect Boy" are boring and do little with their source material to warrant their existence. However, you get a lot of music for your money, as this EP clocks in around 37 minutes, which is as long as many a pop LP. All in all, this is a collector's item and likely won't appeal to people other than Cure die-hard fans. Three stars for "The Only One," "Freakshow," and "Exploding Head Sydrome."