The Flaming Lips

Ow!
*special introductory paragraph!
*The Flaming Lips EP
*Hear It Is
*Oh My Gawd!!!
*Telepathic Surgery
*Unconsciously Screamin' EP
*In A Priest Driven Ambulance
*Wastin' Pigs Is Still Radical EP
*Hit To Death In The Future Head
*Transmissions From The Satellite Heart
*She Don't Use Jelly EP
*Providing Needles For Your Balloons
*Soil Samples 23 7"
*Clouds Taste Metallic
*Bad Days CD-single
*This Here Giraffe CD-single
*Zaireeka
*The Soft Bulletin
*The Southern Oklahoma Cosmic Trigger Contest EP
*Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
*Finally The Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid
*The Day They Shot A Hole In The Jesus Egg
*Fight Test EP
*Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell EP
*At War With The Mystics
*"The W.A.N.D." CD-single
*It Overtakes Me EP
*The Fearless Freaks 1986-2006
*Once Beyond Hopelessness: The Original Christmas On Mars Film Score
*Embryonic
*The Dark Side Of The Moon (with Stardeath And White Dwarves, Henry Rollins and Peaches)
*With Neon Indian EP
*Gummy Song Skull EP
*Gummy Song Fetus EP
*With Prefuse 73 EP
*With Lightning Bolt EP
*Strobo Trip
Direct from Oklahoma City, OK, the lovely pop tones and reefer fantasies of singer/guitarist Wayne Coyne, bassist Mike Ivins, and les bouches flambees of assorted and sundry other musicians (who pop in and out of the combo like a bunch of chickens playing kickball) are bound and gagged to please your musical ear. In one form or another, they've been around for quite some-ass time, and have generally been a tremendously tuneful band with high-pitched vocals that irritate some but please others (me). They used to be heavy on the guitars, but in recent years they've gotten old and symphonic. In my opinion, their older stuff is more eminently listenable, but what do I know?

EVERYTHING, that's what!!!


The Flaming Lips EP - Pink Dust 1985
Rating = 8


Their first EP. At this point in their career, they were a four-piece buzz-guitar-driven rock band obsessed with juvenile psychedelia. The singer was Wayne's athlete brother Mark, who here displays an impressive vocal range of exactly...uhh...two notes. At first, it sounds like he's just being cool; after about fifteen seconds, it becomes clear that he simply has no talent. No problem, though. They're certainly not annoying notes, those two he's singing. And he does sound pretty cool, if limited.

And the songs? Three of them are great; buzzsaw "Bag Full Of Thoughts" and "Sex Bomb"-twister "Out For A Walk" kick acid-drenched dirt all over the garage, while "My Own Planet" alerts us, the home listeners, of the poppy pleasures imminent in Lips future. And the others???? Well, a little weak. A tad dull. Don't do much. Just kinda rest motionless on the shag carpet waiting for a dog biscuit. Wonderfully enough, though, this is one of the worst records they've ever released, and it's still "purty dagnab gut," as Southern Germans are wont to utter.

Reader Comments

drazy@gatecity.com
True story: A guy made me a mix tape of 60's era garage rock stuff, kinda like the material found on Nuggets and the like. So in the middle of the tape, he sticks "Scratching The Door," a song from this, The Flaming Lips' debut e.p. about twenty years removed from the rest of the material on the mix tape. I didn't catch it until they included this e.p. at the end of the "Hear It Is" cd, released on Pink Dust in '87. Coulda swore the song was recorded at the same studio as The 13th Floor Elevators. Fun stuff, especially if you drop acid as frequently as I used to do. Lead singer Mark Coyne chose "hard narcotics" after this release, and the world is thankful.

soul_crusher77@hotmail.com (Mike K.)
Howdy. I just sprung for the 3 cd set "finally the punk rockers are taking acid", which is the first ep, the first 3 albums, and myriad bonus tracks. As a result I now have all the albums, and you can expect a lot more flaming lips reviews from me as soon as I digest this thing a little better. Right now after one listen to the whole thing, I really only feel qualified to review this here EP...

It doesn't nearly approach the later material, but then again, it's not trying to, because it's more or less a totally different style of music. I'm a young'um, and my parents didn't have much good vinyl to dig into other than the beatles and decade by neil young, so I haven't actually heard much actual vintage garage rock, but this is exactly what I would imagine those sort of bands would sound like. I could completely imagine someone stumbling on a little known 45 with a psychadelic jacket at a garage sale, taking it home, dusting it off, and hearing "bag full of thoughts" come on. It's interesting to hear the lips do this style of music, and more interesting to hear them fronted by a guy with such a low voice. Mark does have a very limited vocal range, but it suits the music fine. For me the only unmemorable number is "forever is a long time", although admittedly "scratching the door" I mostly like for all those spooky and yet hillariously overdone false endings. All in all it's a pretty good ep, but more interesting for historical purposes than the music contained within. 7/10 on the "I only grade albums when I feel like it/remember to" system.

SneakthaSlinger@aol.com
I can't believe how awesome these guys started out. There's way too much flanger on the guitars, the singer can't sing(which only adds to his goofy charm) and his vocals sound like he shouted them into a tin can with a string through it, the drums sound like they're all made out of wood, and the bassist is a decidedly funky fellow. I can't help but love the repetitive monotony of "Bag Full Of Thoughts" and "Out For A Walk;" the music just grooves and hums along like they think it's still the 60's, and Mark is the stoned-est sounding lead singer ever. Believe it or not, this pretension-free low-key style actually complements the songs and lyrics perfectly, especially on my personal favorite track, "Garden Of Eyes/Forever Is A Long Time." The only place where his singing doesn't fit is "My Own Planet." In my opinion, it would've sounded a lot better with Wayne singing lead. And "Scratchin The Door" also tries way too hard to be spooky but just ends up being way too long and kind of stupid. But neither of those detracts from my overall enjoyment of this magically delicious EP. I give it a 8 and suggest that more young garage rock bands start by playing fuzzed-out psychedelic post-punk.

bolton_154@hotmail.com (Jude Bolton)
This is the only time its OK to put out an EP. When you're a bunch of young, amateurish, acid-eaters with probably no experience at playing in a band or even singing. In which case, a whole LPs worth of material would be ridiculously boring. So yeah, I love this EP. Scratchin the door and Forever is a long time are my 2 favourites. The latter is kinda similar to Buzzcocks Something gone wrong again, but then again Bag Full of Thoughts rip offs the About A Girl riff, so that evens things out nicely.

princess_vachtangov@yahoo.com
The author of the above message is a spooty faced doofus. About a girl was recorded at least 2 years after Bag Full of thoughts. The key word is AFTER. The song it actually seems to rip off is "I'm not satisfied" from Frank Zappa's "Freak Out"; or maybe it's Mark E Smith who ripped off Bag full of thoughts when he was recording his vastly superior version of I'm not satisfied, unaware of the fact that Kurt Cobain had already ripped it off for About a girl. But then again perhaps Kurt Cobain ripped off I'm not satisfied directly, and Mark Smith then ripped off About a girl without ever hearing Bag full of thoughts. Another possibility is that Mark Smith would've listened to both Bag full of thoughts and About a girl but not to I'm not satisfied, and would've randomly reproduced the Zappa original down to the lyrics and title. I find this the least likely of scenarios due to mr. Smith's frequently professed disdain for American bands who apparently do nothing else but rip off his old songs. On the other hand, he did manage to perform a very convincing subliminal reproduction of Offspring's "Gotta Get Away" on his "Sparta FC" record, so I wouldn't discard the possibility altogether. As a matter of fact I've suddenly recalled that there was a Sonic Youth song that sounds a whole lot like the Fall's version of I'm not satisfied (which sounds a lot like Bag full of thoughts, remember?). I think it was called Youth against Fascism but I may be mistaken (I hate Sonic Youth). And on a COMPLETELY unrelated note, the song "Electric Head" by White Zombie is like totally ripped off from a song called "Monk Time" by the Monks. Trust me on this, use all illegal means at your disposal to obtain these two tracks - it's the most incredible rip-off of all time. Besides, the Monk Time song RULES! It OWNS ALL OTHER SIXTIES SONGS!

Look, I don't know if there's some sort of limit on the length of these "comments", but I've got some more here. I was watching the Angry Beavers cartoon today, and there's this idiot scientist who walks up with Dagget who has a bump on his head and says he's discovered the last of the great horned beavers, and Dag goes "where?" and the scientist answers "right here, you am him". I almost fucking fell off my chair!!! You am him!!! MAN!!!

Add your thoughts?


Hear It Is - Restless 1986
Rating = 8


The first full-length. Mark's out, fired for extreme laziness, and replaced by...no one! They're a trio now, with Wayne singing lead, driving fans nationwide to ask that musical question, "Why wasn't Wayne singing lead in the first place?" He has a fantastic voice for this type of music! Calm and natural when low, quivery and crackly when high, it gives the music a warm personality that Mark never could have managed, even on a good day. Tuesday, for example. The music's different too, though, for better and worse. Better is that they've branched out; leaving psilly psychedelia behind, their emphasis is now on a more basic sort of independent rock - lovely pop ballads interspersed with trashy buzz stompers, most of which are lorddamned good. Worse is that the production is way too sparse - they are clearly in dire need of a second guitarist to fill up the space a little bit. Oh well. At least you can enjoy the drums!

"Hey, do I know any of the songs on it?" you're probably asking a neighbor or group of anonymous passersby at this particular moment in the time/space continuum? Should I not have put a question mark at the end of that sentence? It looks really weird without one. Unirregardless, the only classic on the album is "Jesus Shootin' Heroin," a slow, somewhat blasphemous (or perhaps not!) and lengthy epic that shifts from religious query to Stones tribute without batting an eye - or, heh heh, LIP, as it were. Heh heh. Oh, how droll I can be.

Reader Comments

ABRU9502@Mercury.gc.peachnet.edu (Adam Bruneau)
Hmm...I expected this was going to be very different from their Ninties masterpieces and I was right! Loud, druggy, sometimes-fast sometimes-slow bizarre underground rock for the tripped-out masses, this one is! The album as a whole doesn't blow me away, but there are a few really cool tracks on here..."With You" and "Jesus Shootin' Heroin", of course...and for some reason I just can't shake "Godzilla Flick" out of my head! Ah, and tho the rest is kind of filler (tho I suppose "She is Death" and "Train, Planes, and Brains" are purty kewl as well...) it's interesting to see where these guys started from!

Jcjh20@aol.com
Great album. Not an amazing album like Zaireeka or Clouds Taste Metallic or any of those 90's 'Lips efforts, but all the songs are very good. Great melodies, awesome little surfy-type guitar riffs here and there, and good production. My favorites are "With You", the epic "Jesus Shooting Heroin", "Godzilla Flick" and i love the "With You" reprise at the end of the record too. I also have a newer copy with a great punk rock/indie rock version of the classic Eddie Cochran "Summertime Blues". Great album, and its only just a taste of what will yet to come later on. 9/10.

drazy@gatecity.com
Yeah, it's a 1987 release. I know this because it was the first year I dropped acid and the Flaming Lips were right there with me. Mark Coyne chose drugs too and left the band to little brother Wayne. Apparently, Mark's drug use really must have burnt some images into Wayne's mind because he seems fascinated by 'em, writes a lot of songs about 'em, and then says that he's drug free. I believe him, though, because this release is a huge, I mean fucking huge, improvement over their first e.p. It starts out with the wistful "With You," a song about love and how it makes you feel like your on drugs. Then it's onto more songs about drugs, a song about Manson and a song about a man from Pakistan that I've been thinking about incessantly since 9/11. Drugs? Here it is.

soul_crusher77@hotmail.com (Mike K.)
They're still not quite sounding like the lips as we know them today (heck, Wayne doesn't even really do that quavery neil young-ish thing with his voice yet), but they're on their way. The biggest surprise for me here were noise-rockers like "Charlie Manson Blues", which as someone who started with the soft bulletin and worked his way back, is the sort of thing I'd never have expected them to have written. This isn't a bad thing, the flaming lips have always had lead guitarists who knew how to make neat noises come out of their guitars (except now, because they sort of don't have one at all), it just sorta seems like it was just their way of taking advantage of this situation before they figured out they could merge the guitar noises and the pop melodies together. They're all really good noise songs, and they add a nice edge to compliment the occasional slow druggy ballad. Only a few of the songs venture into lost Lips classic status (namely "Jesus Shootin' Heroin", "With You" and maybe "Godzilla Flick"), but it's all very solid. If not for In A Priest Driven Ambulance, this would probably be their most consistent pre-warner brothers album. I agree with the 8 records.

Oh, and I'm sort of wondering about what version of this cd has the "summertime blues" cover on it. It's mentioned in the liner notes of Finally The Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid, but curiously absent from the product itself, despite a bunch of other apparently contemporary covers showing up. It's a shame, because I'd love to hear that. Oh well, at least I get to hear that hillarious cover of the batman theme anytime I want.

knowstev@med.umich.edu (Steven Knowlton)
The questions mark should go within the quotes (as you have it) and the end of the sentence should be marked with a period. But you probably knew that.

walrus_ruckus@hotmail.com
Blue Cheer on LSD. If I could go with four words where fifty-nine thousand septic sylables I can't fucking spell would suffice I'd leave it there, but I can't so ya get more sour gummi wonder commentary. Can hear everything to come from a 20/20 hindsight listen of "Trains Brains and Rain": subtract the big drums and squint your ears. "Jesus" is surely the standout (though I prefer "Godzilla Flick" or maybe even "Just Like Before"). It's an odd track really. Doesn't fit with any later releases. Structure puts it on Priest (my 10 choice) but doesn't have the big black spiky ball o wet wool sound. As I type this it ended and "Just Like Before" started and I gotta say I'm enjoying myself a lot more. It's a stupid chugger and I love it. 8 of 10.

Add your thoughts?


Oh My Gawd!!! - Restless 1987
Rating = 8


Just like the last record. Just as good. Just as boppy and garagey. Still needs a second guitarist. Of chief interest are the unbelievably catchy lead-off track "Everything's Exploding," the Pink Floyd tribute/rip-off "One Million Billionth Of A Millisecond On A Sunday Morning," the hilariously bubbly cynicism of "Prescription: Love," and the beautiful-in-spite-of-its-irritating-simplicity closing track, "Love Yer Brain." The album's not an enormous step forward artistically, but the point was to make good music - that they've done. And how. Keep these things in mind when you're complaining about the state of modern music. There are tons of great bands out there who just aren't getting their due. The Flaming Lips are only one of them.

Well, four, if you count all the members - all the current members, that is. 1996, I mean. Unless they threw someone out. Hell, why would you count all four of them anyway? What the hell's your problem?

Reader Comments

iceman@sugar-river.net (Nathan Brewer)
i really like this album a lot. it's my favorite flaming lips album (although I've only heard a few of em...). "Everything's Explodin'" rocks pretty hard and has cool lyrics. "Ode To CC, Part 1" reminds me of Beck a lot, because, well, the song is backwards. "Love Yer Brain" is really pretty sounding. and besides, they smash everything at the end of it.

drazy@gatecity.com
Oh my God, it's their second full-length and they're already releasing a self-produced masterpiece! It starts off with a Lennon lift and ends with one. Dali appears on the cover and in the lyrics. Pop icons like C.C. DeVille and Evel Knievel are name-dropped. Buddhist monks set themselves ablaze. Hell and the United States' got all the good bands anyway. We're a bunch of megalomaniac fuckers, better than the rest of the world, violent needing more guns, co-dependent junkies of something, Snake River jumping, too proud to show how fucking afraid we really are. We invented rock music and, by god, we will destroy it too when we're good an ready starting with smashing the fuck out of a piano. Want a sample of one of the most important bands in the past twenty years? It all starts here folks.

soul_crusher77@hotmail.com (Mike K.)
This has a few more tracks I don't particularly like (in particular "Maximum Dream For Evil Kenievel", and "Ode To C.C. Part 1", although Part 2 is hillarious), but it's about on par with the last one. A couple of flashes of brilliance, a bunch of not quite brilliant but still really solid numbers, and one or two songs that don't really do anything. The classics are "One Million Billionth..." and "Love Yer Brain", but other things worthy of mention are "The Ceiling Is Bendin'" for the way the instruments keep disorientingly fading in and out during the verses, "Everything's Explodin'" for just being a good catchy punk rock number and starting off the record with a bang, and "Can't Stop The Spring" for those 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' samples. The songs Richard English penned are pretty damn good too, if you look past his weak and occasionally barely audible vocals. 8/10 again.

Add your thoughts?


Telepathic Surgery - Restless 1989.
Rating = 8


Lots of folks consider this a step down, but lots of folks think motorcycle jackets still look cool too. It takes a couple of tunes to really get crackin', but once it does, it's just as dandy as a Sugar Daddy. There's pretty songs galore, along with some hilarious rockers with whimsical titles like "Redneck School Of Technology" and "Hari Krishna Stomp Wagon (Fuck Led Zeppelin)." Plus, although the lovely "Chrome-Plated Suicide" is probably the classic, the jokey/artsy "UFO Story" and stupid/gorgeous closer "Begs And Achin'" come awfully close to stealing the show right out from underneath the unsuspecting peds of aforementioned metallically-coated self-expiration pop anthem.

Still, folks complained. Frankly, I'm baffled as to what they might have found to complain about, but there you go. If you axe my ass, it's every bit as strong and lovely as the last two. They could still use a second guitarist, sure, but what else can you bitch about? Melody's the name of the game when you're talking about the Lips, and it's certainly here in SPADES, as they played in CLUBS, winning the HEARTS of girls wearing DIAMONDS. It's not metal. It's not good-time rock 'n' roll. It's a sort of messy cruddy pop rock created by some guys who know where it's at (musically speaking, of course). At least, in 1989, it was. Oh, how things change.

Reader Comments

InMyEyes82@aol.com
This album is not very good, IMHO. The 23 minute song is interesting and at times wonderful, but apart from that, the piano part, and "Chrome Plated Suicide", this album sounds disconcertingly like cruddy Dinosaur Jr. type stuff, but without the melodies.

ratkinson@epicrealm.com (Ryan Atkinson)
Oooh gotta agree with MyI's here. Love the Lips, and I really find it difficult to want to put this on with any regularity. Its almost like they started to get conventional here without really knowing how to do it. Considering Im a great big ol' fan of Oh my Gawd and Ambulance, I gotta consider this one something to get last by the Lips.

drazy@gatecity.com
I'm no drummer, but I play one in my basement. And I'll be Goddamned that drummer extraordinaire, Richard English, grabbed a bus home to OK right in the middle of this tour. Man, was I pissed. What did Wayne say to him to make him leave? Did Mike's hair get on his nerves? Come back, Richard! Play those fills. Fail to keep proper time every now and again! I miss you! This album is pretty weak too, which made me even more bitter until someone played me "Five Stop" from their next album. Then everything was o.k. They got back on my good side again. "Telepathic Surgery" isn't that bad, it ain't that good, either. You try knocking out another masterpiece after being on the road 300 days a year. It's tough. I forgive you, Flaming Lips. Honest.

galleyian@mac.com (Ian Galley)
I have to agree with most of the comments made above, Telepathic Surgery is not a particularly good album. There are a few good songs littered around, but most of it is pointless filler. Even at 30 minutes 'Hells Angels...' is shockingly bereft of ideas.

It's saved by the wonderful 'Right Now' and 'UFO Story'.

Good job you can now get in in a set, shame that wasn't out when I bought this.

Add your thoughts?


Unconsciously Screamin' EP - Restless 1990.
Rating = 9


Well, whaddaya know? The first truly great record of the Lips's career and what makes the difference? A SECOND GUITARIST. Now Wayne can play the melody while the other guy (Jonathan Donahue?) just makes cool noises to fill up all that extra space that so haunted the preceding recordings. Four songs here, all fantastic. Two ear-searingly noisy distorted rockers and two beautiful, frigged-up ballads. Golly pete, it's good. The title track ended up on the next album, the vinyl is poop brown, and the cover is a groovy hologram-sorta thing. Find it. Buy it. And thank me later. Now they're truly on the road to success. Clompity clompity!

Reader Comments

Jcjh20@aol.com
I agree with the 9. The title track and "Lucifer Rising" both rock very much. "Ma, I Didn't Notice" is my fave, as its beautiful balladry, except for that weird-butt ending with 3 minutes of industrial noise and feedback.

susieliva48@nyc.rr.com (Susanne Livathinopoulos)
Just one superfluous comment, really: the title track and the especially intense "Lucifer Rising" are full of distortion. But the "two beautiful, frigged-up ballads" are pretty raucous as well. Hell, "Ma, I Didn't Notice"'s pseudo-industrial noise section is the loudest thing on the record. "Let Me Be It" has a good cheap organ sound, but the chorus feels muted. That's all.

Add your thoughts?


In A Priest Driven Ambulance - Restless 1990.
Rating = 9


The epitome of fine Oklahoma song stylings. Contains ten songs - four acoustic, five noisy pop-rock, and one Louis Armstrong cover - every last one awash in a sea of screaming unnecessary feedback. Wayne handles the chords and the horrendously off-key (but charming nonetheless) high-pitch vocals while Jonathan just stands way too close to his amp, alternating between heavenly spiritual swoops and ugly whining "eeeeeeeeee!" for a good forty-five minutes. And those melodies! Golly, they're good. Unlike the earlier LPs, which each contain one or two real stinkers, this unit proves to be aroma-free time and time again.

And there's something for everybody! The dark acoustic numbers (especially "Stand In Line" and "Five Stop Mother Superior Rain") recall the Stones at their Sticky Fingers best, "Take Me Ta Mars" is about the grooviest Can rip-off ever penned, and "God Walks Among Us Now" - oh my. Oh HO my. Pump the bass way way way up and maybe, if you're really lucky, you'll be able to discern the melody through the buzz, static, and hiss that screech at you like a cat with his tail in my mouth - an unbelievably satisfying song. "Shine On Sweet Jesus" and "Mountain Side" are pretty much classic, too. Natural sounds created by Americans. Moods galore and splendid melodies to match. Beatles comparisons are possible. That's all I'm saying.

Reader Comments

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
Priest is saved by the two bonus tracks which aren't on the one you reviewed, so who knows how you gave it a nine. Notables on the first ten are "Shine on Sweet Jesus", and "Take Me ta Mars". Beyond that, you gotta be in the mood, but when you are, it works really well. 8.

azitelli@stevens-tech.edu (Andrew Zitelli)
best album of their indie schlock days, easy. a lot of this one is ungodly racket, but so catchy and crazy and silly. yeah, i also want to mention the two bonus tracks, one of which sounds to me a lot like their early hard stuff, and the other which is another piece of brainless pop. but waynes voice is so loopy and fun to listen to, so i give it a 9 -- a 9+ with the bonus tracks, just because it's 10 more minutes of the Lips!!!

ABRU9502@Mercury.gc.peachnet.edu (Adam Bruneau)
I agree with Andrew Zitelli here (tho I haven't heard Telepathic yet...) that this is the best album from their Indie days. At first, I only dug "Unconciously Screamin'", "Five-Stop Mother Superior Rain" and "Wonderful World" but after a few listens, I found that I really _really_ like just about every song here...except maybe for "Mountainside", which seems a little contrived. Oh, the CD bonus tracks both rock and the beautiful cover of "Wonderful World" had me in tears the first time I heard it. Yet another 9 from me!

richbunnell@home.com
Kind of formulative, though a lot of the album shows hints of the band's developing genius. Basically, I agree with most people that the first half of this album and the "Wonderful World" cover are fantabulous, but that the four remaining songs are all sort of ugly and dull. "God Walks Among Us Now" and "Mountain Side," to name a couple of examples, rock, but that's all they do - they rock without any sort of melodies. Unlike "Unconsciously Screamin'," which rocks with a HELL of a melody. Otherwise, "Shine On Sweet Jesus" is probably the most representative of the bouncy, anarchic joviality typical of the next album, "Take Me Ta Mars" is a great empty cold bass groove, and "Five Stop Mother Superior Rain" - hoot mon, acoustic bliss. On the whole, I give the album a seven.

Jcjh20@aol.com
Noisy as hey-ell when they rock, but beautiful when they use the acoustics. "5 Stop Mother Superior Rain", "There You Are", and "Stand In Line" are really good acoustic songs. "God Walks Among Us Now", wow is that a noisy song. But great sounding noise, with a good melody (may be buried under noise, but its there) and thats what i like about them. "Take Me Ta Mars" is a groovy bass/drum driven song. "Unconsiously Screaming" is actually a hint of the pop/rock they would later do in future records, and the "Wonderful World" cover is nice too. Good album, its great to hear a second guitarist finally. 9/10.

drazy@gatecity.com
The David Fridmann touch starts with this one, and he's helped reaffirm my belief in The Flaming Lips again. Maybe it had a little to do with the fact that I stopped dropping acid the year of this album's release, thanks to some nasty, post-hallucinogenic depression. Mike's hair stopped growing around the time this album came out. Oh, Wayne's there too, the l'il soldier, guiding his troops to another victory. Has this band ever recorded a bad album? Well, they came close with ""Surgery" and their first e.p., but I've come up with good, legitimate excuses for both of those releases. The Lips get their head outta their ass with this one and probably think they have a shot at signing to a major. That's some funny shit right there. The Flaming Lips on a major label?! Yeah, and the Butthole Surfers will have a hit on the Beatles' old label too. HA HA HA!! "There You Are (Jesus Song #7)" is about as beautiful as the beautiful songs on "The White Album." "Mountain Side" rocks harder than "Misty Mountain Hop." "Wonderful World" could've been a novelty, but it isn't; Wayne's too smart to fuck with one of the most recognized songs of the 20th century. feedback. He's just as sincere as Mr. Armstrong was, only with feedback for strings. "Five Stop Mother Superior Rain" is one of the best songs Wayne's penned. More songs about Jesus and babies. The Rosetta Stoned between the Lips of the eighties and the highs they reached during the nineties. Richard who? Ah, he's probably laying carpet in OK somewhere. Besides, he could barely keep time anyway, the fucking pussy...

galleyian@mac.com (Ian Galley)
Not much to report on this except it ROCKS. Can't fault it, twelve odd years old and it stills sounds fresh, visionary and poetic. 'Five Stop Mother Superior Rain' is somehow my favourite Lips song ever, (despite being told by a guitar player ex-friend of mine telling me it's the same chord sequence as, forgive me for uttering these words, four non blondes.)

'Take Meta Mars' is Can, nowt wrong with that at all. In fact, it's encouraged. 'God Walks...' scares the shit out of me every time.

stuart.goldberg@dechert.com
Just wanted to concur with Ian Galley - Five Stop Mother Superior Rain is the Lips' finest moment to date, including anything on Yoshi. Listening to it now, 13 years on, it's incredible how contemporary it still sounds. And it's got the perfect line, "All my smiles, getting in the hate generation's way". Genius.

walrus_ruckus@hotmail.com
10 of 10. I'll be the only one to make this claim but you can all take your pop gerbils to the altar of...well, somewhere. Shut up ye voices! Leave me alone! Kit the talking car YOU ARE NOT REAL! 'Priest is magnificent. "Used to be all right/but things got strange" God Walks Among Us Now! Wonderful World! how great is that? Best use of the song until the opening sequence of the PC game Fallout in '97. Acoustic or amped, there is a consistent sound through this album and there's nothing else quite like it. Fence of feedback without murkiness. Fuck: buy it!

Add your thoughts?


Wastin' Pigs Is Still Radical EP - Warner Bros. 1991
Rating = 8


More a single than an EP, but a darn fine single, you. "Talkin' 'Bout The Smiling Death Porn Immortality Blues" alone would be worth the purchase price if it hadn't've'll'd ended up on the next album, but "Jets" is fairly amazing as well. There are also a couple of Echo And The Bunnymen covers, but I wouldn't know what to say about them, having never heard the originals. What's important is that they now have major label support, and they're taking advantage of it! Listen to that fine, lush production! Say! What movie is the title taken from? Is it Repo Man? You don't really need this record, but if you see it cheap, you'd might as well get it. The tongue-in-eye cover is certainly worth having around the apartment.

Reader Comments

LSDiety@aol.com
The title of this album is a reference to the 1991 Bodycount/Ice-T/"Cop Killer" controversy.

lyabibrave@mindspring.com (Christian Smith)
The title is a reference to the punk dystopia movie "River's Edge." One of the kids says it when the nerdy suckup questions the validity of what the hippies did.

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Hit To Death In The Future Head - Warner Bros. 1992
Rating = 9


Moe, but they take advantage of their major-label status. Check out the instrument list. Electric guitars, yeah. Bass guitars, of course. Acoustic guitars, sure. But trumpets? Saringies?? Violins??? Congas???? Cellos????? Autoharps?????? COMPUTERS??????? FLUGELHORNS???????? POWER TOOL MACHINES???????????????? The wondermous I guarantee thing is that they're not joking! They've effectively merged the feedback-drenched pop/rock and acoustic druggery of the last album with something close to orchestral cabaret.

And my my, what a beautiful sound it is. Hissy distorted noise reigns supreme like some kind of bastard king until it is suddenly buried behind currents of lovely maturity that drift in and out of the mix, introducing dreamy melodies that would have been lost to the world forever sans the grace of amazingly strong production, thoughtful arrangements, and remarkably unorthodox rock 'n' roll instruments. I'd compare it to Sgt. Pepper's, but they don't just toss out the guitar rock like the Fabulous Foursome had done; they enhance it. Like, say, Bob Marley, if you work with me. If you don't, fuck off.

Just kiddin' about that "fuck off" thing. I meant to type "givl pgg," but you know these ornery keyboards.

The ten songs as a unit aren't quite as strong or immediate (whatever the hey that means) as the baker's three short of a dozen on the last slab of metal, but the production certainly doesn't let you down a teeny iota. And get this - somehow, to keep with the spirit of the proceedings, Wayne manages to sing every single note ON TUNE!!!! Buy it. Listen to it a few times. The songs can seem a little samey at first, but they'll catch up to you in a little bit. And for your info, my fave raves are "Hit Me Like You Did The First Time," "The Magician Vs. The Headache," "Frogs," and the mini-epic "Halloween On The Barbary Coast."

Say, you know what I just found out, ten years later? Jonathan wrote and sings a few of the songs! No wonder I thought Wayne was hitting all the notes!

Reader Comments

InMyEyes82@aol.com
Whoa, is this album great. So many FINE melodies this guy could put out, and the Beatles comparisons are actually plausible (unlike, say, with the Cranberries). Each and every song here is mindblowing, filled to the brim with ear candy like opera samples and violins, and such, and such. And the cool thing is that Wayne doesn't just rest on his laurels and say "Hey, look at all this stuff we got here!". He actually uses them to great effect, like on the eerie violins on "Gingerale Afternoon". Super stuff here.

khooper@incentre.net (Kristopher Hooper)
There's a part on one of the final acoustic-ish ditties on side two where a section of prerecorded orchestration starts-up. It is beautiful in a really fresh way because you have heard the sounds in question before and they are SOO familiar, yet the record snippet is totally out of synch, making this lush chaos in total contrast to the simple melody. I find, for me, that's what the Lip's are all about... a fresh spin on old hat.

dwhitwill@thegrid.net (Debbie Whitwill)
You know, this is the one I compare any other Lips product to. The first track is a loopy shoulda-been pop classic, "Hit Me Like The First Time" is a moving song you'd sing to your significant other, except is has tons of noise splashed on top. "Halloween On The Barbary Coast" is the pinnacle of Lips songwriting, soundscaping, and lyricism. "Well, the retards left when the evenin' came/Equilibrium makes 'em whole again" WHA?

richbunnell@home.com
This album rules. This is EXACTLY how I pictured the Lips when I was reading through this page for the first time-- anarchic fuzz-rockers who still somehow manage to throw actual melodies into the mix. "Hit Me Like You Did The First Time" is the best song, "Everyone Wants To Live Forever" is the catchiest, and the two acoustic numbers, though they don't immediately jump out at you, still have great melodies. "Halloween At The Barbary Coast" is magnificent; 5 minutes and 41 seconds of wonderful Lippitude.. The reason I didn't give a ten to the following three albums (Zaireeka not counted because I'm not sure if I'll ever hear that one) is because I KNEW that the Lips had to have an album that sounded like this. So the ten goes here, baby! I'm waitin' for the frogs to fall!

And yeah, the album ends with a hidden track filled with 29 minutes of speaker-shifting noise, so if I were to be some sort of objective technical nerd, the album would only get a six or seven, but that would make me no better than the people who give In The Court by King Crimson a really low grade just because "Moonchild" technically takes up a large section of the album.

hajjyuejw@hotmail.com (Kub)
Hit to Death showcases the mix between the Lips' earlier, hissier work and their gently somwhat flowing work. All the songs pack a nice, noisy punch. "Hold Your Head" is a psychedelic masterpiece. The song and the sounds cannot be described. By far one of the Lips' eeriest songs. "You Have To Be Joking" is a more serious approach to song making reminescent of the sweet, but Lipsy "There You Are". Ignore the 30 minute or so track of hidden noise at the end. "Halloween on the Barbary Coast" places them atop the hill of making one chord verses sound so nice. With layer upon layer of guitar, bongos, power tools, computers, and layers of guitar. Buy this album first, then move to more recent ones. Then collect the old stuff. Although, Priest is a nice album.

misterkite@mindspring.com (Adam Bruneau)
Good gawd...it's The Flaming Lips again! A lot of folks swear by this album, and I can definitely hear why. The songs all completely rock and more often than not Wayne actually hits the notes as he sings...a big plus.

The album's a bit too crowded in the pink haze an army of musical instruments but I still enjoy it on occasion. Only when I don't have a headache tho....

drazy@gatecity.com
The Flaming Lips sign to Warner Bruthas and sell out...And boy you've still got shit for brains! The Dubba Bee gave 'em a proper recording budget and the Lips made an album we all expected they could make. 'Bout time... Instead of other retards that would take the cash advance and spend it on heroin, the Lips spent it for studio time; to pay for those chellos, power drills, and licensing fees to Michael "I personally fucked up Floyd's 'The Final Cut'" Kamen for the "Brazil" sample. American heros with strong American work ethics. God bless the Flaming Lips. 9/10

galleyian@mac.com (Ian Galley)
Dive bomb the bass then "Doo Wop", a perfect way to start a perfect album. 10/10. No need for any further analysis

Add your thoughts?


Transmissions From The Satellite Heart - Warner Bros. 1993.
Rating = 9


The commercial breakthrough! What they've done here is strip away all those extra instruments from Hit To Death without returning to the under-the-weather tone of Priest Driven Ambulance. The mood here is up, and definitely poppy, but not in an icky way. From this point onward, new drummer, multi-instrumentalist and heroin addict Steven Drozd would become the chief Flaming Lips melodicist, with Wayne focusing mainly on lyrics. Brand new second guitarist Ronald Jones provides interesting, ringing support to the Beach Boys melodies as well, albeit with much less feedback than that Jonathan Donahue guy (who left to devote all his time to Mercury Rev), so the arrangements are still chock full of gentle surprises.

Plus, they got on the radio! The hilarious and infectious masturbation ode, "She Don't Use Jelly," provided the Lippers with their first strong MTV support, boosted by the band's surreal guest appearance on Beverly Hills: 90210 starring Jason Priestley. "Turn It On" got a little bit of play, too, but not nearly as much as it should have considering that its melody is exactly the same as "Let Her Cry" by Hootie And The Blowjob. Elsewhere, "Superhumans" and "Chewin' The Apple Of Your Eye" are gorge, positive-sounding pop thumpers, "Oh My Pregnant Head" is weird enough to warrant about fifty listens in a row, and "Slow*Nerve*Action" (with its astonishingly John Bonhammy drum sound) is the sole hint of the dark underbelly that used to live in this beast we call Flamers. Eh? Yeah, even though some of the lyrics are a little melancholy, most of the tuneage on this discage is happy as garbage. Good though, unless you're one o' them G.G. Allin fans, in which case it's really faggy and they don't eat their own poop.

Reader Comments

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
Okay, Transmissions aas some beautiful tracks and some tracks that you just have to be in the mood for. It also has "When Yer 22", which is really boring, and "*******" which gets old after the novelty wears off. Umm... Notable for amazing songs "Be My Head" and "Turn It On", as well as beautiful ditties, "Chewin' the Apple in Yer Eye," "Slow Nerve Action", "Superhumans", and the infamous played-it-on-90201 "She Don't Use Jelly".

misterkite@mindspring.com (Adam Bruneau)
Definitely a 9! This one is just as good as Clouds and maybe even better. All the songs are simple crazy pop and brimming with studio effects. The Flaming Lips are an audio circus and they're the best in town! I really enjoy "Superhumans" and "Chewin' the Apple of Your Eye" as lost pop classics. "She Don't Use Jelly" and "Turn It On", of course, are some of the more popular songs and deserving of their fame, but there's some even better stuff here. "Oh My Pregnant Head" really reminds me of Pink Floyd and the "******" is a strikingly mellow prelude to the violent "When Yer 22". I just love this album. It's pizza for your ears. Can't wait for A Soft Bulletin!

InMyEyes82@aol.com
Man, I love this band. This album is the most "rock" of the Lips' albums, though it still has some melancholy acoustic stuff like "Chewing.." and "*****". "She Don't Use Jelly" is silly but has beautiful verses with the lilting guitars and what not. "Superhumans", "Oh My Pregnant Head", "When Yer Twenty Two" and "Slow Nerve Action" are all stupendously beautiful psycho-babbly rock and roll tunes. It's a terrific record but it's surpassed by "Clouds Taste Metallic", simply because THAT album is a godhead.

9/10

mprindle@nyc.rr.com (Rich Bunnell)
I found this used, among about seven other copies of the same album, for seven bucks, and all I can say is that the sheer number of used copies was just a fluke based on the band's commercial "one-hit wonder" status, because this is a GREAT album. It has a myriad of crunchy guitars and superb melodies. "Pilot At The Queer Of God" is just so apocalyptic and relentless-- why hasn't anyone mentioned it? Plus, you're right-- "Let Her Cry" by (ugh) Hootie has the exact same chorus melody as "Turn It On". And gee, which band's album came first? This one! Stupid generic boogie bar band AOR moron Hootie idiots. Oh yeah-- this gets a nine.

danzig9@hotmail.com (Daniel Lawrence)
I really like this record. It's creative, it's witty, and beats the hell out of anything the kids are listening to these days. Too bad they only were admired for "She Don't Use Jelly" and probably seen as one hit wonders. 8

Jcjh20@aol.com
Great record. Really a great record. The mellow sad acoustic stuff is achingly beautiful ("******" which is really called "Plastic Jesus", if i am not mistaken, "Chewing The Apple Of Your Eye") and the noisy rockers are totally awesome, "When Yer 22", "Slow*Nerve*Action", "Superhumans", "Pilot At The Queer of God" ("Shes Got HELICOPERS!"). Fuckin great stuff, i love these guys. And yes "She Dont Use Jelly" is a great song, very catchy and funny. A definate 9.

drazy@gatecity.com
I'm on a motherfucking quest to respond to every Goddamn Flaming Lips record that this website lists. Why embark on such a futile and trivial quest? Everyone who visits this site is part of the choir and the postings, no matter how stupid or inane they may be, only reflects how passionate about this community is about music...Except for that one dude who praised David Coverdale in an angry tirade on some other band's review. And it's passion that have kept the Flaming Lips on the radar for so long. With each subseqent album we see them advancing, improving, and challenging themselves (and their listeners) into new and exciting landscapes. T.F.T.S.H. continues this tradition; from the opening radio dials 'n feedback of "Turn It On" lead you towards another one of them tasty guitar parts you wish you'd thought of or, at least, wish you knew where the Lips lifted the chords from. Whatever the case, you wish within the first 50 seconds that all those other stations had the balls to do just what Wayne suggests. Sequing into "Pilot Can At The Queer Of God," which blantantly rips the drum intro of Floyd's "Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk," it becomes apparent that the Oakies have found a sympathetic ear with producer David Fridmann. Fridmann is the perfect producer for these oddballs; taking their feedback to a higher form and bringing new dimensions into their world. And the rest of the album is spot on, including that 90210 hit "Jelly" that caused the curly haired dude to exclaim the Lips' rocked per Spelling's script. They do, it does, and "Transmissions" is one of the high points of their career. The great thing is, the band proved they could do even better.

galleyian@mac.com (Ian Galley)
I can't really add any more to the debate, critically-wise (rolled a fat one in your honour, good, good piers). Except to say "Slow Nerve Action' is the greatest Lips song ever!

Ten out of Ten

clash@iglou.com (Chris Carrier)
I'm now a big fan of this album, but I'd not really examined it closely until I was DJing in Chicago, and a regular kept requesting Slow*Nerve*Action which... got into my head. Anyway, I was acting in this little independent film and there was this scene where I'm just supposed to be crying (like it's a child memory) out of nowhere... no lines, no preceding action, no getting hit with a bat. I was pretty straight forward about not being a "cry on cue" actor, but I guess the director changed his mind. So I asked for a bit of time and I went into my car and listened to Slow*Nerve*Action on the stereo. The song may be about lost youth, regret, rejection, whatever... it all works for me and that guitar lick kicks my fucking ass like no other. Anyway, I was able to do the scene, thanks to Paul the invisible dog. The song itself doesn't make me choke up, but it gets me introspective and well... I'm always moved by genius. It's my favorite Lips song.

walrus_ruckus@hotmail.com
9 of 10. Great test of the quality of yer speakers. Mucho fun-o. First and only release where the lyrics were maybe worth a moment's attention.

Re: She Don't Use Jelly Compact Disc Maxi-Single -- Nothing to see here folks, move along. Unless you...see below. The hit song, an indulgent dork rework of it, an itermittently amusing too long useless version of "Turn It On" (one of my favorite Lips songs), and a version of the Jesus song (the Satellite one, not one of the other five hundred Jesus ones) with no distortion. Track this down only if you want to see a blurry photo of a woman with big lips unable to see a plate of eggs. 5 of 10. For the blindfolded with ductape big lipped smelling egg but unable to see it crowd this is a 1000 of 10. You will NOT be disappointed.

matthewbyrd@hotmail.com
Pfffft, nice bunch of 60's-like pop-singles...... but I'd never give it a 9 or a 10. I'd give it an 8. Same thing for the next one. The two albums don't amount to much more than a collection of cutesy-tutesy little pop ditties, that's not bad, but not great. They're pretty damn GOOD pop songs though, hope I didn't sound too pessimistic there. *sigh* ok 8 1/2's for both of 'em just you know... for all the genius that went into 'em.

browningub40@peoplepc.com
I bought this one hoping this would be a good release from a good band. I aint getting anything from them again ever. Not that their no good or anything, but this album stinks to high heaven. It sounds horrible in my opinion, and the songs have no meaning whatsoever, which is a problem kinda. And especially since this is supposed to be one of their best ones...well if this is their best, maybe they should keep it to themselves. lol. And i have certain issues with their lead singer as well. Not only is he annoying, but on most of these songs it seems like he's trying to sing in the most annoying, lousiest way possible.I mean, even if you look at the song titles on this one it's easy to see why they don't take any of thier music serioulsly, or if they do they're keeping it a well hidden secret.

als66@case.edu (Adam L. Spektor)
Mark,

In regard to your review of The Flaming Lips' "Transmissions From the Satellite Heart":

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned "Moth in the Incubator" yet, which has always been one of my favorite Lips songs. The rousing slide-psych-guitar stomp coda is one of the most cathartic moments in the band's catalog.

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She Don't Use Jelly EP - Warner Bros. 1994
Rating = 8


The ever-busty Lindsay Lohan is at it again! On this, her debut album for Warner Brothers, she proves that she can play not only a Mean Girl, but a mean GUITAR too! Go, you girl!

The most surprising thing about the buxom superstar's musical entre is exactly how much she sounds like obscure one-hit-wonders "The Flaming Lips." Some of my more "long in the tooth" readers might remember that band's whimsical early-'90s novelty hit "She Don't Use Jelly" from its many appearances on popular MTV program Beavis & Butthead. Somehow, the talented Ms. Lohan pulls off an EXACT COPY -- down to the very SECOND -- of that long-forgotten nugget from yesteryear! There are times when you could almost SWEAR that it's the original singer performing the timid warbles, but nope - it's just Lil' Miss Lindsay showing the big bad world what she can do!

Sassy Ms. Lohan continues the proceedings with a lively hoedown bluegrass version of a Flaming Lips rarity entitled "Turn It On," complete with instrumental assistance from former celebrities The B***hole Surfers and Firehose. Talk about adorable! Next up on Luscious Lindsay's soon-to-be-Billboard-chart-topper is a solo acoustic version of an aged hymn entitled "Plastic Jesus," and the magnum opus reaches its denouement with a genius piece of avant-garde cut-and-paste composition entitled "Translucent Egg," essentially a loud, brilliant reworking of "She Don't Use Jelly"'s master themes. Bravo, Lindsay! My compliments to the Chef! Girl go, you!

At a mere 20 minutes, the major label debut from America's Chesty Sweetheart may seem a mite brief, but sometimes you have to measure quality rather than quantity. And considering sweet Lindsay's lusty sensuality and dual artistic assets, it should be but a matter of months before we find her doing quintuple-anals in Max Hardcore's Crosby, Stills & Gash.

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Providing Needles For Your Balloons - Warner Bros. 1994
Rating = 8


Wasn't it on Warner Bros.? I never actually bought it (just illegally taped it is all), but I have to imagine that it was probably on Warner Bros. I have to! It's a collection of covers, outtakes, and alternate versions of popular songs that may not show the Lips at their flawless finest, but nevertheless gives us a lot of insight into the way that they work, alternating as it does between tightly-produced studio tracks like "Bad Days" and messy, longly-introduced live covers like "Chosen One" and "The Little Drummer Boy." In fuckt, the version of "Slow*Nerve*Action" on here is muddled to the point of indeciphery, which is the entire point. They don't wear it on their sleeve like your Ween or your Dead Milkfellows, but these boys have a tremendous sense of humor. And crap. This here record is clock full of wrong notes, gaffes, foul-ups, bleeps, blunders, bloopers, and practical jokes, but it's still pleasant, catchy, and marijuana.
Reader Comments

EvilFrank@aol.com
Just so ya know The lips arent drug addicts.and there songs are not about drugs . (although "on Hit to death ,"That one song felt good to burn is questionable) But other then that -Provideing needles for yer ballons......"and marjuina?"....uh no.

Jcjh20@aol.com
Umm, i think he ment that as a joke meaning "Poppy". Nowhere do you see him mention about the Flaming Lips as drug users, do ya? I might be wrong (good Radiohead song) though.

drazy@gatecity.com
Yup, it's on Warner's and yup, it's warts-n-all Lips. God fucking bless them. You get an early incarnation of "Bad Days," lots of low-fi fuzz, and an awesome Smog cover recorded at a (now defunct) Minneapolis record store that is probably home to a Starbucks or some shit. The 8 eight is high but high is when you should listen to it. Smoke a bowl, and laugh at one of the best album titles of the decade. O.K., so it's an e.p. technically, but I'm baked half the time anyway.

edm1213@msn.com
From what I've read none of the Lips have been into drugs since the 80s except Drozd whose situation up to 2001 is well documented on the Fearless Freaks DVD. Though Ivins and a couple of ex-members were said to be tripping occasionally during the early 90s Priest/Hit to Death period, Wayne's always said he hasnt done anything since his early 20s, which may have even been before he formed the band in late 82/early 83 whenever.

Anyway I heard this once at a used store and didnt see much use for it except the early version of Bad Days. A couple of the covers were decent if I remember correctly. I guess this was teaser or holdever collection of some sort since She Dont Use Jelly was getting airplay and they were on Lollapalooza (Smashing Pumpkins headlining the mainstage, Lips on the second stage... the only question is which one would be headlining now. In case you havent noticed, the Lips grew to become the band Corgan always seemed to be hyping his Pumpkins to be. I'd like him more if he grew some of his hair back and wrote an entire album of decent to good songs again.)

Good if you wanna collect everything they've done, but hell i'm probably not even gone bother with the new Christmas On Mars DVD/CD and will probably only buy the next album if it's better than At War With the Mystics, so whatever. Decide for yourself if you can still find this one.

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Soil Samples 23 7"- Warner Bros. 1995
Rating = 7


This promo single features two live recordings, as follows:

Side A) "What's The New Mary Jane?" - I don't know if you've ever heard The Beatles, but the worst song in their catalog besides "The Long And Winding Road" is an excruciating novelty disaster by John Lennon entitled "What's The New Mary Jane?" You can find it on Anthology III, but don't blame me when your ears rip themselves off your head and vomit wax all over the place. As such, can you imagine how relaxed my sphincter became when I learned that an Australian band called "THE MOLES" later recorded a completely different song with the same title? I'll pause here and allow you a moment to close your eyes and imagine the relaxation of my sphincter.

For, you see, it's the MOLES' version that The Flaming Lips perform live on this single! And it's a pretty little song with a bendy note over four basic chords and pleasant vocal melody! Good choice, Flaming Lips!

What do you call gymnastics performed by the members of Tool?
Laming Flips!

What was Erik Estrada doing about his failed career as late as 2009?
Blaming Chips!

What is William Hung best known for doing?
Shaming Nips!

What was Missile Command doing back in 1983?
Faming Blips!

What do you call L.A. gang members who enjoy a nice round of backgammon?
Gaming Crips!

Well, that was terrific fun but it's time to move on to Side B.

Side B) "Under Pressure" - Twelve years later, the Flaming Lips would collaborate with Neon Indian to ask the musical question, "Is David Bowie Dying?" But the only question raised by this song is "Is David Bowie Trying?" Like most of his discography, "Under Pressure" has always been completely average, and remains so here.

I apologize. Now I feel all guilty and am wondering "Is David Bowie Crying?"

Say! What's that smell? "Is David Bowie Frying?"

Hey! A gun is being removed from Charleton Heston's cold dead hands! "Is David Bowie Prying"?

I can't believe I'm actually putting effort into this.

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Clouds Taste Metallic - Warner Bros. 1995.
Rating = 9


It took me years and a half to get into this record, but it finally happened. The problem here is that, at first glance (if you tend to just look at songs, as some do), this album is simply the same exact upbeat and impossibly happy pop song played over and over and over again. Like, disgustingly happy. Dukes Of Stratosphear happy. Gross.

But after you listen to it a few times, it starts to sound much less like they're bounding about in Fairy Rabbit Patch, and more like they're just really worn out and depressed, but trying desperately to cheer themselves up. The songs are positive, but relaxed. And they actually aren't all the same. Most of them (especially the first five or six songs) are rilly memorable. Heck, wonderfully memorable, if I may be so supportive. At this point in time, I'm most likely to rave about the movie-projector-ridden "The Abandoned Hospital Ship" and the actually-different-from-the-others bass-driven "This Here Giraffe," but that's probably only because I haven't listened to it enough times yet to really pick out individual songs from the herd. It's awfully samey but, like Hit To Death, repeated listens reveal depth in the songwriting and arrangements that are just hard to notice at first.

Reader Comments

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
Ok, let's get one thing straight right now. Clouds Taste Metallic is awesome and brilliant. The other two I have, Transmissions and Priest Driven are less-so. In fact, I'd give Clouds a ten if it weren't for a few slow tracks on the first side. Namely, the fetus song, "Brainville", "This Here Giraffe", and "Headache". I don't know why you think the songs sound the same. Maybe you're crazy or something. 9.

WAYVED@aol.com
Man-this shit is intoxicating. This was the first Flaming Lips I heard-and just the bells at the end of "Abandoned Hospital Ship" are completely amazing...Perfect music to get drunk in a hotel room on a sunny day-staring out the window..awesome!

misterkite@mindspring.com (Adam Bruneau)
After looking all over the place for Clouds Taste Metallic, it finally popped up in a used CD shop and I snagged meself a copy. WOAH! These guys kick not amoeba, not even George Kennedy, but TED KENNEDY!!! It's like Syd Barrett-driven Pink Floyd was born in the eighties and survived the depressed crap put out by every other "rock" band since! Let's see...what do I like on here? Hundreds and hundreds of memorable tracks here: "Placebo Headwound" I really like; "This Here Giraffe" is cool and reminds me much of Piper at the Gates of Dawn; "Brainville" is levitating, amusement-park psychedelia at its finest; "They Punctured My Yolk" is like some guy just blasting off; "Lightning Strikes the Postman" is heavy absurdness at its best, like what John Lennon might have written if that sod Mark Chapman hadn't killed him; "Bad Days" was what got me into this and evem though it rocks, some of those other tracks rock even more! Well, at the very least it's still all entertaining and fun and at the best its a psychedelic modern-day masterpiece. I give it a 9 Man, these guys really deserve some credit! Until this record, I hadn't bought anything that was recorded past 1973, but I'm sure as hell gonna check out some other Lips offerings. Let's see, what were the big records of '95? Kiss from a Rose? Jagged Little Pill? Oh gawd, don't make me laugh.

InMyEyes82@aol.com
Now THIS is superb. Beautiful melodies, a kickass drummer, humor, and some ungodly rocking songs ("kim's watermelon gun", etc.), are all this music fan needs, thank you very much! Jesus, like Prindle, I wasnt sure about it at first, but it grew on me like kudzu on Kareem Abdul jabbar. I mean, listening to the album, you tend to think to yourself "My god, this guy is singing Sesame street stuff and he's unembarassed to do that! Heh heh! Cool", and also I tend to think, "My god, this guy is as big a genius as Brian Wilson or John Lennon!"

mprindle@nyc.rr.com (Rich Bunnell)
"Dukes Of Stratosphear happy. Gross."? Aah, bleep you. The Dukes had their share of dark, melancholy pastiches among the 16 songs they released ("25 O'Clock" and "The Mole From The Ministry" come to mind), and the happy songs wouldn't have been happy had the psychedelic movement not been basically the same sort of thing in the first place. The band was a joke, and an utterly excellent one at that. Besides, XTC's normal music is quite cynical most of the time, diametrically opposed to the music on the Dukes' masterpiece of an album.

This should be a verbal question on the SAT-- "Rich Bunnell is to XTC as Tim Eimiller is to The Who." Well, everyone has to have a favorite band. Sorry to seem off-topic -again-, but it needed to be said and I definitely do plan on venturing into the Flaming Lips' discography in the very near future (when I finally get some freakin' extra spending money for such matters).

richbunnell@home.com
...Anywaaaay... obsessive rabid drooling hero worship aside, I found this album (partially out of a desire to make up for the comment above, and also because I've been curious about this band for a while now), and I'm certainly glad I did. It's a very happy affair, true, yet a very pretty one-- just listen to that chiming guitar at the end of "The Abandoned Hospital Ship," or the pure, harmonic melody of "This Here Giraffe." Only once does the band deviate from the beautiful harmonies and completely rock out like on the last album, and that song, "Psychiatric Explorations Of The Fetus With Needles," is one of the best! Maybe the album's huge standout tracks are crammed onto the first side, but that doesn't mean the songs come even twenty miles CLOSE to bad. In fact, I'd give this a ten were I familiar with every other album (Zaireeka is gonna be costly and hard to find...arrrggggh...), but as it is I'm forced to settle with a nine. Frickin' one-ten system.

jcjh20@aol.com
Wonderful album. I love that kinda optimistic/happy yet lazy sound that Mark was talking about in this album. I do agree that the highlight songs are on-to the first side, but there is not even close to a bad song on here. Everyone i know seems to love "Bad Days" which is a better track for people to remember the Lips by then "She dont use Jelly", "Evil Will Prevail" is another favorite of mine, "Guy Who got a headache" is cute; and shows that the Lips have a sence of humor, "Kims Watermelon Gun" rocks.. Really no need to name any names.. Every track is good. I really wasnt too familiar with the Lips when i bought this, but i was easily impressed when i first listened. If Zaireeka was never relased, id give this a 10, but ill give this one a high 9.

drazy@gatecity.com
And here we have it: a band that has come from loving feedback, shitty amplifiers, and stoner-inspired lyrics (yeah, we know Wayne's sober) into a remarkable American rock band. David Fridmann officially became the Lip behind the curtain with this release and secured his place as one of our country's top producers. Never has a fit felt so right, but I'm willing to bet that David has more of a say in the Lips' sound that George Martin dreamed. It's a pity that this album didn't sell much (got my copy in the used bin) but it did manage to shake the come-latelys off of the bandwagon that jumped on after "Jelly." Does that make it worse than "Transmission?" Hell no. The album was out for, what, a year before some radio programmer thought "Jelly" was a novelty song and MTV blessed (or cursed) the song with Buzz Bin status. This album is a clear progression and, I'll be damned, continued the Lips tradition of having never released a bad album yet. Number nine indeed, and a hint at what sonic landscapes they would visit later. If you see it in the used bin, it's a bargain and you shouldn't feel ashamed at all if you have to buy it at full price.

galleyian@mac.com (Ian Galley)
I Love my Mam.

There are many reasons for this, but the reason I will divulge is this, the one that follows, now. I asked my Mam to get me Clouds Taste Metallic by The Flaming Lips around the Christmas Time of it's release.

Quite a challenge as the record shops in Sunderland only sell 'The Frogs Chorus' by John Lennon, (some ancient by-law passes by the ancestor of Jimmy Nail for to placate some moss); so it was to my great surprise that on Christmas Day I unwrapped this treasured disk, popped it on and very nearly shit me self as a drum roll tore apart the very foundations my live had been based on.

The house didn't fall down but the rafters were raised upon the heralding of the chimes of love, (the dog was driven mad by the clicky camera FX too!)

'When You Smile' is the best Lips song ever! Possibly the greatest beat ever! There is so much pop on display here I was always amazed at how little impact they made in the mainstream blah, blah, blah. But I never imagined seeing, (and HEARING), Wayne on Top of the Pops that.... t.b.c...

Evil will prevail and all our bad days will end.

Ten out of Ten

kevin.by@selby.no
great record!!! listening to the opener, "The Abandoned Hospital Ship", i thought it was gonna be something like "The Soft Bulletin" but it's not. there's hints towards that album here: like, the present use of percussion and the big lo-fi drumsound. unlike The Bulletin, this CD contain songs about watermellon guns, people with headaches who accidently saves the world and laughing giraffes set to lots of cool fuzzy crickle-crackely guitars. my favorite moment during the first half of the record is "Brainville" - the verse is sweet and melancholic the way only Mr. Coyne can do it but transformes into a humpty-dumpty happy song. excellent band, excellent humour. after this terrific start to the CD, things settle down with "they punctured my volk" before really taking off: "Lightning Strikes the Postman". that's exactly how i feel when that anthemic riff kicks off - like a lightning-struck postman...and what about "Christmas at the Zoo"? listen to those guitar-arrangments, and that playfull bassline!!! how the hell do they come up wit that? it sounds like a childrens song, like Ween's most playfull moments or the Beatles, "Obla-di-obla-da", "Bungalow Bill" and "Octopuses Garden" to name a few. the Bealtes got heeps of them and listening to the Flaming Lips from here on to Yoshimi and the Pink Robots, the Beatles sounds like a big influence on the Lips' songwriting but also Neil Young. hey, who am i kidding? this is the Flaming Fucking Lips one hundred percent!

walrus_ruckus@hotmail.com
8 of 10. Sorry folks, nothing wrong here but nothing grabs me either. Heck, I like Priest so much more I'm tempted to knock everything else down another notch. Sure, it is LSD Beach Boys with feedback but...dammit, I guess I just miss the guitars. Not just that I think but that's a start.

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
I really, really like this album. It's the only Lips album I've heard so far and it's so beautiful. I didn't like it at first much, maybe because of the high vocals and the noise, but it really grew on me. They do that neo-psychedelic thing very well. I think I like all of the songs there, so many great melodies. My favourite has to be "Brainville", the melodies are excellent, both verse and chorus. I think I'd give this album a nine.

edm1213@msn.com
This album seems made for a 9 of 10. Many great songs, final album with Ronald Jones, and more consistent than Transmissions (8/10). Bad Days, Brainville, This Here Giraffe and Christmas at the Zoo are standouts. Any Lips is good Lips, and everything from Priest onward is essential, but this is their high point as a four piece rock band.

jschneek@yahoo.com
Well, it took some time..." Yeah, this album is definitely a grower. This is the one that gets the ten from me, just slightly edging out the brilliant-aside-from-a-few-missteps "The Soft Bulletin" and the wild classic "In A Priest Driven Ambulance." The "Oh My Gawd!!!" album is also kinda underrated as a messy burst of psychedelic-prog-punk that doesn't always work but is still very ambitious for a little indie rock band just starting out and "Transmissions" was the introduction of the classic lineup with some of the their all-time best songs ("Slow Nerve", "Pilot"). As for "Zaireeka," psychedelic masterpiece that it is, I guess I never got over the feeling of paying thirty bucks for it when it first came out and then bringing it home and thinking "What is this shit?" a la Greil Marcus. And I admit, it's pretty mind-blowing once you really get to know it, but the whole thing still seems kinda overblown and pretentious to me - your "Ummugumma" comparison was right on the money. "Yoshimi" is just so-so for me, with some great songs ("Fight Test", "Hypnotist") mixed with some underwritten, Eno-ish crap that never really grabs you.

So this is the one - "Clouds" is the best album with the definitive line-up that gave this band so much power and originality, with Drozd's Bonham-like drums and Jones's wild guitar stylings. Similar to "Transmissions," but more focused, with more complex arrangements and melodic sophistication. "Abandoned Hospital Ship" is a slow, druggy anthem that is so imperfect that it's the perfect way to start the album, and "Psychiatric" has a melody that's so great you swear you've heard before. (Cat Stevens? No, sorry, wrong album.) "Placebo Headwound" sounds like the Beach Boys if Syd Barrett had been allowed to join the band as he so frequently requested (I believe this is what led to his mental breakdown, if I'm not mistaken.) "Guy Who Gets A Headache And Accidently Saves The World" sounds like a 50's B-movie with that radio voice at the end. Cool song. "This Here Giraffe" and "Christmas At The Zoo" are just classic Wayne Coyne - goofy and melodic, but somehow meaningful, even if I still don't get why a tiger would rather stay in a cage being gawked at by crowds of fucking rubes than running around free ripping apart gazelles and gay magicians. Seriously, unless there's some kind of scientific preservation stuff going, the whole zoo thing is fucking arrogant on our part. And then "Kim's Watermelon Gun," which I think is about all those spooky gurus and new-age religions (Mahareishi, Scientology, Christianity, etc) that people cling to in order to feel more important - "And all the celebrities want permission." But then "She won't give it to them 'til they learn how to love" which is just saying "HEY ASSHOLE, THERE IS NO MEANING TO FUCKING LIFE IF YOU'RE JUST A SELF-CENTERED PRICK. ALL RELIGIONS ARE JUST PETRIFIED DOG SHIT. JUST BE KIND TO EACH OTHER. LOVE. THAT'S IT. CHRIST, DIDN'T LENNON ALREADY GO OVER THIS SHIT WITH YOU FUCKERS?" At least, that's what I think it's saying, but I might be projecting a little. "Evil Will Prevail" sounds like a late-sixties pop song with the a decidedly more pessimistic message and then one of my favorites, "Lightning Strikes The Postman," which literally sounds like a melodic ball of fire aimed directly at poor Mr. Postman's chest. And we all know "Bad Days" is from one of those fruity Batman movies, but c'mon - these guys had to make SOME extra money to pay for studio time and effects pedals and sheets of acid and stuff. I couldn't think of a better way of capping off the album than a poppy Brian Wilson arrangement with lyrics about blowing off your boss's head. Brilliant stuff.

Great band - very heady, stoner-friendly, catchy, quirky, etc. And "Clouds" is the pinnacle for me, before they started releasing albums that required a Circuit City showroom to be heard properly and songs with some fucking "yeah yeah yeah" bullshit going on every two seconds. No, seriously, I still love these guys, even though the new album kinda sucks.

And great site Mark - very stoner-friendly too.

matthewbyrd@hotmail.com
Argggh, this is a great "band" I know, I can tell, Wayne is far too talented for the Lips to be a mediocre band. I've listened to Transmissions and this and I loved them......... the 1st times around, I have both on my iPod now, and I gotta say, I skip ANY Lips as soon as it comes on, that's how fast they wear on you. Its almost unbelievable just how fast they got old, not just old, annoying. Myabe I'm the only one like this, if I am, then I have a terrible curse, because, for a little bit, I enjoyed every note of these 2 albums.

3dsunglasses@gmail.com
I bought this cd on a whim at newbury comics for 7 dollars. I had heard zaireeka before, which was amazing, and the soft bulletin, which was ok but never did match up to the MASTERPIECE that is their 2003-03-03 stockholm concert bootleg
its a SOUNDBOARD!!! and it was sooo amazing
RIDICULOUSLY ENERGETIC
it was the first thing i heard by the lips and was amazed. so anyway bulletin was pretty good but it just wasnt as energetic. i eventually lost the zaireeka cds (still have the booklet...) and i took a chance on this disc....AND HOLY FUCK!!! what a disc it is!!! sheer brilliance from end to end! i love how some songs start with 20 seconds of odd noise
I used to listen to this cd 3 times in a row and can gladly differentiate all the songs. I agree that it is a solid 9/10
the only problem i can see is some slight hints of that "90s alternative bullshit" sound but its just great

matthewbyrd@hotmail.com
my favorite Lips album, I think its better than the Soft Bulletin and Tranmissions. I don't get why people say its a grower.... its all Beatles-ey melodies and shiny happy instruments.... now Blonde on Blonde... THAT was a grower!

Add your thoughts?


Bad Days CD-single - Warner Bros. 1995
Rating = 6


This is more for people who are interested in the songwriting process than it is for people who actually like music. In addition to the CD track it promotes, it includes tiny demos of "She Don't Use Jelly" (1 minute, Wayne singing with acoustic guitar) and "This Here Giraffe" (2 minutes, no vocals, annoying fuzzy noises atop the bass line), as well as what must be an early jam for "The Guy Who Got A Headache And Saved The World" ("Girl Cloud Something-Or-Other") as it's instrumental and goes from that song's awesome hipster bass line into a psych organ jam.

If I were you, I'd call it an interesting glimpse into the way they develop their songs, I suppose. Also, check this out. (*is neat*).

Add your thoughts?


This Here Giraffe CD-single - Warner Bros. 1996
Rating = 8


There are a couple of versions of this CD-single. One includes a piano/bass cover of David Bowie's "Life On Mars." This isn't that one.

This one includes the killer CD track it promotes as well as Peel Sessions of the two Hit To Death tracks "The Sun" and "Hit Me Like You Did The First Time." The first doesn't include horns, and the second one doesn't include a sliding guitar during that slidey guitar part. The second one also seems faster than the studio version.

What sucks is that there are a billion people who love music and want to write about it. So they'll do it for free and I get nothing but emails like "attack attack is helllllla dope. the 'crab core' shit where there get hella low like that is so cool looking. these clowns dont know shit" from the world's stupidest generation of all time with their emo hair and vomitous taste in the arts. I did fine professional work for 12 years and now I've been unemployed for 10 months. Why? George W. Bush. I have written hundreds of songs and thousands of reviews, but my sole sources of income are unemployment insurance and people clicking on my Amazon links. Why? Did I pick the wrong career? (by which I mean "accidentally fall into the wrong career"). I don't think so, because my only other option would've been journalism, and every magazine and newspaper in the world is currently going out of business. If The Flaming Lips are actually able to support themselves with their music, then thank god for small favors.

Life is scary. Life wants you to fail. Life makes you think you're on top and all set, then it takes everything away and fucks you up the ass.

Add your thoughts?


* Zaireeka - Warner Bros. 1997 *
Rating = 10


Incredible. Wayne has completely blown away the limits of the format. They're gone. Blammo! Gone. For now anyway. Have you heard of this one? It's four CDs meant to be played simultaneously two, three or four at a time on different stereo systems. I know it sounds dumb and arty, but that's only because you haven't heard it yet. It is... mind-blowing. Different parts of the songs come out of different parts of your room! And it sounds like you're in a huge arena! And then one of the CDs starts falling behind and you have to go run over and pause it for a second, then hope it starts back up in the right place so that the bass line matches the keyboard line, or the orchestra (mellotron?) sweep matches the notes Wayne is wailing on top. Then everything comes together and the CD continues to surprise and wow you with drum solos that jerk back and forth between CDs, and eight-part vocal harmonies, and four CDs of screaming and dogs barking and beautiful funeral organs playing in sorrowful harmony. How come nobody has thought of this before??? If U2 or Smashing Piles Of Shit thought this up, they'd be hailed as geniuses!!! (Oh, pardon me, they already are.) Instead it's the Lips, so all they get is a limited edition of 5,000 and no press at all (that I've seen, anyway).

I have little else to say, but I want to continue raving anyway, okay? Now, I know it sounds like a dumb idea, but this octophonic thing sounds amazing in your house, mainly because these musicians are very smart and know how to really creep the thing up with spooky as hell sound effects and stuff. Just sounds that augment the melodies like no man. The sort of heavily freaky stuff we last heard on Hit To Death, but even more psychedelic, because, well, quite frankie, there are FIFTEEN different ways to listen to the CD without hearing it the same way twice!!! Now, granted, none of the CDs are all that great by themselves. They're interesting, I guess, but all fairly incomplete. However, even having TWO CDs going at once will blow your mind and give you an experience to tell your grandkids about for weeks, days and weeks on end. And three? Ohhhh.... Drool..... I had trouble running all four at once (it's too hard to keep all four in synch!), but three... man, three is the magic number.

Even if it weren't a groundbreaking experiment (which it is, more so than any rock album since the Ramones' debut), Zaireeka would still aim to please because the songs are wonderful. The lyrics deal mainly with madness and uncertainty, with only an iota of that happy jive you might have picked up on Clouds Taste Metallic. And the music deals mainly with art rock. Of the HIGHEST form. Like To Our Children's Children's Children or Ummagumma, but FOUR times as immersive and harrowing. If I took drugs, I probably would. Crack and AC/DC. Run out and buy this NOW. If you don't have two CD players, then tape the other CDs and play 'em on your boom box while jammin' a CD in your big ol' stereo system. That's all you need, baby doll sugar! And hey, don't call the Lips pretentious wankers. Honestly, what ELP album would feature a song called "The Big Ol' Bug Is The New Baby Now"?

Oh, okay, Tarkus, but I mean besides that one.

Reader Comments

blue_star@mail.geocities.com
dead on. deserves a ten just for the innovation.

by the way, didn't you read the liner notes? you're not supposed to try to keep the CDs in synch. the fact that the CDs won't stay in synch is the whole point (well, part of the point, anyway).

Jay@ndi.net (Jay Barnes)
This is probably the coolest musical experience i have ever had.. the only drawback of the whole deal is, my mom likes it too. Everyone go out and get this (provided it's not already unavailable). Better than 0-d4y w4r3z even!

Okay maybe i'm exxagerating.

Let the warez be with you.

jemorse@snet.net (John, Aging Kinks Kultist)
I'm too old to love this band but I do! I'm 38 and a family man but where were the Flaming Lips when I needed them?

IGotToes@aol.com (Willie Williams)
The coolest part about Zaireeka is song #6, "How Will We Know? (Futuristic Crashendos)." My girlfriend and I were listening to the album(s), and after that song, Jenny (my girlfriend's name is Jenny. Hi, Jenny. I love you!) started crying and laughing uncontrollably for about a half hour. See, Wayne put extremely high- and low-pitched frequencies on CD's 1, 3, and 4, and, as the label on the front of Zaireeka points out, they can cause people to become disoriented. It was really creepy and bizarre- I thought Jenny was getting really sick or hallucinating or something. She was fine soon after, though, and I suppose that's what Wayne intended to happen, so it's really cool. I've never heard about it happening to anyone else, though... I guess 'cause Zaireeka isn't very widely known...

susseddm@hotmail.com (Darin Mitchell)
Greatness has been had. Without a doubt.

jesska@msn.com (Mary Hughes)
i bought the last two records and thought they were great. i was looking forward to another installment in the beach boys smile worship series when i got this. ugh now as far as creativity etc. etc. yeah it's great something different but it really doesn't work first i don't have 19 stereos and i certainly don't have money to be buyin such pricey records. yeah to comment on an earlier comment that if like the smashing pumpkins did it it would be hailed as genius. you're probably right they like adore. losers. the lips will be back though. by the way the music on it sucks. 10/10.

totale@mail.utexas.edu
why would you need 19 stereos to listen to Zaireeka? oh wel, probably just a typo. that "4" key IS right in-between 1 and 9....

by the way, this is brilliant live. loud, though.

christian.smith6@gte.net
Hey there Mark. I'm coughing hard and keeping myself awake, so I thought I'd take a gander at your website. Just a quick comment or two about Zaireeka....

First, I thought the idea was pretentious and goofy when I heard it; then, as Boston encourages, I heard the album. It's really hard to explain to people how the gimmick doesn't *ever* sound gimmicky. That, to me, is what's most impressing. This experiment, about as highbrow art-fringe as you can get, seems perfectly normal in a rock setting. How'd they do that?

Plus, the liner notes are crucial. Sure, up until Zaireeka I had enjoyed both the beautiful languor and the anxious feedback of the Lips. But you read the liner notes here and suddenly you know, instead of just suspect, that Wayne Coyne has got his shit together. He sounds very smart, very dedicated, and full of ideas instead of full of himself. He can write a sentence like "What sort of music do you play for people whose civilization is coming apart?" and make it sound like he's actually considering the answer.

And then he made an album to show us the answer he came up with. Wow.

MisterKite@mindspring.com
I just had 20 simultaneous brain explosions. With Transmissions, the Lips were loading the ship. With Clouds, they were blasting off. With Zaireeka, they've reached the end of space and busted the barrier! Calling this a good album is like calling 2001 a good movie, or maybe The Big Bang a happening. Folks, this is way beyond the connotations of "album" and even "modern music". It's the most creative and well thought-out piece of music I have ever heard and Wayne Coyne is one of the most brilliant creative minds of our time. The "gimmick" is mindblowing and the songs-when they have them-are terrific (especially The Big Ol' Bug)! Sure, it's bound to catch some static for being "pretentious" and "overblown", but aren't the "pretentious" and "overblown" albums the ones everyone remembers?

And about getting 4 CD-players together: it shouldn't be that difficult! If you have a computer, a regular stereo, and a portable CD player, that's three right there. Plus the album makes for a great party piece. Invite some buds over, tell them to bring over their stereos, and let 'er rip! Christ, these guys just keep getting better and better! I really feel sorry for all those people who just know them for She Don't Use Jelly...

...Oh, and how about those dogs at the end of The Big Ol' Bug!!!

dstreb@neo.rr.com (Daniel Streb)
I know this may sound crazy, but Zaireeka is the greatest album I've ever heard in my life. If not the greatest, than certainly my all-time favorite. Final proof that rock isn't dead. (At least it wasn't in 1997...)The Flaming Lips have created a new way to listen to music. Fifty years from now in the rock hall of fame, 1997 will be marked as "The year that set the music world on fire... while no one was listening!" what with this and OK Computer and Dis Pepsi and, um, The Mollusk. I can't really say anything more than what has already been said. How come nobody else has tried this four CD experiment in the two years since its release? They CAN'T just let this album die as "a failed experiment that never caught on"!!! Besides, it's not just the four CDs that make it great, listen to the disorienting high pitched avant-garde noise during "How Will We Know?" or the technically flawless drum solo or the "no, no, no, NOOOO no (pause) no no no NOOO no no no nooooo"s or the dogs at the end!!!!

Better than Piper At The Gates of Dawn, even!

ajt114@york.ac.uk
Okay, now I'm really pissed off. Three years after the release of Zaireeka and I can't find it anywhere. PLEEEEESSSE HELP ME.

dstreb@neo.rr.com (Daniel Streb)
Hey y'all. I just wanna say that if you're lookn' for Zaireeka you'd better act fast because copies on Ebay go up to like SEVENTY DOLLARS!!!!! You should just buy it off of ebay. You'll never find it anywhere else. At least I haven't.

dopowell@startext.net (Rorschach)
they've got copies for sale through ubl.com and towerrecords.com, at least they say they have them. i got mine for 17 bucks last year. i also got a near perfect vinyl copy of trans europe express for ONE DOLLAR. one freaking dollar at 1/2 price books. i love capitalism.

richbunnell@home.com
For those of you (like me) who don't have four CD players, but DO have one DVD player, it seems that the Lipsters, realizing the auditory abilities of the medium, have decided to issue Zaireeka on DVD later this year!!! Apparently it's going to have psychedelic visuals to go with it, as well, in true Lips fashion. I'm definitely gonna be picking it up.

darrelld@globaleyes.net (Joel Dunham)
I don't need to say anything more than anyone else already has said. 10. There's usually a copy being sold on Ebay. Go now!

Jcjh20@aol.com
Amazing. Mind blowing. Ground breaking. etc.. Not enough great things to say about this. One of the only records that literally blew me fucking away. A masterpiece, no question about that. And yes its so incredibly misfortunate how unnoticed this album went and how rare it is to obtain now. So horrible. Every music lover, by any means, especially anyone who likes Magical Mystery Tour or The White Album at all should really track this town somehow, even on the internet by mp3s. Sure it would be 4 billion times better if you got the 4 CD's and listened to it that way, but the songs are still amazing, and you can at least imagine how mind blowing it would sound. Definate 10 here. That drum solo is really fuckin awesome too. I love the drum sounds the 'Lips get, even on Transmissions or Soft Bulletin the drums sound really raw.

drazy@gatecity.com
No argument: a flawless, brilliant album that brought the Lips from a level of acid-eaters to pure genius. How this thing was ever sold to the suits at Warner Bros is amazing in itself. A truly interactive album that doesn't need a computer: you mix the album and you never get the same results each time around. Album of the year.

iphinney@bmts.com (Matthew Phinney)
This album actually won me FRIENDS when I was in residence for my first year of University. Guess that was the ideal setting for this album because since that I've listened to it maybe oh... say... three times. But I must say, it is musically superior to The Soft Bulletin, probably because it's quite a bit more Floydian... especially in the perfect eerieness of 35000 ft of Despair. And Riding to Work in the Year 2525 is a vast and strategically melted palette of aural pigments. The whole story-song idea kinda makes you think about the mystical connection between acid, God and science fiction. Yes, this is their peak in every single possible way... because even though the concept is cool, it's also the album that lyrically and musically signals to the bloodshot, dilated masses that you are now supposed to take this band very seriously...

scott@fabgorgon.com (Scott Ratinoff)
for all those folks buying Zaireeka on ebay for 70 bucks. You can just go to Amazon.com and buy it for 22

galleyian@mac.com (Ian Galley)
It took ages to find it but my mate picked this up on Ebay for something like Ģ20. Having heard about the legend for so long we DEVOURED it. Played it straight, played it skewed. Played different tracks together. Created a random sequencing order that lasted nearly two hours. It all fits together. Whatever you do. It works. Absolute Genius.

'Okay I'll admit it' has the greatest beat ever. I know! I ripped the track from disk one and that's only part of that album I posses. Don't need a mix down, don't need to get it or lend it. I know where it is and I have my memories, (how can you possibly explain this thing to anyone who hasn't heard it? I've heard people say they'd "imagined what I'd be like but never imagined it'd sound like THAT!!!" You've got to try "The Big Old Bug" totally stripped down!

The best Lips album, ever!

eatmycompleteass@yahoo.com (Dick Master)
ok, first things first... i don't smoke pot but i listen to a lot of music which has been influenced by dope and would probably sound sooper heeeavy on weed, but it's rough working for the DEA. i can only imagine that sweet paycheck as i hump boxes in this warehouse.

the last time i remember getting stoned before listening to an album for the first time was stoner witch by the The Melvins, which is fitting, don't you think? i mean, that whole "my lungs are fine" bit! it made me really paranoid, and it wasn't the weed!

so, back the flaming lips (no, not a gay rim job), i blew my load, purchased this hunk o' plastic on euphrates.com and waited for my sexy mailman to leave it out in the rain. then it came mumble mumble mumble...

i set up four stereos in my living room, not because i'm rich (see above) but because my name is not rich. i invited some semi-willing people over to listen and help me press buttons. said people barely knew who the spin doctors were let alone the flaming lips. ok, so they listen to entirely too much "math rock", but they will still go to heaven either way. so, shit is set up! GO! BAM! EXCLAMATION MARK!

good. very explicatively good. two points: a. i'm pretty ambivalent to the flaming lips up to this point and b. i'm not stoned up to this second point.

i would not say it lived up to expectations. instead, it completely skewed them... and this is only the first song... and the second and the third and fourth and the fifth! damn that's a tasty ear morsel... then the other two... annoying noise (yet poignantly so) and the dog song that i'm sure my neighbors loved as much as i did. in total: (i'll have to use spell check on this word) WOW.

to rapmetal it up, i spent a good two hours screwing around with different mixes of this album. i felt like i was in the studio drinking cocaine from wayne coyn's crystal capstan. track five! yeah baby (i've never seen austin powers)!

this ain't your momma's Spin Doctors!

spinaltomek@hotmail.com (Thomas Peters)
this idea is fucking amazing! i haven't heard the cd but reading about it makes me really excited to do so! and i will!
why doesn't everybody else release albums like this. imagine how great that would be!
every artist should split the different levels of their music onto 4 cds.
if you don't like overblown rock and just want the basics, you don't buy one or two of the cds (the one with the strings and other keyboard silliness, for example) if punk's too simple for you just put on the "extra backing vocals" cd and the one with the marimbas and stuff...
great thing for punk bands anyway...just record ONE basic punk record featuring drums & some chord sequences (there are only about 6 or 7 anyway) and then just release an endless bunch of extra cds featuring new melodies and guitar solos....
and if you play the thing at double speed and add some sick screaming you got your grindcore thingy.

what about movies? four screens, four movies at the same time?!!?!?!? imagine a good horror movie *surrounding* you...4 "blair witch project"s would be cool...so you're really IN THE FOREST

anyway...i'm going to buy this cd! hope the music is as good as the idea behind it!

walrus_ruckus@hotmail.com
Very much want to hear it. Cautiously optimistic in the feed me enough drinks this sounds like a good idea sense. 'Course, that's how I got THIS scar on my thigh and got THAT concussion.

opeth1213@yahoo.com (Eric D.)
so far i've only managed to listen to this one on three different boomboxes (actually two, along with a DVD player). I'm debating whether or not to get a third boombox so i can listen to all four. Yes sir, sequencing the CDs is a bitch, but it turns out to be worth it most of the time. Definitely a revolutionary listening experience, where you get more out of it with each listen. 10/10.

jhmusicman12@hotmail.com
I don't have this one, nor four cd players, but I found one interesting thing about this album: it got a 0.0 at pitchfork. 0.0. 0. Fucking 0! Jesus Christ! Are they sure that this album has absolutely zero musical value. I can't even say the same about Limp Bizkit. Two years later, they gave The Soft Bulletin 10.0. Same critic too. I don't know either.

johnnyalpha01@yahoo.co.uk
Just wanted to add more to the pile of applause this album has gained. I found a copy in a town just outside London for about Ģ23 (app. $33-36) and took it back to my girlfriend's house to have a go. She had a DVD player and a CD player, so I grabbed discs 1 and 2, and surprisingly, synched them up first time. Track 1 billows out and I am almost on the floor at the genius of it. The sound on disc 2 just oozes out and works in such a fantastic way - it's so simple and brilliant and perfect. I haven't heard more than two tracks properly - I've flicked through each disc - but I'm throwing a Zaireeka night where we're going to gather round and play this stuff. Truly a social, everybody come together indie rock record! 10/10.

wurlyburd@hotmail.com (MB)
So I bought Zaireeka about four years ago, with the intention of A) Having a party where we would put our stereos together and listen to this CRAZY THANG. Never happened. B) Putting it into my computer multitrack (I'm also a recording engineer) and making a compromised single disc composite. This I did. I know the music very well now. I played it for all my friends with a disclaimer that it was not in its intended form. Now, doing it that way with a single disc is great for listening to this juggernaut in your car, or wherever you do that sorta thing (NONE OF MY BEESWAX, ok?). But how is the record in its intended form? I had no idea until tonight. I have had this record all this time and haven't played with it, isn't that PATHETIC? I'd like to introduce you to my Asian friend Sosumi. It is AMAZING! ALL THAT STUFF THAT EVERYBODY ELSE SAID!!! GOOD! I'LL STOP YELLING! I had a bit of trouble at first getting things even remotely in sync, and I know it would be so much better if I had 4 matching systems. But for my purposes tonight, my computer, my home theatre system, a boombox, and a portable CD player with powered speakers did an OK job of showing me the colors of this album. I appreciate it so much more now. It's great. You need it. Buy it. 9/10.

7headedchicken@gmail.com
I must thank you for writing this review of The Flaming Lips' Zaireeka, for it is what influenced me to try it after being a casual lips fan. I did not realize the genius of this band until hearing this album. It is definitely the turning point for the band's sound, and now I feel I appreciate (and understand) both their newer and older stuff more because of it. And while it is not the easiest thing to sit through on a regular basis, it is so fun to "do", not just listen to, when you're in the mood. Wayne and the band have definintely got something supernatural going on with this thing. I would have loved to have heard the parking lot experiments. By the way, if you're smoking weed and listening to all 4 discs at near top volume in your parents' basement and your Dad comes down during "35,000 Feet Of Despair" and asks you to turn it down, then proceeds to give you that "what the hell are you listening to?" look, it can be quite simultaneously startling and humourous.

Add your thoughts?


The Soft Bulletin - Warner Bros. 1999.
Rating = 8


Disappointing, but only by the Lips' high standards. See, the cool thing about the Lips, to ME anyway, is the way they've always combined jarring guitar noise and amateurish humor with stunningly gorgeous melodies and cool production. On this one, they lean too far to the "mature" side. There's NO guitar noise, and almost no guitar at all, leaving the sound pallette to be filled by piano, strings, horns and other Sgt. Peppery instruments like that. There's also no (or very, very little) self-conscious humor, which makes it sound like they're taking the whole project WAY too seriously. See, Zaireeka sounded like a record created by a group of underappreciated geniuses. The Soft Bulletin, on the other hand, sounds like the product of a band that has been told too many times that they are geniuses, and have grown not only to believe the hype, but to convince themselves that they MUST create a timeless pop masterwork like Pet Sounds.

So, taken in this context, what differentiates The Soft Bulletin from Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness? Ummmm... err.... ahhha..... Well, Steven and Wayne strike oil with their songcraft a bit more regularly than Mr. Corgan. But even in this capacity, they seem to be getting a bit tired. For one thing, although the instrumentation is different than before, Wayne sings all the songs the same way - high above his range with basically the same vocal melody line over and over - when there's really no need to do so. In doing so, all he does is make all the melodies sound the same (which they aren't). On the positive front, they're still out in fruity Brian Wilson popville, though this time around, they seem to be making an overly conscious effort to slip unpredictable breaks and changes into the bubbly chord sequences. And the songs themselves are mostly up to their usual standards, but, because all the songs are so slow, gentle and non-rock, about halfway through it becomes really hard to concentrate. Just like Pet Sounds!

So yeah, it's a really good album but if you buy it and hate it, don't assume that the Lips are a bunch of Billy Joel-loving pansies. Just buy some of their earlier work and give them another chance. This soft "experiment" is not indicative of the band's creativity so much as it is a sign that they're afraid of repeating themselves.

Reader Comments

misterkite@pop.mindspring.com (Adam Bruneau)
The Soft Bulletin is a minor disappointment for me, not so much because of the lack of guitar noise, but more for the lack of memorable material. On every previous Lips record from Transmissions on, all the songs were very memorable or at least extremely interesting. But here (and keep in mind that this is only after the first few listens) it seems like Wayne's lost and there is a lot of filler material here. Of course, if you like the Lips (and you should) it's still a good album because there are some nice tunes here. "Race For the Prize", "The Spark That Bled", "Buggin'" and "Waitin' For Superman" are all very good and up to the Lips standard. Another bizarre song, "The Gash", I really like, but past those much of the album is just there.

However, even the more forgettable material has got that great Lips' charm and there are some good songs that don't bother to draw attention to themselves but still make a good impression ("A Spoonful Weighs a Ton", "Slow Motion"). Overall, it's another incredibly artistic progression (how much more can they do?) but it feels a little bit lacking in terms of pop songfulness. If you love the Lips, you'll love it. 8/10.

dstreb@neo.rr.com (Daniel Streb)
Okay okay. So Wayne may be more serious this time around, but so what? They're still making great songs!! Wish I could say the same for R.E.M. Are you reviewing the UK version or the US version? The British music press is really loving these guys. New Musical Express called The Soft Bulletin the best album of the year.

e.h.olsen@arena.uio.no (Espen D.H. Olsen)
When a band I love a great deal release an album I often donīt find myself being as reflected and critical as I might have been towards any record of any band...... So when the Lips released The Soft Bulletin here in Norway I ran to the record store and back to my appartment and almost instantly threw the disc onto the CD-player. And from the intro with melting drums on Race for the Prize I was amazed. I thought it was unbelieveable.Not to say I didnīt need quite a few spins to catch melodies, sounds, structures and arrangements, but I loved it from the first moment I heard it. And why? Not because theyīre my favorite band! Because itīs such a beautiful record. Because Mr Coyneīs lyricism tackles the big themes of love,science and death in such a compelling and natural way. I donīt agree with the theory of him trying to live up to the genius thing. And the Corgan comparison? Well that is kinda far fetched I think! If you donīt like the album as much as most critics (i.e. NME) thatīs perfectly okay with me. But contest it on musical grounds, not by criticizing the persona behind it!

I also must say I get extremely bored by the Pet Sounds (thereīs a lot of them here!) and Deserterīs Songs comparisons. This is a unique album, I havenīt heard anything like it, still I redcognize the fact that it sounds sorta Pet Soundsy at times, but in my opinion most pop/rock music in the nineties is like hybrids of older music. Sometimes it is extremely obvious. Other times itīs like a band has created something really special and unique out of the old. Thatīs what the Lips have done this time around.

As Wayne Coyne states in his notes on the album at flaminglips.com:

No more enemies, no more friends....... just sounds.

milo@coho.net (Scott)
Mark, gimme a break. I know these things are subjective, creative expression being open to various avenues of assessment and evaluation, but The Soft Bulletin is the great album that every loyal Lips fan in his right mind has been waiting for. C'mon, Mark! You gave Telepathic Surgery an 8! That's fine and dandy and all, don't get me wrong, but I think you're really digging in your critical appraisal of The Soft Bulletin. Wayne's vocal range throughout the album? Really? If you ask me (which you're not, I understand), your review says more about the way you've come to regard this group than your reaction to the actual recording. The Lips are still doing what they've always done, releasing some really exciting psychedelic pop music. This is just the most recent venture, and there's more to come, especially after its success. I think the Lips have always released exceptionally strong material, and it's no different on this release. In fact, the songcraft and production is really just simplified from Zaireeka. The songs are cut from the same mould. No noisy guitar? Mark, you gave Zaireeka a 10, a very just 10, but you make no mention of missing the noisy guitar in the review. I think it's refreshing. And I think it's admirable and largely impressive that Wayne is all about wrenching emotional pathos from his lyrics while maintaining the humor inherent to the Lips output. He's trying to do interesting things well; does that make him a serious man with pretensions? Maybe, but in that case Zaireeka is no less "serious," while still a work of genius in your estimation. C'mon, Mark. You're into the Soft Bulletin as much as the rest of us. What's more, it's the real breakthrough the Lips have always deserved, balancing some intense studio trickery and pop songcraft to produce a piece of work that stradles experimentation and accessibility to such an extent, it can be nothing short of classic. They did it before on Zaireeka, sure, but here they don't use three other discs to help them out. And I don't think Zaireeka's only innovation was the format.

I'm just writing because I was actually surprised at the relatively lackluster review you gave the album. I was expecting something at least as exciting and generally positive as the earlier reviews. The Soft Bulletin needs no apology.

dstreb@neo.rr.com (Daniel Streb)
Mark your whole review trashes The Soft Bulletin, and yet you give it an 8? That's nuts! An 8, according to your Short Introduction To This Site, is a "very good" album. Well, the review sounds like you don't like the album at all, simply because they've changed their sound. You give The Beastie Boys' Hello Nasty an 8, and yet you call it "a very very good record". You give The Soft Bulletin an 8, and you call it "disappointing... about halfway through it becomes really hard to concentrate." Oh well...

And The Soft Bulletin doesn't sound a fucking thing like Billy Joel!

Stiple6107@aol.com
I saw the flaming lips in concert August 17th and 18th at tramps in NYC...up until then the only exposure I had to them was "she don't use jelly" and a few recommendations from friends...when they began playing "race for the prize" I was in awe...I ran out and bought the soft bulletin the next day...haven't stopped listening to it...It's changing the way i listen to, make and feel about music...I don't know much about the flaming lips, but if this is any indication of what they are capable of I will be a very happy person for years to come...I would recommend this record to anyone.

InMyEyes82@aol.com
Well I can't say that I agree with the previous posters' comments about how you "like the Soft Bulletin" as much as everyone else, because I hate tons of albums that other people love. Music is objective, and though your comments may have been a little questionable ("Billy Joel"? I think not! I'd love to see Billy come up with a song as movingly brilliant as "Feeling Yourself Disintegrate" or "Waiting For Superman"), I have to admit that I had the same reaction you did upon the first couple of listenings. But now I am completely sure that it is this band's masterpiece, and furthermore one of the greatest albums of the decade. I don't miss the guitar noise one bit, and I'll tell you why: it worked so well on Transmissions and Clouds that if I want to hear THAT era of the band, I can just pop those discs in. Maybe it's because I'm not a guitar noise freak, in fact I think the usage of it can destroy songs sometimes, but these songs seem light years more beautiful and catchy than anything I've heard in a long-ass time, and I've got so much damn Sonic Youth and Butthole Surfers music so that if I DO get the urge to hear guitar noise I can pop THOSE discs in. All I'm saying is that The Soft Bulletin is indeed Wayne Coyne's triumph, but if you don't think so, that's okay with me. I don't even like Pet Sounds that much.

misterkite@mindspring.com (Adam Bruneau)
Sorry to bother you and I know you might be busy, but I recently went to The Flaming Lips' Music Against Brain Degeneration tour and was totally blown away!!! If you ever get the chance to-you'd better do it!

But the thing I want to say is that the second act, a Japanese rock/pop group masterminded by Keigo Oyamada, was by far the second best thing to The Lips at the concert!!! It's called Cornelius, and he's got an album called Fantasma out in the US and I think it's the best album of the Nineties! Damn, it's sooooo amazing: it's like if you took Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Disney World, Bach, and Moby and squeezed them into a tube and then fed it to a Japanese Einstein! I just want to say that as soon as you can find it, pick up Fantasma and tell me how you like it, it's sooooooo awseome!

InMyEyes82@aol.com
Have you heard Deserter's Songs by Mercury Rev? This album is one of the ones that are constantly keeping my faith in current music. It's incredible, kind of like The Soft Bulletin except earthier, more melodic, and...dare i say....better.

azitelli@stevens-tech.edu (Andrew Zitelli)
"race for the prize" is the greatest song of the decade. soft bulletin is a 10.

albracht@wins.uva.nl (Arthur Albracht)
My recently bought (well I got it for my 21th anniversary, 18-09-99) cd is Soft Bulletin by the Flaming Lips. I only know some things from their earlier work, but I must say this is e pretty special album. I like the orchestral experiments for it's not as all the other stuff you here nowadays. The squeeking voice of the singer what's his name isn't always that clear (to say it euphemistically), but it gives a certain feeling in combination with the melancholic sounds and it gripps you now and then. I have heard so many American rockbands etc. etc. but this is undoubtly better!

For me 8 stars!

bolgus@hotmail.com (Mark Humphrey)
With all respect, I think you've got this all completely wrong. In my humble opinion, you have reviewed the Lip's worst material as their best, and vice versa. And The Soft Bulletin is surely the best of the lot, Zaireeka included. If you want Wayne to stagnate in guitar-drenched noise for the entirety of his life, then you're following the wrong messiah. To want such is foolishness, after all, only the idiots complained that 'A Day In The Life' didn't rock as much as 'I want to Hold Your Hand'. Wayne sounds more mature here because he IS. 'Superman' is among the best songs he's ever written (Including 'Waterbugs' from Needles, and '35,000 of Despair', from Zaireeka; neither of which you've mentioned). And 'What is the Light', 'The Spark that Bled', and 'Suddenly Everything Has Changed' are all change-your-life experiencs. Sure they ain't the Ramones no more, but if Plato was a musician, this would be his opus. 10/10.

richbunnell@home.com
The entire album's slow, achingly sentimental, and full of loud, booming drums and pretentiously sophisticated production techniques, plus, Wayne explains the concepts of some of the songs in the tracklisting in the liner notes just in case we're too stupid to transcribe his lyrics, but even though this is as much of a calculated "mature" album as any band has ever put out, it doesn't really matter because these songs are really, -really- impressive. Take "A Spoonful Weighs A Ton" and "The Spark That Bled," for example. They're slow and grandiose, but they're also fascinating and multi-parted (particularly the latter one). The peppier songs are wonderful as well--"Race For The Prize" is a strong contender for the most downright gorgeous song I've ever heard, and "Buggin" and "The Gash" aren't too shabby either. "Waitin' For A Superman" doesn't really grab me though-- the normal version on the album just doesn't really stand out, though the alternate mix at the end of the album (which I think was the single mix) is far better. The "What Is The Light?/The Observer" eight-minute sweet is great in spite of the pulsing "dance" beats (which actually just serve to texture the song), and.....geeze. I give the album a 9, not a 10 because of a few isolated boring moments. Still very, very impressive. Mark, how could you let this band slip past me for so long?

In relation to this album, I took a gander at the Amazon.com reader reviews for it, and like usual for all newer releases, there were over 100 reviews; many five-star ones with some one-star reviews sprinkled throughout. That wouldn't normally shock me except for the fact that some of these one-star reviews were just unreasonably harsh. I saw a bunch of comments calling the album "mediocre, annoying, and derivative," "one to avoid, big time," and "boring, insular, pseudo-indie prog rock." Now, I certainly respect other peoples' opinions, and I have no problem at all with people not caring for certain albums (it's personal preference, after all), but why is it that some people feel so fit to act like certain albums are a complete disgrace upon human existence? I personally try to take a more optimistic view towards music, and with a few exceptions (such as King Crimson's "Discipline" album, which I really just can't get into), it makes the whole process of music-listening a whole lot more enjoyable. Why be a music fan if you're gonna be overly-cynical about it and treat certain albums like blemishes on the fabric of the universe?...Anyway, there're probably a lot of holes in what I just said, and I've certainly written reader comments where I've treated certain albums in the way that I just condemned (Whammy! by the B-52's for one), but I just had to get that off of my chest. This isn't directed at anyone on this page (since basically everyone here has nothing but praise for the Lips) but just to get it out: it's just music. If you don't like an album, that's your opinion and that's perfectly fine, but there's no reason to be unbearably harsh towards it just because forty-five minutes of your time was taken up by something which was less than satisfactory to you. Rant over, thank you, buh-bye.

savage1561@juno.com (Daniel Streb)
No. Not corny fake. Lovely and beautiful and Forever Changesesque. ESPECIALLY "Suddenly Everything Has Changed". I don't really know a lot about Yes to analyze Mr. De Fabio's comparison so I can't say much. Actually I think this also sounds a bit like OK Computer (you DO love OK Computer, right?). Overproduced? Nah. I think this is one of the best produced albums ever. Orchestral and symphonic, but with enough quirks to keep it in the underground (well, here in the US anyway. Over in the UK the Lips are like big stars!!!). Ever notice the stopwatch going off in "What Is The Light?" or the crack of sound at the beginning of "Suddenly Everything Has Changed"? Anyway, I thought this album was amazing and the best album of 1999, along with Prince Paul's A Prince Among Thieves and Moby's Play.

By the way, loved the message about overzealous music slamming.

mr_burble@hotmail.com (Chris Stabile)
Race For The Prize. Seeing that live was probably the best thing that happened to me in 2000. Just when I thought I was sinking into complete dispair, FL opened with that song. (BTW - I had never heard anything other than "She Don't Use Jelly" by them.) They started playing it, and my girl started kinda bouncing on her heels and she turned around and smiled this big "life is good" smile and to this day (we broke up ...sniff sniff..) whenever I hear that tune, I see Wayne smashing that gong and I think "gee, what the hell is for dinner?". Umm..anyways, yeah...I love that song, yup. Personal fave.

Jcjh20@aol.com
Slow, and mellow all the way threw but is very beautiful, and emotional and i do not think that it was Wayne being too serious this time around. They apparently lost their second guitar player Ronald in 1996, so ever since then, they've always been out to try new things (hence, the brilliant Zaireeka), and also stay a 3 piece (similar to REM losing Bill Berry). But i really like the album. The melodies are fantastic, and it shows here that Wayne really is a good singer, and the lyrics are more thoughtful and meaningful on here as well. Although i do miss the guitar noise and humor, this is a nice direction for the 'Lips. Some of my favorite songs are "Buggin'", "Race For The Prize" has a very nice melody, "Feeling Yourself Disintergrate" and "Waitin' For Superman" (the alternate mix at the end). Its amazing how underrated this band is, i really love 'em. 9/10.

kid_d36@hotmail.com (Donald Morgan)
you can't keep turning up the fuzz pedal forever. eventually it hits ten. then you gotta do something else. though there's a couple songs on here that don't do much, the rest is brilliant fusion of the Lips previous music and electronic ideas and concepts, but it's not an album that screams, "we are now electronica! let us make love to moby and worship at the temple of all things throbby and bleeping!" "feeling yourself disintegrate" is worth the price of admission alone.

drazy@gatecity.com
I first witnessed The Flaming Lips during their power trio line-up a couple of times: once after the Oh My Gawd! tour and once after Telepathic Surgery. I don't remember much from the first show other than they were awesome and I was tripping my balls off. The second show was also spot-on and my hallucinations were again fueled by a large quantity of illegal drugs. Ironically, my memory of the second show is more accurate. The story begins when our Okies travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, looking for a bar called "Steb's." The Lips cruise up and down Cedar Rapids, looking for this venue, the one they are scheduled to perform at 10:00 p.m. They finally spot a young lad walking the streets and ask him for directions to "Steb's." The young man explains to the Lips that Steb's is located in Cedar Falls, Iowa; a bedroom community of Waterloo, some seventy-five miles to the north. They hit the wrong fucking town. Meanwhile in C.F., the shitty opening band has more reasons to continue with their shitty songs, the owner of "Steb's" is freaking out because the Lips missed their soundcheck and is concerned that they are a no-show, and a nice African-American man offers me some cocaine. Suddenly, the back door to the venue bursts open, and in walk our heroes; road-dogs with mile-high hair fitted with amplifiers, smoke machines, and primitive laser lights. They played six songs that evening, one sequing into one another, interrupted by brief hints of "Nobody's Fault But Mine" and other soundbites of 70's rock. The nice African-American man offered the bass player a nice joint after the show ended. At that moment, while fog dissipated in the small venue, I thought that if this band could pull something like this out of the crack of their ass, imagine what they could do if they set their mind's to it. Wayne's mind drifted to the parking lot experiment, Zaireeka, and we began to question Wayne's mind. The Soft Bulletin changed that, it's so close to perfection that it couldn't be the work of some mad scientist; a man fueled by chemistry. From lost in a van in Cedar Rapids, to lost in the studios of New York state, the Flaming Lips have shown us that getting sidetracked can lead you to some pretty remarkable places. It's an album that you should own and a wonderful end-credit theme for the twentieth century. 9.5/10 or a perfect ten if you delete off the alternate mix bullshit at the end....save that kinda stuff for the English b-side, for Christsakes, don't tack it on the end of your fucking masterpiece.

o.caussat@ville-pantin.fr (Olivier Caussat)
"Feeling yourself disintegrate" and "The spark that bled" have to be the most wonderful songs ever written... This record is awesome, I have bought in 1999, and haven't stopped playing it since then.

The soft bulletin is a major achievement in pop music, taking elements from past pop records, and using today's technology to make it sound "unheard" and incredibly fresh (and I'm not too keen on previous Lips' records... except maybe "this here giraffe" from Clouds taste metallic...).

Do you American fans know that the European CD version has a track that is not on the US version ? It's called "Slow motion", and is one of the best tracks on the record (after the two tracks I have already mentionned...). Go and find it !

The only thing that bothers me, is how on earth will the Lips come up with a new album as good as this one ? Needless to say, I'm dying to hear it... Certainly one of the best albums in the whole decade (if not one of the best pop albums ever...).

Radiohead and Bjork are all over the media, here in France, and I just say that those two are just talentless soup mongers, compared to the Lips. Plus Dave Fridmann is certainly one of the most talented producers ever (along with Jim O'Rourke..). A record that will stay with me forever, and a major change in my approach to pop music (see, I used to think that most pop music is tasteless and dull...). Cheers.

galleyian@mac.com (Ian Galley)
Ten Out Of Ten

The Best Lips album ever.

Mark, the guitars you miss are there. True they're not screaming of freaking out, but they still twang in that country way I have no real foundation to speak about. Must learn though as it sounds pretty interesting (for a basshead anyway.) Sorry. Seems you all like the drums for 'Race for the Prize, me too, but the best beat is 'A Spoonful Ways a Ton' or maybe the break in "The Spark That Bleed', "Waiting for a Superman?. Difficult, it's chock a block.

I like the drums.

Chock a bloke - checking out!

walrus_ruckus@hotmail.com
I'm trying folks, I really am. But I'm also bored to tears. Really well done tear making stuff but still making me cry. 7 of 10. Tempted to give it 6 of 10 (and the 7 is only in comparison to Lips' great work elsewhere) but I know I'd be hunted down by bewreathed flaming wannaby cheeseheads (bbq heads? okayheads? does it matter?) and nattered to submission. There a wash, a unifying shimmer here same as 'Priest had one but I *liked* the wall there. Only heard heard half of Yoshimi and will only hear more if someone gets me royally stoned. Then I'll still want to hear something else--and will loudly, whiningly explain and complain this slowly and repetitively--but I'll give it a shot.

edm1213@msn.com
Feeling Yourself.... makes this album worth a 10. But that's my ten cents worth anyway, the rest is great too.

JB Young
I was an early adapter to the Lips coming from the Butthole Surfers/Birthday Party punk camp, but they finally lost me with this one. I could see where Wayne was trying to go, and the songs were much better live than on the cd (that is damming with faint praise) but this is where I got off. Maybe I missed that bad ass lead guitar guy, or human drumming, but at this point they became for me like the best friend you suddenly no longer recognize. Even Yoshimi, with its implied promise of Japanese hardcore noise just seemed sad to me as an actual listening experience. I know a lot of new people got on the bus at The Soft Bulletin, and I am glad for the band’s sake, but I am sorry I will probably never have another transcendental concert experience like the one me and all of my friends had seeing them play The Satellite Heart. Luckily it was around this time I found Jack and Meg and their lo-fi ilk there waiting to give me much of what I used to get from my old pal Wayne. Probably the hardest part, however, was seeing Wayne all over TV on those Intel commercials; it broke my heart every time.

matthewbyrd@hotmail.com
Agree with Mark, this is a good but dissappointing because earlier albums were soooo awesome

Add your thoughts?

The Southern Oklahoma Cosmic Trigger Contest EP - Independent 2001
Rating = 2


Every once in a while, an artist will get the urge to let his hair down and create some playful country-western music for Bradley Beesley's documentary Okie Noodling, which highlights a subculture of fishermen who wade into murky water and stick their hands into dark holes hoping that a giant catfish will latch onto their arms. And sure, I enjoy sticking my hand into dark holes as much as the next guy, but who wants to sit through generic country music while doing so? If anything, that just makes it take longer.

A recurring problem with musicians attempting to extend themselves beyond their genre is that their unfamiliarity with the playing style and tropes of the new genre prevents them from creating anything more than a cliched, middle-of-the-road version of it. Look at Roger Waters' opera. Look at rappers who try to record rock songs. Or punk bands who try to play reggae because The Clash did. Even if performed competently, the actual songs are inevitably bland and non-experimental, because it's the best they can do. The only way around this trap is for the artist to bring in outside players with the background necessary to combine his/her creative melodic ideas with the traditional musicianship of an unfamiliar genre (see Ween's 12 Golden Country Greats, Paul Simon's Graceland, the Beach Boys' entire career). In other words, this EP sucks because The Flaming Lips don't know country-western from a pile of shit in the yard. Maybe this light-hearted crap sounds good in the movie, but it's a pointless, instantly forgettable bore out here in the real world, where movies don't exist.

Add your thoughts?

Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots - Warner Bros. 2002.
Rating = 8


Oklahoma's Bad Boys of ROKK are back - with a VENGEANCE! Eschewing the word "eschew," the F.lip (wilson)s are announcing "Here Come Da Judge!," and if it's a GRAMMY judge, let's hope he doesn't have boiled pus clogging up his ears like they do every other year!

The Flaming Lips have gotten to the point now where they can actually *AFFORD* to make their records as dense and multiply-layeredish as Woyne Cayne and Stephen Drugz would like. And cripes, are these songs UFLL to STUBIN! Start with your hip-hop drums (hip-hop drums? On a Flaming Lips album! Yes! Indeed the Flaming Lips are that funk soul brother, check it out now), your acoustical guitar, your synths, your more synths, your ugly synths, your pretty synths, your yelling, your violins, your great bass line, your classical embellishment, more strange effects and Radiohead-style spaciness -- take all these elements, add it up as if it were a mathematical equation or disgusting Violent Femmes song and what do you get? Pop music so interesting, you hardly even notice that a few of the melodies are kinda simple and mediocre! There is just SO much to listen to here. A song will start with three simple little elements, and then like fifty-two jillion more will all pile up on top of each other by the end of the song. Lush electronics, light bells, shaky percussion, gongs, horns, light electric piano, flute sounds, harmony vocals - it's as if they got a great deal from an 80-track studio and decided to use all 80 tracks in every song! In fact, I'd go so far as to say that if you don't like this album, then I guess that's YOUR opinion!

I have this friend in South/North Georgia. We'll call him "Dave," even though his name is Christian Smith. So the other day I'm talking to "Dave" about the fact that I got the new Flaming Lips album and I'm not sure how much I like it yet because it's really gentle "FRAGILE" (copyright YES 1972) melodious happy fag pop like their last one, and this "Dave" person says to me, he says - "I just always love Wayne's lyrics." He said something after that too, perhaps qualifying his statement, but I was already gone, man. I was gone home in my mind to read the lyrics sheet to see if his words rang true. And guess what? Against All Odds (copyright Phil "Short Bald Billionaire" Collins), he was RITE!

Which reminds me of a hilarious little joke I just made up: What do you get if you have unprotected sex with an illiterate?

RITE-AIDS!

No, I don't really get it either. But one thing I DO get is sad little goosebumps when I hear these songs. I would like to address a few by title if I may:

"Fight Test" = his "coolness" and refusal to fight for the one he loved resulted in him losing this person.
"One More Robot" = Sometimes when people are lonely and need to feel loved, they pick an inanimate object like a stuffed animal or a robot. And, even though this love isn't REAL, it succeeds in making the person FEEL loved, so in reality, it doesn't MATTER that the love isn't real. All that matters is that the person feels loved.
"Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell" is about losing a chance at love because it didn't come in the exact shape and form he was hoping for.

And then of course the last two vocal songs go entirely out of their way to depress the crap out of me. They're about the finality of DEATH, you see. DEATH. FINAL. Take the "cool" anarchy slogan of The Sex Pistols - "No Future" - and think about what it really means. Everything ends. These two songs made me so goddamned sad, I had to stop eating dinner, get on the floor and hug my little doggy. (Would've hugged the wife but she was in Canada like a Mexican). Like, it's not that it's a NEW idea that we're all going to die, but for Christ's sake, if you're going to make this statement, could you NOT start the song with the line "Do you realize - that you have the most beautiful face?" And then MUST YOU MAKE IT TWICE!?!?!?!??! Check out these fucking lyrics: "As logic stands you couldn't meet a man who's from the future but logic broke as he appeared he spoke about the future 'we're not gonna make it' he explained how the end will come - you and me were never meant to be part of the future - all we have is now."

At this point I want to hug my wifey and my doggy. Wayne Coyne has saddened me with his heartwrenching description of life's finale.

Wonderful pop music. Beautiful vocal melodies, sung with no wrong notes at all. Gorgeous, haunting arrangements. And lyrics to make you think about what's really important in life: love. Loving and being loved and living life to its fullest every day.

And, apparently, stupid Japanese anime crap.

Reader Comments

aquaiii@hotmail.com (Karl Mattson)
It occurs to me that by "Pink Robots" Mr. Coyne is, in fact, referring to human beings, especially those who are particularly emotionally dead and unwilling to think for themselves. 'One More Robot' would therefore be about one of these 'automatons' coming into its own and fully realizing its inherent humanity, and the theme (or one of the themes) of the album would be Wayne's sense of alienation as an emotional, poetic being in an (at least outwardly) unforgivingly hard and rational world.

Initially I loved this album. Upon further reflection it occurred to me that I love 'Flight Test', 'Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots/Part One' and 'Do You Realize' and that the rest all kind of runs together into one blurry, unappealing mass. Maybe I just need to listen to it a little more before I get it. Hell, I just "got" Daydream Nation for the first time yesterday. Up until then Sister had been my favorite. Hah!

Too bad The Labials couldn't come up with a whole album of worthwhile songs.

willie8911@comcast.net (Willie Simpson)
I agree 1000%. This album is achingly gorgeous, peppered with production out the yin-yang, and topped with lyrics that only the truly great could ever pen. Wayne has entered the song writers zone where his next album could be about how fucked up his personal life is or how happy his life is (much like Lennon with Ono Band/Double Fantasy) and not sound artificial, calculated, or pretentious. He has the touch, or that mythical golden song writing pen from Asia or something. I have had this album for a few months now (I had a leaked version) and just now the full beauty and message of the record is coming alive. There is no point in discussing the songs, for the most part they are beautiful. Only a couple of the seemingly weaker ones, Summertime, and Ego Tripping, really rev up to greatness after you listen to them a couple of times. And btw, 'Do You Realize' is one of the greatest pop songs of all time, it has all the majesty and simplicity of any Beatles song. Also, be sure to grab Funeral in my Head and Above the Daily Hum, both songs were cut from the album, but are really great, especially Funeral, that song must have about 1000 people singing on it. Top notch cosmic super pop. 9.5/10 (damn Zaireeka being so great.)

drazy@gatecity.com
It's December 31, 2000. My wife and I have left the kid at the Grandparents so that we can enjoy our first New Year's Eve alone in far too many years and we chose to celebrate it with The Flaming Lips in Chicago, IL at the Cabaret Metro. We'd seen them already in April of that year at the Blue Note in Columbia, MO and were blown away: Headphones! A light polite drunk crowd! Bunny costumes!. We couldn't think of a better way to go into the new millennium than with our OK buddies.

The opening band Hum, played their farewell performance, and about thirty-three people really gave a shit. Finally, after we pretended that it was 1994 for forty minutes, out pops Wayne & company. Coyne seemed especially jovial, grinning in his little officer fatigues, smashing blood pellets on his head, shredding out a Theremin solo and playing with hand puppets. Steven and Michael smoked a lot, which bothered me because I had quit and I heard Michael had too. Steven chained smoked, but I hear that he kicked heroin, so smoke 'em if you got 'em. That smart-ass Stephen Hawking counted down the new year and then about nine tons of confetti and balloons were dropped on the crowd. I continue to find confetti in the strangest places to this day from that show. It makes me smile when I do: a reminder of a happy time. My wife and I kissed just like they do in the movies. And I thought this new century, this new millenium, was going to be something great. From Wayne's strained voice, I thought everything was going to be alright.

It's funny how nine months later that feeling left me. I could have really used a Lips album around that time to lift my spirits. Tell me everything's going to be alright, Wayne. The wake actually came in the form of a Spiritualized show a little over a month later. And my faith in music was reborn again.

Slow healing has got to be something The Flaming Lips understand. I'd completely forgotten that they know all about "all we have is now." I can't imagine what it must have felt like to see terror firsthand in their own fucking state and then witness it again. From Oklahoma City to New York City, it can happen anywhere. It's not fair sometimes "that everyone you know someday will die."

You guessed it: this album has some heavy shit. Musically, I'm still not completely sold on it. It may be the album of their careers but I'm still saying their masterpiece is The Soft Bulletin. Get back to me in twenty years and ask me again.

I was in boring meetings the day this album was released and I couldn't wait to get out just to buy it. To be honest, I was pretty fucking disappointed when I first played it. Don't tell me that it took almost two years to make this! This is the type of shit I can do by myself on my computer! I felt it was disjointed, recorded in small parts at different points in time, with no real "band" or "rehearsed" feel to it. I was harsh. Everyone kept asking me about it. "What do you think?" "I don't know." I replied. And the "anime crap" bothered me too. I kept thinking of a quote from a friend getting pissy that the Cartoon Network kept airing "fucking Toonami bullshit!" He's been through a lot of shit in his life too, though. And then another friend plainly stated: "You were expecting another Soft Bulletin weren't you?" I understood that line of thinking was wrong and, indeed, The Flaming Lips have made an album unlike any one they have before. Wayne's voice hasn't sounded this good before and neither has his lyrics. It's different, it's deep, It's growing on me...I'm just having trouble adjusting to life in this new millennium. That's my problem, not theirs...

soul_crusher77@hotmail.com (Mike K.)
Wow, I'm not as good at predicting your reactions to things as I thought. One of the main criticisms you had of the soft bulletin was the general lack of guitars, and this is easily the least full band sounding lips album to date. But then again, that one replaced guitars with pet sounds-y fake strings and stuff, and this one replaced guitars with tons of layers of neat synths. Kid A did the exact same thing and got the only 10 of all Radiohead's releases. Now it makes sense.

Although for some reason The Soft Bulletin's instrumentation didn't phase me, my first reaction to the album was that it wasn't full band-y enough. However, I've already gotten used to it, and I'm digging the electronic experimentation quite a bit. From the start the Lips were all about mixing a bit of experimental noise in their pop, and this definitely follows that tradition. And the keyboards are all part of the mood. This is one of those records where every time you listen, you notice something different, and I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. I've already uncovered that robot voice in the background saying "I'll get you, Yoshimi!!" in "Yoshimi... Part 1", which in the first few listens I thought was some weird synth noise. Highlights include 'Do You Realize" (yet another song in their catalog no one else could pull off without sounding cheesy), "yoshimi battles the pink robots pt. II" (it's a perfectly pulled off instrumental story song - you can just picture a small japanese woman doing karate moves and kicking a giant robot's ass to this music), and "Are You A Hypnotist". If I hadn't only bought like 3 other new albums this year, I would easily declare it album of the year so far. 9/10.

Oh, and Flaming Lips lyrics are definitely something to pay attention to. Listen to them more carefully next time you put on the soft bulletin and you'll learn to appreciate it a bit more in places. "Waiting For A Superman" is one of the saddest songs I've ever heard, for one. Also notable is "The Spiderbite Song", which is actually based on true experiences. A little before Zaireeka was getting worked on, Stephen Drozd got a giant spiderbite on his hand and very nearly got it amputated, and shortly after fellow member Michael Evins got into a bizarre car accident. A wheel with tire intact flew out of nowhere and hit his car, making the doors unable to be opened, but no three wheeled cars were traced anywhere near the scene of the accident. The song's a quite touching show of empathy for his bandmates on Wayne's part.

kevin.by@selby.no
i was a bit skeptic(SP??) towards this album cuz i really loved their last effort, the soft bulletin and i couldn't really see how they could take a good step forward after this BUT luckily, just by mistake i heard "Yoshimi Fights the Pink Robots part 2" at a internett radio-station hosted by Yoshimi P-we herself at www.Boredoms-radio (as i'm a fan of the Boring ones). i really felt a disire to hear the whole album cuz the song intrigued the hell outa me! Yoshimi meets the Lips = this stuff just GOTTA be groundbraking and thrilling - ofcourse this is NOT a collabo-album or a concept album as i first thought and THAT part 2-track is NOT representative for the album. it IS however the sound of the Lips taking their sound EVEN FURTHER!!! more focused work than ever and a tight yet 100% Flaming Lippy sound/production.

i can't really remember hearing a better sounding recording during my 25 years of existance on planet earth - yes, i've noticed that the sun doesnt' go down - it's an illusion caused by the earth spinning round.

i read from yer review (Mark) that you get depressed by these songs and find them sad - well, Coyne's intensions are exactly the opposite! take a big bite of the apple we call life and treasure every moment! i know i will with this CD constantly on my concious. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots might just be my new favorite Lips album - replacing Clouds Taste Metallic... only time will tell.

Jcjh20@aol.com
Well, some of the songs took me some time to get into, but overall this is a beautiful release. Despite its hatred on the ol' Music Babble which i can not understand at all, i love this album and it's one of my favorites of the year. My favorites are the beautiful pop single "Do You Realize" and the gorgeous "In The Morning Of The Magicians", which has possibly the best vocal from Wayne ever. The instrumentals, like the weird ass "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt. 2" full of bubbly synths and ear-ripping screeches, and "Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon" are also quite great and much different from the instrumentals from The Soft Bulletin. My only complaint is that the album kinda gets tedious after a while in the middle, but that doesn't mean much. I agree with Mark's 9.

Mooncrazy200@aol.com
Best album of 2002. Only a fag (George Starostin) wouldn't appreciate it. Hah Hah!

Fuck you.///;'[[]]pio[=-ih

oliver5200@hotmail.com (Adam Bruneau)
I'll start off by saying first that Yoshimi certainly should not have taken 4-5 years to make, even if you take into account the sudden boom in popularity and critical praise, and the tours to places like France and Japan. It's essentially a smoother, less emotionally engaging "Bulletin". True, the emotional edge is still there in the lyrics - it's really always been there - but the music itself doesn't send me into siezures like it used to.

I'm not against electronics in music in the least - I'm a big fan of Autechre, Mouse on Mars, Cex, DAT Politics, etc. - but here it really doesn't feel right. Almost as if it's an unnecessary crutch, and it quite often hinders the impact of whatever statement the band is trying to make at a given time. Hearing Wayne cry out "Why is it so high, why is it so much?" over a sea of wailing orange synthesizers is beautiful. Hearing Wayne cry out "Will the fight for our sanity be the fight of our lives?" over cut-up gong samples and fake strings is devastating. But hearing him cry out "Look inside, all you'll see is a self-reflected inner sadness" over limp electronic muzak is quite underwhelming.

"It's Summertime" is not the only place on the album 'the message' seems to fall flat on its face. While I admire the desire to be adventurous and try something like the trip/glitch-hop pop of "One More Robot", the song itself is ....well, the kind of thing I might find enjoyable in 10 years as a source of extreme irony. I'm truly sorry, but it simply embarasses me to listen to this song. I have to admit that the intro, bass line, and drum loops are all fresh and very cool, but as soon as Wayne starts to sing, the entire thing sinks into a quicksand of cheeze, stopping briefly during the choruses to vomit up some kind of horrid tribute to generic late 80's techno, with lyrics about a robot trying to "be something more than a machine". It's not tongue-in-cheek enough to be a parody on electropop, and it's not a strong enough melody to survive the chorus. It's as if someone locked a few stoners in a room with a pre-programmed drum machine and told them to write a futuristic dance song. Except nowhere near as bizarre.

"Yoshimi Pt. 2" starts out intense, and very cool, but unfortunately paring a drum solo (even if it is Steven) with a moog playing a simple descending melody over and over again does not make for a very interesting 3-minute track, and certainly not an appealing repeat listen. When I had read that The Lips were finally recording with The Boredoms (whom they had known for years and years) my ears were dripping with anticipation. Would the new album feature rapid-fire astral tribal jam sessions based on Japanese traditional work songs? Or would Yoshimi lend her percussive skills to 15-minute drone-bliss pieces that would drive us to headphone satori? Sadly, it seems as if the best they could do is have her scream at the top of her lungs while this boring shit goes on behind her.

I was going to start off this paragraph by discussing "All We Have Is Now", but the song is the first Flaming Lips song that had actually bored me to the point of me not even bothering to finish it on first listen, any further discussion on the song would sound like I was just being cruel. And the only reason to discuss "Approaching Pavonis Mons" is the title. It has the worst drum sound I have ever heard on a Lips track, and NO melody. "Ego Tripping", which I actually like, is more techno-muzak in the vein of "All We Have" and "Summertime", saved only by a very interesting drum sequence that happens whenever the chorus (which is pretty catchy) comes in. The weak tracks on this record don't just fail musically, but stylistically at the same time. They're the electronic version of AM-radio soft rock/adult contemporary, only without the melodies. It's pathetic.

Still, "Hypnotist" kicks serious ass, "Funeral" should have been on the album (being 10 times better than the majority of the tracks that made it), And "Do You Realize?" is the greatest song of their career. The lyrics are perfect and the guitars sound like the dreams of ancient Grecian deities.

galleyian@mac.com (Ian Galley)
Cat Stevens sings again. Thank you Mr Lips for saving such a lovely melody from the clutches of the evil Boy-Zone. (US readers, I'm taking you have no clue what Boy-Zone is or was but think this. Magnify any hostile feelings to the boyband/manufactured pop act/novelty cover band cos no song writer worth his, or her, salt would touch with a ten foot gangrenous penis by the amount of ...

sorry Lucifer Rising distracted me.

Well they covered a Cat Stevens song and stole the melody. Everything hateful in music pumped through their veins. Damn Them. Lips bring it back.

I like the drums, in a hip hop style they suit. Wayne croons sadly about not standing up and fighting for what he yearned. Declaring "it's a mystery" so still acting 'cool'. Okay Wayne admit it, you know exactly what you're doing. As does the drummer because he's apparently the principal musician now. Talented bastard. 'One more Robot is worth finding in it's stripped down piano form, the song becomes acheingly sad as Pink Robot has to decide whether or not to kill Yoshimi. The end piece some how finds a bright ray of light (but the battle is too come).

Yoshimi part One. You know this. The Lips were on Top of The Pops, Wayne sang live (he did look nervous but was into it in his own spirited way), Steven played some mad guitar (beats the shit out of Ronald, though not Mr Donahue.) New drummer too, banged the crap out of the kit and was sycncopated with Justine Timberlake on bass. Michael squelched in a Zebra suit. Crowd were into it.

Yoshimi Part two. Sounds a lot like Squarepusher. Nice Drum attack. Good Battle. Why no 2 hour 5.1 mix? You slack Bastards!

The next few tracks drift by, though that's not being dismissive. They're nice.

Are you a Hypnotist has the best Drums, ever. The lyrics are again shot through with hopelessness, but what I sing to cheer up an owl when it's ready to hang itself. I then collect the testes and market fancy jams to rich knobs living in Buckinghamshire.

It's Summer time is a roaring fire in wintertime.

Do you realise is the best Lips song ever (until the next album then)

" I noticed that he wore a watch and hat that looked familiar, He was me from a dimension torn free of the future."

Bless them, they mean well.

Night Night

galleyian@mac.com
Hello Mark,

I just had to whack this out as you have to hear the full 5.1 DVD surround sound of Yoshimi. My God! There is no way on earth to explain how mighty this mix is. All I can say is it's as if being inside a huge, pulsating, organic drum. With added schuelch.

Hunt it down. You need it!

Newone88859@aol.com
You know i really like this one. It's my first Flaming Lips album and i like nerd science fiction like Isaac Asimov and Phillip K. Dick so for some reason i latched right onto it. Maybe its 'cause of all the robots and songs about the future. 'as logic stands, you couldn't meet a man, from the future. but logic broke, and he appeared in smoke, from the future'. The album is kind of a downer, just because of how it ends, i think. Even one of my goofy tough guy no regrets metalcore(hardcore? i don't know) friends liked this album. Where should i go from here, Mark?

cburgess12@comcast.net
Gee, Wayne has the disease. Lennon had it, Brian Wilson had it. Bowie has had it for decades. The big message disease. Mark touched on it in his review of the Soft Bulletin, which I love, because Wayne hadn't yet fallen completely under it's spell. What disease?

It's basically, all of us are a bunch of robots, and we better start loving each other right away, or something really bad is going to happen. The thing is, we humans are necessarily tragic figures. We're supposed to make big mistakes. About all you can really do to address our situation is wink and give a little smirk and say we're all just barely self-concious children. Ya gotta cut us all a little slack. So I rate this 2 of 10, 2 for the melodies.

edm1213@msn.com
A second masterpiece. 10, check out Thought Industry's Short Wave... album if you like this one.

pedroandino@msn.com
in 2002 I was so bored of music being sanitized and mass produced and everything else does not ring a melodic tune for me. until that magic tune I was looking for came to me and this is what I found! I say ''oh snap!'' and picked up the most coolest thing this side of the pillow! stupid line I know. yoshimi battles the pink robots! by the way fuck you for dissing anime! I love that shit! anyway wayne has a new musical mind and he found it in this concept album! thanks!.

Add your thoughts?


Finally The Punk Rockers Are Taking Acid - Restless 2002.
Rating = 8


The Flaming Lips' THIRD release of 2002, this 3-disc box set includes the band's first ep and first three albums, along with sixteen bonus tracks. They used to be a noisy '60s-influenced guitar-driven garage rock/pop band with a scraggly singer shouting and scraggling all over and a loose, noisy drummer who sounded like he made his kit out of cardboard boxes, pots and pans. If all you know is their Soft Bulletin-type stuff, you might not be able to enjoy this early stuff at ALL. It's competely different. In fact, it's even completely different than the VERY NEXT ALBUM they recorded -- In A Priest-Driven Ambulance. Oh, I'll never forget that time when I made copies of this early material for myself because I was such a fan of Priest-Driven Ambulance (Probably Cuz He Nailed A Little Boy Up The Belly Button) which was at the time their newest album (I even still have a shirt from that period so gaze in awe at my coolness -- which reminds me: is there some reason that long-time Butthole Surfers fans are such arrogant pricks? I've run across TWO in my day and both were way too proud of the fact that they'd been fans of the Butthole Surfers for so long. Trouble is - one was gay and the other was a tour guide at some stupid Australian park, and it takes a lot more than a map on legs or a Grabass champion to impress Ol' Prind) and I came out of the experience thinking, "Man. They used to SUCK!" I was astonished when their next CD, Hit To Death In The Future Head turned out to be so great. It was only later, with a clear mind and a clearer glass of water, that I was able to realize the basic fuzztone power and purposely messy pop melodicism of early "must-own" classics like "Bag Full Of Thoughts," "Staring At The Sound," "Love Yer Brain" and "Begs And Achin'" -- all of which you'll find right here on this budget-priced 3 and a half hour zany batch of flapadap snapcrap!

But enough about the albums. I've had them all on vinyl for years and if you don't, well it's not my fault that you're not as alternative as I am. Why don't you go back and listen to your Spice Girls if the Flaming Lips are too difficult for you. Some of us are smart enough to prefer alternative music like the greatest album ever recorded, Wilco's Yankee Hotel Overrated Generic Indie Rock.

So forget the albums. Let's waste our time on the bonus trax. They come in eight different varieties. The first is the "previously unreleased group original." Of these, you'll plenty enjoy the fast tough rocker "Killer On The Radio" and the cool slow bass-harmonic-driven "Groove Room," but might be all that impressed with "Death Tripping At Sunrise" once you notice that it's nothing but a heartbeat run through an echo box for 3 or 4 minutes.

The SECOND variety of bonus track is the "cover tune." In this category, you'll find pathetic, nearly unlistenably off-key early renditions of "Batman Theme" and The Who's "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," quite enjoyable (but shitty) garage-band attempts at Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown" (including part of "Dazed And Confused" -- played wrong, of course) and the Page/Plant classic "Thank You," which you can find on the double platinum Page/Plant gold hit album Unledded or whatever the hell they called it, a limp, biscuity soft crapass run-through of Sonic Youth's "Death Valley 69," a beautiful take of Neil Young's "After The Gold Rush" (appropriate since many folks compare Wayne's post-1988 upper-register vocals to those of Buffalo Springfield's own Bob Young (Neil)) and finally, after all is said and done and you put disc one back in to listen to the last song on it again, there's some great rocker about the Korean War called "Handsome Johnny." I'm not sure who did the original version, but I'll have sex with a 13-year-old girl if it was Richie Havens or some shit.

The TURD variety of bonus track might be called the "Songs Sung By Original Flaming Lips Vocalist Mark Coyne Before He Left The Band And Wayne Ended Up Singing The Versions On The Album" (or "SSBOFLVMCBHLTBAWEUSTVOTA" for short). Included in the "SSBOFLVMCBHLTBAWEUSTVOTA" category are "Trains, Brains and Rain," "One Million Billionth Of A Millisecond On A Sunday Morning" and a roll-on-the-floor-laughing "evil, scary haunted house guy" version of "Jesus Shootin' Heroin." Mark simply doesn't have anywhere near the vocal range that Wayne has, and it's probably a good thing that he's not in the band anymore.

The final thingamajiggy is "Pointless Inclusions," like a remix of "Can't Stop The Spring" (whatever!), a THIRD version of "Jesus Shootin' Heroin (this one live, interpolating a jokey version of "UFO Story") and a draggy, crapass live version of "My Own Planet" that abruptly smashes into the zestiest of all zestful FAGs songs -- "Staring At The Sound"! I'm "Staring At The Sound"! Can You Dig Me? I'm totally "Staring At The Sound"!

You know what sucks balls? Ice skating sucks balls. My wife and I walked nine hundred miles today to get to the ice skating rank in Harlem, where we skated for 15 minutes before coming to the realization that there is absolutely no fun to be had on ice skates. Check it out next time you go ice skating. Look at all the people there. Feel how much it's making your legs hurt. Think about how hard you have to concentrate to keep from falling down and looking like it's your first day with the new feet. And - most importantly - take careful note of the fact that you are simply going around and around and around and around and around. Where's the fun? Answer: YOU'RE PRETENDING IT'S FUN TO IMPRESS SOME GIRL.

Add your thoughts?


The Day They Shot A Hole In The Jesus Egg 1989-1991 - Restless 2002.
Rating = 8


In 1990, when I was but a young boy of 17, I one day experienced an incredibly noisy yet catchy blast of a song that entered my home via invisible airwaves crackling with life, and bright antennae, which bristled with the energy. By the time this amaXXXing mixture of backward-phased melodic vocals, ethereal wavering guitar feedback, ass-heavy distorted two-note bass, catchy fuzzed two-note motorcycle guitar and overmodulated snare-smashing drumbeats reached its crescendo with a brilliantly timed noise drop-out and blast-back-in, my brain's pleasure centers were squirting jets of sticky dopamine all over the metaphorical jiggly boobs of my psyche. It was then that the college radio station DJ man brought me back to moral realityism by announcing, "Hey Mark, that was The Flaming Lips with 'God Walks Among Us Now.'"

A short time later, this very same disc jockey man played another great song filled with the same loud guitar feedback and feverish electronic buzzing while somehow maintaining an unexpectedly gentle, beautiful tone similar to that created by The Beatles, who invented rock and roll, which had not existed before. This song was called "Rainin' Babies" and the performers were these same so-called "Flaming Lips." I could resist the temptation no longer. "Hey Matt Terrebonne," I said to my friend Matt Terrebonne. "Buy this Flaming Lips tape called In A Priest-Driven Ambulance ." He did so, discovered that it was - from beginning to end - a masterpiece of acoustic melancholia, majestic feedback noise and pop melodies that could only have come from the mind of a really smart bunch of human beings.

Needless to pinss, we've both been enormous fans ever since, even during Matt's pot-smoking years. We followed the band from artistic triumph to creative victory before they reached unheard-of levels of genius with the audio experiment Zaireeka , which featured four discs meant to be played on four different CD players at the same time. Sounds stupid, but the effect, even of just THREE discs, was absolutely devastating. No other album in the history of the world sounds like Zaireeka . It is in many ways the zenith of 20th century popular music, and that INCLUDES Hall & Oates' "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)." Though the Lipps, Inc. likely will never again match this apex of goodness, they're STILL one of the most creative and worthwhile bands out there, even after having changed their sound drastically for the more "mature" Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots CDs. See, they're more production-focused and orchestral now, what with leader Wayne Coyne fancying himself some kind of modern-time Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame.

But let's get Back To The Future. So what is The Day They Shot A Hole In The Jesus Egg ? Subtitled "The Priest Driven Ambulance Album, Demos and Outtakes," that is exactly what this delightful double-disc release is are! Beginning with that record in its entirety (which, btw, was actually their FOURTH full-length studio album - they've been around for quite some time!), this set then invites the fan to enjoy early demo versions of most of the songs, plus the rare Unconsciously Screamin' EP in its entirety (although one of the songs, probably for legal reasons, has lost the samples that made it so interesting in the first place), before devolving into covers of songs by the Sonics, Elvis Costello and the Chainsaw Kittens and sprightly but impotent rockin' jams with titles like "Agonizing" and "Jam." Not a one of these lost tracks really NEEDS to be heard, but it's very interesting to hear this band experiencing a miraculous transformation from basic garage rock group with slight pop inflections (which is what they were prior to the Priest Driven album ) into one of the most mindblowing and consistent pop/rock songwriting machines in the entire HISTORY of rock. Folks who don't own In A Priest Driven Ambulance might as well just buy the original single disc if they can find it cheap enough. This double-disc reissue is geared towards people who ALREADY love the record, and can appreciate hearing the band's early, unpolished attempts at the material.

And with an eye always toward the future, the final song on here features a later version of the Flaming Lips presenting their own take on one of the record's most beautiful songs, the countryish "Five Stop Mother Superior Rain." True to what they would become, these later Lips dump the electric guitar feedback of the original recording in favor of a gentle organ line.

Reader Comments

tsivey@gte.net
If anyone out there knows the lyrics to Golden Hearse, pls share. :)

jlivathinopoulos@nyc.rr.com (Jerry Livathinopoulos)
I would like to add that this was the first album I bought by the Lips, and it became one of the few albums that smacked me on such a powerful emotional level. I love my other albums by bands like the Stones, Who, Beatles, etc., but this record was just something I could not rationally ponder. I immediately felt a connection to this band of weirdos with heart. Ain,t it somethin'? I checked the band out because I thought they were experimental noisemakers. Well, they were, of course, but that didn't matter as much as the soul of this personal, strainy-voiced record.

10/10?

Add your thoughts?


Fight Test - Warner Bros. 2003.
Rating = 7


Okay, somebody needs to address the fact that Wayne Coyne has grown a full beard. Now I certainly feel that the man has written enough great music to warrant doing anything he wants with his facial features; heck, it's every man's birthright if he so chooses. But why the full beard? Is he covering up wrinkles? Is he trying to set himself up as a sexy "older man" for MTV's housewife viewership? Or does he simply long for the simpler cocaine days of Barry Gibb and the Furry Beach Boys? Whatever the case, two things are particularly striking about the new "Wayne Coyne with a beard" look. A) He looks much, much older. B) He looks much, much more arrogant. Whether or not he IS more arrogant is not at issue here; that is of little concern to me. I'm much more worried about the impact that his beard will have on our young people. Will they too begin wanting to grow full beards? Will the alternative nation's collective empty space between the Van Dyke and the ears slowly fill in with hairs hairs hairs as if this was 1978 and we were all heading out to Studio 54 with David Bowie? Only Time Will Tell. Maybe he just grew it in the Heat Of The Moment, and he doesn't realize that he looks like the Sole Survivor of a long-gone era. Don't Cry. Go!

Fight Test would have you believe that it is an EP, but it's 31 minutes long so I'm not going to type "EP" next to its title. Sure it's at a budget price and is just a 7-song collection of cover songs, one lengthy remix and two minor unreleased cuts, but I choose to live in my little fantasy world where a CD can't be called an "EP" if it's over 30 minutes long. Even if it's one song and 29 minutes of a guy saying "I hope you enjoyed this EP!" over and over again, I am an anal retentive man (LITERALLY! I weigh 2850 pounds because I had my anus removed!) and I will insist that it is a full LP. Though not a very good one. As for Fight Test, it's almost a celebration of today's youth music, what with its cover tunes and homages and things. Proof that the universe of the Flaming Lips is wide enough to welcome with open arms the creations of todays' additional hot new acts. First is the album track "Fight Test," which I'm told is a complete ripoff of "Father and Son" by today's youth singer Cat Stevens. I'm a little distressed that I can't remember how that song goes, considering that I used to own Tea For The Tillerman and certainly remember "Wild World," "Where Do The Children Play," "On The Road to Find Out" and "Sad Lisa"; the only excuse I can give is that the song appears to have been replaced in my musical psyche by the Canned Hamm song of the same name: "Father and Soooon! Getting things doooone!!!" This song is accompanied by a video if you're listening to the CD on a computer. Straightforward video probably pulled directly from Wayne's memory banks of the time he should have fought for the girl and didn't. Good things!

Then the REAL (i.e. non-copyright-breaking) cover tunes begin: Kylie Minogue's harrowing "Can't Get You Out Of My Head," Beck's boring "The Golden Age" ("Five Stop Mother Superior Rain" with different lyrics) and Radiohead's genius "Knives Out." It's been quite some time since bands covered hit songs of their OWN era on a regular basis (probably since the 60s with "Louie Louie" and what have you), so this sort of thing comes as a striking affirmative "Yeah!" from music fans who never realized that Kylie Minogue had any good songs. Next on the disc is a pointlessly overlong remix of album track "Do You Realize?(?)," followed by a Stereolab-sounding bachelor pad song of mature sorrow (and greatness) and an underwritten country-western jaunt about a dumb ironic shit gift that White Stripes leader Jack White gave to Wayne backstage at some alternative kitsch Beck show or some crap. I look forward to the day five years from now when a new generation hears this song and wonders, "Who in the hell is Jack White?"

"I mean, certainly I'm familiar with our nation's president, Jack Black, but who is Jack White? Is he a senator from our 51st state, New Iraq?"

Reader Comments

soul_crusher77@hotmail.com (Mike K.)
As a mere glance at the cover-heavy tracklist would suggest, this is not exactly the most essential purchase ever, but it is a fairly neat little extra if you're a diehard fan and liked the last album. The Kylie Minogue cover is the biggest reason to pick this up in my opinion. Turning "club anthem" "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" (appropriately titled, in an annoying sort of way) into a depressing yet oddly spaghetti western music sounding string dirge somehow works brilliantly, even the "la la la, la la la la la" refrain is effectively dowsed in meloncholy. Also of note is the "Knives Out" cover, which gets a nicely dark mood going with the slower tempo, morbid jazz piano, and odd synth squealings, even though Wayne forgets the words, and "Strange Design Of Conscience", which would fit right in on the second side of Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. I'd definitely rather have it there than say that "Pavonis Mons" thing they somehow got a grammy for. But now for the bad news, which actually isn't that bad. "Golden Age" isn't that good of a beck song to begin with, and the Lips make it sound like what "Five Stop Mother Superior Rain" would sound like if it were a lot more boring, but it's a fairly pleasant listen, albeit one that makes me almost nod off halfway through. Then there's the "Do You Realize??" remix, which has some kind of interesting effects in places, but basically goes on too long and brings the song way too close to that "do you believe in life after love?" song by Cher for comfort. And finally "Thank You Jack White..." is going to sound dated lyrically fairly quickly, but musically it's a fun little throwaway country melody I guess, and it's kind of neat to hear them doing something so live and "down home" sounding in the same era as their most production-trick-and-overdub-heavy album other than Zaireeka.

So that leaves us with about 15 minutes of good material, which is, um, around the length of a normal ep! If this ep existed, it would probably be a few bucks cheaper, entail less skipping around, and most of all not make people who care about such things (me and apparently Mark for instance) wonder how the hell it's an "EP" and yet that weezer release that's a good 4 minutes shorter than it is an "album". But such a thing only exists in our imaginations, much like unicorns, new soda flavors that actually taste good, and the moon.

galleyian@mac.com (Ian Galley)
Kind of agree with you here. A friend got this on import, (why, when it's all getting released over here...chart smasher at 28...?), and he really wasted his cash. Sure, Fight Test is a great song. So what if it's the same melody as Cat Stevens, (or whatever he calls himself these days, Allah only knows?), but at least the Lips have stolen the melody back from a corrupt, evil, Irish 'boy band' (I have referred to this prior) called, Zeus help me, 'BoyZone.' Make of that name as you will. Even better, it's a piece of piss to remember chord wise and I'm crap at chord theory. Anyway, top tune, top song and a mesmeric vocal performance by the other one with the beard, that doesn't play bass, guitar or anything anymore. Which, I think, is an example most musicians should follow, i.e. JUST PACK IT IN, YOU'RE ALL KILLING MUSIC. So what if you can play an augmented major seventh diminished by a third, played in 12/9 time. Just piss off. Sorry, excuse me, I'm drunk.

The rest of the Cd is risible. You can get the kylie/radiohead and more by going to KCRW.COM and look under 'Morning becomes Eclectic*.' They have video of the session too (and the time they helped raise Beck's game.) The remix is laughable. You could give the elements to any kid with a computer and they'd come up with something, anything more interesting. Fuck, I could. My idea, just play the track backwards! Simple! Or do an Aphex twin and pull the nearest dat from the shelf and throw it to the courier. Job done, money in the bank.

Re: Jack White song. Under written it may be, but why would you want to spend more time on the instrumentation anyway? It's a comedy song. But the 2nd guitar (is it a lead??) plays some lovely, country licks and makes me laugh, (the licks, not the lyrics) every-time. Mr Drozd is a talented fellow and is exempt from my fascist, musical dogma.

On a happier note, the Lips recently played the Glastonbury fete. I don't know if you can still hear a stream, courtesy of John Peel at BBC.CO.UK/Radio1, but I have a quicktime of thirty minutes of their performance. Let me know if you want a copy, (hey, I'm drunk and not usually so generous), for free mind... I don't want to rip off musicians (and get on metalica's hit list.) You'll shit yerself at the reaction they get! Over 80 thousand people singing along to Yoshimi, I shit you not!!!

* KCRW also have a great session by Nick Cave (without the Bad Seeds). Video n'all. At one point he sings 'Pappa won't leave you Henry' to the piano of 'Oh my Lord!' Mercy Seat too! You'll ejaculate 50 miles into the sky, I know I do.

I would like to be the first person on this web site to pay tribute to the Iranian twins who died today. No joking, it's really sad shit. The balls, (metaphorical), that these women had is humbling.

drazy@gatecity.com
E.P.=Extended Play (which it is) and also Enormous Poop (which some may argue). Look: I love 'em like the rest of the world (minus the French who call Wayne "The Farting Mussolini") so I understand that a fat fucking label like Warner Bros has to make a profit. I also understand that this should be treated as a fan curio. And as a fan curio, I was right there, front and center, forking over $10 for this thing the first week it was out. The purchase made my mad for two reasons:

1.) I recommend seeing the Lips live during this phase, but only once or twice. Their live set has become hindered by the video screen and the spontaneity of their earlier tours as well as the off-the-cuff Kylie cover included here, remind me that these guys can dish out clever shit without worrying that they might fall flat on their faces. So what's the deal with seeing the same Jon Stewart intro for "Jelly" for the past fucking six shows I've caught, including the Beck opener?! When do I get to bear witness to a surprise cover in the flesh again? I hope it's coming this New Year's Eve, cuz the better half and I just shelled a few benjies for their White Stripe opening slot (whatever Mark, they rock righteous Detroit slop rock, which in my book is a good thing regardless of the hyperbole) and I will demonstrate furious anger at any video footage of Leonard Bernstein. For my hard earned cash, I expect a little "Atlantis" or some shit from Wayne's Donovan lovin' ass. Where the fuck was I? Oh yeah, number

2.) The remix shit is tired. Stop now. Change the fucking suit.

But hey, that means this turns out to be a nice little product for completist and dorks like us. A high six or seven that was a cheap little way for the W.B. to move out 25,000 units of product to the last 25,000 people who still buy shiny silver things called compact discs. Speaking of, the last post made me update my own Christmas list for this year to include "From Her To Eternity." So fucking cheers to you for helping to keep the recording industry alive another day.

dimkeal@hotmail.com (John Brophy)
hi thar,

i just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that i really enjoyed reading your flaming lips reviews. they made me wanna go back and pull out all of the older albums for another spin. keep up the great work.

Add your thoughts?


Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell EP - Warner Bros. 2003
Rating = 7


I have a little story I'd like to tell you. It's about a man named Christ. This man gave His life so that you may live. This man died only so that mankind's hands could be washed free of its sins. And all He asked in response is that you believe in Him, trust in Him, and love Him. Amen.

Did you like my story? If not, I also wrote one about a turd that plays craps. It's about a turd named Crshit. This turd gave His cash so that he may play craps. This turd died only so that mankind's hands could be washed free of His stinky brown residue. And all He asked in response was that you retrieve Him, dust him (if he's gotten all crispy and white from baking in the sun), and shove Him - in a garbage Acan.

On that note, let's talk Laming Flips, the formerly great band that is now LAMe and no longer gives a FLIP about putting out quality product.

Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell is an EP that features three remixes of Yoshimi songs (2 of "Ego Tripping" and 1 of "

You know what I just realized? Apparently nobody has reserved the URL "www.aflkdjafkdsjafkldsjaf;kldjfakldfja;dfjajadslflsadf.com." No, seriously! I checked and got this crazy note back from my browser saying "We can't find 'www.aflkdjafkdsjafkldsjaf;kldjfakldfja;dfjajadslflsadf.com' You can try again by typing the URL in the address bar above. Or, search the Web." And then it says, "Check availability or register the domain name 'www.aflkdjafkdsjafkldsjaf;kldjfakldfja;dfjajadslflsadf.com'." I mean, that's totally fucked up. What kind of an asshole do I look like sitting here stuck in a year-long subscription to www.mrakprindel.com or whatever the hell it is I can never remember, when I could be sitting pretty and watching the visitors roll right in at www.aflkdjafkdsjafkldsjaf;kldjfakldfja;dfjajadslflsadf.com? Goddamn it. Goddamn everything. Nothing will ever be good again.

Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell is an EP that features three remixes of Yoshimi songs (2 of "Ego Tripping" and 1 of "Do You Realize?"), three new full-fledged compositions, and one new instrumental. That's my opinion anyway. And don't even get me STARTED about how I feel about the length of each song. Let's just say that "Assassination Of The Sun" is "4:25," and that's all I'm gonna say, I don't want to start any fistfights.

The new tracks are just like Yoshimi, with the slow tempos, electronica-style drums and electronic blip bloop noises. Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music basically. All so relaxed and futuristic! None of the remixes are as good as the originals either, so what's the point? If you're gonna remix something, remix a lousy song and make it better. Don't take beautiful compositions like "Ego T." and "Do You R.?" and replace all the music with hamfisted techno buffoonery. No wonder none of you people have careers. Fuckin' DJ remix assholes. "Oh look at me, look at me! I can take a really great song and make it sound like a bunch of random noises I made on my computer! I must be an 'electronic artist'!" They really said that, those guys. I was in the studio and couldn't believe it. I was just going, "Dude, come on. Nobody wants to hear Wayne saying 'up' a billion times in a row." And they're all like, "Yeah they do. And check out this swishy noise! (*makes swishy noise*)." And it's sad for me because, well you know me - I love everybody. So it really hurts when I have to step completely out of the warmth of my normal character to call somebody a 'talentless little poseur' who should 'come back when (he) learn(s) how to play an instrument.' And that '(he's) adopted' and '(his) real parents vomited on (his) head when (he) was born' and 'I fucked (his) wife.' You know? Nobody likes to do that. I was sad that day.

Two of the new songs are great though: "Assassination Of The Sun" is a super-mellow piano/organ ballad that grows on you to become very emotional without being obvious; and "A Change At Christmas" is a truly great new Christmas song filled with optimistic cheer, Xmasy vibes, and sleigh bells aplenty. The melody is simple, but you don't want a fancy Chykovski (SP?) or Bait-hoe-vin (SP?) piece at the Christmas table; you want a great singable song. And that's exactly what you get with Yorgi Yorgesson's "I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas."

The other two songs run the gamut all the way from Pet Soundsy easy listening fogey music with trumpet all the way to the other end of the musical spectrum, gentle guitar chords with a pretty bridge.

Well, I mean it's not THAT pretty. I guess it would be considered pretty by some people, but it's not really my type at all.

(Sorry, my bridge gets jealous.)

In closing, just let me say that I have been a true blue Flaming Lips fan since 1991 and I won't have you saying negative things about Wayne, the other guy, and the other one.

Add your thoughts?


At War With The Mystics - Warner Bros. 2006
Rating = 7


I don't like cutesy bullshit and I don't like e-z listening muzak, so that takes care of about half this album. But hey!

The Flaming Lips used to be one of my favorite bands in the world, but they just seem to be getting further and further away not only from their original style that attracted me in the first place, but also from good music in general. I long ago acknowledged that they were/are never going to return to the ear-blasting feedback-drenched guitar attack of In A Priest-Driven Ambulance -- not only are they getting older almost by the day, but their lack of interest in guitar music was made evident by their decision not to replace Ronald Jones when he left in a schizophrenic huff in 1996. Though this change in artistic direction was lamentable to me personally, Steve-o and Wayne-i's melodic senses were strong enough to keep me glued to my TV screen even through the symphonic pop of The Soft Bulletin and electronic bloops of Yoshimi Eats The Pink Panther. But now?

Well, there's still some of that genius on here, but the album is a big cluttered mess of "hey, let's see what happens if we do this!" It keeps the proceedings from ever becoming predictable, but unfortunately the chances they take and experiments they try are, to a large extent, pretty grotesque on the ears. Let me be a bit more specific. The album starts off with a really loud choir of voices going "YAHYAHYAHYAHYAHYAHYAHYAHYAH (etc)" followed by a purposely off-key shouted falsetto going "AAAAHHHHH! AHHHAAAHHHAHHAHHAA AAAAHHHHH!" The song then begins: handclaps, acoustic strums, happy bass notes, multi-tracked Wayne singing in a lower register -- interrupted every ten seconds or so by "YAHYAHYAHYAHYAHYAHYAHYAH!" Then we get a wonderfully bombastic, jubilant chorus, followed by 'hilarious' vocoder vocals, 'uproarious' pitch-manipulated "NONONONONONONONO!"s and 'zany' kettle drums spreading their malodorous 'Hello Kitty'-style cutesy goodtimes all over the rest of the loathsomely eye-winking song. Way under all the accoutrements is a decent pop song. BUT WHAT KIND OF MONSTER CAN STOMACH ALL THE BULLSHIT THEY'VE PILED ON TOP OF IT?!?!?!

Now then. Track two. You know that band Ween? You know how sometimes they try to imitate Prince? You know how the Flaming Lips shouldn't try to do that?

Okay then. Track three. Well, I'm not going to go track-by-track like others might enjoy, but let me just say a few more words regarding 'music that I personally don't like.' Okay -- now if you're going to write a Pet Sounds-style relaxed synthorchestrated song without much of a melody, it's probably best not to place it immediately after another Pet Sounds-style relaxed synthorchestrated song with an excellent melody. Furthermore, if your band has a really awesome space-jazz organ/flute/bass/percussion Miles Davis fusion-style thing going on, consider not ruining it with a jokey, mediocre wah-wah guitar solo that drowns out all the other instruments. Say, while we're discussing songwriting, it might also be wise to consider not writing a song with Gwen Stefani in mind, particularly if you're going to fill it with a bunch of annoying, shitty novelty noises. On a related note, if you're going to write a heartbreaking lyric about a man crying for an ambulance as his girlfriend lies dead in his arms, you may want to consider not making the music sound like Jimmy Buffett. And for God's sake, don't end your album with a song that sounds like Todd Rundgren covering Neil Young. Quite frankly, I would have thought that an obvious point.

My initial cynical response was to complain that 'Wayne was too busy off being a genius to bother writing any memorable songs,' but that's completely unfair. This music never screams at you, "Take me seriously as a serious artist!" the way that The Soft Bulletin and (to a lesser extent) Yoshimi did. If anything, At War With The Mystics is too playful. Even the sadder-sounding songs are full of pointless noises, jokey vocoder-voice ugly shit, distorted fart noises, electronic bleeps, coughs, studio chatter and other things that completely detract and distract attention away from whatever it is we're ostensibly supposed to be listening to. Normally I like it when bands pile all sorts of things into the mix so you can hear something new every time you listen, but the Lips (Flaming) seem to have put no thought whatsoever into their unnecessary horsedoo extranea this time around. The mood just seems to be, "Whee! We're having fun! Listen to this ugly noise I can make with my effects processor!"

Another problem is that their musical tastes are clearly entering some subgenres where their songwriting skills aren't equipped to follow. Can they write a beautiful sad pop song? With their entire body tied behind its back. How about an eye-piercingly optimistic zoom through the park? Sure, why not. But I'm not sure they're the right band to be writing soul, country-rock, girl-pop and singer-songwriter AOR. Bully for them for trying, I guess, but it's almost insane how completely removed ANY of this music is from what the Flaming Lips once were. Perfect example: in his heavily circulated album track notes, he says of "The W.A.N.D." (the album's first single, btw) that "I was playing electric guitar, Michael was on fuzzwah bass and Steven was on the drumkit and we stumbled upon this druggy prog-rock riff and stuttery, funky beat. It was like Black Sabbath getting mashed up with Sly and the Family Stone or Stevie Wonder, and it sent us off in a wonderful new direction." Umm, no. What you've stumbled across is a SIMPLE, CATCHY GUITAR RIFF. The kind of thing that you guys used to write in your sleep. Remember "Pilot Can At The Queer Of God"? "The Magician Vs. The Headache"? "Bag Full Of Thoughts"? Dude -- you wrote those!

So that's about six negative paragraphs about a record I gave a 7/10 to. Let's try some positives now. First of all, Wayne is in good voice. Lots of harmony vocals and doubletracking and things. Secondly, his lyrics are typically optimistic and insightful, with a specific focus on rising above the pain and loss that life throws at you, refusing to fall into depression, and thereby defeating defeat itself. Win the war against the mystical forces that would try to kill our spirits. One of my favorite lyrics on the record is from the excellent orchestrated "My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion," when he warns of avoiding the influence of pessimists who "see the sun go down, but they don't see it rise." Which is pretty funny now that I think about it, considering how pessimistic this entire review has been. It's just that I used to be able to count on the Flaming Lips to bring new musical information to my ears and brain that would make me feel enlightened and enlivened. This record manages such a feat in only five tracks. To be fair, I only actively loathe one song ("It Overtakes Me" - the Gwen Stefani one), but with most of the others, I kinda have to listen past the ugly and stupid to get to the bright warm piece of goodness buried beneath. As for the five tracks I mentioned, I'm so pleased with them that I'd like to discuss each one individually, track-by-track like I said I wouldn't a few paragraphs ago.

"The Sound Of Failure" - Perfect title, perfect embodiment of that title. Two minor-key arpeggiated guitars (one acoustic, one electric) intertwine underneath sad vocals hither and thither, as Wayne sings of a young girl who has lost her best friend and can no longer fall for the empty happiness of pop culture. A wonderfully sad, sober song, even though there are some dumb noises in it.

"My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion" - Orchestrated muzak, but warm and wonderful in tone and message. TOTAL Brian Wilson.

"Haven't Got A Clue" - Another perfect title, though probably not in the way they intended. This was apparently the Lips' attempt to build a song on top of a composition created by a friend of the band. But NONE of the elements seem to go together at all! Not even a LITTLE bit! The chord changes are completely fucked up, all the instruments seem to be playing in different keys, none of the piano flourishes make any sense, and in pretty much the only case on the CD, the gallonfuls of weird electronic noises, coughs and racket actually seem to fit!

"The W.A.N.D." - The one with a guitar hook.

"Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung" - Pink Floyd mixed with Yes!!!! Flaming Lips go prog with EXCELLENT results! I absolutely love this song, and can't say enough good things about its galloping beat, sorrowful Floydian chord changes, Watersy gallop-bass-thumping, Yessy high vocal harmonics (by Steven apparently?), gigantic bombastic guitarbursts and recorder (?) countermelodies.

The rest of the album, as diverse and chance-taking as it is, can basically go jump in a hike as far as I'm concerned.

Take a lake, album! You hear me? Take a fuckin' lake!

Make like a leaf and TREE!!!!

Reader Comments

opeth1213@yahoo.com
damn... the album isnt out for almost another month, I'm already jonesing for it the same way i have everything the Lips have done since i came on board on the Soft Bulletin and subsequently fell for everything from Zaireeka back to Priest Driven Ambulance (the early three-piece stuff doesn't quite do it as well for me though all the early albums have their moments), and Mark has to poop on my day by declaring this only a 7/10.

Granted his 8/10 reviews for Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi sounded mixed too, and i'd give those 10s along with Zaireeka, and with Wayne and Michael in their mid 40s now expecting a fourth straight classic is probably too much (five if you go back to the almost perfect 10 of Clouds...). So if anything this set my expectations a little lower so that maybe I'll still love what I hear when the release date finally comes. I'll give Mark this... the 5 songs he really likes sound real good, and I'll probably give this album an 8 based on those if I like them as much.

Now that i've wasted my user comment on an album I've only heard part of one song from, go to Amazon.com next month to read my real review of At War With the Mystics when it finally comes out. If Mark only gives it a 7, I can pretty much guarantee I'll be at least an 8 on this, since I always tend to be a point or two higher than him on things like recent Lips. Or maybe I'll like it even less for some unexpected reason! Ah well. till next time off to watch my Soft Bulletin reissue 5.1 DVD...

Wayne really does look more like Barry Gibb every day btw.

elmore4985@yahoo.com
Damn, you seem way closed minded on this one. I recently downloaded the leaked album and I can dig on every song. It may not be in the right order (all slow songs crammed together), and there may be a lot going on, but its not a mess like you make it seem. This album is very well put together. I'll be honest, I skip over at least one track everytime I listen to this album, but it doesn't mean there bad songs. You saying that "Haven't Got a Clue" is a song where nothing fits together is ridiculous. Man, do you fucking know anything about music? They "YEAH YEAH YEAH Song" is another one that you apparently just don't get. Aha! That must be it, your into all this grungy rockin out shit and are too closeed minded to see much good beyond it. At War with The Mystics is not, in my opinion, as good as Yoshimi, The Soft Bulletin, or Hit to death in the future head, but it fits in the flaming lips collection. Don't give up on a band because they do their own thing an dexperiment, try to understand what they were doing as an artist. Sometime it feels good to just have fun with what your doing and not worry about the critics. Anyway, I'm rambling. I give it an 8.7/10.

Colin T.
i agree. a lot of this just sounds gross. l like "pompeii..." though.

avdf76@dsl.pipex.com (Jamie)
I'd agree, but give it a lower rating. Probably a 5 or 6. Maybe Wayne has had too many people calling him a genius and so doesn't realise he had to work pretty hard to be one. This is lazy lazy lazy, annoying, disappointing and a mess. In that order.

edm1213@msn.com
Well, i liked six or seven songs on this... on the bad side, the first two songs are umimpressive as is the last song (and the "Yeah yeah yeahs" on the first song are just kinda annoying). But the 5 songs Mark liked are all good, and I'd add "Mr Ambulance Driver" to the list as well. Overall, it's about a 7.5 for me, nicely rounded up to an 8. Better luck next time I guess, not that this is bad or anything, just unspectacular... oh well. 8/10 for At War with the Mystics.

dwagner@fpi.flexibleplan.com
oh dear, this one isn't very good at all

cburgess12@comcast.net
Well, I also reviewed Yoshimi, and what can I say, I saw them live 3 times, I have a special place for them in my spacy head, they said things for me on Soft Bulletin noone else could have said, I listened to AWWTM on their site, Wayne says some things, sort of a spiritual, warm hug and goodbye, see you on the other side, and I hug him back, so I can't insult this album, but I won't be buying it, but I will be playing their earlier stuff as long as I live, I guess there's an ending to everything, when I pass on, see you where they make understanding, Wayne; sorry about the Yoshimi review.......

luapnamttip@hotmail.com
boring bleep. let me sleep. oh boring bleep. oh oh oh fizzle fizzle, i used to write songs, oh fizzle fizzle. they were never too long. drizzle fizzle. but now big coin is too big, smiling down on all his bleeping lovers, like jesus was/is his brother, his mustachioed manmade mother, his fucking twin. Too big fizzle fizzle to write a song, or maybe, just maybe, he forgot how. and hey what does snoop dog use an umbrella for? For drizzle.

danielbrookes@gmail.com
Listening to this album back-to-back with In A Priest-Driven Ambulance is like meeting Jesus one day and him showing you the meaning of life and how to walk on water, and then the next day realising it was actually a tramp who stuffed your mouth with a fistful of crystal meth and fucked you and robbed you of your shit.

Did you know if you play the first four Flaming Lips CDs all at the same time, it sounds better than At War With The Mystics?

Add your thoughts?


"The W.A.N.D." CD-single - Warner Bros. 2006
Rating = 7


Hello, I'm a chimichanga. A deep fried burrito, if you will. But chimichangas can type, and chimichangas can feel, and chimichangas can love. And love deeply. And today I'm going to speak with you about love. Love and a Flaming Lips CD-single.

I originated in Tucson, Arizona when a woman accidentally dropped a burrito into a deep fryer and was about to shout, "Ay! Chingado!" (Spanish for "Oh, fuck! Fuck my fucking ass! Fuck a pile of fucking twat pussy shit cock ballsacs! Then eat my smelly ass, you pricks! Eat my smelly fucking ass!") but, realizing that children and young people were present, she quickly made up the term "Chimichanga!" and shouted "Chimichanga!" Then they all ate the fried burrito and died.

You know when the - hang on, somebody's picking me up. WHAT THE - AAAUUUGGGG

The Flaming Lips made the right decision when choosing "The W.A.N.D." as the first single off of their good but inconsistent At War With The Mystics CD. You see, "The W.A.N.D." is a very catchy, guitar-driven hook song that sounds more like mid-90s alt-rock Lips than modern-day orchestral pop Lips. And their choice wasn't in vein -- "The W.A.N.D." quickly shot up the Billboard Hot 100 chart where it resided for a record one week in mid-May 2006.

This CD-single features the album version of "The W.A.N.D.," plus non-LP filler tracks "You Got To Hold On" and "Time Travel... Yes!!" The first of these previously unreleased gems is an unremarkable piano chord construction busied up with ridiculously loud drums and an annoying 'boop-boop-boodoo! boop-boop-boo-boodoo!' Jackson Fivey backing vocal/keyboard line. The basswork is great throughout, but the uncomfortable cross between easy listening schmaltz-pop and bubblegum soul leaves a bad taste in my mouth, much like Henry The Dog last night after he ate a pile of human shit in Central Park.

This was kinda funny too, if you're into Henry The Dog and his many exciting experiences in today's world. See, something you should know about Henry The Dog is that he loves to chase raccoons. And Central Park is nothing if not literally filled end-to-end with raccoons covering every single square inch of earth. So last night, after treeing a couple of these 'wascally waccoons' (as we're fairly sure he'd call them if he were capable of saying anything besides "-ibble!"), he suddenly looked across the street at a tiny dog that was a few yards ahead of its owner, off-leash. The wife and I saw the gears of Henry's mind slowly clunking around as he thought to himself, "Small... Furry.... A tail... THAT'S A RACCOON!!!" Without warning, he then took off running as fast he could across the street toward the dog as its owner screamed "NO! NOOOOO!!!!!" and my wife yelled, "Henry! It's a DOG!!!" Luckily, rather than just biting down, Henry stopped short right as he got to the tiny beast, looked at its face and said (in Silent Dog Language), "Oh! You're a dog!" Then he trotted back up to Mommy (my wife) and Daddy (my wife's 7'2 black lover).

Then ten minutes later, he did the same fucking thing again -- to the SAME GODDAMNED DOG.

But enough about God's Genius Critters. It's now time to discuss the third track on the "The W.A.S.P. (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)" CD-single. Entitled "Time Travel... Yes!," this 'song' is a simple dreamy art-psych trumpet/synth line repeated 18,000,000 times in a row as Wayne - voice lowered by fancy machine - relates a confusing philosophy about how we can all 'travel through time' by tapping into our "early existential optimism -- a time even before the ability to reason... a time of glorious superhuman space-time." I'm not sure I get what he's saying, but the PsYcHeDeLiC art tones in the background are certainly a mesmerizing joy to the meditating ear.

In and of itself, it's a good CD-single. However, the album track is so much better than the flawed b-sides (by the way -- isn't it awesome when a critic calls a song or album "flawed," as if the artist made some sort of mistake other than simply FOLLOWING HIS MUSE? You might say that such critics have quite a high opinion of their own shitty musical taste!) that if you already own - or have plans to purchase - At War With The Terrorists, I wouldn't recommend picking this up just for the b-sides. Without the title track, this gets a 5, not a 7.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some serious business matters to attend to.

NNNNNNNNNN!!!!! (*ploop!")

Hello, I'm a chimichanga. A deep fried burrito, if you will. But chimichangas can swim, and chimichangas can feel, and chimi --- jesus, why do I stink so bad?

(*looks in mirror*)

(*pens best-seller Black Like Me II: Ay! Chingado!*).

Reader Comments

SpydaBass@aol.com
Just to let you know, Mark, that's not Wayne's voice on "Time Travel". It's the guy from Blues Clues. I forget his name - Steve or something like that. The guy who everyone thought OD'd on herion a long time ago. Anyway, it's him, and Wayne must have drugged him up good 'n sour to make him do something like that.

And I really should check out that single...

edm1213@msn.com
"Time Travel... Yes" and "You've Got to Hold On" coulda been on At War With the Mystics instead of "It Overtakes Me" and "Haven't Got A Clue" and it woulda been a much better, more flowing and concise type album. I swear those latter two songs are easily the biggest pieces of junk they've wasted any type of record or CD time on. A year later they still haven't sunk, but the other 10 of the 12 songs have (yes, even "Goin On" "Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" and "Free Radicals"). "Vein of Stars" is actually my fav song on the album and "Time Travel... Yes" woulda gone great right after.

I saw the Lips last month... except for the fact that there was just ONE SONG (right, ONE SONG) from before The Soft Bulletin and it was "She Don't Use Jelly," it was a great show. The War With Mystics stuff sounds better live (they played 6 of those), all the Yoshimi and Bulletin stuff was great (3 songs apiece) and they even played Wesley Willis' song "The Flaming Lips" while they were setting up. Excellent.

Still, only "She Don't Use Jelly" from before The Soft Bulletin? I know they've been ignoring the first 5 albums for a while, but how about "Turn It On"? Or "Christmas At the Zoo" or "Bad Days" from Clouds? Ah well.

edseward@ameritech.net
You are really funny Mark. I really like reading your reviews and I don't care whether I agree with you or not. The Chimichanga bit really did me in. I like Turtles.
Rock on, um, dude.

Add your thoughts?


It Overtakes Me EP - Warner Bros. 2006
Rating = 3


It absolutely boggles the mind that they would have chosen this bad, abominable, amiss, atrocious, awful, bad news, beastly, blah, bottom out, bummer, careless, cheap, cheesy, crappy, cruddy, crummy, defective, deficient, diddly, dissatisfactory, downer, dreadful, erroneous, fallacious, faulty, garbage, godawful, grody, gross, grungy, icky, imperfect, inadequate, incorrect, inferior, junky, lousy, not good, off, poor, raunchy, rough, sad, slipshod, stinking, substandard, synthetic, the pits, unacceptable, unsatisfactory song to release as a single. Why, it's enough to make me vomit, be seasick, be sick, bring up, dry heave, eject, emit, expel, gag, heave, hurl, puke, regurgitate, retch, ruminate, spew, spit up, throw up, upchuck! And the other three songs are no walk, airing, carriage, circuit, constitutional, gait, hike, jaunt, march, pace, parade, perambulation, peregrination, promenade, ramble, saunter, schlepp, step, stretch, stride, stroll, tour, traipse, tramp, tread, turn through the park, esplanade, estate, forest, garden, grass, green, grounds, lawn, lot, meadow, parkland, place, playground, plaza, pleasure garden, recreation area, square, tract, village green, woodland either.

The first bonus rarity track, "I'm Afraid Of Dying... Aren't You?" simply pulls one of the 'child farting' bass lines from "It Overtakes Me" and adds a late '60s Pink Floyd organ and vocal melody that Coyne intentionally plagiarized from Buckner & Garcia's "Goin' Berzerk" off of the top-selling Pac-Man Fever LP of yesteryear. You know what, Wayne Coyne? Up your nose, for what you did to Buckner & Garcia. It's one thing to hire a guy to murder them, but now you've STOLEN one of their KEY MELODIES and claimed it for YOURSELF!?! Try that shit with Yusuf Islam and see what happens ASsHOLE.

Oh, I'm sorry. "Yusuf Islam" is the Muslim name of the British singer-songwriter who had several hits in the 1970's under the name "Muhammad Ali."

The second non-At War With The Fish Sticks track is a remix of the terrible album track "Free Radicals" that replaces that song's pseudo-Prince funk-pop with a hilariously bland pile of bachelor pad muzak that sounds like Portishead ON ACID trying to play modern r'n'b ON HEROIN! Was remix duo "The Bird And The Bee" ON CRYSTAL METH when they recorded this? It sounds like Tricky ON PCP trying to smoke marijuana ON COCAINE!

And finally, it's yet another version of "Time Travel?? Yes!!," this time pairing the shitlessly boring voice of Blue's Clues' Steven Michael Burns against a playful yet dramatic piece of electronic sci-fi pop. Believe it or not, there's even a third version of this song out there ruining the world with its College Freshman philosophical musings. What, was Wayne ON LIPITOR when he w

In conclusion, if you're eagerly seeking an EP constructed around the two worst songs on the Flaming Lips' worst album, you probably can't do much better than It Overtakes Me.

Reader Comments

edm1213@msn.com
they released this as a single/EP? Really? probably one of the worst songs ever written by any band this respectable. the b-sides don't sound promising either from the review. on a lighter note, why wasn't the 3 minute soft-trippy thingy that It Overtakes Me fades into on Mystics ("Do I Stand A Chance" or whatever it's called) seperated on the album as it's own track? It sounds nothin like and has nothin to do with the mediocre song before it and actually works as a nice mellow interlude type song.

Add your thoughts?


The Fearless Freaks 1986-2006 - Warner Bros. 2006
Rating = 6


With this limited-issue release, Wayne Coyne sets out to showcase the full history of his band's live prowess -- from their early days as GEARLESS GEEKS, through the early 90's line-up's PEERLESS PEAKS, on through the serious orchestrated pop responsible for so many CHEERLESS CHEEKS, and finally hitting the wall with their current shitty album, which REARLESS REEKS.

Furthermore, one time a bunch of recovering alcoholic birds brought their BEERLESS BEAKS over to my apartm

I've seen the Flambing Lips preform in the live context three times. All three times were on the Transmissions From The Satellite Heart tour, and every show was mindblowing. As such, I can't for the life of me figure out why Wayne picked these performances to share with the home listening audience. It's almost like he went through all his tapes going, "No, not that one - my voice sounds good. Eww skip that one - Ronald's guitar is in tune. Ugh! What is that? A good SONG!?" Otherwise, why in Christ's butthole would he include a version of "Shine On Sweet Jesus" where he sounds like he has a porcupine inside his throat? Or THREE FULL SONGS where Ronald's slidey guitar wavers horribly in and out of tune with every note he plays? And, while we're on the topic of "What the Hell were you thinking?"s, why does the CD begin with a spoken introduction from Wayne (?) followed by the original studio version of "Free Radicals," a song that (a) is already owned by 95% of the people who would bother to buy this CD, and (b) is certainly not going to sell At War With The Mystics to any former fans who bought this disc for the 80s/90s performances? IT'S A TERRIBLE SONG!!!!!

On the positive strip of grass between a girl's pussy, it also features (a) an intriguing 15-minute excerpt from Wayne's 1996 'Parking Lot Experiment,' (b) a raucous drum-heavy cover of the "Whole Lotta Love" coda (HA HA! FOOLED YOUR ASS -- "WHOLE LOTTA LOVE" ISN'T EVEN ON CODA!!!), (c) a not-bad Flock of Seagulls cover, and (d) best of all, a terrific 2005 orchestral/electronic/banjo home recording called "Enthusiasm For Life Defeats Existential Fear" that's better than 75% of the songs they put on AWWTM. Moody tones, Wayne sounding like he did in 1995, and sweet lyrics about waking from a nightmare to the bliss of real life treasures (his wife's smile, the sun, etc). It's a great song! What kind of dumb ass decided it wasn't good enough to go on an album that has fuckin' "Free Radicals" and "Gwen Stefani Power-Fisting Her Vagina" on it?! And don't tell me 'an African Wild Ass,' because those guys are SMART! Did you know that the adult male defends his territory by marking it with a DUNG HEAP?

In conclusion, Wayne Coyne marked At War With The Mystics with "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" so that listeners would recognize it as his album and stay away from the estrous females within.

See, it's amazing how it all came together in the end. Like me and your wife!

Err, what I MEANT to write was, "Like me and your STRIFE!" Because when I showed up at your home, I brought STRIFE.

In the form of a Dick Airlines flight coming in for a landing on the positive strip of grass between your wife's pussy.

See, this is why I'm Poet Laureate!

Best,
Andrew "Feel My Dick In" Motion

Reader Comments

Matt Terrebonne
I didn't know they released a CD by this name, and I haven't heard it. But I would assume it's meant to go with the DVD by the same name, which you should see if you haven't seen it already. I saw it in the theater and was blown away. It is one of the best documentaries about a band I've ever seen. Shows how utterly down to earth they really are and is just utterly fascinating. There's some bonus live footage on the DVD which made one of my roommates say, "These guys are fucking terrible. How did they ever make it anywhere?" I've never been disappointed by them in person, though. Maybe they're just releasing a bunch of crappy live stuff to make them seem more human or something. Or to prove how lucky they actually are. I don't know. Gave me a lot of hope as a musician, though.

edm1213@msn.com
cant say ive heard the companion CD (though "Free Radicals" sounds a lot better live than on CD), but Fearless Freaks is a darned good DVD. Over a hour and half long and jam packed with insight into the band's early years and Wayne and Steven's backgrounds, showing how long it took for them to "make it," in a word or phrase. If you can stomach the 10 minutes or so of Steven talking about his addiction while actually shooting heroin on video (actually one of the last times he did it), it's a great addition to any Lips fans' collection. Every bit as essential as the recent DVD of their last performance in Oklahoma City (which actually included "Love Yer Brain" as the one older song along with "She Don't Use Jelly").

Zac Horn
So there's 2 versions of this CD: one was given away for free at early screenings of the film Fearless Freaks and was posted for free on the internet. This version is listed as representing the years 1986-1996. The other, more common version was a quasi-preview for Mystics including Free Radicals and is listed as 1986-2006.
The free screening version is shorter, has a different intro, no Free Radicals, no Enthusiasm for Life, or the Observer, but does include a BeeGees cover (Every Christian Lion-Hearted Man) which segues into Shine on sweet Jesus. This to my mind explains the presence of Shine on Sweet Jesus on the album but once you eliminate the BeeGees cover, Shine on Sweet Jesus just sounds bad. With the cover i quite enjoy it. Why they eliminated it i couldn't say, though i'm betting it was a money/rights issue. I do quite enjoy this CD myself in a poorly recorded sub-bootleg way.

Add your thoughts?


Once Beyond Hopelessness: The Original Christmas On Mars Film Score - Warner Bros. 2008
Rating = 2


Well, whoop-de-doo. It's the soundtrack for some amateur Flaming Lips film I haven't seen. It starts dark and a little melodic, and steadily grows cornier, Disneyer and more incidental. Am I supposed to care? Yeah, think again!

What is this, a bunch of "Ahhhhh"s and harp flourishes and synthesizers? Look, here's me: (*takes shit; gives it to somebody*).

Fake horns? Strings, pulses, loud booming drones, chirrupy bell-toned synths? Fine if you're testing out a new hearing aid, but where are the "osngs"? Or, spelled more accurately, "songs"? Better try looking somewhere ELSE if that's what you're after!

Once Beyond Hopelessness? Yeah, more like "ALBUM Beyond Hopelessness" if you ask me what I care to think!

Who takes a celestial piece of harmonic wiggly vocals and names it "In Excelsior Vaginalistic"!? Christ, that's like naming your son "Thing That Came Out Of A Pussy"! Don't do that; kids are mean and will tell jokes.

On a completely different and unrelated matter, what kind of shit-for-cots records a big Teutonic marching theme and then names it "The Gleaming Armament Of Marching Genitalia"!? Jesus, why not just name your daughter "I Made Her With My Dick"? Sure, it seems hilarious at the time, but before you know it the child welfare people are thowin' a hissy flute.

Look, it's nobody's business but their own if Ohio's favorite Oklahoma band The Flaming Lips decides to make some shitty movie I haven't seen. But to FORCE me with FORCE to sit here and LISTEN to their la-de-da instrumental tinker-tanker VOMIT THAT TASTES LIKE SHIT BECAUSE YOU SUCKED IT OUT OF A FAT MAN'S ASS is, in the words of Michael Nesmith, "Tantamount To Treason, Volume One."

But maybe the problem lies with me, Brad Anderson. Is it possible that I've gotten so swept up in creating new and hilarious adventures for Marmaduke and the Winslow family that I can no longer enjoy the subtle charms of a musical soundswell? Perhaps instead of placing so much of my attention on the wild and woolly antics of Dottie and Phil -- not to mention their rapscallion children Barbara and Billy -- I should've spent more time learning to appreciate the sonic tones of the younger generation?

But wait a minute! Didn't I win the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Newspaper Panel Cartoon in 1978? That's hardly a bob to sneeze your snooze to! And what about my George Arents Pioneer Medal for Syracuse University alumni? They don't give THAT to just any old Tom, Dick and Harry, I'll tell you that right now!

Oh, who am I kidding. I've wasted 55 motherfucking years of my life drawing a gigantic dog. At 7 years a stretch, that big red piece of shit is like 400 years old at this point. And don't think I haven't tried to sneak a dick in there a couple times. Oh, I have, believe me. Somehow United Features Syndicate always notices and scratches it out prior to publication. They're at least kind enough not to mention it to me; that would be humiliating for both of us.

But hey? Who am I to complain, eh? At least I'm not George Lichty. Poor guy hung himself with a piano wire after 50 miserable years of Grinning And Bearing It. I'd like to see Mike Peters pull that off. Stupid little fairy would probably need "Grimmy" to tie the noose for him har har!

What the world really needs now is a Marmaduke soundtrack - and a Marmaduke movie to go with it! Come on, Michael Bay -- quit wasting your time on piss-poor horror film remakes and invest your billions in a can't-miss project for once! Who doesn't love Marmaduke? Don't you see!? He's a gigantic dog!! He jumps on people and knocks them down!! Do you even NEED a script!?

Reader Comments

Matt Terrebonne
Just so you know- the stupid titles are references to what's going on in the movie. Also, the movie is terrible. I got the DVD/CD set. I'd heard about the movie years ago, and was eagerly waiting for them to finish it. When I saw the set in the record store, I pooped myself with joy and immediately bought it, went home, and watched the movie. It's terrible. But, there is an awesome scene with a marching band with vaginas for heads! And not bad-amateur-vagina masks! Actual vaginas!

I've listened to the soundtrack twice. It's really boring. But there are one or two okay bits, if they come up on your iPod on random, or something like that. Nothing to seek out, though.

Add your thoughts?


Embryonic - Warner Bros. 2009
Rating = 8


People often come up to me and say, "Mark, you're such a sad sack." But these people couldn't be more wrong; in fact, I'm a HAPPY sack! (*kick kick kick*)

Heh heh, little "hacky-sack" joke for all the speech impediment folks out there.

I don't like to talk shop here on the old review page, but there's something I have to get off my chest. (*removes 35-pound tick from left nipple*) You know what I'm working on now? Just between you and me? A media alert about a new brand of Kosher Beef Jerky. That's right; you read it right. As you probably know, I'm hummish or goyen or whatever word they use to describe non-Jews. GENTILE! That's it. As you probably know, I'm gentle so it breaks my heart when advertising slogans like these pop uninvited into my mind:

- "So the next time the Rabbi catches you jerkin' off, tell him 'Hey man! It's Kosher!'"

- "Hi, I'm God! Jesus wasn't my son and mmmmm is this good beef jerky!"

- "Put some jerky in your yarmulke! (pronounced 'yar-mul-key' for our purposes here today)"

- "It's tasty, it's beefy and best of all - it's Kosher! Don't eat it with cheese though or you'll go to Hell."

Anyway, that's the bag I'm in. Also, the neighbors down the hall bought this monstrous evil little shit dog who shrieks at the top of his assholish prick lungs whenever he hears a noise in the hall (ie every four seconds) and tries to bite me and Henry The Dog every chance it gets, the son of a whore. I love doggies more than Roman Polanski loves raping little kids, but even I want to step on this little piece of shit's head and grind its skull into the dirt. FUCK YOU, dog down the hall.

Say! You're probably here to read about the new Flaming Lips album, Embryonic. As such, let's talk about Henry The Dog a little bit. Man, does that dog like food. I know what you're thinking: "Mark, that's crazy. Dogs hate food. Usually you have to put a little IV in their arm to get the Kibble in." but it's true! Every day, he walks me to one of two places: (1) The Treat Lady -- a woman on 3rd Avenue who owns a moving company and gives about a billion treats to any dog that stops by to say hello, or (2) McDonald's. He's on this really big cheeseburger kick, which is bad for both of us because I always end up eating half of his cheeseburger to protect his sick kidneys from oversalting, and the next thing you know I've ballooned to 650 pounds! Then it takes forever to get back down to my target weight of 647.

I am overeager and Jubilant Johnny to inform you that the new Flaming Lips album sounds nothing like any album they've released in their 24-year recording history. After three albums of increasingly slick and smug hipster non-rock, they've pulled a 500-eighty and released a DARK PSYCH ROCK album! With an insanely raw mix full of overdistortion and noise, this 70-minute/18-song disc combines dark '60s psych rock with Miles Davis-style '70s fusion to create a wild freakout hippy trip of evil in the desert!

This is by far the least "friendly and welcoming" Flaming Lips album in history, not only due to its insistently menacing bass and keyboard riffs, but because Wayne has removed all hints of humanity from his singing voice. No longer the sweet high-pitched wavery guy next door, he now sounds like the guy from Silver Apples -- emotionless, possessed, reciting his dark words like a cult leader to his flock. Even in the few instances when he uses his old familiar style, his voice is buried under layers of echo/delay, reverb and -- in one hilarious case (hilarious because it's otherwise the sweetest and most approachable song on the record) -- a vocoder effect that makes him sound like a space robot!

The songs are primarily driven by brooding bass lines, with eerie '70s organ filling in the spaces and a bit of light guitar flicker-flackering at the edges. Some songs are nearly drumless; others are drowned in calamitous snare and cymbals. The songs are definitely less fleshed-out and perfected than any Lips album since Telepathic Surgery (leading a pair of my FaceBook Friends to declare "They forgot to write songs with this one" and "A lot of it seems half-baked"), but taken as a full-length artistic statement, it's a tremendously enjoyable trip to the Dark Side Of The Coyne. Yes, the 'modal jam' mood can get a little samey and some of the tracks are just snippets of larger improvisations, but the mood is so relentlessly DARK and the experience so absolutely unlike any ever presented to us by this band that I must give it my highest possible recommendation (8 out of 10) (not sure what those other 2 numbers are for).

And the lyrics suit the music perfectly! "I wish I could go back in time," Wayne sings sadly, "I would have warned you those people were evil." Not to be out-depressinged, Steven laments, "Love is powerful, but not as powerful as evil." Even the record's sole "She Don't Use Jelly"-style novelty song ("I Can Be A Frog") is set to a creepy piece of Halloween music! And look, I'm not saying this is a Swans album or something; it's not literally depressing like that. It's just excessively moody, broody and tattooedy, especially for a band as historically uplifting (musically, anyway) as the Flaming Lips.

So stop playing Yar's Revenge on your Playstation 7 and get your ass over to the link at the bottom of this page! Embryonic is long like my dick and filled with great songs like my dick after I shove a Beatles album up it!

In retrospect, I probably should've just written that instead of actually doing it! You wouldn't have known the difference anyway!

Still, you gotta admit that underneath all the blood, sperm and meaty pulp, there are some great songs up my dick right now!

Reader Comments

billy.barron@tx.rr.com
"Don't eat it with cheese though or you'll go to Hell."

And WTF am I eating while reading your review???????? Argh!!!!

jtbrubak@uncg.edu
Really dude? An 8? I figured you were smart enough not to fall for this bullshit. This album blows. Yeah yeah, they changed their sound, la dee fucking da. Everyone is so excited that they're not playing happy sunshine dream pop anymore that they didn't notice there's like 3 good songs on this piece of shit. No matter how noisy they got, the Lips were always about melody first and foremost, and that's MIA here, folks. Not to mention it's like 70 goddamn minutes long. I'd listen to At War With the Mystics before this any day.

joelperreault@live.com
This review got one part right - the part referencing a "cult". Which is where this band lost me years ago, the point where they turned all "cult-ey" in nature. I can't tell the difference between them and Polyphonic Spree at this point. (That's not good.)

edm1213@msn.com
so this one has been rockin the bad reviews so far... i like this a lot, but then again i liked most of At War with the Mystics, so. But they got more trippy and experimental again. The orchestrated symphonic well-thoughtoutness of Zaireeka, Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi seems miles away, but out of the 18 songs there's a ton of really good ones. Convinced of the Hex, the Sparrow, Powerless, Worm Mountain and Watching the Planets are all great, and there's at least a half-dozen other songs that are pretty good. works better from beginning to end then Mystics too (no It Overtakes Me or Haven't Got A Clue breakin up the flow the album with their triteness and general mediocrity).

I don't get the "they forgot to write songs with this one" sentiment a lot of folks have, there's some stuff on here that ranks among their best material yet. Takes a while to sink in though. And it's, well, dark.... like has been mentioned before. cool. i might even give it a 9. but then again I gave Mystics an 8 (a low one though) and Zaireeka, Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi three 10s in a row so whatever. guess I'm still kinda a fanboy. I'm gonna listen to some Telepathic Surgery now once this Bob Mould album ends.

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The Dark Side Of The Moon (with Stardeath And White Dwarves, Henry Rollins and Peaches) - Warner Bros. 2009
Rating = 6


Hi, I'm Roger Waters! You know, when I found out that The Flaming Lips of "She Don't Use Jelly" fame were planning to release a cover of The Dark Side Of The Moon, three thoughts ran through my head in quick succession:

THE THREE THOUGHTS (12:51)

a) Call attorney; find out how I can get some money out of this.

b) Why The Dark Side Of The Moon!? Did they somehow miss the cover versions by Dream Theater, Out Of Phase, E.S.P., the String Quartet, that a capella group, and Billy Sherwood's band of assholes? Come on, that album's been covered to death and back. Besides, Radio K.A.O.S. is a much more powerful statement.

c) Ask Mark Prindle if I can review it for his site.

Well, look at that! Here we are at #3. I'd like to first make a few general comments about the record, then do a quick track-by-track synopsis to save you the time and trouble of downloading the tired retread of my past glories.

THE GENERAL COMMENTS (9:32)

a) Not enough sound effects. When I think of all the great noises they could've added with today's digital technology (ex. an iron lung in the middle of "Breathe," an actual brain surgery in "Brain Damage," Jimi Hendrix playing in a hot air balloon for "The Great Gig In The Sky"), it literally sickens me, making me violently ill.

b) The idea to cast famous thespian Henry Rollins (Johnny Mnemonic, Heat, Bad Boys II) in the role of "Every Spoken Word On The Record" was an inspired one. Not only is his voice instantly recognizable to moviegoers the world round, but finally my less intelligent listeners (i.e. Americans) will be able to understand such key pieces of dialogue as "I mean, they're not gonna kill you. So if you give 'em a quick short sharp shock, they won't do it again, dig it?"

c) Who is Stardeath And White Dwarves, and why did The Flaming Lips feel incapable of performing the album without the assistance of a second band? You didn't see Pink Floyd teaming up with The Captain And Tennille for Wish You Were Here, did you? And even if we had, I wouldn't have mentioned them in the credits so you wouldn't have known.

d) The keyboardist isn't providing enough creative input. Put him on salary.

e) Although the screaming guitar feedback, distorted bass, vintage keyboards and overmodulated mix all recall Embryonic, this disc lacks the Miles Davis fusion influence that so defined that work. (I wouldn't normally have listened to their previous record, but I figured I could sue them if it sounded too much like my old song "Embryo." Especially since our drummer was named Nick.)

f) Seriously, what's wrong with Radio K.A.O.S.? Henry Rollins would've sounded great through that little robot microphone.

g) The artists take care to approach each track in a different manner, ranging from near-copy to complete rewrite and striking mood alteration to straight parody. Best of all, they don't appear to have learned any of David Gilmour's parts at all. Ha ha ha! Up your ass, Fatty!

THE TRACK-BY-TRACK SYNOPSIS (20:51)

a) "Speak To Me" - Fantastic 'heartbeat' sound effect!

b) "Breathe" - Christ, did anybody bother listening to the song before recording it? Hey monkey band, there's a second chord in there! Pricks. Maybe the second chord is implied, but only if the listener is willing to infer it. And what's with all the energy!? Poor Nick would've had a stroke trying to keep up with this frantic medium pace.

c) "On The Run" - I slave for fifteen hours over an electrical suitcase to create the coolest doodly-doodly noise possible, and you replace it with a funk jam!? Don't make me spit in your face and then write an album about it. I'm told that your version sounds like the Butthole Surfers' "Creep In The Cellar" mixed with The Fall's "Two-Face," but punk rock is rubbish so I wouldn't know.

d) "Time" - Fantastic sound effects! The nuclear meltdown beeping! The buzzing! The syncopated stereo breathing! The bonus track on Hit To Death In The Future Head! (Normally I wouldn't have listened to an earlier Flaming Lips record, but I was hoping to score some courtroom cash if it sounded too much like Amused To Death, especially since I recorded that album "in the future" with my "head.") Honestly, I'm pretty fond of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon, but this is the one case where I think the Flaming Lips might've actually outdone us -- mainly by replacing David Gilmour's bitter vocals and pissy guitarwork with gentle tremeloed strumming and sad little boy vocals. Where did Gilmour get all his bitterness and anger anyway? I tried to keep Pink Floyd a happy lot filled with fun and good times -- heck, I'm sure you've heard "San Tropez" -- but every time that sad sack came around, the whole band turned into a blumberbuss. Thank God I'm on my own now, where I can record hilarious comedy records like Ca Ira.

e) "The Great Gig In The Sky" - Jeepers, this 'Peaches' woman is every bit as ear-stabbingly awful as Clare Torry! I was always irritated by the record company typo here; obviously the song was supposed to be called "The Great Pig In The Sky"; haven't you people seen the Animals album cover? Obviously Capitol Records hadn't, four years earlier, because that typo is ridiculous.

f) "Money" - Pretty lazy sound effects, guys. However, thank you for understanding that this song was always intended to be humorous -- your stiff novelty robot rendition had me laughing up a gentle storm! It's been so difficult to laugh since my father died in the War.

g) "Us And Them" - Such a beautiful organ tone -- a perfect tribute to my dear friend Richard Wright, with whom I shared so many good times (before I fired his cokehead ass). However, by not singing into a delay/repeat pedal, you've ruined the song. Did you intentionally set out to piss biscuits all over my masterpiece when you woke up that morning? Hell, even Dave The Lardass's arpeggios would be a sight for sore ears at this point.

h) "Any Colour You Like" - Funky! You sure that's not me playing bass? I'm a funky man! But you know that; you've heard "Grantchester Meadows."

i) "Brain Damage" - I've never heard Radiohead because punk rock is rubbish, but I'm told that your version of this song is beautifully Radiohead-esque in its fuzzy electronic solitude. Say! Who's that on vocals? It's certainly not Wayne Coyne. Wait! Is it Nick Mason??? If so, I get a cut from that.

j) "Eclipse" - And a fine ending to a passable cover album. I love the way you keep switching the placement of the five-beat emphasis at the start of each verse! First it's at the front, then it's at the back, then it's at the front, then it's (and so forth). One thing though: Henry Rollins may be one of the greatest actors of our time, but he totally flubbed his last line. The actual final phrase on the album is "There is no Dark Side Of The Moon really; as a matter of fact, it's just Meddle with a different album cover."

Reader Comments

crh4878@yahoo.com
Nice review. Beautiful references to Roger's solo work, Floydian history and overall fandom of both the Flaming Lips and Pink Floyd. I think this version of Flaming Lips would have done better with covering Atom Heart Mother or Meddle, though.

jimmy04383@comcast.net
Stardeath & White Dwarfs are Wayne Coyne's nephew's band! They opened for em on their summer tour with Explosions in the Sky and their New Years Eve gig, covered Madonna with em, and are signed to Warner Bros. just like the Flips. Their album is pretty good though, kinda like Priest Driven Ambulance-era Flips but more catchy (???)

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With Neon Indian EP - Warner Bros./Lovely Sorts of Death 2011
Rating = 5


On one of the last vacations I took with my wife before she announced that our marriage was over and left me a decaying wreck of weeping garbage, I happened upon a terrible song on our rental Satellite Car Radio. At the end of this absolutely pathetic excuse for a godawful piece of shit, the DJ announced that it had been "Deadbeat Summer" by Neon Indian. I knew then and there that Neon Indian would go on to stink up a Flaming Lips EP.

Wayne Coyne and his Flaming Lips have correctly surmised that illegal downloading has destroyed the compact disc market, and are reacting to the news in a wonderful and unique way: by experimenting with their music, packaging and distribution, safe in the knowledge that (a) their limited edition releases will sell at any price to obsessive collectors, and (b) all the songs are going to end up the Internet in ten minutes anyway. On the down side, the experimental nature of the work means that half of it is just jammy dickaroundery. But on the upper hand, they plan to put out a crazyass limited edition release every month for the next year!

The first release in this series, "Two Blobs Fucking," is not reviewed here because it's an Internet-only follow-up to Zaireeka that requires about 700 computers to be playing at the same time. This Neon Indian collaboration is number two (in more ways than one), and was released as a limited edition of 1,000 colored vinyl EPs shipped to various independent record stores across our great nation. The music here is a very loose and untutored take on psychedelia, as if a group of children happened upon an electronics playground and gleefully doodled around with the equipment. Everything is distorted, echoey, spacey, squiggly -- and terribly underdeveloped.

Standout track "Is David Bowie Dying?" is a likeable piece of experimental electronic balladry, but the other three tracks are just improvised jams of varying quality: "Alan's Theremin" is certainly pretty, but doesn't deserve to be dragged on for 5,000 goddamned years; "You Don't Respond" would be jazz-pop if the entire band hadn't been asleep while recording it; and "Do You Want New Wave Or Do You Want The Truth, Pt. II" is just a rhythm section rehearsal with a lawnmower overdubbed on top of it. As the great Jimmy Rotten once said, "Ever get the feeling you've been Cheetos?"

This may not be the finest Flaming Lips record in the omniverse, but it got me to thinking: what if ALL our favorite records were limited edition collaborations between great artists and talentless dunces? I think our home collections would look something like this:

Slayer and Lady Gaga: Poker (Through The) Face 7"
Swans w/ Britney Spears: Oops!... We Raped A Slave Again
AC/DC Meets Jennifer Lopez: Goldibutt and the Five Dwarves EP
The Fall and 30 Seconds To Mars in: "29 Too Many, Bleedin' Bloody Half Wits"
Radiohead with Chris Brown: OK Computer, I'm Gonna Whoop Your Ass! (If You're A Girl or A Window)

And that'd be it! We'd each own five records.

Add your thoughts?

Gummy Song Skull EP - Warner Bros./Lovely Sorts of Death 2011
Rating = 5


Look at this thing.

Am i right? Who's with me?

The third entry in the Flaming Lips' monthly "Strange Release" extravaganza is an edible gummy skull with a vagina on the top. When you stick your hand into this vagina, you find a USB drive featuring four songs. And by "you," I mean "probably not you at all" because each skull costs $150!

Don't feel bad about your inability to waste good money on artistic eccentricities though, because this is just more loose experimental stuff along the lines of With Neon Indian or the Embryonic instrumentals. Each track is raw and blistering -- full of feedback, line noise, echo/delay effects, '60s electronics, and microphones turned up until they distort. But again, too much jamming and not enough writing is its downfall.

Opener "Drug Chart" is actually quite emotional and memorable, with a worried bass/keyboard motif accompanying overmodulated guitar, harmonized Wayne and catchy left-speaker drumbeat until it turns into a bunch of synth farts and static. Laidback '70s groove "Walk With Me" isn't bad either, though a second part might've helped if they were intent on making it six minutes long. The other two tracks are awful -- modal jam "In Our Bodies, Out Of Our Heads" sounds like Bitches Brew performed by a band of stoned quadruplegics, and nine-minute closer "Hillary's Time Machine Machine" is the most infuriatingly directionless recording in the history of the band -- and considering this is the band who ended one of their CDs with thirty minutes of a single repeating noise, that's saying something.

But you know what's fascinating? The fact that, after a quarter-century of evolution from a druggy psych-garage band to rising indie noisemakers to guitar-driven folk-pop-rock geniuses to symphonic pop statesmen, the Flaming Lips have intentionally returned right back where they began -- churning out loud druggy psych rock. In all honesty, I would not be surprised if Wayne were to reveal that "Walk With Me" was actually an unreleased outtake from The Flaming Lips EP. It even sounds like Mark Coyne on vocals!

What the? Well, look what just came through on the Telefax! It's the Flaming Lips' entire release schedule for the rest of the year! Here, I'll share it with you, out of love:

MAY: GUMMY FETUS EP

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JUNE: GUMMY BEAR SITTING IN A CHAIR EP

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JULY: DISGUSTING GIANT VAGINA BICYCLE WITH A WOMAN STANDING NEXT TO IT EP

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AUGUST: BAG FULL OF THOUGHTS EP

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SEPTEMBER: BULL SHIRT EP

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OCTOBER: GERBIL YOU SQUISH INTO THE CD PLAYER EP

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NOVEMBER: SORRY ABOUT THE GERBIL EP

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DECEMBER: VERY BAD EP

Add your thoughts?

Gummy Song Fetus EP - Warner Bros./Lovely Sorts of Death 2011
Rating = 8


Their recent experimental tendencies continue here, but in a more firmly melodic and song-oriented form. Plus, any EP that begins with the sound of a doggy barking gets an automatic 8.

"Enthusiasm for Life Defeats Existential Fear Part 2" doesn't sound a whit like its mope-paced predecessor, instead bubbling and bobbling along on a jogger's heartbeat, fizzy drone, gentle Stereolab organ and killer Byrds/Beatles guitar lick. At their best, Yo La Tengo write songs like this. (At their worst, Yo La Tengo write all their other songs.)

"Steven's Moonbrow" just kinda wisps around, but it's tiny so who cares.

Your real concern should be closing track "Squishy Glass," a piece of bachelor pad zone-out music demented by creepy-as-hell discordant electronic tones, like an alternate Pet Sounds by an even more schizophrenic Brian Wilson.

Although most of these limited-edition EPs have left me fearing for the artistic future of the band, the two key tracks here give me hope that there's still some gasoline left in that old Flaming Lips engine. Also, when you mix up the letters in "Flaming Lips," you get "If'n Pigs Mall." And this got me to thinking, "Well, what *IF'N* pigs went to the mall?" I think it'd look something like this:

- Instead of a food court, there'd be a SLOP court!
- Instead of a JC Penney's, there'd be a JC PEN!
- Instead of a bacon store, there'd be a FAT FUCKEN COCK!

Yes, it surely would be a magical, mystical world "If'n Pigs Mall." But sadly, they don't.

And this got me to thinking, "Well, why *DON'T* pigs mall???" I think the answer looks something like this:

- Sanitation problems
- They could bite people
- They're pigs

And this got me to thinking, "Did I have a stroke in the middle of this review?"

Reader Comments

Jim Laakso
WOW! I still don't like the actual *music* on many of these 2011 releases, but "Enthusiasm" pt.2 is the closest they've come in well over a decade to their mid-90s Ronald Jones sound, what with that noisy, happy guitar that blurps up throughout the song. And while yeah, it sounds more like a semi-bored outtake that'd be buried on "Providing Needles" rather than something on "Clouds Taste Metallic," it's one of the best things so far to come out of this weird period of experimentation/flailing. Seems like this whole exercise is all about figuring out where to go next (and HOW to do that), and if that ends up meaning dipping back into that '90s combination of noise/melodicism, I'm more than fine with it. As long as it doesn't cost $125.

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With Prefuse 73 EP - Warner Bros./Lovely Sorts of Death 2011
Rating = 3


Prefuse 73 is a 35-year-old music producer named Scott Herren. I've never heard a thing by him, but that doesn't mean he doesn't exist. It simply means that his music doesn't exist.

This EP includes four pieces of slow "Anything goes!" electronic druggy experimentation that pit the most fragile of song structures against armies of electronic signals, oscillations, beeps, tones, swoops and swooshes. Krautrockers will toss a Hitler to the manic super-rhythms and modal grooves of "The Super Moon Made Me Wanna Pee!!!" and disoriented smackheads will Velvet their Undergrounds to the molasses clouds of "Heavy Star Moving..." and "Guillermo's Bolero," but nobody in the world will stay in the room during the amateurish line noise and hopeless off-key vocal meanderings of "Be Like That... That... That..." I'm Mark Prindle and I'm here to tell you one thing: if you're making a record with Prefuse 73, you're gonna have to try harder. Because apparently he doesn't do anything.

Look, here's something somebody did:

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With Lightning Bolt EP - Warner Bros./Lovely Sorts of Death 2011
Rating = 3


Overall
F is for FREAK OUT. What the guy does on the drums.
L is for LAZY. Write a fucking song, you bums!
A is for AVANT GARDE. That's what they think they are.
M is for MASTURBATE. All over Wayne's guitar.
I is for INTERESTING. What they hoped it'd be.
N is for NOISES. More so than melody.
G is for GOOKIE. That's good enough for me!

Track One
L is for LENGTHY. Somber, cold and placid.
I is for "I'M Working at NASA on Acid."
P is for PSYCHEDELIC. Hippy Druggy Heaven!
S is for SPACEY. By which I don't mean Kevin.

Track Two
W is for WACKY VOICE! Get his throat a bandage!
I is for "I Want to Get High, But I Don't Want Brain Damage."
T is for TWANG! The bass is bouncing like a Pinto!
H is for HAR HAR! Leave this shit to Dr. Demento.

Track Three
L is for LOUSY. And I'm trying to be gentle.
I is for IDIOTS. Oh excuse me --"experimental."
G is for GARBAGE. They're just remixing the first song!
H is for HEADACHE. Fuckin' pricks can suck my bing-bong.
T is for TORTURE. Drum explosions; feel their wrath!
N is for "NASA'S Final Acid Bath."
I is for IHHHHHH! Overmodulated racket!
N is for NO THANKS! Shove it back into its jacket!
G is for GENESIS. They sucked, but had Steve Hackett.

Track Four
B is for BLASTING. This guitar is loud as money!
O is for OBNOXIOUS. Track two's vocals still aren't funny
L is for LETDOWN. Two great bands churned out this dog pee!?
U is for FUCK YOU! 'Cuz you wanted me to write "T."

Add your thoughts?


Strobo Trip - Warner Bros./Lovely Sorts of Death 2011
Rating = 6


Packaged with a delightful toy, the limited-edition Strobo Trip features the killer cold dark morose Radioheady sparkledust psych regret "Butterfly, How Long It Takes To Die," the vomitously hippy-dippy and atrociously messy "Evil Minds," and the psych jam/new age/string-synth/modal/Krautrock/quirky piano blip/ambient noise/spoken word "I Found A Star On The Ground," which drags on and on and on for about six hours.

You know, usually when I accuse a song of dragging on for an inordinate amount of time, I'm just pulling the wool over your eyes and taking the piss on it. Examples include:

- DRI's "Beneath the Wheel," which I bitterly claimed "drags on for about seventy-nine hours"

- Heavenly Ten Stems' "Aaj Ki Raat," which I angrily claimed "drags on for like 400 thousand years"

- Miles Davis' "Footprints," which for some reason caused me to reference an early '80s Moody Blues track and state that it "drags on for 22,000 days"

- Kiss' "100,000 Years (Live)," which influenced me to be clever and witty for a moment, during which I wrote that it "drags on for 100,000 years, if I may be so clever and witty for a moment"

- Suicidal Tendencies' "How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today (Heavy Emotion Version)," which, according to MarkPrindle.com, "drags on for nine thousand years. No wait - eight thousand."

But this is no joke. The Flaming Lips deliberately sat down and recorded a six-hour song. And how does one write a six-hour song? Well, essentially you write a six-minute song and then drag each thirty-second section out for half an hour. And that's pretty much what the Fucking Lips have done here! Every thirty minutes, almost on the dot, whatever they're playing suddenly wafts away to be replaced by something different. So you get a 30-minute psychedelic drug jamfest followed by a 30-minute fuzzy bass/guitar peace explosion followed by a 30-minute annoying ringy guitar noise over blues-rock bass line, and on and on an on through lengthy hypnotic passages that range from the beautiful and harmonious to the dark and rhythmic, and from the silly and acidic to the modal and noisy. There is an awful lot of music to absorb here -- some so lovely it hurts, some so amateurish it's painful -- but don't worry: it'll only take you a quarter-day to get through it!

The funniest thing about it is that, aside from several refrains of the hooky title lyric, the only vocals on the song are four lengthy passages of Sean Lennon reciting names over a phone. "What the!?" you're wondering. "Whose names ARE these of which you speak!?" Well, before recording the song, The Flaming Lips announced that any fans who donated $100 to the band's favorite charity would have their name included in the song -- and a LOT of people took them up on it! Can you imagine!? Why, that would be like ME announcing that anybody who donated $1 to my PayPal account would get to hear their name in my review of the song!

I can't imagine that I will ever get the urge to hear the song again -- at least not in its entirety -- but I'm glad I heard it once. It's actually not bad at all! It also completely alters the way that you listen to music -- repetitive passages that would seem far too long at eight minutes somehow make sense when extended to half an hour. Man alive will that title melody get stuck in your head though.

Now here are a bunch of my recent Facebook updates (warning: they get pretty sad near the end):

Mark Prindle has a strict rule that every album must be listened to in its entirety at least twice -- and preferably thrice -- before being reviewed. This rule will be broken for the Flaming Lips' six-hour song.

Mark Prindle is seven minutes into the Flaming Lips' six-hour song. You know, I liked "Embryonic" a lot, but they really need to get past this "pump everything so loud that it distorts" obsession. It's already worn really thin.

Mark Prindle is now five hours and seven minutes into the Flaming Lips' six-hour song! It's kind of disappointing that it's just an extended dance mix of "She Don't Use Jelly" though.

Just donate $1 to The Mark Prindle Animals Fund For Children And The Starving Diseases (PayPal: mprindle@nyc.rr.com) and I'll speak your name aloud in a video embedded in my review of The Flaming Lips' six-hour song! It'll be like you paid $100 to have them speak your name in their song, but much cheaper and less exciting!

It's official: The Flaming Lips really are working on a 24-hour song. So your choice is clear: you can either listen to one Flaming Lips song, or listen to the Dwarves' "Blood Guts & Pussy" LP 110 times in a row.

Mark Prindle hasn't had a drop of alcohol in five months. Luckily I'm still drunk from that enormous glass of vodka I had on April 10th! Whee!!!!!!!!!

At work, whenever I email two people at once, I use the greeting "Hope you both are well." It is then nearly IMPOSSIBLE to resist typing, "Please come see me in the citadel."

So what's the concensus on this new Mastodon album? I have it, but haven't listened to it yet. Also, I'm not sure if that's how you spell "concensus."

So what's the consinsis on this new Misfits album? I have it, and it doesn't have any good songs on it. Also, I'm 110% positive that that's how you spell "consinsis."

I don't know what Internet radio station the guy next to me at work listens to, but they play "Blister in the Sun" EVERY SINGLE DAY. Aside from the entire Billy Joel songbook, there may be no song I despise quite as much as that one.

Mark Prindle and his girlfriend spent nearly half an hour the other night looking up offensive and anatomical words on Dictionary.com just for the joy of clicking on the "Audio" button and hearing them said aloud. HEE HEEEEEEE!!!!! We're nine years old.

My girlfriend found it hilarious when I woke her up the other morning by screaming in my sleep, "GO F*CK YOURSELF!" while throwing punches in her direction. Yes, that's what I'll keep telling myself. She found it "hilarious."

Mark Prindle can't seem to get Freddie and the Dreamers' "I'm Telling You Now" out of his head. Except his head is singing it as "I'm eating your cow," rendering it 400 times more annoying.

Mark Prindle just watched "Bend It Like Beckham" for the second time. Kiera Knightley is weird-

Mark Prindle just saw 50/50. It was 95/5!

TODAY'S DARE: This one's for you guys. I dare you to stand up right now, walk around your workplace, and say very loudly, "Man, my sperm hurts today!" I'm curious whether a nonsensical comment like that counts as sexual harrassment or not. Please let me know.

I can't wait until Ray Manzarek dies, so I can say "It's a shame about Ray." Actually, I suppose that's not a very compelling argument for wishing somebody dead.

Do you use various pet names when speaking to your dog? Lately I've caught myself calling mine "Wooferton B. Gooferton" and "Goose'n'gander Salamander." I wonder if they sound as asinine to him as they do to me.

Mark Prindle feels that what the world needs now more than ever is that "Well you can call me Ray, and you can call me Jay" guy.

I'm so upset about Steve Jobs' passing that my only option is to eat at Pizza Uno for the third night in a row.

The only thing that matters is Steve Jobs. If you're typing something right now and it's not about Steve Jobs, SHUT UP.

Dear Facebook: Your latest changes are great! Keep 'em coming! You're doing a great job!Best, Google

Mark Prindle just watched "Year of the Dog." It was among the worst movies I've ever seen in my life. It was so slow and pointless, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen.

Silly me. I'm sittin' here thinking Tom G. Warrior is shouting "And piss me off!" when he's clearly, and obviously, saying "Abysmi os!" I'm such the fool.

Mark Prindle just got home from the "Bodies" exhibition. WARNING: It has very little to do with the Sex Pistols song.

Mark Prindle is totes listening the HELL out of this ASS-KICKING new HARDCORE SMASH-YOUR-FACE-IN Tori Amos album.

It is now September 11th, 2011 -- 10 years since the release of my least favorite Slayer album.

Mark Prindle for some reason just got the idea of a Killing Joke tribute band led by a Billy Joel impersonator. I'd call it "Billing Joelke."

Mark Prindle just watched the Spanish horror film "To let." Notice there's no "i" in it!

Mark Prindle just watched "Milk." It was even better than the stuff that comes out of a cow! (manure)

Henry The Dog is barking in his sleep right now. I hear the secrets that he keeps.

First the West Memphis Three and now Amanda Knox!? It's a great year to be a wrongly imprisoned white person!

Mark Prindle just spent about an hour on YouTube watching Def Leppard videos with his girlfriend. Here were my takeaways: 1) it IS true that they started off as a NWOBHM band, but they were a lousy one. And Joe Elliott used to sing in a boring low register!; 2) "Photograph" is an astonishingly catchy song; 3) "Rocket" has the dumbest lyrics I've ever heard; 4) the drummer always wears Union Jack panties onstage; and 5) "Let's Get Rocked" ALSO has the dumbest lyrics I've ever heard.

Mark Prindle just watched the "Dance of the Dead" and "The 'V' Word" episodes of "Masters of Horror." The latter was a decent enough vampire tale (particularly its small but creepy Michael Ironside performance), but the former is just further evidence that Tobe Hooper's brain has turned into a cabbage over the past two decades.

Does Alice Coltrane's "Journey in Satchidananda" actually count as jazz!? If so, I guess I'm a jazz fan! Thanks, whoever recommended it!

Does Miles Davis's "Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet" actually count as jazz!? If so, I guess I hate jazz again! It's getting a 3/10.

Picture in your head the sounds of generic early '50s jazz music. Hear it? That's Miles Davis's "Blue Haze" album! Like it? Good for you! I don't! It's getting a 1/10!

Wikipedia reports that "Miles Davis's 'Round About Midnight is widely recognized by jazz critics as a landmark album in hard bop and one of the greatest jazz albums of all time." I'm giving it a 2 out of 10.

Mark Prindle is shocked to learn that he doesn't much care for the 1958 "Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants" LP. I pray that my heart will survive this massive, massive shock.

Mark Prindle just listened to Miles Davis' "Moods of Miles" for review. I don't want to tell you what grade I'm giving it, but I'll give you three hints (out of ten).

Mark Prindle plans to award Miles Davis All Stars' 1954 "Walkin'" LP a... umm.... You know what, why don't I just let you know if I run across any that I *like*?

It's now been SIX MONTHS since I drank my last drop of alcohol!!!! (Because all my drink money is now going towards my $5000/day meth habit)

Mark Prindle was disheartened to learn from today's x-ray that Henry The Dog has a gigantic mass in his chest cavity -- the size of his heart. :7( Here's hoping it's not malignant.

Henry has cancer.

I appreciate all of your kind thoughts about Henry. But the tumor is huge and I don't want him to have to suffer through chemotherapy at his age, so I'm just going to give him lots of treats and hugs until he lets me know he is in too much pain, and then I'll let him go.

He's not doing well.

Henry's not doing well today. He's been having coughing fits every 15 minutes, sometimes coughing up blood. I'm picking him up a strong cough suppressant/painkiller from the vet tomorrow, but the fact that this is happening is probably evidence that the cancer has spread even further.

My sweet Henry dog is gone. I loved him so much. I feel like I'll never stop crying.

Thank you all so much for your kind words about Henry. It makes me feel great to know that he was loved by so many people, most of whom never even had the chance to meet him in person! (Or in "dog," rather) I'm still mourning, but am past crying and just remembering all the great times we had.

My new office colleagues just brought me a cupcake and pet condolence card signed by the whole team. That's just downright nice.

Every time I say "I miss my dog," somebody says "You should foster!" I understand their thinking, but it's faulty. I don't miss "a dog". I miss MY dog. If somebody says they miss their recently-deceased wife, do you respond "You should date!"?

I'm Agnostic, but I now understand why so many people find religion as they age -- because I've discovered that I really, really hope there's a Doggy Heaven. I want to believe that my little friend is still running around wagging somewhere.

Add your thoughts?


Since you kids today don't know how to just steal music off the Internet, the only option is to click here and purchase Flaming Lips CDs with money.


This is what we computer people call a "link" back to the "index page" of the "web site." If you "click" on this text with your "mouse," you will have an "aneurysm" and "diarrhea all over your chair."