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Sunday 20 November 2022

Forty Minutes Of The Flaming Lips

'The Flaming Lips', it says at Wikipedia, 'are an American psychedelic rock band formed in 1983 from Oklahoma City. I suppose psychedelic rock band covers them but they're much, much more too, they're the sort of band who have an idea- let's come on stage in a giant bubble and roll out over the audience, let's have confetti cannons, and dancing skeletons, let's do a twenty three track album with Miley Cyrus, let's record an album with instrumentals, drum machines and the most gorgeous, existential acoustic guitar pop song of the 21st century- and then just do it. I haven't followed their entire career, there are gaps in my collection but what I have I love. Psychedelic music is, I think, supposed to be expansive- in terms of sound, ambition and minds and Wayne Coyne and the musicians, dancing aliens and skeletons, fellow travellers and merry pranksters are very much on a long trip of expansion and adventure. 

The bulk of the songs here are taken from the trio of albums they recorded between 1999 and 2006 with Dave Fridmann producing. 

Forty Minutes Of The Flaming Lips

  • The Observer
  • Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon (Utopia Planitia)
  • Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung
  • She Don't Use Jelly
  • Silver Trembling Hands
  • Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell
  • The W.A.N.D.
  • Race For The Prize
  • Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part 1
  • The Golden Path
  • Do You Realise??

The Observer and Race For The Prize are both from 1999's The Soft Bulletin, an album that shifted their sound from alt- rock into something else, a lush, wide eyed, tripped out, expansive, late 20th century Pet Sounds psychedelia. Race For The Prize,a song about two scientists competing to do good for the whole of mankind, is a song that is always associated with Isaac for me for various reasons that I may come back to at some point in the next few weeks.

Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots and Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell are all from Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, their 2002 masterpiece, a maybe/ maybe not concept album about a Japanese girl fighting giant robots, space, life and death, mortality, gravity, the precarious nature of existence, love, survival and pretty much everything in between. They do this with a mixture of lighter than air pop songs, instrumentals and electronic/ acoustic melancholic joy, reaching a climax with Do You Realise?? a universal secular hymn to human existence.  

The W.A.N.D. and Pompeii Am Gotterdamerung are from 2006's At war Wit The Mystics. The W.A.N.D. is Black Sabbath at the indie disco, pure exhilaration. W.A.N.D stands for The Will Always Negates Defeat. 

She Don't Use Jelly is a 1993 single, a U.S. indie rock ode to idiosyncrasy. She don't use jelly (jam for those of us in the U.K.)- she uses vaseline. 

Silver Trembling Hands is motorik psyche from their 2009 album Embryonic.

The Golden Path is not a Flaming Lips song but singer Wayne Coyne with The Chemical Brothers, released on Tom and Ed's first greatest hits CD in 2003. Over thumping, pulsing, festival dance music Wayne talks about a meeting with a mysterious spectre, the afterlife and his lack of belief in a heaven and hell, worlds in opposite duality before breaking down at the end and pleading to be forgiven.  


Khayem said...

I am really looking forward to listening to this, thanks, Adam!

Anonymous said...

Nice one. Ewan Pearson's did a top remix of The Golden Path (amongst many others).

Swiss Adam said...

Over on social media Jesse Fahnestock has said that Fight Test should be in this mix and he's absolutely right. It nearly was and then it wasn't.

It contains this line which is so apt for right now (and the past year) 'There are things you can't avoid, you have to face them, when you're not prepared to face them'.

Anonymous said...

My wife has still not forgiven me for batting away a giant ball at the 9:30 Club in DC, on the Yoshmi tour in 2002. The band released giant balls into the audience before coming on stage, and I had already batted away one when a second one came towards us that she wanted to bat away and I inexplicably batted that one away too. Great gig.

Martin said...

Just realised that instrumental FL reminds me a bit of early 70s Genesis. Well, Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung does anyway.