Long term readers of this blog will know that one of my favourite bands is The Flaming Lips.
The Flaming Lips have been a regular fixture on my Track Of The Week segment, reflecting their frequent additions to my library of music since my teenage years. I continue to appreciate their unique identifiable sound that has remained consistent throughout their experimentation with musical form, and for the lyrics of Wayne Coyne. His take on the world has always been perculier and for a long time reflective on light and darker subject matter with a nuance I’ve always found uplifting.
They have always dealt with dark subject matter in their music; especially death. But throughout all their sci-fi and psychodelic constructions, the route of Wayne’s lyrics have always stemmed from a portrayal of grief and happiness that I find very realistic. This stands in opposition to most other music, which overdramatises for emotional weight.
Wayne seems to show effortlessly the way that both grief and happiness are fleeting, and so they should be respected and recognised for what they are, and we should be aware of both when experiencing either. They wouldn’t exist without their counterparts.
However, over the past decade some of that optimism seems to have been withered with time. It is still their on some tracks, but not as bright. Instrumentally the band has turned to darker textures which have reflected the less positive themes found in the Lyrics.
I thought this may have changed with their previous more whimsical album “Kings Mouth” but it has returned in spades with their latest record “American Head”. Its sounds like a very personal album this time around. The Lyrics repeatedly focus around the interactions of a family as it goes through some difficult emotional struggles and life changing events.
“Mother I’ve Taken L.S.D” is the track that stood out to me most on first listen. It exemplifies the darker and less hopeful contexts found the majority of the more recent flaming lips work. It also provides a great starting point for listeners to get a rough idea of the themes found on the album.
“American Head” is another great album from the flaming lips, A complete work that continues it’s themes throughout. It adds to a back catalogue of varied and wonderful records that all do the same. If you are new to The Flaming Lips then I would probably start with either “the soft bulletin” or “yoshimi battles the pink robots”. But If you’ve heard there stuff before but would like to dip into what their latest record is like “Mother I’ve Taken L.S.D” is a great place to start: