The Flaming Lips have been through the doomed grunge rock craze, the crazy acid-rock craze and it seems that they have finally gotten tired of crazes and moved on to something a little more concrete with their prog/psychedelic/strange/space-opera phase that they seem stuck in for the last 7 or so years. And thank god they are stuck in their own craze, don’t get me wrong, the Flaming Lips have always been good, but now they are astounding. The music is gorgeous and layered, the lyrics heavy but at the same time light. It is a very interesting mix, and it is this mix that keeps them on the forefront of not only my mind but also my CD player. This is another attempt of mine at taking a very interesting and influential band and trying to concentrate on ten of the most unusual and beautiful songs ever recorded, not only by the Flaming Lips, but by anyone.
10. Free Radicals (A Hallucination Of The Christmas Skeleton Pleading With A Suicide Bomber): What a title, right? This song is space rock parliament funkadelic craziness from the first note, amazing song. The lyrics are ironic, intense, and a trifle silly, but that’s what the Flaming Lips are known for. “You think your so radical, but your not so radical, in fact your fanatical.”
9. Suddenly Everything Has Changed: A song from “Soft Bulletin” which marked a change in the Flaming Lips from alt-rock underground to prog-rock kings. The song is very beautiful, the lyrics are interesting, but the best thing about this song is the music, with strange pauses that seem to extend forever. “Driving home the sky accelerates, and the clouds all form geometric shapes, it goes fast, you think of the pastÃ¢Â?Â¦ and suddenly everything has changed.”
8. Bohemian Rhapsody: It’s a Queen song I know, but this song was made for the Flaming Lips, it shows their vast musical talent and enabled a change that was almost needed for the song from the “waynes world” stigma attached to it. You really have to hear it, if you don’t have it, find it, not such a daunting task in our electronic world. “Carry on, as if nothing really matters. Too late my time has come, sent shivers down my spine, bodies aching all the time, goodbye everybody I have got to go.”
7. Mr. Ambulance Driver: Originally on the Wedding Crashers soundtrack and more recently on “At War With the Mystics”, a haunting song in the vein of The Postal Service, very peppy sounding with dark lyrics. The whole song he is sitting with a young girl who has died in an accident and he is trying desperately to make sense of why he is still alive while someone so young should die. “Mr. Ambulance driver tell me, that for everyone who dies, someone else is born.”
6. Bad Days: The best song on “The Clouds Taste Metallic”, this song is just about how bad days always pass, and if they don’t you can always dream they are over. Besides we live half of our lives while we sleep. “Your sorta stuck where you are, but in your dreams you can buy expensive cars, or live on Mars and have it your way.”
5. Riding To Work In The Year 2025: One of the tracks from “Zaireeka” which is a box CD set released with the same tracks on four different CD’s, all with different elements from each respective song. The album was meant to be listened to on four stereos at one time. This track shows how that format works particularly well, sounds come from everywhere and it seems like nothing is making sense and then understanding and realization comes from nowhere. “You’re invisible now and I know that’s hard to get used to.” Very Pink-Floydish, but distinctly Flaming Lips.
4. Seven Nation Army (Harry Potter and George Bush’s Severed Head mix): In this song from “Late Night Tales”, they took the music from Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes and combined it with lyrics from the Butthole Surfers “Wizard of Oz”, which matched perfectly to begin with, works amazingly well. “I’m gonna hold back the hands of time, so the lobbyists can change their minds.”
3. Do You Realize?: You have probably all heard this song, so I shouldn’t have to really say much about it, but here are my favorite Flaming Lips lyrics ever: “Realize the sun doesn’t go down, it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.”
2. Yoshimi Battles Pink Robots Pt. 1: Spacy and acousticly awesome, this song is the title track from “Yoshimi Battles Pink Robots” and is named after a guitarist from a band called the Boredoms. One of my all-time favorite songs. “Oh yoshimi, they don’t believe me, but you won’t let those robots eat me.”
1. A Spoonful Weighs A Ton: This song starts very spacy and then moves into this rocking goodness that really is hard to listen to on the first few tries. I hated this song the first few times I heard it, but it slowly made a lasting impression and I began to understand it for what it was, an all around great song, devoid of even one flaw. “Yelling as hard as they can, the doubters all were stunned, heard louder than a gun, the sound they made was love.”