Top Ten Songs by the Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips have been around since 1983, and have been through several incarnations. The Flaming Lips are presently Wayne Coyne (vocals) and Michael Ivins (bass) who have been with the band since its inception, and Steven Drozd (drums, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals and more) who joined in 1991 and brought expert musicianship and a finely tuned ear.

The Flaming Lips’ sound changed dramatically after the mid 1990s, trading in a rough-edged, energetic alternative rock style for the sophisticated, thoughtful symphonic pop that characterizes “The Soft Bulletin”, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” and their latest release, “At War With the Mystics”. This top ten list focuses on these last three records, which saw a major increase in their commercial popularity and, if you ask some people, their artistic achievement.

1.Do You Realize

Arguably the Flaming Lips’ most stirring song, this is a gorgeous anthem that sums up Wayne Coyne’s humanist philosophy: “everyone you know someday will die,” so live each day as if it were your last. Driven by strumming acoustic guitar and sudden, crashing drum fills, accented by bells, strings and clean electric guitar, this is a veritable symphony of determination to lead a life without regrets. From “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”.

2.Race For the Prize

The opener to “The Soft Bulletin” and the Flaming Lips’ live shows, this driving symphonic song chronicles the race of two scientists. The piece has a distinct late ’60s/early ’70s feeling to the production.

3.Waiting For a Superman

Single off “The Soft Bulletin,” and another of the Flaming Lips’ pseudo-optimistic semi-depressing songs. This one is built on beautiful piano and a booming kick drum.

4.The Gash

A dark, grand piece featuring a striking artificial choir created from multi-tracked pitch-altered voices. Gongs and strings swell as Wayne Coyne describes the “fight for our sanity”. From “The Soft Bulletin”, this piece shows the Flaming Lips at their most theatric and cinematic.

5.Are You a Hypnotist?

From “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”, this one is worth listening solely for the creative multi-layered percussion by the Flaming Lips’ drummer and multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd.

6.Vein of Stars

From their new album “At War With the Mystics”, this piece harkens back to an early sound of the Flaming Lips – lo-fi sounding acoustic guitar paired with Wayne Coyne’s Neil-Young-esque vocals and thoughtful lyrics – but takes it in a decidedly different direction: a new classic!

7.Suddenly Everything Has Changed

A strikingly original, and rather abstract, work about how one’s daily life seems to shift into a different perspective when one contemplates death. Classic Flaming Lips subject matter, something that not many bands could pull off convincingly. But Steven Drozd’s orchestral textures, wistful guitar riffs, hard-driving drumming and wordless background vocals give this underrated song something special. From “The Soft Bulletin”.

8.Sound of Failure

Another stand out track from “At War with the Mystics”, an epic two-part piece with a somewhat different feeling from much of the Flaming Lips other work.

9.Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 2

A very original instrumental track from the album of the same name, this one can be described as an explosion of drums, moog synthesizer and sound samples.

10.Feeling Yourself Disintegrate

The stirring closer to “The Soft Bulletin,” this piece captures a feeling in a way few songs ever will: haunting, and very emotional. The song opens with Wayne Coyne’s vocal snare drum imitation, “brrap bap bap brrrrrap bap-ap-ap bap,” almost a reference to “Little Drummer Boy”. This song is another great example of how the Flaming Lips can be depressing and emotional, yet still incredibly uplifting.

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