Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The Flaming Lips Embryonic
If you like The Flaming Lips you already own Embryonic. And if you luuuuuuuuuv The Flaming Lips, then you already own the Deluxe Limited Edition, a reprise of an older Lips' stunt that requires the listener to coordinate and play multiple discs simultaneously on two different systems, to dig the full trippiness of the music. If you don't like the Lips, nothing on this new album is going to change your mind.
I, for one, like the Lips, and am baffled by the kvetchers in this group. Some are noting a return to "experimentation," which brings to mind John Gardner's quip that a work is only called "experimental" when it fails. I don't see that here -- or rather, "I don't hear that, see." Very early Lips is experimental, while Embryonic falls solidly into their later "The Punks Have Taken Over The Decrepit Planetarium" phase. If you must call Embryonic "experimental" I must protest that it's been tightly controlled to produce a desired effect: an aural consideration of how we collectively attempt to get a grip on how/why our species can be so incredibly evil.
Finally, if somehow you are new to The Flaming Lips, Embryonic is as good a place to start as Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. And if, like me, you are late and catching up to their crazy scene, you should check out this back issue of Stop Smiling for Jim DeRogatis' entertaining history of The Flaming Lips.
Post-Script: Oy, my aging brain. I couldn't recall why DeRogatis' name seemed so familiar, until I checked his website. Of course! DeRogatis wrote the definitive biography of Lester Bangs. Not only is it a very good book about Bangs, it is also an exceptional account of the 60s and 70s rock 'n' roll scene. Growing up in the 70s and 80s I was frequently bummed that the generation before mine got to have the most fun the first. Let It Blurt was the first book to leave me with the distinct impression that I was lucky I showed up later.