Wow. The Flaming Lips. What a strange journey they have had. It’s kind of weird to see their fame and growth. Thank you Roberta Patersen, for signing them to Warner in ’91. Remember the 90210 cameo? I sort of feel like how I did when the Smashing Pumpkins exploded in ’93. But I guess when you are indie royalty it’s different or something. Can you be indie royalty on a major label? Oh I get it. Alternative became mainstream in the 90s and indie became major in the new millennium. I get the flow.
What’s sad is that since the Lips exploded they haven’t put out anything I’ve liked. And it has nothing to do with their popularity. At least I don’t think. I couldn’t care less about that. In fact I am happy for them. And happy to hear people talking about them. Most notably, I am happy their old horrid website finally got updated. I believe their last completely breathtaking album was in 1999. Since then, they have reinvented themselves a few times. Sadly, going in no direction that spoke to me. Maybe they need to go back to their roots. But wait, the critics all seem to think they do that each record they put out. Go figure.
What’s Interesting, as I just talked about the Smashing Pumpkins, I figured out a parallel. And I’ll do it as an equation.
Siamese Dream = Transmissions From The Satellite Heart (Success)
Mellon Collie and Infinite Sadness = The Soft Bulletin (Huge success)
And after The Soft Bulletin (and Mellon Collie) there wasn’t one song I played more than a few times. Sadly. I even would try the records again every few months, just to check to see if I was missing something all the critics were talking about. In fact, since then, I’ve sold my Yoshimi record and singles and I never even bought the disaster that followed. Yuck.
Here are my Top 10 songs:
- Kim’s Watermelon Gun (Clouds Taste Metallic) – I remember drawing a picture of this song for an ex-girlfriend. Can one distort their guitar anymore than on this record?
- Buggin’ (The Soft Bulletin) – The bass is stellar – that’s all that can be said.
- Superhumans (Transmissions From The Satellite Heart) – This was my theme song and shower singing song in college. Sometimes I cry a little when I hear this song. Out of joy, mainly and from singing so loud. There’s something about the lyrics that really speak to me.
- The Big Ol’ Bug Is The New Baby Now (Zaireeka) – I guess after a band comes out with a 4 disc set where all the discs are supposed to be played at the same time on different machines you are instantly dubbed an “art band” – Whatever. It’s simple and it’s genius, to me. PS. If you own this you must do yourself a public service and try it. If it’s not perfect, you’ve done it right.
- Unconsciously Screamin’ (In A Priest Driven Ambulance) – The earlier days seemed to be riddled with hit or misses. This was a hit.
- Talkin’ ‘Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues [Everyone Wants to Live Forever] (Hit to Death in the Future Head) – What’s up with the Lips and their long titles?
- Lightning Strikes The Policeman (Clouds Taste Metallic) – Always a great narrative from Wayne.
- Be My Head (Transmissions from the Satellite Heart) – “Be my head, and I’ll be yours” – Genius.
- Okay, I’ll Admit That I Really Don’t Understand (Zaireeka) – Mainly drums, bass and vox. Really, what else does one need? Did I mention the drums?
- The Gash [Battle Hymn for the Wounded Mathematician] (The Soft Bulletin) – The vocal doublers. The vocal doublers. It took me about 4 years to find this song. I admit it.
I still think Wayne is inspirational and I love how he doesn’t take life so seriously. It’s a laudable trait to have in the biz. In fact I think he should be a motivational speaker. He’d be successful. What I do have are many records from the Lips that I love and cherish, so I’ll focus on that for now.