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The Flaming Lips – American Head

November 22, 2020

I haven’t listened to the Flaming Lips for years and have not seriously listened to anything since 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. I noticed the Lips had a new release and the fact that Wayne Coyne is about my age somehow caught my attention. Pitchfork gave it a decent review (7.7). This Pitchfork tease was hard to resist:

“At the top of their fifth decade, the Lips rekindle their past romance with Neil Young’s piano ballads, the Beatles’ psychedelic guitar tones, and Bowie’s stargazing anthems on a deeply personal album.”

So I gave American Head a serious listen. I love it! The album has a wonderful trippy vibe. It is in line with lots of the mellow psychedelia I have been listening to lately (e.g. Jonathan Wilson, Khruangbin, Dope Lemon, Rose City Band, etc.). Musically and lyrically this is stoner music. Check out some of these track titles:

  • “Watch The Lightbugs Glow”
  • “You n I Sellin’ Weed”
  • “Flowers of Neptune 6”
  • “At The Movies On Quaaludes”
  • “Mother I’ve Taken LSD”
  • “Dinosaurs On The Mountain”

You get the idea.

This album sounds as good as their best work. I like the juxtaposition of down to earth narrative lyrics in a psychedelic context. In the past The Flaming Lips have been weird just to be weird – almost a novelty act. American Head sounds honest and sincere. An added bonus is that fellow stoner Kacey Musgraves (whose 2018 Golden Hour is one of my favorite albums of all time) guests on several tracks. I highly recommend this album. It will for sure make my 2020 best of list.

I liked this enough to pick up a vinyl copy. Like a lot of acts, the Lips issued a special independent record store version on colored vinyl. The packaging is high quality and the wax sounds great.

There is a great long form interview on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.

From → Music Reviews

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