The Flaming Lips had been making music long before someone handed me a copy of “The Soft Bulletin” 10 years ago. Today, the Lips have become increasingly more bizarre with everything they do (releasing love songs in a chocolate heart, pressing their own blood into vinyl records, writing songs for NBA teams, etc.).
The band’s first proper album since 2009, “The Terror” is set for an April 1 release. It will probably be insane. As a preview, frontman Wayne Coyne has described it as “bleak and disturbing.” So when the band plays Track 29 in May, my guess is they won’t be playing many of my top five favorite Flaming Lips songs.
Here they are, anyway.
The disorienting time signature of this song, combined with the lyrics “You think you’re so radical, I think you oughta stop,” instanly got my attention. I think it has something to do with biochemistry, but I couldn’t tell you.
“One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21”
Imagine your best friend is a robot but just doesn’t understand the meaning of the relationship you share until one day it warms up, breaks free and awakes to reality. It’d be both confusing and beautiful, just like this song.
“What Is the Light?”
The proper title of this song is “What Is the Light? (An untested hypothesis suggesting that the chemical [in our brains] by which we are able to experience the sensation of being in love is the same chemical that caused the ‘Big Bang’ that was the birth of the accelerating universe.” Like the title suggests, it is awesome.
“The Sparrow Looks at the Machine”
From their most recent proper album, “Embryonic,” this one’s a little truer to the band’s past than some of their more abnormal, newer offerings. The propulsive drums and a climbing bass line make it my favorite on the record.
“Do You Realize??”
Obvious pick, yes. But this one’s special for a number of reasons, including watching my friend who dressed up as a wizard crowd surf to the foot of the stage during the Lips’ 2006 show at the Tabernacle while confetti cannons erupted and balloons rained down. It was beautiful.