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Review: The Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends

Photo via Amazon
By Alexa Smith, News Editor

[Warner Bros.; 2014]

Rating: 8/10

Key Tracks: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (feat. My Morning Jacket, Fever the Ghost & J. Mascis), “Getting Better” (feat. Dr. Dog, Chuck Inglish & Morgan Delt), “Fixing A Hole” (feat. Electric Wurms)

The Flaming Lips are masters of the game. They’ve been doing this thing that they do for years now, so they have no fear of pushing the boundaries, doing the unthinkable and making things into what they are not. To them, you can make anything into what you want it to be. Wayne Coyne probably takes a couple hits of acid in his morning OJ to wash down the boomer omelet. But like The Beatles, The Flaming Lips live in this other dimension where they are able to see, hear and feel such unspeakable beauty and they want to share their journey with listeners through their musical sorcery.

Caution: What you are about to listen to may result in the heebeegeebees, dizziness, paranoia, distorted sense of time, suicidal thoughts, the feeling of “getting it” and/or moderate to severe hallucinations.

I would like to categorize this album under the genre “insanity.” Enough just wasn’t enough: “You know, this song is really good, but what it’s missing is some (place absurd, unnecessary request here).” For the average listener, novices of the fine art of music listening, one might say this album was a little hard to endure, not the most approachable piece of listening material. But for those who really dig music and know how it feels when it’s deep down in your soul, this album is for all of you fine folks.

It’s incredibly difficult to play the work of such truly talented and transcendental musicians. These songs, however, are barely remakes of tunes from The Beatles. Sure, they’re the same lyrics, and under layers of ambiance and bizarre effects and intergalactic noise, the melody is still somewhere in there. But these songs are not covers; these are the songs of The Flaming Lips and various other radical artists of the 21st century.

Right off the bat with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" (feat. My Morning Jacket, Fever The Ghost & J. Mascis), the music warps between a shudder-inducing introduction of what sounds like a creepy kids show, and mad rock ‘n’ roll equipped with excessively wild drum solos and guitar riffs. “With A Little Help From My Friends” (feat. Black Pus and The Autumn Defense) seems like it could possess that same innocence present in the original, but has the same echoing effect of the perceived auto-tuned innocence and drunken, belligerent screaming.

“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” (feat. Miley Cyrus and Moby), is without a doubt a fine specimen, especially considering the creative minds that were a part of it. Same with “Getting Better” (feat. Dr. Dog, Chuck Inglish & Morgan Delt), and “She’s Leaving Home” (feat. Phantogram, Julianna Barwick & Spaceface).

With “Getting Better” and too, “Within You Without You” (feat Birdflower & Morgan Delt), more of a Beatles presence is there, sharing the same atmosphere as the originals. “Within You Without You” has that Middle Eastern vibe and in “A Day In The Life” (feat. Miley Cyrus & New Fumes), the all-adored lyrics and overall feeling evoked by that song is 100% , while still preaching the fact that this is 20-fucking-14, and this is the music we can and will make.

Truly, each artist that worked on this album marked their territory. Every single one of them.

The Flaming Lips really did kick ass with this project, but there’s this feeling in my gut that something isn’t quite right. It’s as if rather than commemorating the Beatles, they’re making a mockery of their work. But that’s not it at all. They just made it into something it’s not supposed to be. Then again, that was probably the point.

#albumreview #theflaminglips #alexasmith #withalittlehelpfrommyfwends

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