Monday, June 2, 2008

Boats: Evil Will Prevail

The Flaming Lips: Evil Will Prevail


When it comes to the Flaming Lips, I came very late to the game. I don't know how I missed them for so long, but it wasn't until about 3 years ago that my brother recommended Soft Bulletin to me.  That album made me an instant fan.  They are now what I would consider a "top tier" band in my library.

There is a lot of discussion online about the Flaming Lips "saving" rock and roll. I guess the idea is that nothing really interesting, or really unique, has happened since St. Pepper and that rock and roll has become predictable and boring since then. The Flaming Lips are supposed to be the exception to this rule.

This kind of thinking sounds to me more like bloggers who are infatuated with the band using hyperbole to express their undying love for them than it sounds like a real issue with the overall health of the art form. In the end, music should be about the tunes, not about exciting new sounds and technologies and there's nothing more boring than weirdness for its own sake.

But, The Flaming Lips don't do weirdness for it's own sake. This is a band with a real knack for using sounds to communicate in a precise way. They are a band that uses lyric not only to tell stories, but also to produce images and moods. And, most importantly, this is a band that takes melody seriously. Without melody, all of the weirdness, nonconformism, and avant-garde unconventionalism in the world are worthless to me.

So, while I don't think the Lips are saving rock and roll - or even necessarily that it needs saving - I do think that Wayne Coyne and the boys have done some very fine work. And even when they are singing about emotive robots or making four CD's that all have to be played at the same time or using sounds that you may not have heard before in popular music, they always remain substantive and ultimately "musical".

The featured track is a pretty straight-up tune, off of the excellent album Clouds Taste Metallic. The "Mother Ship" that is mentioned in the lyrics is probably a space ship, not a boat, but my thought is that the word "ship" qualifies the song for the week's theme. (And, I like this tune a little better than Abandoned Hospital Ship off the same album).


Matt said...

Good show, bwr: The Flaming Lips are a great choice.

"...Hospital Ship" is on my short list, this week, so I guess there may be a double F'Lips posting!