On my own little Odd-o-Meter that ranges from one to ten, the Oklahama area band The Flaming Lips
would probably strike a respectable five. They're no Mr. Bungle
and they don't have the craziest antics that appear to have come from far off dimensions, but they do come down in spaceships in live shows and roll down in a clear plastic ball and roll all over the audience. That pretty much scores a five right there. Now, that being said, I also gave them a measure on the Musicalability-o-Meter, and suprise suprise they rated quite high. How high? Let's just say that they surpass Hawthorne Heights
Due to the massive success of The Flaming Lips' 2002 album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
, the band released two singles. They first released the gargantuan Fight Test
, which followed in a mini-album chock full of new songs, covers and a terrible remix. Their second single, Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell
also earned an immortal place as an album followed. An album of new songs and some despicable remixes, which render the listener in a "what is
First, let's take the time to identify of what this band is capable of. These guys made of the best albums of all time; they made The Soft Bulletin
, which combined radio friendly pop songs with gloomy songs that could have a mild effect on you're heartstrings. It truly was a brilliant album. Brilliant albums aside, there are some remixes that definitely do not do The Lips
any good. First off is the completely horrible remix of Do You Realize??
, which in it's unremixed version is a simple stroke of genius. But, like it's predecessor from Fight Test
, the Scott Hardkiss Floating In Space version, it sounds like a Spice Girls song with better melodies. But the true fact here is that they butcher the song. They take the song, add Mario Bros. theme music, get rid of the rest of the music (which was a huge
mistake) and think that they have a song that's unique and can serve as a fun listen. Of course, the Lips are better than this, but for the endurance of 4:02, we mourn the brilliant music that they are capable. But thank God for those awesome backup vocals.
The decent remixes of Ego Tripping
each have a little to offer in terms of creativity and listenability, but in change have that whole "way to zoned out" feel to even begin to consider them pieces of music. This is the kind of music you would hear on a 1990's dancefloor, not something from the Lips' discography. The better of the two is the Self Admiration With Blow-Up
mix, which takes the ferocity of Nine Inch Nails at the begin and molds it into something that can be considered radio-friendly, but at the same time very bizarre and incapable of moving forward. But the song does change after a while, and it goes into a rather delicate setting of electronic noise and a heartfelt vocal performance from Wayne. The chorus adds a vague guitar in the background and the vocal performance goes up an octave. What directly follows in an impressive electronic wave that can really catch your attention and hold it hostage. But don't waste you're time on the Jason Bentley remix. It may start out like the original song, but don't be fooled this is a pit of stereotypical jean store music, and for the duration of five and a half minutes, you feel pressured to give your cd player a smash. Don't feel alarmed, we all do. We all do.
The new songs are much better. They seem to bring the crazy electronic elements of the remixes, minimalizes them and add some stunning music
, for a change. The Assasination of the Sun
starts out with a Radiohead
piano sequence, which are interupted only by the mellow vocal performance. Though it sounds relatively poppy, the sadness in this song is not to be missed. The message here is that in the future the sun will no longer have a purpose, so they decide to dispose of it. It's quite odd and doesn't seem that disturbing, the music is what makes it sad and unforgiving. It's the little things that make this song special; the little drum fills; the harmonizing vocals and eventually the ending with a bang. The second best is Sunship Balloons
which has the promise of a talking vocal intro and the simplicity of a few un-distorted chords. The singing comes in, and the song takes off in, to coin a phrase, sunship balloons. They soar above the limits of what the EP should have; tracks that weren't good enough for the actual album, so they were made B-sides. This is what every EP should have.
The instrumental I'm a Fly in a Sunbeam
has a little bit to offer, but should be taken as a novelty. The song can be as sad sounding as an instrumental song could get, and for just over three minutes the Lips grabs your attention like a monkey grabs a bannana. It just comes above the line of white noise, which allows for the listener to think while listening to it. This song is a great listen, regardless of the lack of vocals and, ultimately, passion to play the music. But the final track A Change at Christmas
sounds like the remixes of the previously classic songs, but adds a great intro featuring Wayne and the guys talking about doing...something, but it's unclear. The song is fizzed out stoner pop, which oddly enough isn't a bad thing. The band adds a Bruce Springsteen
Christmas song effect, but let's be real; they Lips own this song hard. The bells in the background bring you the meaning of good ol' Santa's bells, which gives this song the excitment and memories of being a little lad/laddess on Christamas Eve.
This EP is a good one, no doubt about it. There are some gem songs and contain a handful of new material, and unlike it's predecessor it doesn't take up space with the original version of Ego Tripping
. Unfortunately, the Lips really shouldn't do remixes as they're songs are greatly unique as they originally are. Therefore, this EP is mixed with me. There are some crap moments but some dazzling moments, but in the end the good outweighs the bad after a fierce battle. This EP is worth the money of a good citizen who will no doubt fall in love with it.
The Flaming Lips: