The FLAMING LIPS – ” American Head ” Best Albums Of 2020

Posted: December 15, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Once Wayne Coyne saw Runnin’ Down a Dream, a 2007 documentary on Tom Petty, he became fixated on a stop Tom Petty made through Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1974 and his recording in that city with the earliest inception of the Heartbreakers—along with Belmont Tench and Mike Campbell—as Mudcrutch.  Manoeuvering through imagined scenarios and what-ifs, the Flaming Lips frontman became caught in some imaginary realm between his Oklahoma upbringing, the current state of America, and an imaginary jam session with the late rock legend. Imagine if the Lips were a local Oklahoma band that befriended Petty in his pre-Heartbreakers days—or what if Tom and company were pulled into the seedier side of Tulsa, shifting the course of rock history as we know it?

Running down a rabbit hole of reflections, the Lips’ sixteenth album “American Head” drifts through the singer’s wild imagination, exploring addiction and mental health in its drug-induced Americana. “As we destroy our brains / ’Til we believe we’re dead / It’s the American dream,” Coyne sings on “At the Movies on Quaaludes” before the more revelatory “Now I see the sadness in the world / I’m sorry I didn’t see it before” on “Mother I’ve Taken LSD.” Following up  Lip$haa proposed 2014 album with Kesha, and collaborating on the psych-pop experiment Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz in 2015, for American Head, the Lips cozied up to Kacey Musgraves for some feminine texture on three of the record’s tracks. Only The Flaming Lips could conjure up their American Head narrative, mixing loosely based recollections, romanticized tales…and the state of the country as we think we know it.

American Legends The Flaming Lips are pleased to announce the release of their 21st studio album, American Head released on September 11th via Bella Union. The album is comprised of thirteen new cinematic tracks, produced by long time collaborator Dave Fridmann and The Lips. Among them, “God and the Policeman” featuring backing vocals from country superstar Kasey Musgraves. American Head takes on a welcome temporal shift that occupies a similar space to that of The Soft Bulletin or Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots and just may be their most beautiful and consistent work to date

American Head finds The Flaming Lips basking in more reflective lyrical places as Wayne Coyne explains in a longer form story titled “We’re An American Band.”  Excerpt below:

The Flaming Lips are from Oklahoma. We never thought of ourselves as a band. I know growing up (when I was like 6 or 7 years old) in Oklahoma I was never influenced by, or was very aware of any musicians from Oklahoma. We mostly listened to the Beatles and my mother loved Tom Jones (this is in the 60’s)… it wasn’t till I was about 10 or 11 that my older brothers would know a few of the local musician dudes.

So… for most of our musical life (as The Flaming Lips starting in 1983) we’ve kind of thought of ourselves as coming from ‘Earth’… not really caring Where we were actually from. So for the first time in our musical life we began to think of ourselves as ‘AN AMERICAN BAND’… telling ourselves that it would be our identity for our next creative adventure. We had become a 7-piece ensemble and were beginning to feel more and more of a kinship with groups that have a lot of members in them. We started to think of classic American bands like The Grateful Dead and Parliament-Funkadelic and how maybe we could embrace this new vibe.

The music and songs that make up the American Head album are based in a feeling. A feeling that, I think, can only be expressed through music and songs. We were, while creating it, trying to NOT hear it as sounds… but to feel it. Mother’s sacrifice, Father’s intensity, Brother’s insanity, Sister’s rebellion…I can’t quite put it into words.

Something switches and others (your brothers and sisters and mother and father…your pets) start to become more important to you…in the beginning there is only you… and your desires are all that you can care about…but… something switches.. I think all of these songs are about this little switch.”

The Flaming Lips return on Bella Union Records with American Head, their 21st studio album. They’ve pulled off a masterstroke here, it retains all of their bubbling psychedelics, whilst sounding more introspective or reflective than they have in years. It’s a cracking set of songs and very pretty too.

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