‘Flaming Lips’ Review

By Louie Wieseman

The Beatles were popular in the 1960s, and they’re a name I’d hope you’re familiar with. What happens when The Flaming Lips, the psychedelic rock band of the early 2000s, with Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and The Soft Bulletin, and recreate Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band? Unfortunately, the end result doesn’t live up to either’s best sounds.

     The Flaming Lips album is, titled With A Little Help From My Fwends. It features multiple artists including My Morning Jacket, Black Pus, and even Miley Cyrus. Immediately from the title track, I could tell it was going to be the more experimental rock sound of Flaming Lips instead of their more contemporary psychedelic sound. Then “With A Little Help From My Friends” came on, it was just a distorted mess compared to the original. The chorus in “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” feels the same way.

“Getting Better” is a little closer to the original, but has the Flaming Lips touch, making it fun to listen to. “She’s Leaving Home” is very relaxed with a soothing voice from Julianna Barwick to help out.

What I was interested in was the cover of “A Day in the Life” featuring Miley Cyrus and New Fumes. It’s one of my favorite songs by The Beatles. The upbeat verses are “interesting,” to put it in a word. Miley Cyrus is laid back in her sound, which seems to be a common theme for the entire album.

Each track’s rock sound was taken and replaced with a psychedelic experimental sound that Wayne Coyne, the Flaming Lips lead singer, seems overwhelming. Take that and crank down the tempo on each sound about 20 BPMs and you have the final version of Sgt. Pepper.

I get what they’re trying to do. They just want to experiment with their sound and see how successful they can be. Compared to other acts like Radiohead and Animal Collective who similarly experiment with their sounds, the Flaming Lips should experiment with their original tracks instead of taking apart Sgt. Pepper’s and putting it through their own crazy version of a machine that also seems to spit out Superjail! episodes.