Music Monday: Flaming Lips’ Latest Is Moody and Masterful

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Flaming Lips
Embryonic
Warner Bros.

Confession: I don’t know much about The Flaming Lips. Sure, I’ve heard a few of their big songs, like “She Don’t Use Jelly” and my favorite, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.” But it was from a mostly neophyte perspective that I listened to their latest release, Embryonic.

Verdict: Why have I been missing out on these guys? From the opening strains of “Convinced Of The Hex” to the closing growl of “Watching The Planets,” the Lips create a hypnotic, moody world reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s epic “Dark Side of the Moon.”

The group’s neatest hat trick is to be both sprawling and focused, due in large part to thematic consistency between its lyrics and music. While the tone of the album is often animalistic—pounding drums, primal vocals—the lyrics literalize the concept in tunes like “Worm Mountain” and “I Can Be a Frog” (featuring the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Karen O doing creature impersonations). Similarly, in “Evil,” when a cacophonous melody gives way to sparse beauty, frontman Wayne Coyne croons, See the sun, it’s trying again.

Like many great albums, Embryonic is best enjoyed as a complete entity. Rather than a string of singles, it feels like a universe of sound, carefully created and richly textured. If the Lips’ other CDs or live shows are anywhere this good, I may just have to become a full-fledged fan.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate