If You Could Erase This Album From Existence, Would You Do It?
When it comes to hot debatable topics, people mostly tend to think I’m pretty black and white on most subjects. That’s mostly true, except when it comes to My beloved rock and roll music. My love for music has lots of shades of gray, especially if a band I love puts out a terrible album. The Flaming Lips has been burning pretty hot white for Me lately, especially with their last 2 albums. But that white just got some black thrown into the pot, because “At War With The Mystics” is easily one of My big let downs of this year so far… this and the whole vice president shooting that guy in the face… and “Crash” winning best picture… and the ongoing plague of poverty that seemingly get ignored by the rest of the world… and again, this cruddy Flaming Lips album. First of all, it sounds great. Really. It sounds like they have spent months recording this, and the audio production is amazing. The problem is the songs are all kinda lame, with the album starting to rise out of the sludge toward the end. Here’s the Jesus Christ track by track break down.
01. Yeah Yeah Yeah Song – If you asked Weird Al to write an original song that parodied the sound of the Flaming Lips, but then told Weird Al to write lyrics that were sucky, this song is not quite as good as the one Weird Al would write. When the Flaming Lips are silly/cheesey, most of the time it can work for them… most of the time. Sometimes they can be humorous with tongue planted firmly in cheek, “Yoshimi” for example. That song has “hi-ya” karate soundeffects, and it works great. Cool, fun, weird, and cheesy. That’s also what you usually get at their shows. An odd mix of cool fun cheese.
However, this song does not quite pull this off. It’s cheesey in the “little bit imbarassing” way, and unfortunately, it doesn’t get too much better. And the lyrics, oh, those lyrics! Why does this whole album sound like the lyrics were taken from a 7th grad goth girl’s secret journal? Believe Me, I read a lot of 7th grade goth girl’s journals, and they have tons of “poetry” that read just like these “lyrics”.
02. Free Radicals - You should have seen that something bad was on your way when the Flaming Lips record a cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody”… and it’s boring. Again, this song sounds great, but those lyrics! “You think you’re radical, but you’re not so radical, in fact, you’re fanatical.” Wayne, if this is a political thing, please don’t write any more political things. If this is not a political thing, please stop writing whatever this is.
03. The Sound Of Failure/It’s Dark… Is It Always This Dark? – The first half of this is a mellower song than the first two, thank Me, but it’s a little boring. Still, it’s one of My favorite tracks on the album, but still not mix tape worthy... mostly because it tags on a weird wannabe song on the end, which probably could have been something interesting, but kinda just feels like an interesting looking wart on a face that kinda adds to the face so you shouldn’t burn it off… but probably should.
04. My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion – I really like this song. Pretty little lullaby with birds chirping in the background that grows louder as it progresses. This one is really cool and reminds Me of something off of “The Soft Bulletin”.
05. Vein Of Stars – This kinda sounds like the last track, but stir in some boring.
06. The Wizard Turns On – Slightly fun instrumental that reminds Me of a “Yoshimi” left over.
07. It Overtakes Me/The Stars Are So Big, I Am So Small… Do I Stand A Chance? – The second half of this song is unfortunately attached again to the first half, which is too bad because everyone is going to miss a fun musical interlude at the end of this track because everyone will be so quickly hitting the “next track” button.
08. Mr. Ambulance Driver – A B-Side, now with annoying ambulance sounds! Thanks guys! Now everyone listening to this song while driving will think they have to pull over until they remember that it’s that same annoying Flaming Lips song that made them think they had to pull over last time they heard it… and it’s boring.
09. Haven’t Got A Clue – The “2006 Coolest Song With The Dumbest Lyrics Award” has got to go to this song. This song would RULE if it was in a random foreign language the majority of the world didn’t understand. Mostly a great song though, and this is one of the few mix-worthy tracks on the album… although the 7th grade goth girl journal entry makes another appearance with “Every time you state your case the more I want to punch your face”.
10. The W.A.N.D. – Coolest song on the album. This is great stuff. Here, everything the Lips do well line up to make a great track. This sounds great loud.
11. Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung – Another great song. This one is the most psychedelic of the album, and when they want to pull this sound off well, they really can pull it off well. Loud and trippy, this shows off their song writing creativity and their skills in the studio.
12. Goin’ On – Kinda cute, kinda boring. I think this last song really sums up the whole album and is a great way to end this “war”, not with a bang, but a whisper… and a whimper.
To summarize, this album is okay, but can be pretty insanely embarrassing at parts. The last two Flaming Lips kill this album, but it easily comes in third place for them… which isn’t saying too much. However, a somewhat lame Flaming Lips album is still better than a lot out there right now.
Like how I feel about all of you, I really love the Flaming Lips, but I'm not always impressed by their actions. However, I have faith that they can find their way again onto the right path... which reminds Me, how's your path search going? You heading down the road that leads to a Soft Bulletin or are you straying toward the Mystics? Look for Me, I'm leaving you hints!