why I am not a music reviewer

21 April, 2006

I went with the weight of opinion, and drove home to the sounds of the Flaming Lips (just for the record, I drove in the following day to Crumpet's sans-gizo podcast).

I now include a slightly edited letter that I sent to Josh today, which clearly highlights my lack of music reviewing skills.

Read on at your own peril……


I left last night feeling that I may have mis-represented the Flaming Lips and their latest album.

It's many things. It's a grower. It's an oddity. It's confronting to those who are looking for the next Soft Bulletin.

It's e-ic; esoteric, eclectic and eccentric.

And there is a fair bit of Steven Drozd's drumming, even though I still feel a noticable shortage of that defining drum style.

The song titles are vagaries:

Free Radicals (A Hallucination Of The Christmas Skeleton Pleading With A Suicide Bomber)
The Sound Of Failure / It's Dark…Is It Always This Dark??
My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion (The Inner Life As Blazing Shield Of Defiance And Optimism As Celestial Spear Of Action)

…and et-cetera…

A shortsighted over simplification might GO something like: Take two parts of Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd, and a sprinkle of early Mike Oldfield's symhonic approach, add some 'Lips, then reduce until 60% of the drums have evaporated.

there's a continuation of ideas and perhaps an visible line ofThe songs dont feel quite as accessable as Yoshimi or the Soft Bulletin, but there are some great/intriguing phrases and melodies that start to come through after a few listens. There also feels like there's a visible line of progression from the latter sections of Yoshimi onto this album… Moving into new territory (lyrically and musically) from 'Pavonis Mons'.
Less electric beats and quantising, and more organic feeling.

"You're turning into a poor man's Donald Trump"

It'll take a while for me to grab the full gist of the lyrics. There's those who talk of it's political commentary (which I have yet to unlock). All in all, there is a fair chunk of adventurous sounds and 'different' arrangements, but there does feel like there's some not-so-immediate pop songs coming through….

I think I am going to like it…
But there's definately no Race for the Prize, or Waiting for a Superman on here…..

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2 Responses to “why I am not a music reviewer”

  1. vetti Says:

    i agree with you on so many levels…have just bought ‘staring at sound: the true story of oklahoma’s fabulous flaming lips’. a good read so far. will keep you posted…

  2. vetti Says:

    its not easy to “get” the lips…i am playing “transmissions from the satellite heart”, and i’m going huh? every so often. it is growing on me. think i just need to hear it some more. either that, or i’ve just got some “slow nerve action”. anyone who can come up with “chewin the apple of your eye” as a title is worth persevering with!

  3. Squozen Says:

    It’s many things. It’s a grower. It’s an oddity. It’s confronting to those who are looking for the next Soft Bulletin.

    Read: Giz was looking for the next Soft Bulletin… 😛


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