Album Review: The Flaming Lips – American Head

Wayne Coyne and his fiery Flaming Lips are back with their new album American Head. In the press bio, Coyne states, “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.”

The album begins with the therapeutic ‘Will You Return When You Come Down’. When loved ones face the tragedy of car accidents and drug overdoses, one must battle with the unfortunate reality, that life can take someone away from you just like that. This is Wayne’s way of coping with his own guilt about being one of the lucky drug experimenters.

Grammy-winning Nashville alt-country songstress Kacey Musgraves makes a cameo on track three ‘Flowers of Neptune 6’ with brilliant guest vocal harmonies. ‘Dinosaurs On The Mountain’, track four, was inspired by Wayne’s childhood memories. When he was about eight years old, he and his family would take trips to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The trees on the highway make these interesting shapes that made his growing, maturing brain envision Dinosaurs and this is the memory Wayne was reflecting on while penning this song.

‘Mother I’ve Taken LSD’ definitely sounds like a typical trippy and eclectic Flaming Lips song from reading the title out loud, and when you actually listen as well. The track is inspired by a true childhood moment with his brother. The literal phrase haunted Wayne’s nightmares and to this day inspired him to express these feelings in a song.

Track nine ‘Mother Please Don’t Be Sad’ is a standout with a with a mellow, gorgeous introductory piano riff. The energy picks up when Wayne’s vocals come belting in and the strings and horns and full band sound bring alive the full color of the tune. The Flaming Lips have proven again that through their interesting and unique style they are able to create art that is listenable and fresh every new album.

Scott J. Herman

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