The Flaming Lips

Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Deluxe Edition)

Warner Bros.

Jul 12, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


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The Flaming Lips' back catalogue seems impervious to age, evolving through cutting edge sounds and increasingly psychedelic performances, while consistently appealing to a certain demographic of dazed youth. Which is why is may seem like even after a career spanning four decades, The Flaming Lips aren't headed toward any sort of legacy phase, even though Wayne Coyne has been rocking grey locks for nearly 20 years now. Despite this, a solid collection of all their essential songs is long overdue.

The first two discs cover the essentials in chronological order starting with their first Warner Bros. LP, Hit to Death in the Future Head, notably The Lips' first attempt at a novelty song with "Frogs." Each of their major releases is adequately represented, including the ambitious four-disc experiment Zaireeka.

The deluxe edition doesn't disappoint with the deep cuts, filling the third disc with rare tracks and B-sides. Most of these tracks represent a point of some transition for the band, such as "Zero to a Million," a previously unreleased demo from their pre-Warner days, or "1000 Ft. Hands," a  Soft Bulletin B-side featuring one of Coyne's weirder performances, which is saying something. There are a few weak moments as well. "Up Above the Daily Hum" has the promise of a spacey Yoshimi track, but still sounds unfinished and sleepy. There is also a noticeable difference in lyrical quality between these songs and the ones that made it onto their albums. Still, part of the joy of this release is knowing hordes of casual Lips fans will be experiencing "The Captain" for the first time.

As this collection follows The Flaming Lips from alt-rock novelty noise to the show-stoppers of '00s indie rock, back to experimental weirdos, their fearlessness in exploring as much of the emotional spectrum as possible is steady throughout. They don't always have the most insightful answer, but the band keep asking big, universal questions. The Flaming Lips may actually get old someday, but they won't get any less weird. (www.flaminglips.com) 

Author rating: 8/10

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