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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Which Flaming Lips Album Should Anna Minard Listen to for the First Time?

Posted by on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 4:20 PM

I thought asking Facebook which Flaming Lips (the big-time headliners of the Capitol Hill Block Party) album it liked best would help determine the next Never Heard of 'Em column, but apparently everyone has all these "opinions" on the subject and now it's unclear which one would be best!

Jeff Kirby: "The Soft Bulletin. When it came out in 1999 I had never heard anything quite like it. The production on that record is fantastic."
Drew DeCounter: "Zaireeka, if only because of the memories associated with listening to it and I don't think I'll ever listen to it again."
Ray Suburbia: "Hit to Death in the Future Head—still pretty punk with 'Talkin' 'Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants to Live Forever),' but also has some of the super-psych stuff they later got into. Also 'The Magician vs. the Headache' is their penultimate ripper. It's a major label debut done in the best possible way."
James Burns: "Priest Driven Ambulance through Soft Bulletin is an incredible run of records. Everything after that can go jump in a lake."
Derek Erdman: "Transmissions from the Satellite Heart—it's right in the middle of the 'weird' to 'pop' phase."
Marianne Spellman: "Yoshimi! 'Do You Realize?' is a gift to the world—one of those extremely rare songs that can touch anyone who listens to it."
Hannah Levin: "The Soft Bulletin was their creative peak in my eyes. I've found everything they've done since to be pretty uninspired."
Eric Fundingsland: "Hard to pick a best. I am amazed how much Embryonic has grown on me. Not feeling The Terror as much though."
Grant Brissey: "Clouds Taste Metallic."
Dave Segal: "In A Priest Driven Ambulance. It's their most psychedelic and most Jonathan Donahue-infused record. Wayne Coyne gets angry whenever anyone mentions that, too. But the self-titled debut EP is probably my favorite Lips recording."
Aaron Huffman: "Clouds Taste Metallic!"
Yos-wa GrimGold: "Priest Driven Ambulance. They reigned in the sound of the early records and made a truly fucked up album. But yeah, anything after Soft Bulletin is throwaway."
Matt Clark: "Transmissions. Every single other song sounds the same to me."
Dre Gordon "Oh My Gawd!!! is my fave because it's all fucked up and trippy. I also loved Hear It Is a whole bunch."
Free: "I saw the Lips about 20 years ago at the Comet, high on acid. When they started the bubble machine, that's when I loved them the most!" [Ed. Note - That's not an album, Free, but points for an insane memory!]

Let's take this to the next level: Please vote in the OFFICIAL LINE OUT POLL THAT WILL DETERMINE WHICH ALBUM WE MAKE ANNA LISTEN TO.


Comments (36) RSS

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It's a travesty if you end up making Anna listen to Yoshimi just because that was the college-y indi breakout record for a lot of 20- and 30-somethings. Transmissions is brilliant (one of my top 2 of theirs) and their ORIGINAL breakout record, and The Soft Bulletin is the critical darling above all else in their catalog. Choosing anything else is kind of beside the point, but Yoshimi is literally the least inspiring choice.

Clouds Taste Metallic gets an honorable mention.
Posted by grkle on July 16, 2013 at 4:48 PM · Report this
Do any of you remember when they performed on Beverly Hills 90210?
Posted by Totalpukoid on July 16, 2013 at 4:52 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 3
Embryonic is pretty great, but Transmissions is the one. Erdman is right about something!
Posted by Max Solomon on July 16, 2013 at 5:03 PM · Report this
Aaron Huffman 4
Poll be damned, if you're going to introduce somebody to the Flaming Lips, it really should not be with Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.
Posted by Aaron Huffman on July 16, 2013 at 5:18 PM · Report this
Grant Brissey, Emeritus 5
Even though I said Clouds, I'd have to sat Priest, because that's the one people I trust called out.
Posted by Grant Brissey, Emeritus on July 16, 2013 at 5:21 PM · Report this
Travis Ritter 6
ANYTHING but Yoshimi... Just give her a Boredoms record and say it's Flaming Lips.
Posted by Travis Ritter on July 16, 2013 at 5:24 PM · Report this
Emily Nokes 7
@1, 4, 6: Seriously, something has gone wrong with this poll. It'll have to be whatever comes in SECOND to Yoshimi. I thought I could trust these anonymous blog readers!
Posted by Emily Nokes on July 16, 2013 at 5:27 PM · Report this
I'm not really a huge fan of The Flaming Lips, but my husband proposed to me during their show while they were playing 'Do You Realize' so I feel it gets my obligatory vote.
Posted by Bunbunbunbunbunbunbun on July 16, 2013 at 5:28 PM · Report this
Grant Brissey, Emeritus 9
As the humble creator of this column, I must say that Yoshimi really does not qualify as "considered to be important by record nerds." Sorry, democracy.
Posted by Grant Brissey, Emeritus on July 16, 2013 at 6:35 PM · Report this
people who think nothing good comes after softbulletin are squares. they probably live an unexamined life and dismiss great art because of the artists politics. tip for Nokes; just listen to their 2 or three most popular songs of each album.
Posted by carsten coolage on July 16, 2013 at 6:37 PM · Report this
bella 11
Yoshimi is a gentle intro to the nerd rock that is the Flaming Lips. Follow up with Soft Bulletin, then do as you will. Most people will have a hard time jumping straight into some of their other more "alternative" (for lack of a better word) selections.
Posted by bella on July 16, 2013 at 6:41 PM · Report this
biffp 12
I remember when they performed at the Prospect Park bandshell with Modest Mouse and Cake. That was a pretty good show.
Posted by biffp on July 16, 2013 at 7:19 PM · Report this
yos-wa 13
"tip for Nokes; just listen to their 2 or three most popular songs of each album." - worst advice column ever.

fucking yoshimi? what a fucking banal electronic pop record, which sports their most famous song "do you realize?" (which is why everyone voted for it, they haven't heard ANY of their other records), a song which happens to sport some of the most trite and juvenile lyrics trying to be disguised as "deep."

Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize - we're floating in space -
Do You Realize - that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize - that everyone you know someday will die

real fucking deep. how about you head back to the quad and play it on acoustic guitar for me?
Posted by yos-wa on July 16, 2013 at 7:39 PM · Report this
yos-wa 14
also, isn't this column supposed to be about exposing anna minard to interesting music that she hasn't heard? i would think she's at least heard "do you realize?" in passing (especially since it was fucking EVERYWHERE after it was released), and the rest of the record is essentially a rehashing of that one song. snoozefest 2002.
Posted by yos-wa on July 16, 2013 at 7:41 PM · Report this
Ok, I am going to be a comment thread punching bag, but I'm offended by all the anti-Yoshimi rhetoric. If you don't like it, fine. If you think they have better records, fine (I prefer the Soft Bulletin, myself). But all this vitriol for Yoshimi is just people being dismissive because it's too well known, too easy, too pedestrian. Whatever you want to call it, it's just snobbery. And Yoshimi is a wonderful album, with several of gems aside from "Do You Realize?". To quote "Fight Test": "I thought I was smart, I thought I was right, I thought it better not to fight, I thought there was a virtue in always being cool"
Posted by pemulis on July 16, 2013 at 8:19 PM · Report this
Priest Driven Ambulance, no question. "Unconsciously Screamin'" and "Five Stop Mother Superior Rain" are tops early-to-mid Lips, and "Mountain Side" contains the lyric "I'm holdin' your electric toaster while standing in your bathtub of love", which makes it a first pick right there.

I was lucky, I got to see them several times way back (1986? '87?) when they were still playing bars and "The Space" in Kansas City, which was just a tiny empty upstairs room. You know, back when Wayne still played guitar and Michael Ivins had hair and would run the light show (mostly automobile headlights) himself by stomping foot pedals?

Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi are great, but that's a Whole Different Kinda Lips to me.
Posted by rainbird on July 16, 2013 at 9:37 PM · Report this
gttrgst 17
In 1993 Gus Van Sant drove across the US in a Corvette and stopped by Burrough's place in Kansas on his 80th birthday and I played Hit to Death in the Future Head so pick that. Oh wait, Kliph is the most generous musician I've ever met.
Posted by gttrgst on July 16, 2013 at 10:23 PM · Report this
Gurldoggie 18
I like my memories of the Lips, but Priest Driven Ambulance is the only one still on my ipod. It's weird and noisy and unpredictable and beautiful despite all that. Whatever you wind up choosing, I say this one is best.
Posted by Gurldoggie on July 16, 2013 at 10:25 PM · Report this
Look at all the hipsters stumbling over each other to dismiss a great record because their mainstream friends liked it too. Remember how awful it was the first time you heard Modest Mouse on the radio? ZOMG I was a fan of Elliott Smith before he dyed his hair black. But really he is just a glorified Nick Drake.

You all make me sick.

Emily, Yoshimi is objectively a great and enjoyable album - which also happens to be the reason all these fools will tell you to avoid it.

P.S. I can't wait to see Postal Service tomorrow at Key Arena. I'm going with my parents. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, hipsters.
Posted by MisterAdeline on July 17, 2013 at 1:09 AM · Report this
* I meant to address Anna (-:
Posted by MisterAdeline on July 17, 2013 at 1:11 AM · Report this
@15: Snobbery is right. I didn't even realize there was a hipster backlash against Yoshimi, but I probably should have guessed since hipsters are so fucking boringly predictable. IMO, Yoshimi may not be their best album, but it is the one that's best to listen to front to back.

If you're looking for their "objectively" greatest album, just choose The Soft Bulletin and be done with it.
Posted by MRM on July 17, 2013 at 6:07 AM · Report this
--MC 22
Pch. You could make one great album out of the one song from each album that was good and not just sub-Can noodling. I voted "Clouds" because it STARTS with a bang ("The Abandoned Hospital Ship") and has a high ratio of "put the bong down and stay awake" songs: the song about the guy with the headache, the song about the girl with the watermelon gun.
Posted by --MC on July 17, 2013 at 7:04 AM · Report this
At least we can all agree that The Terror kind of sucks, right?

Because it kind of sucks.
Posted by rainbird on July 17, 2013 at 7:05 AM · Report this
fletc3her 24
I think this poll is kind of funny. In college "She Don't Use Jelly" was in heavy rotation and I kind of hated it and tuned out the band for a long time. Now for some reason I have Yoshimi in iTunes and those damn songs get stuck in my head every time they play.
Posted by fletc3her on July 17, 2013 at 8:28 AM · Report this
Something popular turns out to be popular in a poll? Typical.
Something popular turns out to make hipsters squirm? Also typical.
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on July 17, 2013 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Oh man, the moment I saw the poll results I knew this thread would turn into comedy gold. The hipsters did not disappoint.

That said, the only good point raised against Yoshimi is that Anna must be familliar with at least 3 of the tracks if she has left her house any time in the last decade.
Posted by longball on July 17, 2013 at 8:59 AM · Report this
Priest Driven Ambulance hands down. I like Yoshimi and Soft Bulletin just fine, but Priest is such a fucking complete album all the way through. The perfect cross section of their early freak out thing and their later catchy pop thing. "Five Stop Mother Superior Rain" is probably my favorite Lips song.

Also, like someone said above, for the sake of this column it seems like it shouldn't be either Yoshimi or Soft Bulletin. Too easy.
Posted by Cappelletti on July 17, 2013 at 9:03 AM · Report this
How 'bout this: Anna listens to both Priest and Soft Bulletin, then she'll want to listen to more.

Want something more like Soft Bulletin? Listen to Yoshimi. More like Priest Driven Ambulance? Try Hit to Death in the Future Head or Transmissions From the Satellite Heart.
Posted by rainbird on July 17, 2013 at 9:54 AM · Report this
yos-wa 29

learn a new word, perhaps?
Posted by yos-wa on July 17, 2013 at 11:18 AM · Report this
yos-wa 30
arguments, that is.
Posted by yos-wa on July 17, 2013 at 11:19 AM · Report this
Emily Nokes 31
Everyone settle down or I'm giving her Fwends.

@19 - This isn't for me, it's for a friend who has never heard Flaming Lips. I have definitely heard them, a lot, and Yoshimi is fine. It reminds me of being 17, because that's how old I was when it came out. Before the word hipster was hipsterized. Truth be told, FL aren't really my thing, and I've listened to ALL OF IT. Top to bottom.

@9 is right (obvs) - the premise of the Never Heard of 'Em column is to expose our friend Anna to music that a) she has never heard of and b) is considered important by record nerds. I think Yoshimi is considered important by bajillions of people, for a reason, but not the reason we're looking for... my fault for including EVERY album in this poll!
Posted by Emily Nokes on July 17, 2013 at 11:41 AM · Report this
Liked the demos, but everything after that is overrated garbage.

Posted by Jeff on July 17, 2013 at 2:08 PM · Report this
Rev. Adam McKinney 33
It's gotta be "Transmissions from the Satellite Heart."

"In a Priest Driven Ambulance" is great, and would be a little more of a difficult listen for Anna, but if we're talking about albums that are considered important by record nerds, "Transmissions" is the first Flaming Lips album that fits the bill. It's also their most eclectic, in my view.
Posted by Rev. Adam McKinney on July 17, 2013 at 3:17 PM · Report this
It matters less what Flaming Lips album is listened too, and more what drugs she's on when she listens. Because if she's not on at least a small dose of some psychedelic or another, it doesn't count.
Posted by for authenticities sake on July 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM · Report this
tainte 35
clouds taste metallic, but who cares? whatever the album is she'll just cutesy shit all over it anyway.
Posted by tainte on July 17, 2013 at 4:27 PM · Report this
yoshimi is fucking terrible
Posted by A Fucking Wizard on August 12, 2013 at 8:35 PM · Report this

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