AOTY 2023
The Flaming Lips - American Head
Sep 11, 2020
It’s been a long while since I last wrote anything, I’ve been busy with school and other more, depressing matters which I might get into in another review, but for now I wanted to start this day of reviews with probably the most niche of the three I’m going to be reviewing. The Flaming Lips up to this point have been very hit or miss for everyone. They had some amazing records in the mid 2000s, and then in 2014 they came out with two of their best EPs in Strobo Trip and 7 Skies H3. Since then though they have been below a lot of people’s radars, releasing albums almost every single year, multiple sometimes, they’re comparable to King Gizzard in how prolific they release. But here we are with The Flaming Lips’ 2020 solo release, is it any good? Well the short answer would be yes, yes it is. But of course you want the long answer to this question don’t you? Well…

American Head is an album that sounds exactly like its cover art; psychedelic and dreamy. The album opens with what I’d consider its best track “Will You Return/When You Come Down”. It’s a 5 minute dreamy opener that sets the tone for the rest of the album wonderfully, and it drew me in instantly. It reminded me a lot of other Flaming Lips albums I’ve heard, and I’ve seen a lot of people compare this to their roots. I have dabbled in their other works, as you all know I’ve heard 7 Skies in its entirety, I’ve also listened to the work they produced for Miley Cyrus in the same year. From everything I’ve heard from the band I’ve enjoyed all of it, and that includes this album. “Will You Return” feels like it could be a staple Lips track, it sounds incredibly memorable. It’s a song with an acoustic backing and very dreamy vocals and instrumentals. Its lyrics are quite dark, yet the music sounds quite positive. This remains a theme throughout the record as… this album is a commentary on America and everything around it, and it’s done in the way you’d expect The Flaming Lips to do it.

The album while an easy listen deals with a lot of heavy topics like patriotism and murder, and all the other things wrong with this fine country. I assume this is due to what’s happening right now in the country, it’s also probably not a coincidence that this album released on 9/11, a day drenched in sadness for not just America but the entire world. I see this as no coincidence. The Flaming Lips have something to say and they did say it, with some incredibly good riffs and tunes to go with it.

As with most Flaming Lips’ projects I would assume they would sound a lot different, and possibly better while high, and drugs remain a prominent theme throughout the album too, from the lyrics to the song titles themselves. “Mother I’ve Taken LSD”, “You N Me Sellin’ Weed” the album seems to fixate on American culture and its stupidities. One favourite thing I want to point out is the combined tracks in “Mother Please Don’t Be Sad” and “When We Die When We’re High”, both of these tracks play on the myth that weed is highly dangerous, it can kill you if you smoke it. Weed has a huge stigma in America, and all round the world really. We want it legalised, and even when it isn’t legal, it doesn’t stop anyone from doing it.

I would also like to propose there is a loose storyline to this album, an American boy wrapped up in his own head, doing drugs, doing shit and his family are scared because of all the rumours they’ve heard about weed and drugs. It all leads back to that soul message of legalising weed, and making America a safer place.

This album is a political one, and while I honestly can’t say if The Flaming Lips get political often, I can say that they succeeded in delivering their message here.

Favourite Tracks: Will You Return/When You Come Down, Flowers of Neptune 6, Dinosaurs on the Mountain, Mother I’ve Taken LSD, You N Me Sellin’ Weed, Mother Please Don’t Be Sad + When We Die When We’re High, Assassins of Youth, My Religion is You
Least Favourite Tracks: God and the Policeman

I wanted to try to get a review out today, I might come back to this and rewrite it later on, but I wanted to for one make sure people knew I was ok and still alive, and secondly I just felt the need to write something semi quick, so I thought about doing this, a review on one of the less important albums of today (to me at least) but to still give me opinions and thoughts on it, and why you should listen to it, it’s good :).

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More Reviews by Supertartory
The Flaming Lips - 24 Hour Song Skull
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