My most favourite-est band in the world, The Flaming Lips, are coming to Australia in November! Although I’m mighty pissed off that they aren’t coming to Perth (for the second time in a row!!) I thought I’d honour them with a list of my favourite songs of theirs. A top ten would make sense, but it was just too hard to cut down the list, so here it is – my top 50 Flaming Lips songs …
(The only major recording not considered for this list was their cover album of Dark Side of the Moon, which I don’t own yet. Also, instead of links to individual film clips I’ve made a Youtube playlist featuring almost every song! Perhaps you can figure out which video is my own?)
50. The Abandoned Hospital Ship – Clouds Taste Metallic (1995) – “The experts could tell, with their equipment pushed to the max.”
49. Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002) – Instrumental
48. She’s Gone Mad (Chainsaw Kittens cover) – The Day They Shot a Hole in the Jesus Egg compilation (2002) – “She’s gone mad again. It doesn’t mean she don’t love me anymore.”
47. U.F.O. Story – Telepathic Surgery (1989) – “I’ll never forget. They made this sound. And it sounded like this …”
Even if Wayne’s long story and the racket that follows tests your patience, it’s hard to deny the beauty of the piano solo near the end of the song.
46. One Million Billionth of a Millisecond on a Sunday Morning – Oh My Gawd! (1987) – “Sometimes what looks like the sunrise turns out to be an atom bomb.”
The band doing their best Pink Floyd impersonation. Not their most original song then, but it’s still one of their best early efforts.
45. Mr. Ambulance Driver – At War With the Mystics (2006) – “Tell me, for everyone that dies someone new is born.”
44. Waiting for a Superman – The Soft Bulletin (1999) – “Tell everybody waiting for Superman, that they should try to hold on the best they can.”
43. A Spoonful Weighs A Ton – The Soft Bulletin (1999) – “Being drunk on their plan, they lifted up the sun.”
42. See the Leaves – Embryonic (2009) – “She cannot pretend to believe that life really has no end.”
41. The Tale of the Horny Frog – The Heartbreak Kid soundtrack (2007) – “He got squished by a car, but just the one leg. He thought ‘for making tadpoles, just one leg oughta do.’”
Silly stuff, but they do silly so damn well.
40. You Have to Be Joking – Hit to Death in the Future Head (1992) – “You have to be kidding me. They wouldn’t do those unspeakable things.”
39. Moth in the Incubator – Transmissions from the Satellite Heart (1993) – “I’ve been born before. I’m getting used to it.”
38. Godzilla Flick – Hear It Is (1986) – “This is no Godzilla flick. People that you love – never goin’ to say hello again.”
37. Lightning Strikes the Postman – Clouds Taste Metallic (1995) – “I got your letter. It was such a mess. Lightning strikes the postman in his chest.”
36. Frogs – Hit to Death in the Future Head (1992) – “I’m lookin’ at the sky. I’m waitin’ on the rain. I’m waitin’ for the frogs to fall down on me.”
35. They Punctured My Yolk – Clouds Taste Metallic (1995) – “As your ship leaves in the distance, my world gets smaller.”
34. Borderline (Madonna cover) – Warner Bros. compilation (2009) – “Somethin’ in the way you love me won’t let me be.”
33. What is the Light? / The Observer – The Soft Bulletin (1999) – “What is the light that you have shining all around you? Is it chemically derived?”
32. Fight Test – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002) – “The test begins … NOW”
A fine way to open an album, even if it does sound so much like a Cat Stevens song that the band decided to pay him royalties.
31. One More Robot – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002) – “It’s hard to say what’s real when you know the way you feel.”
30. Turn It On – Transmissions from the Satellite Heart (1993) – “Put your face where we can see it. Put it on a show on cable.”
29. The W.A.N.D. – At War With the Mystics (2006) – “We’ve got the power now mother****ers.”
28. Buggin’ – The Soft Bulletin (1999) – “The buzz of love is busy buggin’ you.”
27. Suddenly Everything Has Changed – The Soft Bulletin (1999) – “You think of the past, and suddenly everything has changed.”
26. Silver Trembling Hands – Embryonic (2009) – “She forgets about the fear … when she’s high.”
25. Spongebob and Patrick Confront the Psychic Wall of Energy – The Spongebob Squarepants Movie soundtrack (2004) – “You think he would have found by now, to be thought of as a king, you don’t need a crown.”
The band prove that just because a song is written for a film aimed at kids, doesn’t mean it’s going to be a total throw-away.
24. Gingerale Afternoon – Hit to Death in the Future Head (1992) – “I’ve seen the sunrise the size of my head.”
When the Lips want to do straight ahead pop-rock, they can do it just about as well as anyone.
23. Slow Nerve Action – Transmissions from the Satellite Heart (1993) – “Now she’s turned a kind that isn’t so much in demand, and all us vegetables can waste our time on someone else.”
22. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 2 – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002) – “Ooh hoo hoo … YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!”
21. Mountainside – In A Priest Driven Ambulance (1990) – “I’m holding your electric toaster while standing in your bathtub of love.”
20. The Gash – The Soft Bulletin (1999) – “Will the fight for sanity be the fight for our lives?”
19. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song – At War With the Mystics (2006) – “It’s a very dangerous thing, to do exactly what you want.”
18. In the Morning of the Magicians – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002) – “What is love and what is hate, and why does it matter?”
17. Are You a Hypnotist? – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002) – “I thought I recognised your face amongst all the strangers. But I am a stranger now amongst the recognised.”
16. Shine on Sweet Jesus – In A Priest Driven Ambulance (1990) – “Waitin’ for my ride. Jesus is floating outside.”
15. The Big Ol’ Bug is the New Baby Now – Zaireeka (1997) – “STUFFED ANIMAL BABIES.”
The Lips’ multi-disc experiment, Zaireeka, works most effectively on this final track where lead singer, Wayne Coyne, tells a story about his pet dogs.
14. Bad Days – Clouds Taste Metallic (1995) – “You hate your boss at your job, but in your dreams you can blow his head off.”
WARNING: The video for this shows a lot of Wayne brushing his teeth. Not offensive per se, but it’s kind of gross.
13. Be My Head – Transmissions from the Satellite Heart (1993) – “Be my head, and I’ll be yours.”
12. Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002) – “I was wanting you to love me, but your love it never came. All the other love around me was just wasting all away.”
11. Watching the Planets – Embryonic (2009) – “Oh, oh, oh. Finding the answer. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. Finding that there aint no answer to find.”
The bands’ latest album has more than a few weak spots. But at least it finishes in fine form with this track. WARNING: The video for this contains lots of nudity, including a shot of Wayne’s wang! Proceed with caution.
10. Talkin’ Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues – Hit to Death in the Future Head (1992) – “Everyone wants to live forever.”
9. Five Stop Mother Superior Rain – In A Priest Driven Ambulance (1990) – “I was born the day they shot John Lennon’s brain. And all my smiles are getting in the hate generations’ way.”
One of the first signs they could write a damn good ballad. I also recommend the re-recorded version you can find on the ‘Day They Shot a Hole in the Jesus Egg’ compilation, an even more delicate, piano-driven affair that features the later (improved) line-up, ie. Steven Drozd and Ronald Jones.
8. She Don’t Use Jelly – Transmissions from the Satellite Heart (1993) – “He don’t use tissues or his sleeve. He don’t use napkins or any of these. He uses magazines.”
7. Love Yer Brain – Oh My Gawd! (1987) – “Man, I aint no drug addict. But a person’s gotta have something to keep him from going insane.”
Easily the best track on their first three albums.
6. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1 – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002) – “Her name is Yoshimi. She’s a black belt in karate.”
5. Feeling Yourself Disintegrate – The Soft Bulletin (1999) – “Oh, to realise that something is ending within us … feeling yourself disintegrate.”
4. Enthusiasm for Life Defeats Existential Fear – The Fearless Freaks soundtrack (2005) – “Last night I had a horrible dream, but your smile in the morning came and took it all away.”
A beautiful way to end the Fearless Freaks movie (a pretty good documentary on the band).
3. The Spiderbite Song – The Soft Bulletin (1999) – “I was glad that it didn’t destroy you. How sad that would be. For if it destroyed you it would destroy me.”
Perhaps the band’s most autobiographical song, and one of their most beautiful.
For some criminal reason this song is NOT included on the Australian version of the album!
2. Race for the Prize – The Soft Bulletin (1999) – “Theirs is to win if it kills them.”
Being amongst the crowd as the band kick off with this song is a one of a kind, almost euphoric experience – as seen below.
1. Do You Realize??? – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002) – “Do you realise that you have the most beautiful face?”
No explanation needed for this one. It’s probably their most universally well-loved song, and with good reason.