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Flaming Lips - Hit To Death In The Future Head
Label: Warner Brothers Records
Release: 1992

Tracklisting:
Talking About the Smiling, Deathporn Immortality Blues (everyone wants to live forever)
Hit Me Like You Did the First Time
The Sun
Felt Good to Burn
Gingerale Afternoon (The Astrology of a Saturday)
Halloween on the Barbary Coast
The Magician vs. the Headache
You Have to be Joking (Autopsy of the Devil's Brain)
Frogs
Hold Your Head
Hit To Death In The Future Head - Flaming Lips
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heh okay where to begin. this album is the first full length major label album by the flaming lips and they take advantage of the extra money. It's easy to see why many (including me) consider wayne coyne a genius on par with the beatles when listening to this album. the man has a sprawling vision of music that does not leave any stone unturned (on the fight test ep released recently he covered not only two alternative stand bys, beck and radiohead, he also covered kylie minogue, and did a really good job of it!) and this is the first album to approach the true depths of genius the man has in his insane head. not that the first four albums were bad. in fact, unlike anybody else, i LOVE the first three albums for what they are: really weird, lo-fi rock albums. the fourth album is where the psychadelic guitar freak out noise as melody asthetic finally was perfected (thanks to addition of a second guitaist johnathon donahue, one of my favorites) but it didn't have the full range of the potential of the band. this is where the door was opened and the shit hit the fan and flew all over the wall and made a mess in your living room (as the album is a bit schizophrenic) but you don't mind a whole lot cuz the shit was actually smelling pretty good, like mint or som ething maybe it was dipped in mint? i don't know but this is a really bad metaphor.

the album starts with a dive bomb on the bass (!) by under appreciated member michael ivins. Sure, it's easy to dismiss him cuz he a) never gets credit for writing the music. b) isn't a bass virtuoso. c) had really ugly hair for like 2 decades. but there's no denying his bass playing is solid and in some cases (like on this hear giraffee from clouds taste metallic) the main melodic force. plus, he's the only original member still in the band besides wayne coyne. so there. after the dive bomb, you hear some deep doo wops vocals that sing the uh chorus (personally, i find they use the "deep voice" gimmick too much throughout their entire career) and a completely dorky guitar racket follows. singing lyrics about how dying just isn't all it's cracked up to be, the melody is great, and weird instrumentation pops up from time to time (weird back ground vocals, some kind of clicking instrument) but are never used to distract you, just to add to the music which is the genius of this band. add a pretty good noise solo by johnathon donahue, and you got a great starting track!

the second track is even better though! hit me like you did the first time has one of those weird noise melodies donahue was so fond of during this time with lips and mercury rev, and wayne quietly strums the main melody underneath. TWO MELODIES AT ONCE? johnathon's melody is the main hook of the intro no doubt, and wayne's is the propulsion rhytmn. then wayne starts singing some lyrics about a weird relationship (in a lovely voice, that's on key! unlike on earlier albums) and the chorus starts with "hit me like you did the first time!" and the weird instrumentaion that sounds like power tools switch back and forth from speaker to speaker, and an ascending melody on the guitar plays as well. this may sound cacophonic, but it's too their credit that it's catchy and lovely and weird.

the sun and felt good to burn are very hypnotic with the former featuring great trumpet bursts, and the latter being truly creepy with lyrics about murdering some guy cuz he ripped them off. gingerale afternoon is a nice little pop song, but actually it might be the weakest song on the album, cuz although it's solid and fun, it's not really that idiosyncratic to make it stand out. it's still good though.

i honestly can't remember halloween on the barbary coast, (which might mean it's actually the weakest, heh) but the next song the magician vs. the headache is a messy distorted rocker, kind of like god walks among us now from the last album but better. next is you have to be joking which is amazingly beautiful, with great lyrics, great instrumentation, and a heart stopping orchestral bridge ripped from michael kamen (who got pretty upset about it). it's a welcome change of pace from the hard rocking of most of the other album, and actually forsees their later period of beautiful ballads.

frogs is probably my favorite song fromt he album. the intro features some great backward guitar stuff, and then it kicks into a hypnotic noise section then comes into probably wayne's best vocal melody to date with lyrics about frogs raining down upon him, and featuring lovely la la la's and an amazing and i mean it noise guitar solo from donanhue. seriously, this one solo was enough to convice me he was one of my favorite guitar players, it has to be heard to be believed.

next is hold your head which is another epic ballad suggestive of their latter period. in fact, the whole album serves as a bridge from the searing noise early stuff into the beautiful pop of the latter stuff. it's a good intruduction to the band, probably the best i'd say as getting either a earlier or later album first might tilt you towards that facet of their personality, even though they're good at both.



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