Track Review: The Flaming Lips, ‘How??’
The Flaming Lips return in enigmatic, experimental fashion on “How??”, one of four pre-release singles from album, Oczy Mlody.
Experimental rock band The Flaming Lips don’t sell particularly well. Did they ever? The answer is a resounding no. To date, the RIAA has certified just one TFL album: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot. Regardless, the band is prolific, continuing to push boundaries musically. After a two-year hiatus – With a Little Help From my Fwends, released in late 2014 – TFL return with new album, Oczy Mlody. Ahead of Oczy Mlody, the band issued four singles: “How??”, “Sunrise (Eyes of the Young),” “The Castle,” and “We a Famly.”
“How??” Opens enigmatically, as to be expected from The Flaming Lips. A spacy joint, vibe is everything here. It’s very druggy and psychedelic.
The record features unique lyrics from the jump. On the first verse one, frontman Wayne Coyne sings:
“White trash rednecks, earthworms eat the ground / Legalize it, every drug right now.”
The reaction from all listeners should be the same – WTF? What do the lyrics really mean? That is the question. Vocally, Coyne sounds true to himself. An interesting moment occurs at the close of the first verse. Coyne sings:
“Kill your rock n roll, motherf*ckin’ hip-hop sound.”
Smartly, the record embraces that sensibility at that moment (production). Even though TFL have been around since the 1980s, it’s interesting they manage to make “How??” unique and distinctive after so many years in the game.
The pre-chorus is both catchy and memorable:
“I tried to tell you but I don’t know how!”
The bridge packs-even-more punch, adding more sounds and intensity from Coyne:
“Back when we were young, we killed everyone / If they f*cked with us, with our baby guns / We were young with our baby guns / We were young with our baby guns.”
As always, TFL always delivers a compelling record and “How??” is no different. Lyrically it’s not deep, but as a soundtrack of sorts or potentially part of Oczy Mlody, it is on-point