Album Review – Greatest Hits Vol 1– The Flaming Lips (Warner Music)
Review by Geoff Jenke
Memo to bands thinking of releasing a career overview…. This is how to do it. 3 CD’s with 54 tracks that include singles, album tracks, B-Sides, out-takes and unreleased tracks. In Australia, The Flaming Lips have only met with limited success with only a few singles making the charts and probably only the album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots really bothering the chart. They are known here for the songs, She Don’t Use Jelly, Race for the Prize, Do You Realize and The Golden Path (with the Chemical Brothers). If you like any of these songs or have a curious interest in the band, this set could send you on a long journey.
The set starts with Talkin’ ‘Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants to Live Forever) from the EP “Yeah I Know It’s a Drag.. But Wastin’ Pigs is Still Radical”. The Lips have always had interesting album and song titles. The song rocks and is actually a very good representation of what Flaming Lips were like then and also now. Great buzzing guitars fill the back ground, wrapped around Wayne Coyne’s vocals.
The set ends with a mash -up of The Lips version of Silent Night (yes, that one) with Spaceman 3’s song Lord Can You Hear Me. And it is a thing of beauty and was only available as a limited edition 7” single released for Christmas 2008.
In between these songs you get the single’s, and many tracks never before released on CD, including the song Zero to a Million that was on the original cassette tape that led to Warners signing the band. Upon listening you can hear why the band was signed. The Captain was left off The Soft Bulletin album, two outtakes from At War with the Mystics in Your Face Can Tell the Future and You Gotta Hold On get a well-deserved airing. We Can Predict the Future is taken from a June 2000 John Peel session. Spider Man v’s Muhammed Ali has never been released till now and Enthusiasm For life Defeats Existential Fear Pt 2 has till now only existed on a USB drive sold on the 2011 tour.
There are plenty of great album tracks filling out the 3-CD’s, too many to mention here and it is not always an easy ride. It wouldn’t be The Flaming Lips if it was. One track, released in 2011 on a very limited E.P of only 1,000 copies was titled Is David Bowie Dying? Maybe they had a bit of inside information???? Again, this magnificent track has probably not been heard by many fans till now.
Wrongly titled “Greatest Hits”, it should have been called The Best of and More, this set collects all the best of The Flaming Lips along with many unreleased and hard to get songs, serving their fans well.I listened to the 54 songs in one sitting and my mind has never been the same again and I am better for it.
Highly recommended whether a fan or not.
Also available is Scratching the Door: The First Recordings of The Flaming Lips, a 19-track compilation from the bands original line up which included current vocalist, Wayne Coyne’s brother, Mark, on vocals. These songs are taken from cassettes and their first self-released EP and are collected together for the first time ever. It includes a cover a Led Zeppelin’s Communication Breakdown.
Coming very soon is the 6-CD set of Seeing the Unseeable: The Complete Studio Recordings of The Flaming Lips: 1986 – 1990. This is the bands first four albums as well as two discs of rarities.
That is a lot of Lip service……