Album of the Week: The Flaming Lips, 'Oczy Mlody'

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The Flaming Lips, 'Oczy Mlody'
The Flaming Lips, 'Oczy Mlody' (Warner Bros. Records)
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Jill Riley - Album of the Week: The Flaming Lips, 'Oczy Mlody'
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The Flaming Lips are back with their 14th studio album, Oczy Mlody. As soon as The Current started playing "The Castle" (which has a great Yoshimi groove to it), and I saw the album title, I remember thinking: What the hell does that even mean? And how am I supposed to pronounce this? (Turns out, it's pronounced "OX-ee mah-LOH-dee). And, as it turns out, it's not just a crazy play on words. Wayne Coyne explains at the Flaming Lips' website that the title is a Polish phrase that means "eyes of the young." Before he knew the meaning of Oczy Mlody, Coyne was drawn to how the words looked and sounded … because, well, it sounded druggy, and then he was even more intrigued once he found out the meaning was "eyes of the young." (On a personal note, as someone with Polish roots, I found it really cool that someone was drawn to the Polish language and found something about my heritage interesting and maybe even a little trippy!)

Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips are well known for their visually stimulating live concerts and their psychedelic, sonically stimulating albums. They're also known to get a little weird, especially with their song titles. To name a few from Oczy Mlody: "There Should be Unicorns," "Nigdy Nie (Never No)," "One Night While Hunting for Faeries and Witches and Wizards to Kill" and "We a Famly," which features Miley Cyrus.

The Flaming Lips continue to explore and build a sonic landscape with this album, and I feel that they've been heading in a more experimental direction for more than few years now (perhaps not as experimental as the four-CD release, 1997's Zaireeka, where you also needed four CD players playing simultaneously to hear the record). One thing remains consistent: their music is layered, it's spacey, and it's a trip.

But I had a hard time connecting with this record. In fact, I haven't really, truly connected with a Flaming Lips record since the 2006 release, At War with the Mystics. I've been trying to figure out why I'm not crazy about this album. See, I like my Flaming Lips weird, but I also like some rock and some solid hooks in my 'Lips. I love how much of a weirdo Wayne Coyne is; I've seen the Lips live in concert more than any other band. But has Wayne Coyne hit peak weird for me? Is that even possible? (I hope not.) Am I tired of the Flaming Lips/Miley Cyrus collaborations? (I'll give you an answer to that one: It's yes.)

If you're a big fan of the Flaming Lips, don't let me turn you off. In fact, grab a great pair of headphones and enjoy the ear candy. The more you listen, the more of Wayne Coyne's creative and layered studio work you'll hear. That's his strong suit — he loves making records and creating lush soundscapes; he's a total studio rat. Oczy Mlody is a great record if you want to "tune in, turn on and drop out" for a while. Enjoy the trip, I'm sure Wayne Coyne wants you to enjoy your stay.

Resources


The Flaming Lips - official site

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