The Flaming Lips establish their own legacy

By: Maddelynne Parker

The Flaming Lips have had a wild ride of a career as one of America’s top current psychedelic rock bands. They're flame sparked in 1983 and have released to date: 16 full-length studio albums, the official rock song of Oklahoma and three Grammy Awards. They're now taking on their own legacy by releasing “Seeing the Unseeable: The Complete Studio Recordings of the Flaming Lips 1986-1990,” which made its public debut in June of 2018. It’s the perfect way to be introduced to the band by bringing together their best tracks from the past.

The album is a six CD set with 12 or more tracks on each disc. This is a re-release of the band’s records originally released under Restless Records, as well as two discs of rarities. It’s the largest project The Flaming Lips have put out that exemplifies the true essence of the band.

“She is Death” is one of the first songs heard when listening in order, originally released on “Hear It Is” in 1986. It’s introduced exactly how you would expect any other song of theirs to be — relaxed with a hint of funk. Wayne Coyne, the lead singer, almost murmurs short, simple lyrics that fade into the background of the instrumentals. Once the guitar line picks up, the song itself changes. It exemplifies the early influences of The Flaming Lips before they became one on their own. It’s very simple, yet defining as to the origins of the band.

One of the more popular tracks is “Thanks To You,” which is found on the second disc and originally released on “Oh My Gawd!!!” in 1987. It’s a simple song in that the band relies solely on standard instrumentals and vocals without the modern synthesizer’s alien-like sounds. This creates for an incredibly raw sound, which can be found across the whole project. It really makes listeners feel as though they’re hearing the band truly as they would in the studio back at their start. This is something that is often hidden today behind their experimental and psychedelic sounds.

A final track to spotlight is “Five Stop Mother Superior Rain,” which was released in 1990. This song portrays exactly what the band stands for by including an ear-piercing sound of mental scratching metal throughout the whole track. It takes a beautifully created piece and individualizes it by adding what no one else would. In the end, you get creative masterpiece.

“Seeing the Unseeable: The Complete Studio Recordings of the Flaming Lips 1986-1990,” is one of the perfect ways to either embrace your love for them or to introduce one a little late to the party of The Flaming Lips. It especially features the hidden gems on past records. The band is known to be weird, but also so good that you’ll want to embrace their quirky charisma.


Feature Photo: Mark Sadowski,, no changes made.

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