I don’t really know that much about the Flaming Lips. Let’s get serious, I’m not going to pretend that I actually know anything about music that’s cool. I’ve always been too busy listening to Simon and Garfunkel LPs or something.
But that’s OK – my younger brother pays enough attention to music for both of us. I’ve heard his copy of the Flaming Lips past album, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” more than a few times. And because of my experience with vinyl, the first thing I noticed when he played “Yoshimi” for me was the fact that the first track on that album, “Fight Test,” sounded strangely like the Cat Stevens song “Father and Son.” Come on, Flaming Lips, “Fight Test” is a good song, but at least give Stevens a shout-out in the liner notes for that one.
That first track – which also happens to be the first track of the “Fight Test” EP – is a pretty solid song. It might even be better than “Father and Son.” It takes a catchy melody – original or not – and combines it with an addictive beat and lyrics that are strong without being specific. As good as it is though, if you own “Yoshimi,” you’ve got the song already.
The next three tracks are live covers of varying quality. The cover of Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” seemed really bad the first time I listened to it, but it got better with repetition. They slowed the song down so it sounds sad and sort of creepy. That track is followed by a cover of Beck’s “The Golden Age” and a boring rendition of Radiohead’s “Knives Out.”
Then the CD moves into a nine-minute-long remix of “Do You Realize?” – another song from “Yoshimi.” They call it the “Scott Hardkiss Floating in Space Mix,” and it does sound kind of like floating. The weird, soft techno beat and the strange voice filters take some power away from the song, but it’s still a good song. I’d probably rather listen to the original, though.
The next song is an original, previously unreleased track called “The Strange Design of Conscience.” It’s okay, I guess, though the lyrics are sort of pretentious and humorless.
But any lack of humor is made up for with the last song, “Thank You Jack White (For the F aiber-Optic Jesus That You Gave Me).” It’s a country-style guitar-twanging ode to Jack White, of the White Stripes, and the fiber optic Jesus statue that he evidently gave to the Flaming Lips backstage at a show. Along with “The Golden Age,” it’s really the only track worth having that isn’t also on “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.”
And that’s the bottom line on this CD – get “Yoshimi” instead. I mean, if you’re a rabid Flaming Lips fan who wants to have all of their babies or something, maybe you want to bother with “Fight Test” – but then you probably weren’t going to listen to my review anyway. For everyone else, it’s not worth the trouble.
Smith can be reached at email@example.com.