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Tag: The Flaming Lips

The Black Eyed Peas on SNL – Seriously…What the Fuck?

by on Nov.16, 2009, under Bad Music, Video

“Must get boring for the other two guys in Black Eyed Peas. How many hours a day can one spend thinking up awkward dance moves?”
                                                —Christian Finnegan

Back in college, I used to get together with my friend, Conan, for no other reason than sharing hip hop and rap music. To be honest, he would do the majority of the sharing, and as we smoked and talked in front of a computer, I learned a lot. Most of what he shared with me has since risen to higher heights. Perhaps none as much as the Black Eyed Peas.

I bought their 1998 release, Behind the Front, within days of my introduction to them. I was drawn to them for the same reasons as Conan. They were conscious, positive and completely against materialism and hype. They were real. They were part of the good side in the balance on which rap and hip hop teetered at that time. Would it end up there, embracing something earthy, unifying and mentally evolved? Or would the whole thing collapse into a racially degenerative, socially destructive, new age Amos and Andy dressed up as a fashion show?

I think we all know what the outcome of that was. In case you are fortunate enough not to keep up with such things, I present to you exhibit A: The Black Eyed Peas on last week’s Saturday Night Live.

Okay. Maybe I’m being too much of a hater. The Black Eyed Peas are fun, right? Sure! And so is Hannah Montana. So is Britney Spears. I’m not hating on the fun. I’m pointing out the absurdity. I mean, what the fuck is this? It looks like a bunch of kids singing karaoke.

Of course, it’s not just karaoke…it’s backwards karaoke! Where in karaoke, the vocals are real and the musical accompaniment is canned, with the Black Eyed Peas, the opposite is true! There are musicians actually playing their instruments (presumably), but the vocals, if not lipsynched, are certainly autotuned. Either way, it’s completely brainless.

Why is this cool to anyone? Shouldn’t the band be in the spotlight since they are the only ones actually doing anything creative? Who are these four jackasses jumping around and blocking them from the cameras? Is this really what entertainment has devolved to? Better ask a 12 year old, I guess. I’m sure that’s what a Black Eyed Peas focus group would tell you to do.

And look at those stunning and pricey fashions. So much for being real. I guess they are the kind of “rappers” that are only against luxury, so long as they are unable to afford it. Obviously, these worries have gone away from them now…and taken with them all sense of purpose, depth and imagination. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s call a spade a spade. This is pure pop…brought to you by Dr. Pepper. Just try to find a casual snapshot of the Black Eyed Peas anywhere online. You can’t. All that exists out there is glossy, air brushed and tightly controlled PrOPaganda.

Don’t get me wrong. Music and money can be a beautiful thing together. Look at all that this combination has allowed acts like The Flaming Lips, Beck and of Montreal to throw down over the years. A part of me even wants to believe that the Black Eyed Peas really do want to be tuned into that ultracreative wavelength. But you know, it’s pretty fucking difficult to have an interest in their confetti without some kind of parade or circus to back it up.

Here is their third and final song from SNL:

Deep shit, huh?! Not at all. Not even interesting shit.

There was another song they did between these two, but I can’t find it online anywhere. This is most likely because, as hard as this may be to believe, it was even more embarrassing than the other two. “Frontman,” will.i.am, even picked up a keytar (yes a fucking keytar) and pretended to play it. Thank God he had on his big, douchebag sunglasses so we didn’t have to look him in the eyes. Now that would be awkward.

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The Flaming Lips – Embryonic

by on Sep.17, 2009, under Good Music

Flaming Lips - embryonicHey kids! It’s that time of your life again! The Flaming Lips have a new album! Where would the Lips go this time? Though ever innovative, they seemed to grow less discombobulated and more processed with each release. At War with the Mystics was okay, but it lacked the pathos of Yoshimi. When I read frontman Wayne Coyne’s unwarranted, assholish jabs at Arcade Fire and Beck, I grew weary. When “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song” ended up in a salad dressing commercial, I grew worried. It seemed like any direction they could go was going to hurt them, and ultimately myself (and presumably other fickle fans). Which door would they choose?

I’m glad to announce that we can all breathe easier now. The Flaming Lips did the right thing. Embryonic embodies all of the best attributes of the dirty psychedelica we could only taste on past releases. Where At War with the Mystics sometimes depressingly embraced a 70’s nostalgia, Embryonic takes us back to the moment in the 60’s when there was no nostalgia because nostalgia was our parent’s bullshit. And though it’s underpinnings are certainly reminiscent of the better parts of that decade, the whole of the thing is definitively fresh and futuristic – the whole of the thing is definitively Lips.

Coyne seems to have taken a step into the shadows on this one. Virtually gone are his upper range, shiny happy vocals, replaced by effect drenched call outs from some black hole. Here it does not seem to be his words that affect, so much as his voice, itself. Finally, it has come into its own as an instrument unto itself, rather than overt narration. It’s not that his positive musings are no longer present. They’re there. It just seems that the message is now being conveyed by the entirety of the music as its own cohesive unit. It’s expansive and reckless, giving the listener the feeling that they just got together and did the damn thing rather than wanking through some diplomatic process of what sounded good where. The record overimpedes and distorts all over the place, and it sounds fantastic.

Wisely and fittingly, The Lips decided to unveil their new monster on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Performing as a six piece, they tore through the album’s opener, “Convinced of the Hex.” As if that wasn’t enough, they are also streaming the whole thing on Stephen Colbert’s website, colbertnation.com. It’s only there until Monday, September 21st, so check it out while you can. If you don’t, you may have to wait until its official release on October 13th.

Here is a tracklisting for those who want to keep up:

1. “Convinced of the Hex” – 3:56
2. “The Sparrow Looks Up at the Machine” – 4:14
3. “Evil” – 5:38
4. “Aquarius Sabotage” – 2:11
5. “See the Leaves” – 4:24
6. “If” – 2:05
7. “Gemini Syringes” – 3:41
8. “Your Bats” – 2:35
9. “Powerless” – 6:57
10. “The Ego’s Last Stand” – 5:40
11. “I Can Be a Frog” (featuring Karen O) – 2:14
12. “Sagittarius Silver Announcement” – 2:59
13. “Worm Mountain” (featuring MGMT) – 5:21
14. “Scorpio Sword” – 2:02
15. “The Impulse” – 4:06
16. “Silver Trembling Hands” – 3:58

And not streamed are two final tracks:

17. “Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast” – 3:45
18. “Watching the Planets” (featuring Karen O) – 5:16

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