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Download American Head

by The Flaming Lips
  • Release type: Album
  • Year: 2020
  • Tracks: 13
  • Duration: 50:37
  • Size, Mb: 116.1
  • Bitrate: MP3 336
  • Genre: Pop/Rock

Review

On American Head, the Flaming Lips use their storytelling skills to their fullest, combining some of their purest moods and most beautiful melodies with some of their most overtly autobiographical songwriting. Drawn from Wayne Coyne's memories of growing up in early '70s Oklahoma with his freewheeling brothers and their biker friends -- as well as his imagined version of Mudcrutch, the precursor to Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers that honed their chops in Tulsa around that time -- the album's concept is one of the band's richest in some time. At the time of American Head's release, the band compared it to Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and The Soft Bulletin, and it's true that the album's scope and depth of feeling put it on that level. However, American Head still bears the scars of albums like The Terror, which brought a weight to the Flaming Lips' music that works especially well on these meditations on the loss of innocence. The band couples the album's frank emotions with frank depictions of drugs. Though their music has evoked altered states since the beginning, they've rarely mentioned drugs directly. They're portrayed as powerful agents of escape and change, particularly on American Head's pair of songs about LSD. "Flowers of Neptune 6" sets a moment of pure epiphany to a lush swath of trumpets, tympani, strings, and the sugared twang of Kacey Musgraves' backing vocals (one of several appearances the country star makes on the album) that calls to mind early '70s AM pop. On "Mother, I've Taken LSD," the dawning awareness of life's beauty and pain, and their intrinsic connections, feels like crossing a threshold from which there is no return. The Lips give equal time to drugs' transcendent and destructive qualities on "At the Movies on Quaaludes" and the hallucinatory "You n Me Sellin' Weed," and moments like these are grounded in just enough realism to make American Head's music that much more transporting. Cocooned in harmonies, "Will You Return/When You Come Down" begins the album with a fragile reflection on the loneliness of surviving that's a perfect example of the Lips' inimitable ability to sound massive and close-up at the same time. Later, the cascading psych-pop epic "Assassins of Youth" serves as a reminder that they're as good at distilling disillusionment as they are at capturing joy. Even American Head's brightest moments are shadowed with sorrow, whether it's the knowledge that the untainted childhood wonder of "Dinosaurs on the Mountain'' is fleeting, or that by the album's end, there's just enough hope left to love someone unquestioningly on "My Religion Is You." Far from a rehash of the band's previous glories, American Head feels transformational; at once magical and down-to-earth, it's the album the Flaming Lips needed to make and fans needed to hear at this point in their career.

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