Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to Make Embryonic a Good Album

How to make The Flaming Lips’s Embryonic into a good album:

First, relax. If you’ve ever liked The Flaming Lips in the past, you’ll more than likely like this album. You might even love it. You just have to find it. In order to do that, you have to buy Embryonic. You will get:

1. Convinced Of The Hex 3:54
2. The Sparrow Looks Up At The Machine 4:10
3. Evil 5:38
4. Aquarius Sabotage 2:10
5. See The Leaves 4:24
6. If 2:04
7. Gemini Syringes 3:41
8. Your Bats 2:34
9. Powerless 6:57
10. The Ego's Last Stand 5:40
11. I Can Be A Frog 2:14
12. Sagittarius Silver Announcement 2:58
13. Worm Mountain 5:21
14. Scorpio Sword 2:01
15. The Impulse 4:06
16. Silver Trembling Hands 3:59
17. Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast 3:44
18. Watching The Planets

OK, now, step two. Look around on amazon.com for the non-album tracks. You will find three. As a Lips fan, you should know this already. The Flaming Lips always have extra tracks floating around. Often these tracks are as good or better than most of the tracks on their actual albums. This year is no different. Buy them. They should be these:

Anything You Say Now, I Believe You (Amazon MP3 Exclusive)
What Does It Mean? (Non-Album Track)
UFOs Over Baghdad (Non-Album Track)

This will cost you $2.97.

Good. Now it’s time for step three. Take these tracks off the CD:

4. Aquarius Sabotage 2:10
7. Gemini Syringes 3:41
11. I Can Be A Frog 2:14
14. Scorpio Sword 2:01
17. Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast 3:44

Two of them are short, freak-out instrumentals, two are ambient instrumentals over a spoken text from a scientist-sounding guy worried about things such as whether or not there is a beginning to things and how many options there are in any given situation, and one is a sort little ditty where Wayne Coyne sings a duet of sorts with a woman on a telephone who imitates animal noises. All these songs are interesting enough and worth your time, but we’re out to make this a good album, and in order to do so, eggs must be broken.

OK, now mix the three new tracks into the line-up like so:

1. Convinced Of The Hex 3:54
2. The Sparrow Looks Up At The Machine 4:10
3. Evil 5:38
Anything You Say Now, I Believe You (Amazon MP3 Exclusive)
5. See The Leaves 4:24
6. If 2:04
What Does It Mean? (Non-Album Track)
8. Your Bats 2:34
9. Powerless 6:57
10. The Ego's Last Stand 5:40
12. Sagittarius Silver Announcement 2:58
13. Worm Mountain 5:21
UFOs Over Baghdad (Non-Album Track)
15. The Impulse 4:06
16. Silver Trembling Hands 3:59
18. Watching The Planets

Now you have a good album. Some might want to make an even better album, by taking off track 15. The Impulse 4:06, but I think that would be going too far. I consider this track to be the hidden gem on he album. Granted the vocal is almost totally obliterated by a synth effect (maybe The Flaming Lips borrowed Neil Young’s vocoder from the early 80s?), but this allows the listener to make up his or her own words and sing along, or to at least, as the song seems to be saying, “try and try and try and try and try, oh yeah.”

When you are done, you should have a 16-track, very good album, which should cost as little as $12.00, depending on how you purchase it, and an album much more in line with how the Lips first envisioned it, where it was going to be a mix of heavy drum and bass over-compressed freak-outs along with some Lips-style pop numbers.

Stand out tracks: “Convinced of the Hex,” “Silver Trembling Hands,” “What Does it Mean?,” “Worm Mountain,” and “Watching the Planets.”

It’s worth the effort. Trust me. Remember, one must suffer for one's art.

5 Comments:

At 10/27/2009 10:06 AM, Blogger Molly said...

I will look into this.

 
At 10/28/2009 8:40 AM, Blogger GaryM said...

Great post. I was struggling to listen to Embryonic and had put it aside. This really improved it. Thanks

 
At 11/12/2009 4:34 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is the woman. I too could do without those spoken word tracks, yet at the same time they're ultra-creepy and add to the overall tone of the album. I just gotta say that "Powerless" is one mind-fuckingly awesome track.

 
At 11/12/2009 4:50 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Yeah, I found that out just after I posted this. I really like the way she phoned it in (literally) on "Watching the Planets."

"Powerless" indeed. I really like their version being a jam band.

"What Does It Mean" is my other favorite.

 
At 3/06/2010 4:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, I've got two things to say:
the first one is that this album would lose it's soul if you take off the "zodiac songs", including "aquarius sabotage", "gemini syringes" and "virgo self steem broadcast"
the second one is that I have tried lots of times, but I just can't listen to the song "powerless" from the beginning to the end without getting angry or uncomfortable
still, this is a really good post

 

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