The Flaming Lips, “The Terror” Review

terror“This is, by far, the easiest record we’ve ever made.”—Steven Drozd, April 2013

No shit, Drozd. Really? ‘Cause it sure sounds like it took you guys at least 2 days to put this cacophonic mess into a blender and hit ‘record’. The Flaming Lips 13th album, The Terror hit the streets mid April and I have given it until now to ‘sink in’, in the hope that it would make some kind of sense to me, given multiple spins while in multiple moods and in multiple environs. Alas, nothing has worked. It still sucks, no matter what I do. It’s an ‘experimess’.

It will, of course, be hailed as a masterpiece of gargantuan proportions, especially a decade or three down the road. Here’s a future review from the year 2029:

““The Terror” is probably The Flaming Lips most talked-about and legendary album. It’s legendary because of the story behind it. This is Wayne Coyne giving his musical middle finger to his record label, his management, his fans, his ex, and the entire music business in general. It’s absolutely hilarious, annoying and entertaining all at the same time.
The album consists of nothing but endless drones and shrieks of guitar feedback piled on top of each other. AND it goes on for 64-minutes straight. The music doesn’t get any quieter or louder as it goes on. It slams you in the face right at the beginning and stays there for its entire duration. Believe it or not, this album can serve as some excellent background music when played at a lower volume. When played at a higher volume, it’s an excellent tool for getting that certain person you can’t stand to leave the room instantly. It also serves as THE perfect substitute for alcohol and drugs when you’re depressed. I know this from experience. I played “The Terror” daily in the months that followed my Mom’s passing. Trust me, it works!!

Like it or not, “The Terror” was ahead of its time and despite the effort behind it, has turned into a major work-of-art.”

The above is NOT a work of fiction. It is a review of Lou Reeds Metal Machine Music Album written in 2003, a full 28 years after the album was released.

As a friend of mine likes to say from time to time, “A turd is still a turd, no matter how long it sits.” The problem with The Flaming Lips in 2013, as I see it, is their total inability to self-edit in combination with their enabling and quite rabid fan base who will swallow anything they release without question. Call it the Space Bubble Purple Kool-Aid Syndrome (S.B.P.K.A.S.) Ever since they released that ridiculous space movie they’ve been on a tear, releasing everything and everything they can think of in every imaginable, and some unimaginable, format (gummy bears, 24 hour songs, etc etc). They’ve released whole covers of iconic albums (Floyd/Crimson), soundtrack stuff, bonus tracks up the wazoo, collaborations (Heady Fwiends among others), record store day exclusives, and much more. In between all this nonsense they managed to create a very good proper studio release, Embryonic (which, if we’re honest here, could’ve been a much better album with a trimmed down track listing and a different producer). Someone needs to have the balls to tell Wayne and Steven and the rest that what they’re doing ain’t no good. Take your time boys, gather the best bits over a four-year period and release something of substance. We’ll wait.

In the meantime: Anyone want to buy a cheap, used copy of The Terror?