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200 Million Thousand
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200 Million Thousand [Explicit]
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Garage rock veterans, The Black Lips will following up the widely successful Good Bad Not Evil with the release of 200 Million Thousand. Simple, straightforward songwriting mesh perfectly with the Black Lips distinctive howl to create a
time capsule rife with nods to simple pleasures and a world of worry.
Critics darlings, The Black Lips have received previous acclaim from Rolling Stone, Spin, Filter, Magnet, Stop Smiling, The Fader, Anthem, Paste, and The NY Times to name a few.
Heralded by Rolling Stone as "one of the best live
bands in America," there will be ample opportunity to see Black Lips do what they do best - whip a crowd into a pure ball of drunk, unpredictable energy. After a release week show
in their hometown of Atlanta, GA, the band will embark on a month long tour in March presented by Myspace Music, which will bring them to the Northeast, Midwest, SXSW and the
Southeast. They hit the West Coast for the last two weeks of April.
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The Black Lips's sense of nostalgia has never been a drawback for the band, and if anything it has been their reason for existing. Everything from their easily recognizable influences to flat mono sounding production values help transport the listener back a few decades. Some of the songs do this beautifully, such as the bluntly titled "Drugs," about picking up women and driving around aimlessly while, you guessed it, on drugs. Many decry the Black Lips's snot nosed brat personas, but with lyrics that begin with the line, "my nose is a-runny" the Lips have little qualms over this guise. And why should they, it's worked well so far? "Starting Over" melds the easy sentiments of beginning anew sung over the jangly guitars of the Byrds. Like many of the high points on this album, and there are quite a few, these songs give the appearance of an old classic, now forgotten, that has serendipitously made its way onto the radio DJs mix.
However, what do you do when a band whose rason de'etre is to shuffle through used tunes, like most of us peruse Good Will stores, starts looking to "mature"? The results are not pretty. "The Drop I Hold," a song that drags its belly from beginning to end, is an embarrassing attempt to rap/sing over a vaguely hip hop beat. I'm all for mixing of genres and actually believe that since the nineties too many musicians have been hold up in their own musical corner, but here the song not only sounds out of place but the rhymes sound like they're delivered through a bad cold. Missing is any sense of storytelling found in the best hip hop, or even on other, superior Black Lips songs. The closer, "I Saw God," begins with a lengthy found sound of a kid ruminating on "God" that manages to be both pretentious and childish. Childishness is expected from the Black Lips, but I can't think of anyone who goes into a Black Lips album looking forward to mediocre ruminations on God.
In their attempt to recover sounds of old, the Black Lips have brought back something that should have stayed in the sixties: the front loaded album. It has been my unfortunate observation that too many sixties rock and rollers stuffed all the goods on side A in what I assume is the belief that when it comes time to flip the record the listener will be too stoned to stumble over to the record player. Similarly, the Black Lips may be hoping that you rip the songs you need and forget about the filler. For those of us who still listen to full albums this isn't an option, and by the time the Lips start rapping you will probably wish they would start singing about snotty noses some more.