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Embryonic (Amazon Exclusive Version)
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After lauded indie albums, The Flaming Lips debuted on Warner Bros. with 1991's Hit To Death In The Future Head. Transmissions From The Satellite Heart and Clouds Taste Metallic followed. 1999's TheSoft Bulletin topped numerous year-end best-of listsand helped rank the band among the most influential inthe world. 2002's Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots ranked #4 in Spin and #11 in NME on their end-of-yearlists, and won a Grammy. Most recently, the band's full length feature film and score album Christmas On Mars received critical acclaim at screenings across the country in 2008.
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The album alternates brilliantly between rocking fast numbers, some with frantic drum&bass rhythms, and slower more ambient ones. The lyrics are not totally transparent, but to me they suggest a dark meditation on the illusion of free will and in particular the contradiction between A) a pantheistic sense of being one with Nature and other species and beings, and B) the realization that there is no morality in nature. In what might seem to be a twist on THE MATRIX, the imagery here of "The Machine" from which we seek liberation in Nature might actually *be* Nature, a Vast Amoral System.
This is a dark, wild trip. In the past I found what I had heard of the Flaming Lips to tend toward the precious, poppy, and cutesy. Wayne Coyne's falsetto voice in particular was not appealing. EMBRYONIC explodes out of that mold with a jagged, often dissonant, exhilarating sound!
Without a doubt one of the best albums of 2009 and of the first decade of the New Millennium.
moments, quieter more introspective moments of beautiful melancholy, great lyrics, and like other Lips albums, evokes a unique and distinctive mood--which might be better described as a state of consciousness--that no other music can. A trippy and wonderful album. I've been listening to this thing for years and it never gets old! I haven't ever taken drugs, but I don't need to--I've got the Lips.
Embryonic is sonically challenging, like a trompe l'oeil for your ears, but nothing that you shouldn't be able to wrap your head around after a few listens. I listened to it for the second time last night and was surprised at what a beautiful album it is. I know that several reviewers have mentioned that Embryonic is unforgivably noisy, but I assure you, every note is there for a reason.
As with all great psychedelic music, Embryonic will take you places. With the high-res, you'll be going there in a Jaguar; with the MP3s or CD audio, its a Toyota or something.
There are no singles on this album. No catchy radio songs. No goofy songs about animals, food products or insects. Well, just one of those and that one, I Can Be A Frog, is infectious. Embryonic is the worthy psychedelic successor to the Flaming Lips' brilliant 4-Simultaneously-Played-CD album, Zaireeka, and that is the album closest in their canon that this can be directly compared with. If you loved Zaireeka, this is the album for you.
Now, for the masses of fans that love the Lips primarily due to The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi, I think this album will test how far you are willing to go with this band. Some have compared it to Radiohead's Kid A for that reason, and I concur. It doesn't sound anything like Kid A, but it resembles the shift required of the fans to follow the band's shift in direction. And for those that love Kid A, you know there is a big payoff waiting for you with Embryonic.