Never failing to be original, The Flaming Lips released their long-awaited new album last week. At War With The Mystics is in many ways a typical Lips album-it reflects on modern issues, mixes the acoustic songs with vocal songs and mixes the melodious with the cacophonous.
The album has its high points, and these are what hold the album’s themes together. Obvious from the title, At War With The Mystics, allusions to the war in Iraq and commentaries on Bush administration are unmistakable.
In “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power)” front man Wayne Coyne poses deep questions that deal with contemporary social, economic and political issues. He asks the listener if he or she would “blow up the world with the flick of a switch” or “make everybody poor just so you could be rich” in apparent jabs at the wealthy and powerful. He follows with other such questions, likely pointing to corporate greed and inflaming the Middle East, which all lead up to larger issue: “What would you do with all your power?”
These poignant inquiries are juxtaposed against bubbly, lighthearted “yeah yeah yeah” and “no no no” responses that help give the song its catchy feel, and providing a strong opening for the album.
Coyne offers other notable tracks on the 15-song album such as “The W.A.N.D.” (The Will Always Negates Defeat). The single off is one of the best overall pieces of music on the album with enticing lyrics and swirling with a steady back beat, assorted claps and various other sounds.
“Mr. Ambulance Driver,” originally released on the Wedding Crashers soundtrack, is an appealing and easy-sounding monologue addressed to individual in the title mixed the sound of a siren.
The Lips also offer one of better covers of the classic Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody” as one of the three bonus tracks, though it lacks the power and gravity of the vocals in the original.
Greg Linch can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.