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The Flaming Lips - King's Mouth: Music and Songs

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King's Mouth: Music and Songs

The Flaming Lips

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Part of a larger work that also includes a book and an art installation, on King's Mouth: Music and Songs the Flaming Lips revisit the heartfelt yet massive-sounding songs that earned albums like Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots so much love and acclaim. This return isn't a total surprise; after the musically and emotionally challenging Embryonic and The Terror, the band had already shifted to a lighter sound on Oczy Mlody. Hints of that album pop up on songs like "The Sparrow," which boasts a nursery rhyme melody reminiscent of "The Castle" as well as gritty drums and blobby synths that could have been borrowed from Yoshimi. King's Mouth also bridges the Lips' past and present by inflating the themes of loss and change they explored on albums like The Terror to larger-than-life proportions: Narrated by Mick Jones, the album tells the story of a giant king who makes the ultimate sacrifice when an avalanche threatens his city. To show their gratitude, the townspeople cut off his head and dip it in steel, preserving it as an eternal monument to his altruistic love. The album's mythic scale comes to life vividly on the poignant "Mother Universe," where drifting choral vocals, strings, and vibraphone telegraph the young king's yearning for his mother, who died in childbirth, and on "Electric Fire," where fittingly majestic brass and synth bass reach towering heights as the king's head absorbs storms and galaxies. Meanwhile, "Feedaloodum Beedle Dot"'s bubbling funk sounds like it was played on toy instruments, making for an intriguing, albeit jarring, contrast with the album's more cosmic-sounding songs. Thanks to Jones' narration, King's Mouth often evokes the psychedelic children's albums of the late '60s and '70s as well as the Lips' own childlike wonder (considering that Wayne Coyne became a father around the time the band worked on this project, that's probably not a coincidence). However, at times the album's story seems too big for its length. Though it may be about a giant ruler, many of its songs are surprisingly short, especially compared to Oczy Mlody's wanderings. As a result, the album sometimes feels anticlimactic; "All for the Life of the City" is so breezy, the king's decision to give his life seems almost offhanded. However, when the band digs a little deeper, the results are classic Flaming Lips. Set to pitch-shifted vocals and chirping synths, "How Many Times??" is a heartwarming ode to not giving up while growing up. Likewise, "The Mouth of the King" and "How Can a Head??" are filled with Technicolor sounds, bittersweet wonder, and reminders to be kind that live up to the album's -- and the band's -- full potential. Even if it's not quite as fully realized as some of their other albums, King's Mouth boasts enough beautiful music and striking imagery to make it well worth hearing, especially for Flaming Lips fans who miss the music they made in the 2000s. ~ Heather Phares

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King's Mouth: Music and Songs

The Flaming Lips

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1
We Don't Know How and We Don't Know Why (feat. Mick Jones) 00:01:10

Steven Drozd, Writer - Wayne Coyne, Writer - Dave Fridmann, Mixer, Masterer, Additional Production, Recorded by - Mick Jones, Narrator, FeaturedArtist - The Flaming Lips, Producer, Recorded by, MainArtist - SCOTT BOOKER, Producer - Derek Brown, Writer - Dennis Coyne, Producer, Recorded by - Mike Fridmann, Additional Production

2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc. 2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

2
The Sparrow 00:05:38

Steven Drozd, Writer - Wayne Coyne, Writer - Dave Fridmann, Mixer, Masterer, Additional Production, Recorded by - The Flaming Lips, Producer, Recorded by, MainArtist - SCOTT BOOKER, Producer - Dennis Coyne, Producer, Recorded by - Mike Fridmann, Additional Production

2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc. 2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

3
Giant Baby (feat. Mick Jones) 00:03:50

Steven Drozd, Writer - Wayne Coyne, Writer - Dave Fridmann, Mixer, Masterer, Additional Production, Recorded by - Mick Jones, Narrator, FeaturedArtist - The Flaming Lips, Producer, Recorded by, MainArtist - SCOTT BOOKER, Producer - Derek Brown, Writer - Dennis Coyne, Producer, Recorded by - Mike Fridmann, Additional Production

2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc. 2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

4
Mother Universe 00:01:51

Steven Drozd, Writer - Wayne Coyne, Writer - Dave Fridmann, Mixer, Masterer, Additional Production, Recorded by - The Flaming Lips, Producer, Recorded by, MainArtist - SCOTT BOOKER, Producer - Dennis Coyne, Producer, Recorded by - Mike Fridmann, Additional Production

2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc. 2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

5
How Many Times 00:03:22

Steven Drozd, Writer - Wayne Coyne, Writer - Dave Fridmann, Mixer, Masterer, Additional Production, Recorded by - The Flaming Lips, Producer, Recorded by, MainArtist - SCOTT BOOKER, Producer - Dennis Coyne, Producer, Recorded by - Mike Fridmann, Additional Production

2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc. 2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

6
Electric Fire (feat. Mick Jones) 00:04:26

Steven Drozd, Writer - Wayne Coyne, Writer - Dave Fridmann, Mixer, Masterer, Additional Production, Recorded by - Mick Jones, Narrator, FeaturedArtist - The Flaming Lips, Producer, Recorded by, MainArtist - SCOTT BOOKER, Producer - Dennis Coyne, Producer, Recorded by - Mike Fridmann, Additional Production

2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc. 2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

7
All for the Life of the City (feat. Mick Jones) 00:04:38

Steven Drozd, Writer - Wayne Coyne, Writer - Dave Fridmann, Mixer, Masterer, Additional Production, Recorded by - Mick Jones, Narrator, FeaturedArtist - The Flaming Lips, Producer, Recorded by, MainArtist - SCOTT BOOKER, Producer - Dennis Coyne, Producer, Recorded by - Mike Fridmann, Additional Production

2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc. 2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

8
Feedaloodum Beedle Dot (feat. Mick Jones) 00:02:50

Steven Drozd, Writer - Wayne Coyne, Writer - Dave Fridmann, Mixer, Masterer, Additional Production, Recorded by - Mick Jones, Narrator, FeaturedArtist - The Flaming Lips, Producer, Recorded by, MainArtist - SCOTT BOOKER, Producer - Dennis Coyne, Producer, Recorded by - Mike Fridmann, Additional Production

2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc. 2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

9
Funeral Parade (feat. Mick Jones) 00:02:58

Steven Drozd, Writer - Wayne Coyne, Writer - Dave Fridmann, Mixer, Masterer, Additional Production, Recorded by - Mick Jones, Narrator, FeaturedArtist - The Flaming Lips, Producer, Recorded by, MainArtist - SCOTT BOOKER, Producer - Derek Brown, Writer - Dennis Coyne, Producer, Recorded by - Mike Fridmann, Additional Production - Nicholas Ley, Writer - Matt Kirksey, Writer

2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc. 2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

10
Dipped in Steel (feat. Mick Jones) 00:01:31

Steven Drozd, Writer - Wayne Coyne, Writer - Dave Fridmann, Mixer, Masterer, Additional Production, Recorded by - Mick Jones, Narrator, FeaturedArtist - The Flaming Lips, Producer, Recorded by, MainArtist - SCOTT BOOKER, Producer - Dennis Coyne, Producer, Recorded by - Mike Fridmann, Additional Production

2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc. 2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

11
Mouth of the King (feat. Mick Jones) 00:04:47

Steven Drozd, Writer - Wayne Coyne, Writer - Dave Fridmann, Mixer, Masterer, Additional Production, Recorded by - Mick Jones, Narrator, FeaturedArtist - The Flaming Lips, Producer, Recorded by, MainArtist - SCOTT BOOKER, Producer - Dennis Coyne, Producer, Recorded by - Mike Fridmann, Additional Production - Jake Ingalls, Writer

2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc. 2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

12
How Can a Head (feat. Mick Jones) 00:04:09

Steven Drozd, Writer - Wayne Coyne, Writer - Dave Fridmann, Mixer, Masterer, Additional Production, Recorded by - Mick Jones, Narrator, FeaturedArtist - The Flaming Lips, Producer, Recorded by, MainArtist - SCOTT BOOKER, Producer - Derek Brown, Writer - Dennis Coyne, Producer, Recorded by - Mike Fridmann, Additional Production

2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc. 2019 The Flaming Lips under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

Album Description

Part of a larger work that also includes a book and an art installation, on King's Mouth: Music and Songs the Flaming Lips revisit the heartfelt yet massive-sounding songs that earned albums like Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots so much love and acclaim. This return isn't a total surprise; after the musically and emotionally challenging Embryonic and The Terror, the band had already shifted to a lighter sound on Oczy Mlody. Hints of that album pop up on songs like "The Sparrow," which boasts a nursery rhyme melody reminiscent of "The Castle" as well as gritty drums and blobby synths that could have been borrowed from Yoshimi. King's Mouth also bridges the Lips' past and present by inflating the themes of loss and change they explored on albums like The Terror to larger-than-life proportions: Narrated by Mick Jones, the album tells the story of a giant king who makes the ultimate sacrifice when an avalanche threatens his city. To show their gratitude, the townspeople cut off his head and dip it in steel, preserving it as an eternal monument to his altruistic love. The album's mythic scale comes to life vividly on the poignant "Mother Universe," where drifting choral vocals, strings, and vibraphone telegraph the young king's yearning for his mother, who died in childbirth, and on "Electric Fire," where fittingly majestic brass and synth bass reach towering heights as the king's head absorbs storms and galaxies. Meanwhile, "Feedaloodum Beedle Dot"'s bubbling funk sounds like it was played on toy instruments, making for an intriguing, albeit jarring, contrast with the album's more cosmic-sounding songs. Thanks to Jones' narration, King's Mouth often evokes the psychedelic children's albums of the late '60s and '70s as well as the Lips' own childlike wonder (considering that Wayne Coyne became a father around the time the band worked on this project, that's probably not a coincidence). However, at times the album's story seems too big for its length. Though it may be about a giant ruler, many of its songs are surprisingly short, especially compared to Oczy Mlody's wanderings. As a result, the album sometimes feels anticlimactic; "All for the Life of the City" is so breezy, the king's decision to give his life seems almost offhanded. However, when the band digs a little deeper, the results are classic Flaming Lips. Set to pitch-shifted vocals and chirping synths, "How Many Times??" is a heartwarming ode to not giving up while growing up. Likewise, "The Mouth of the King" and "How Can a Head??" are filled with Technicolor sounds, bittersweet wonder, and reminders to be kind that live up to the album's -- and the band's -- full potential. Even if it's not quite as fully realized as some of their other albums, King's Mouth boasts enough beautiful music and striking imagery to make it well worth hearing, especially for Flaming Lips fans who miss the music they made in the 2000s. ~ Heather Phares

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