The Flaming Lips, ‘With a Little Help From My Fwends’ – Album Review
Have you ever encountered something you just didn't get, then think you must be missing something important? Take heart, because there's a good chance it's not a failure on your part; i's very possible that your confusion is completely understandable. Such is the case with the Flaming Lips' ambitious new album, 'With a Little Help From My Fwends,' in which they have remade the Beatles' classic album 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.'
The album starts out with 'A Little Help From My Friends.' Normally, I'd point out specific details that I like or don't like about a song, but all I have to say about this is that the Flaming Lips ... well ... they could've used some more help from their friends.
'Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds' is surprisingly listenable, with Miley Cyrus delivering the song's iconic lyrics with a subtlety more cynical music fans might not believe her capable of. But then Moby's vocal contribution kicks in, which is a loop of the word "gone" repeated well beyond a reasonable number of times.
The Flaming Lips often tread a fine line between annoying and amazing. Sometimes the risks they take pay off in fantastic ways, and other times they turn into 'The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song' -- which some Lips fans liked, while others wanted to jam the nearest pointy object into their ears before the song drove them into a mindless rage.
This is not to say that the entire album is a failure. 'Getting Better' is an earnest and heartfelt tune that can make you feel a little warm and fuzzy inside. And 'Fixing a Hole' is one of the album's highlights where the Flaming Lips keep the shenanigans to a minimum, giving the song some room to breathe.
'She's Leaving Home' is another amazing track. The Lips, along with some obvious contributions from electro-duo Phantogram and more help from Julianna Barwick and Spaceface, succeed in modernizing this classic tune without drowning out the beauty the song had originally.
Their version of 'Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite' is ... well, it's a thing that exists now.
Overall, the Flaming Lips bounce back and forth between "WTF, that's amazing!" and "WTF, why would anyone do this to my ears?" Reworking one of rock's most well-loved albums is a challenging endeavor, and the Lips make it work in enough places to warrant a listen. But be prepared to skip a few tracks.
It's all for a good cause, though, as sales of the album benefit the Bella Foundation, which helps provide health care for pets of low-income households.