REVIEW: The Flaming Lips’ “With A Little Help From My Fwends”

 photo FlamingLips14_cover_zpsd41ccabf.jpg The last time we heard from The Flaming Lips, they made a fantastic album called The Trial (my review of which can be read by clicking here.) After having a bit of surprise success with their cover of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon in full, the Oklahoma gentlemen decided to get into their mushroom storage shed again to cover another classic rock album, this time The Beatles’ highly cherished Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The new album is called With A Little Help From My Fwends (Warner Bros.), called this because the Lips are joined by a number of special guests, some welcomed, some unwelcomed, some surprises, others not so much. Overall, it is a split effort. Some songs work fairly well while others fail miserably, even within the context of The Flaming Lips. Some of the more demented stuff is quite good, including versions of “With A Little Help From My Friends” with Black Pus and Autumn Defense), “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite” (with Maynard James Keenan, Puscifer and Sunbears), “Lovely Rita” (featuring Tegan and Sara, Stardeath and White Dwarfs), and “When I’m Sixty-Four” (with Def Rain & Pitchwafuzz). Surprisingly, it is Miley Cyrus’ two contributions (yes, two) to the album are some of the best songs here, playing roles in “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” (which also features Moby) and “A Day In The Life” (featuring New Fumes). If Cyrus ever steers towards making more serious music, she may become a huge influence on a generation or two of many young singers. That’s not a joke.

The absolute best track is “With A Little Help From My Friends” not only because it has Black Pus but because it’s the noisiest on here. Would I listen to this on a regular basis, not really. I prefer other Flaming Lips albums and EP’s and I like The Beatles’ album a bit too much, even though I do enjoy the way they’ve always reinterpreted other people’s works. It may work very well for other listeners so if your mind is open up to this, definitely plug it in. Despite the fact that a good part of it sounds like a total failure (and definitely feel freel to define “failure” in your own way), the good thing about this is that all proceeds from record sales will go to The Bella Foundation, an organization in Oklahoma City that helps provide veterinary care to needy pet owners. Buy it for that reason.


0 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Flaming Lips’ “With A Little Help From My Fwends”

  1. Hey,
    Just a little bit of extra information relating to the “Fwends” projects. In between the 2010 Dark Side cover record and the Sgt. Pepper’s, there were two other track-by-track cover records done.

    In 2012, they did Playing Hide and Seek With The Ghosts of Dawn, which was a cover of In The Court of the Crimson King:

    And there was a Stone Roses one titled The Time Has Come to Shoot You Down… What a Sound that was a super-limited press of 500 that came out on Black Friday RSD last year, but was not considered an official part of the proceedings. It also has Stardeath and the White Dwarfs on it as well as Channy from Polica, New Fumes, Peaking Lights, and Jonathan Rado from Foxygen.…-what-a-sound/

    There is also the “Heady Fwends” release that is not a track-by-track cover record that was part of RSD 2012:

    Ke$ha, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Nick Cave, Biz Markie (!!), Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Erykah Badu does a cover of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”


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