FLAMING LIPS: Try To Explain

From the just-released The Terror.

RELATED: The Wizard asks what I think of the new album and I tell him I find it pretty dark and forbidding sonically — perched somewhere between early Hawkwind and late period Kraut rock– and lyrically it’s just so bleak and hopeless. I like it but I’m not sure anybody else will. The lyrics document a traumatic, hope-crushing loss of faith in the transcendental power of love. File this under ART IMITATES LIFE: Around the time The Terror was being written and recorded, Wayne was in the final stages of splitting up with his wife after 25 years together. She’s been living in London for the last year. At the time of this interview, Wayne asked me not to write about the break-up of his marriage but since then spoke openly to Mojo about the split and how it’s reflected in the bleakness of the new album. “I don’t really listen to the record that much now,” Wayne recently told Mojo. “I mean, I like it, but it has an effect on me, too. I’m not really a hopeless person, but when I get immersed in it, I start to believe the things that it says. Some of it, it’s uncomfortable for me, ‘cause [the split] was not that long ago. I’m an optimist, to my detriment sometimes… For me, it was sort of an embracing of hopelessness. Just saying, this hope that you have in this, just let it die, and try something else. Michelle and I had been together a long, long time, 25 years. If I’d died two years ago, that would have been successful.” The breakup would explain why The Wizard seems a little sad these days. Why the new album is such a bummer. Why the chocolate factory seems a little dreary and rundown and absent a woman’s touch. Why The Wizard seems to have lost interest in his greatest trick: Making people smile. — JONATHAN VALANIA, From the May issue of MAGNET MAGAZINE

ROLLING STONE: “Before the confetti cannons and sci-fi Day-Glo-pop operettas, the Flaming Lips made great acid-nightmare rock records about the high cost of transcendence. The Terror is that darkness returned: a gripping middle-age-mystic crisis with rude, cosmic-German electronics crowding Wayne Coyne’s tremulous boy-explorer voice. The beauty is fleeting but piquant. A choral glow cuts past the clatter and seizures in “Look . . . The Sun Is Rising” and the title song. More relentless and compelling is the honesty running through the scarred throb and spaced-boogie convulsions in “You Lust” and “Always There . . . In Our Hearts”: Heaven, on Earth or anywhere else, doesn’t come easy.” MORE