The Flaming Lips‘ new extraterrestrial rock opera about the “love generation” and drug-induced sleep, Oczy Mlody, is a surprisingly beautiful ode to nature and troubles that lie ahead.
The album opens up with “Oczy Mlody,” which sets the scene with deep melodies and kaleidoscopic bass lines meant for the cold reaches of outer space. Wrought with synth and electronic beats, lead man Wayne Coyne sings in fragile harmonies that stick to the songs’ awesome nature themes. Many of the lyrics speak out about togetherness and the weight of Mother Earth coming back to remind us of our humanity, even though most tracks hone in on fiction.
Coyne described the Lips’ latest work as a fusion between A$AP Rocky and Syd Barrett, though many have speculated there are other musical influences like Neil Young and The Beach Boys. “How??” calls out “white trash rednecks,” asks to immediately legalize every drug and concludes by musically building up to the statement: “When we were young, we killed everyone if they fucked with us.”
On “One Night While Hunting for Faeries and Witches and Wizards to Kill” and “Listen to the Frogs with Demon Eyes,” the operatic storyline of fantasy and drug-induced visions is brought forward in a mix of melancholy and blissful tones as Coyne describes nature scenes straight from a story book. While he gallivants through forests and talks to demons, there’s a nagging feeling that something is wrong in his stories. “The Castle” centers around the idea of a girl’s brain deteriorating: “The castle can never be rebuilt again/ No way—when she gets “lost in the invisible war.”
The 12-song record features Coyne’s close connection to Miley Cyrus with a fantastical rewrite of “The Floyd Song (Sunrise),”which was debuted on Cyrus’ 2015 album. The pair show off their song-making prowess with final track “We A Family,” in which Cyrus sings a happy melody behind the Lips’ sonic, booming, eight-bit instrumental.
The overall message of Oczy Mlody is open for interpretation, as is much of The Flaming Lips’ work, but the beauty of its soft harmonies, hypnotic beats and day-dreamer vibes is nonnegotiable.