The Flaming Lips - With a Little Help From My Fwends - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Flaming Lips - With a Little Help From My Fwends

by paul_guyet Rating:6.5 Release Date:2014-10-28

Do you like The Beatles? Do you like The Flaming Lips? Well, then, you might like this, depending on how precious you are about the former and how forgiving you are about the latter. It would also help if you enjoy reverb and hashish. Yeah.

Several tracks are almost completely ruined by overloud elements, specifically 'Good Morning Good Morning' and the first three tracks of the album, which is either stupendously ballsy or stupidly obnoxious with regards to accessibility. In either case, it’s not clever. Others feel like your basic Beatles cover: nothing too weird or adventurous or offensive, just someone else playing a Beatles song. Some of the more novel takes include the charming vulnerability of Dr. Dog and Chuck Inglish’s off-key rendition of 'Getter Better'*, the man/machine duet of 'When I’m Sixty Four', and the choice to put Maynard of Tool on vocals for 'Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!'. 

Personally, I only enjoyed a handful of what’s offered; the quiet, almost menacing haze of Electric Wurms’ 'Fixing a Hole', the lightness, flow, and drum-machine splish-baff of both 'She’s Leaving Home' (Phantogram and Julianna Barwick) and 'Lovely Rita' (Tegan & Sara with Stardeath and White Dwarves), and, God help me, Miley Cyrus and Moby on 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'**, which would have made a great single but for those goddamn idiot drums. 

As this is a pretty schizophrenic release, I’m going to offer a few different opinions:

First, if you are a Beatles purist, you’re probably going to hate this as it might seems a bit like ruination and sacrilege.

If you love The Beatles and love hearing their music reinterpreted... well, you still might hate this, but it’s an interesting, multi-textured hate you’ll be feeling.

If you love Flaming Lips, The Beatles and psychotropic drugs; lock yourself in for the weekend because you have found your home.

And, finally, if you know of The Beatles and aren’t The Flaming Lips the band that did that "she uses tangerines" song? Then… how did you find this review? Sod off.

In preparation for this, I listened to the cover album first, then revisited the original before returning to the cover project. Was everything added necessary? Absolutely not. Was everything added interesting? Eh. No. Some of it is, but by no means everything. It’s mostly fun though, and, if Flaming Lips are about anything, it’s having fun. And reverb. And hashish.

Seriously, there’s too much behind this album. I can't live your lives for you. Did I love it? No. Were there a few cool interpretations? Sure. Go. Be free. Make choices.


* “Charming”, though not really “good”.

** I found it startling how much Moby sounds like Jim Rash from Community. Look it up. Seriously.

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