A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the Flaming Lips seem crazier and more of a potentially bad influence than they really are. The band is famous for its live shows that feature an array of costumes, props, and blood-like paint, but in reality they're an eccentric but smart indie rock group that's been around for more than two decades and know what they're doing. The album touches on serious topics such as politics, terrorism, and superficiality.
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What's the story?
Throughout their inimitable 24-year-career, the Flaming Lips have been many things: musical visionaries, art provocateurs, and, in recent years, indie rock darlings. On AT WAR WITH THE MYSTICS, the Oklahoma City trio have managed to make an album that confronts, in a direct and serious way, the Bush Administration, terrorism, superficiality, and a celebrity-obsessed culture -- all while managing to remain undeniably fun and impossibly eccentric at the core. In fact, the album's most pointed tracks, \"Free Radicals\" and \"The W.A.N.D.,\" are also its most playful. Both tracks find the Lips turning up the funk, particularly on the latter, which features Coyne lambasting Bush over hand claps and a fuzzed-out funk riff.
Is it any good?
The playfulness of the band doesn't mask the fact that this is one of its most intelligent and confrontational albums to date, and Coyne is one crafty songwriter. The album is full of talking points for parents, and is in some ways a quintessential post-9/11 album with its talk of greed-fueled leaders and a society consumed by stardom. This is a heady War, and if you and your kids are up to the task, one worth engaging in.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the playful approach the Flaming Lips take to their performances, whether it's frontman Wayne Coyne's penchant for surfing the crowd in a giant transparent beach ball or the furry costumes of their stage dancers. Families can also talk about the band's more serious side, as they take on subjects like the Bush Administration, the war on terrorism, and a celebrity-obsessed culture. The "Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" also talks about what you can do if you had power: "If you could watch everyone work while you just lay on your back/Would you do it?" What would you want your special power to be?