In appreciation - The Flaming Lips (part 2 of 4)

Album: The Soft Bulletin (1999)

Hands down my favorite album by The Flaming Lips. Their ninth LP, it was released to wide critical acclaim, and a departure from their previous guitar-heavy experimental rock, into a more accessible sounding music with catchy melodies, electronic beats and synthesizers.

The cover artwork of the album is a modified version of a photograph taken by Lawrence Schiller for a 1966 Life magazine article on LSD.

The Soft Bulletin (1999) is arguably The Flaming Lips' magnum opus, though Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002) is also in that conversation of which is their greatest LP.

Pitchfork Media ranked The Soft Bulletin 3rd on the Top 100 albums of the 1990s list, and awarded it a rare score of 10.0.
In 2006, The Soft Bulletin and its acclaimed follow-up Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots were added to the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

What is the light? - The Flaming Lips

(Love the piano and drum beat on this track. Could be the most mysterious lyrics on the album, the words are whatever you want them to mean. Perhaps about someone just completely floored by someone else's aura. The light is love, beauty, or whatever X you are attracted to, and being drawn to the other person's light.
Or could the song be not about a specific person, but that love is something emanating from all of us, and is drawing us all in and surrounding us. But is it merely a chemical thing, or something even grander?

Feeling Yourself Disintegrate - The Flaming Lips

(This song can bring a tear to my eye. Dealing with mortality, perhaps the lyric "feeling yourself disintegrate" is about all the love you can have for life, our time on earth is short, and love as much as you can, because it's all temporary. Or perhaps about how you feel when someone you love leaves you, either in a break-up, or losing a relative. Losing a part of yourself because the other person has gone.
I've read songwriter/lead vocalist Wayne Coyne wrote it about his dad dying. In fact, the whole album can be listened to as coming to terms with the death of a loved-one)

Waitin' For Superman - The Flaming Lips

(Possibly 'Superman' is a metaphor for all the figures that people expect to fix everything, politicans, doctors, parents, etc. But just because they don't have the magic fix doesn't mean they don't care, so people have to hold on. Although there are people out there with superhuman love, their abilities, though possibly extraordinary, are still human, and it may not happen as perfectly as it does in the comics/cartoons/movies. Why can't you fix everything, Obama?, says more about the public than the politician. Trying to help out but its just too much. Some things have to be left to the individual.
'Superman' could be a reference to God, people shouldn't be totally inactive just waiting for a miracle to happen. They have to help themselves too.
You could also look at the song as a child thinking of there dad as being a superman and this time its just to heavy for superman to lift.

Wayne Coyne: "A sad, philosophical song, that I think gives you hope at the end"

(Iron & Wine included an acoustic cover of the song on the album "Around the Well" in 2009)

Sleeping On The Roof - The Flaming Lips


The Observer - The Flaming Lips


Race For The Prize (Mokran Remix) - The Flaming Lips

(About our struggles to make something of our lives, and the limitations that we face represented by the line "they're just human, with wives and children." Saying that the developers of a cure are not God.
There is a sizable amount of selfish motive in the title "race for the prize", but we shouldn't be racing against another, the human race should be pulling together, and as the lyric states, working as a team "side by side" .

Are you a fan of The Flaming Lips? Any thoughts on the music above?

Wayne Coyne interview

Anticipated films 2012 and 2013

(Based on UK release dates, including cinema and dvd)

A Royal Affair (2012)

(Already released)

Undefeated (2011) (documentary)

(Cinema release: 3 August)

Sound of My Voice (2011)

(Cinema release: 3 August)

The Imposter (2012) (documentary)

(Cinema release: 24 August)

This is Not a Film (2011) (documentary)

(DVD release: 27 August)

Anna Karenina (2012)

(Cinema release: 7 September)

Anton Corbijn - Inside Out (2012) (documentary)

(DVD release: 17 September)

Dark Horse (2011)

(DVD release: 24 September)

Holy Motors (2012)

(Cinema release: 28 September)

Barbara (2012)

Winner of Silver Bear for best director at the Berlin Film Festival

(Cinema release: 28 September)

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

(DVD release: 1 October)

Woody Allen: A Documentary (2012)

(DVD release: 1 October)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

(Cinema release: 3 October)

Cosmopolis (2012)

(DVD release: 8 October)

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012) (documentary)

(DVD release: 8 October)

On the Road (2012)

(Cinema release: 12 October)

Ruby Sparks (2012)

(Cinema release: 12 October)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic) at Sundance Film Festival

(Cinema release: 19 October)

Skyfall (2012)

(Cinema release: 26 October)

Rust and Bone (De rouille et d'os) (2012)

(Cinema release: 2 November)

The Master (2012)

(Cinema release: 9 November)

Amour (2012)

Winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival

(Cinema release: 16 November)

The Hunt (Jagten) (2012)

(Cinema release: 30 November)

Sightseers (2012)

(Cinema release: 30 November)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

(Cinema release: 14 December)

Life of Pi (2012)

(Cinema release: 21 December)

The Great Gatsby (2012)

(Cinema release: Summer 2013)

Any thoughts? What are your most anticipated movies or documentaries of 2012?

Other anticipated releases 2012-2013 and beyond:

Your Sister's Sister (2012) (UK dvd release: 29 Oct 2012)
Liberal Arts (2012) (dir: Josh Radnor) (UK dvd release: 5 Nov 2012)
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) UK cinema 23 Nov)
The House I Live In (2012) (Documentary) (dir: Eugene Jarecki) (UK cinema 23 Nov)
Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012) (UK cinema: 7 Dec)
Seven Psychopaths (2012) (UK cinema 7th Dec)
Cloud Atlas (2012) (dir: Tom Tykwer & Wachowski's) (UK cinema 22 Feb 2013)
Robot & Frank (2012) (UK cinema 8th March 2013)
Compliance (2012)
John Dies at the End (2012)
Midnight’s Children (2012)
A Liar's Autobiography - The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman (2012) (documentary)
Beyond The Hills (Dupa dealuri) (2012)
Thursday Till Sunday (De jueves a domingo) (2012)

Play (2011) (dir: Ruben Östlund)
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) (By the director of Blue Valentine)
Trance (2013) (dir: Danny Boyle)

Room 237 (Documentary)
Searching for Sugar Man (2012) (Documentary) (July 26, 2012)
The Swell Season (2011) (Documentary)
Side by Side (2012) (Documentary)
Bad 25 (2012) (Documentary) (dir: Spike Lee)
The Invisible War (2012) (Documentary)
Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story (2012)
Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 (2012) (UK cinema 5th October)
Spike Island (2013)

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Lincoln (2012) (dir: Steven Spielberg)
Django Unchained (2012) (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
Les Misérables (2012) (dir: Tom Hooper)
Only God Forgives (2012) (dir: Nicolas Winding Refn)
The Grandmasters (2012) (dir: Wong Kar Wai)
Inside Llewyn Davis (2012) (dir: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)
A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
Hitchcock (2013)
The Bitter Pill (2013) (dir: Steven Soderbergh)
Elysium (2013) (dir: Neill Blomkamp)
Jobs (2013)
After Earth (2013) (dir: M. Night Shyamalan)
Pacific Rim (2013) (dir: Guillermo del Toro)
RoboCop (2013)
Gravity (2013) (dir: Alfonso Cuarón)
Ender's Game (2013)
Stoker (2013) (dir: Chan-wook Park)
Serena (2013) (dir: Susanne Bier)
Caught in Flight (2013) (Diana biopic)
The Bling Ring (2013) (dir: Sofia Coppola)
Twelve Years a Slave (2013) (dir: Steve McQueen)
The East (2012)
Under the Skin (2012)
Untitled Before Sunset Sequel (2013) (dir: Richard Linklater)
Untitled Nicole Holofcener Project (2013)
Labor Day (2013) (dir: Jason Reitman)
Untitled Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze Project (2013)
Promised Land (2013) (dir: Gus Van Sant)
Get a Job (2013) (dir: Dylan Kidd)
The Hobbit: There and Back Again (2013) (dir: Peter Jackson)
Frank or Francis (201?) (dir: Charlie Kaufman)
The Almost Man (Mer eller mindre mann) (2012)
Night Train to Lisbon (2013)
When Day Breaks (Kad svane dan) (2012)
Meet Me In Montenegro (2013) (dir: Alex Holdridge)
Untitled London Project (2013) (dir: Joanna Hogg)

The following festival premieres have no scheduled release dates in the UK yet:

Toronto Film Festival 2012:
To the Wonder (2012) (dir. Terrence Malick)
Nightingale (2013) (dir: James Gray)
The Deep (2012)
Frances Ha (2012) (dir: Noah Baumbach)
The Time Being (2012)
Writers (2012)
Venus & Serena (2012)(documentary)

Sundance Film Festival 2012:
Wrong (2012)
I Am Not a Hipster (2012)
About the Pink Sky / Momoiro sora o (2011)
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (2012)

Cannes Film Festival 2012:
Mud (2012)

Independent Spirit Awards 2012:
In the Family (2011)
The Off Hours (2011)

Meanwhile (2011) (dir. Hal Hartley)

London Film Festival 2012:

(Updated January 2013)

In appreciation - The Flaming Lips (part 1 of 4)

Part 2 next week. The song selections are in no way representative of their sound, instead randomly picked tracks that I enjoyed the most when listening to their full body of work. So let's get to the music!

Album: Oh My Gawd!!! (1987)

Love Yer Brain - The Flaming Lips

Album: In a Priest Driven Ambulance (1990)

There You Are: Jesus Song No. 7 - The Flaming Lips

Album: Hit To Death In The Future Head (1992)

You Have To Be Joking Autopsy - The Flaming Lips

Album: Transmissions from the Satellite Heart (1993)

Chewin the Apple of Your Eye

Plastic Jesus - The Flaming Lips

Album: Clouds Taste Metallic (1995)

Evil Will Prevail - The Flaming Lips

Bad Days - The Flaming Lips

Do you own any Flaming Lips albums? Have you seen them live? Which is your favorite record by the group? Am I asking too many questions? :D

Funny screenshots

(A scene from On the Edge (2001), a good performance by Cillian Murphy)

(Actor Thure Lindhardt (below, right) is still looking for his big breakthrough. Truth About Men (2010) had its moments, I could relate to the main character. )

From Moon (2009)

(On a list like this only fitting we should end up in space...Is he wearing oven gloves..? )

Readers, any thoughts on the screenshots?

In appreciation of The Cure (part 4 of 4)

Album: Wish (1992)

Friday I'm in Love - The Cure

(Has been overplayed, still a great song nonetheless!)

Album: Stone free A tribute to Jimi Hendrix (1993)

Purple Haze - The Cure (Jimi Hendrix cover)

(While the music production on the track sounds like something that would fit on a 90s Michael Jackson album, and is not very respectful of Hendrix' original guitar playing, I enjoyed this rarity.)

Wild Mood Swings (1996)

Bare - The Cure

Strange Attraction - The Cure

Bloodflowers (2000)

Bloodflowers was a return to form for The Cure, who struggled to redefine themselves during the britpop era in the mid 90s. Arguably the last memorable album The Cure have released, and will conclude my appreciation of the band. Considered to be the third part of a trilogy of albums that best defines the Cure, the other two records are Pornography (1982) and Disintegration (1989).

Out Of This World - The Cure

Maybe Someday - The Cure

(According to thevoidgoround, the lyrics are filled with fear and the reluctance to change, and includes some of Smith’s finest vocals in the way he expresses the lyrics vocally.)

The Loudest Sound - The Cure

The Last Day of Summer - The Cure

To sum up my appreciation, I've listed my current top 7 The Cure albums:
1.) Disintegration (1989)
2.) Bloodflowers (2000)
3.) Japanese Whispers (1983)
4.) The Head on the Door (1985)
5.) Faith (1981)
6.) Seventeen Seconds (1980)
7.) Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987)

Robert Smith's appearance:
Much has been written about Robert Smith's appearance with teased hair, white face, red lipstick, and dark clothes which has become equally as important in defining the group as the music itself.
The image has not dated and has an appeal to both male and females. Smith himself revealed that he went with the look because his face is nondescript. According to allmusic, Smith's ghoulish appearance is a public image that often hid the diversity of the Cure's music.

What did you think of the music? Any final thoughts on The Cure or on Robert Smith's appearance? What are your favorite albums by The Cure? Check back next week for first part of my appreciation of The Flaming Lips

The Void-Go-Round

Top 10 films of 2012 so far

1.) Dreams of a Life (2011)

(NOT depressing as the description indicates. Most gripping documentary I've seen in 2012. Memorable look at the life of Joyce, we are told her dead body was not discovered until 3 years later, with the TV still on. Her interesting tale is set in the UK and told from the point-of-view of friends and acquaintances.)

2.) Margaret (2011)

(About a confused young woman in a career best performance by Anna Paquin. Love the dialogue and how "novelistic" Margaret (2011) is. Set in post-9/11 New York. Not perfect, but was really surprised how effective this was considering it has gone through production hell. Highly recommended, a gem, finally out on dvd/bluray July 2012. A film you could easily rewatch. I think the length of the film makes us step into a world and see Lisa's mood swings, good days, and bad days, good decisions and bad ones. I wasn't bothered too much by the editing, most novels I've read I think need sharper editing, so it's nothing new to me. Maybe it could have been a mini-series instead, who knows.)

3.) Cafe De Flore (2011)

Definitely among the most underrated and overlooked new films. Two separate stories, a mother's love of her son, and also a parallel tale of a 40-year-old having a midlife crisis. The title is a tune from the beautiful soundtrack. I found script to be original, with (no spoilers) a fascinating and un-guessable twist ending.

4.) Detachment (2011)

(The strongest reactions to cinema I have are when I can relate on a personal level to what I see on screen. Detachment is probably not the best film of the year, and not for everyone. The premise is nothing new, but struck a chord with yours truly. I give the film extra points for bringing us close to the suffering, a powerful story, tough to shake from my memory. Great performance by Adrien Brody. The voice-overs at times reminded me of Malick's Tree of Life. Also the visual style I found to be quite original.)

5.) Littlerock (2010)

(An under-appreciated independent film with a tiny budget released on dvd/blu-ray April 2012. The story is Lost in Translation in reverse, as a Japanese brother and sister visit the US.)

6.) Prometheus (2012)

(Future classic? The true test is rewatchability. For the moment, I would rank it as my 3rd favorite Alien film, behind Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986). Prometheus was very entertaining and occasionally had some food for thought. I think Ridley Scott succeeds in re-energizing the Alien franchise. There are flaws, for example the stupidity of the brilliant scientists, and tough to care about certain characters when they have so little screen time.)

7.) Shame (2011)

(I realize there is a lot of love for Shame in the blogosphere, but I'm not convinced that it is the timeless masterpiece everyone wants to proclaim it to be. Very good and should have been oscar nominated, yes certainly. But is it great? hmm...I don't know. Let me watch it again, and ask me then.)

8.) Intouchables (2011)

(I usually find it difficult to love French cinema, I will have to make an exception for Intouchables. A star is born in the shape of actor Omar Sy. He beat Jean Dujardin at the French equivalent of the oscars, the Cesars. Yes, Sy's performance is THAT praise-worthy. Likeable characters that can appeal to young and old alike)

9.) Into the Abyss (2011)

(Moving, tragic, and important look at the death penalty. What's interesting is you see it from the point-of-view of all sides. Pretty creepy too, I wouldn't watch this late at night...)

10.) Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

(Very suspenseful entry, for me better than 2 and 3 in the series. The ending was a bit far-fetched, the Dubai scenes were spectacular)

Lots of 2012 films I have yet to see(I'll save those for an anticipated post). I'm aware that a few of my choices here are "old" and were released in 2011 in some areas. I'm more interested in talking about the film experience than release dates. Take this as a subjective ranking.
Have you seen any on the list? Thoughts on my choices? What are your favorite new films of the year so far?


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