The other side of the Coyne: Flaming Lips get dark with ‘The Terror’

The happy sounds just aren’t coming out of this thing: The Flaming Lips are, from left, Steven Drozd, Michael Ivins, Coyne, Derek Brown and Kliph Scurlock.  (PHOTO CREDIT: George Salisbury)
The happy sounds just aren’t coming out of this thing: The Flaming Lips are, from left, Steven Drozd, Michael Ivins, Coyne, Derek Brown and Kliph Scurlock.
(PHOTO CREDIT: George Salisbury)

When the Flaming Lips appeared in a commercial during the Super Bowl this year, it seemed that after 30 years as a band, they were ready to present themselves definitively to the masses; as fuzzy, fun-time freaks who roll around in hamster balls and blast technicolor confetti from their tour bus. The minute-and-a-half Hyundai ad crystallized the band’s whimsical qualities, which were particularly potent in last year’s hyper-collaborative and highly playful project, “The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends.” But the Lips have put aside their playdates with seemingly disparate “Fwends” like Ke$ha, Erykah Badu and Chris Martin and gone to a much darker place. Therein they found “The Terror.”

“The Terror,” which comes out Tuesday, finds Wayne Coyne and company capturing the sound of the desperate anxiety that you’d expect from an album with a title like that.

“A lot of times I think Flaming Lips music goes into the fantastical and I think that’s great,” says Coyne. “But I think this music specifically goes to how life is. Part of it is that there is something grinding away at you. … I think virtually every song on here has this kind of underlying, grinding, non-musical — not even always rhythmically correct — bed to it.”

Lyrically, the mood is persistently similar, with very little light coming into or escaping from the songs. On one track, when a high hopeful voice sings “You’re not alone” it is echoed by a sobering mechanical response of “You are alone.” This is a very different Wayne Coyne from the one who sang about a girl who uses Vaseline on her toast instead of jelly. It’s a very different Wayne Coyne from the one who asked if you realized that happiness makes you cry. Coyne admits that when the band began to chase these dark impulses, part of “The Terror” was that they wouldn’t be able to return.

“I always know that once we get interested in something it’s wonderful, but it’s also scary, because it’s like ‘We’re really gonna do this’ and you don’t know in the beginning if it means that we destroy this other part of us.”

But Coyne insists that the other part of the band has not been destroyed.

“I believe it’s like having a conversation with someone who is interesting,” he says. “They tell serious, horrible stories and then they tell silly, funny stories. That’s just the way the world is.”

‘The Terror’ of knowing what this world is about
Coyne says although he split with his wife of 25 years last August, more of the lyrics are related to harsh realizations about growing up, rather than such personal strife.

“When we’re young and when we’re trying to experience what we think love is, part of us wants to think that ‘Without love, what is life?’ that life isn’t worth living. And maybe that’s true for some people, but I think what love tells you eventually , if you keep listening and you keep trying and keep looking and keep wanting and keep failing and trying again, it says, ‘Yeah, this isn’t life.’ Life, if you look around you is in these birds and in these trees and in this planet and this dirt, and you’re just like them. These trees don’t fall over because someone doesn’t love them. The sun doesn’t stop shining because someone doesn’t love it. And you’re just like that. Love is just in your mind and your mind is part of what you’re created for. And part of you wants to kill yourself when you know that. And that’s the terror. You know that you’ve got to go down there and explore that. The terror is that you may find out some truths that utterly change the way you’re going to view the world from here on out.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…