Embryonic

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Embryonic
Studio album by The Flaming Lips
ReleasedOctober 13, 2009 (2009-10-13)
Recorded2009
GenreNeo-psychedelia, space rock, experimental rock
Length70:52
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerThe Flaming Lips, Dave Fridmann, Scott Booker
The Flaming Lips chronology
Once Beyond Hopelessness
(2008)
Embryonic
(2009)
The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon
(2009)
 
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Embryonic
Studio album by The Flaming Lips
ReleasedOctober 13, 2009 (2009-10-13)
Recorded2009
GenreNeo-psychedelia, space rock, experimental rock
Length70:52
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerThe Flaming Lips, Dave Fridmann, Scott Booker
The Flaming Lips chronology
Once Beyond Hopelessness
(2008)
Embryonic
(2009)
The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon
(2009)

Embryonic is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band The Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009 on Warner Bros.[1] It is the first double album to be released by the band, announced during an interview with the band's frontman Wayne Coyne,

Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that we should do a double album... Just this idea that you can weave a couple of themes into there and you can sprawl a little bit.[2]

Several other artists made contributions to various tracks on the album. German mathematician Dr. Thorsten Wörmann contributed to the track "Gemini Syringes", psychedelic rock band MGMT contributed to the song "Worm Mountain", and Karen O (lead singer of the alternative rock trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs) contributed to the songs "I Can Be a Frog" and "Watching the Planets".[3] Karen O's contributions were recorded by Wayne Coyne over the phone.

Background and promotion[edit]

On August 13, 2009, the song "See the Leaves" was reviewed and streamed on Pitchfork.com[4] On September 3, 2009, the album was previewed in its entirety on The Fly website, using Wayne Coyne's own track-by-track guide.[5]

On September 17, 2009, the band appeared on The Colbert Report and announced that the album would stream in its entirety on Colbertnation.com until September 21, 2009.[6]

Embryonic was streamed in full on the UK music site clashmusic.com on October 5, just over a week ahead of its release.

Embryonic was selected as fourth best album of 2009 by Pitchfork Media [7]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic4/5 stars[8]
The A.V. ClubA−[9]
The Guardian3/5 stars[10]
NME10/10 stars[11]
One Thirty BPM79/100[12]
Pitchfork Media9/10[13]
PopMatters7/10 stars[14]
Spin7/10 stars [15]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[16]
Tiny Mix Tapes4/5 stars[17]
Robert ChristgauA−[18]

Embryonic received general acclaim from critics upon release, garnering an 81/100 critic score on Metacritic.[19] The New Musical Express noted that "ten years after their last masterpiece, The Flaming Lips have finally produced another one,"[20] while Paste Magazine described the record as "a wonderfully weird parade of sonic delights: an arresting consummation of the Lips' two-and-a-half decade career."[21] Other critics praised the album but were also quick to note its dramatically different sound in comparison to previous releases. Mojo Magazine remarked that "(Embryonic's) themes may be familiar, but its fine, dazzlingly outlandish music is fresh and utterly fearless,"[19] while The Record Review noted that with the album, The Flaming Lips show that they are "one of the few acts left that stills dares to be original, inspired and off-center in such a mainstream musical climate."[22] The album has sold 103,000 copies so far in the United States.[23]

Sound and influence[edit]

The style of the tracks on Embryonic differs from the styles of previous albums, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and At War with the Mystics, and has been reported to be similar to the style of Joy Division, Miles Davis, and John Lennon.[2]

Wayne Coyne says the new record solves their perpetual "dilemma" of what to include on each album, by dumping all their ideas on the follow-up to 2006's At War with the Mystics. Coyne had this to say about the double-LP decision to Billboard: "Some of my favorite records – thinking Beatles' White Album, Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti and even some of the longer things that The Clash have done – part of the reason I like them is that they're not focused. They're kind of like a free-for-all and go everywhere. It's not necessarily because we're prolific, I think we always stay in a sort of perpetual panic of like we never have more songs than we need and we always wonder if any of them are any good to begin with." Coyne notes that Embryonic is less polished than Mystics or 2002's Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and has a "freak-out vibe". The frontman also notes the influence of Miles Davis's group and slow-burn songs like John Lennon's "Instant Karma!".[2]

Track listing[edit]

On one retail edition of the release, all tracks are included on one disc, though both the "deluxe" and "fur-pack" variations of the album spread the songs over two discs, containing 9 songs each.

Disc one
  1. "Convinced of the Hex" – 3:56
  2. "The Sparrow Looks Up at the Machine" – 4:14
  3. "Evil" – 5:38
  4. "Aquarius Sabotage" – 2:11
  5. "See the Leaves" – 4:24
  6. "If" – 2:05
  7. "Gemini Syringes" – 3:41
  8. "Your Bats" – 2:35
  9. "Powerless" – 6:57
Disc two
  1. "The Ego's Last Stand" – 5:40
  2. "I Can Be a Frog" – 2:14
  3. "Sagittarius Silver Announcement" – 2:59
  4. "Worm Mountain" – 5:21
  5. "Scorpio Sword" – 2:02
  6. "The Impulse" – 3:30
  7. "Silver Trembling Hands" – 3:58
  8. "Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast" – 3:45
  9. "Watching the Planets" – 5:16
iTunes-exclusive bonus tracks
  1. "UFOs Over Baghdad – 5:18
  2. "What Does It Mean? – 5:10
  3. "Just Above Love – 4:49
  4. "Anything You Say Now, I Believe You – 6:40

Deluxe edition[edit]

A deluxe version of the album was released on October 13, 2009.

The deluxe edition includes the original 18 tracks (on two discs) as well as a bonus DVD-Audio which features the album in full dynamic range at 24bit/96 kHz audio. A further variant sold exclusively through the band's website is packaged in a "fur pack" with an extended booklet which features additional art, lyrics, and band photos. This web-only deluxe edition also comes with a 14 inch by 28 inch lithograph featuring the full album cover. A limited number of pre-orders received an additional lithograph autographed by the band, shipped 2–3 weeks after the release date.[24]

Personnel[edit]

The Flaming Lips
Additional personnel

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2009)Position
US Billboard 200[25]8

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Flaming Lips Unleash "See the Leaves," "Embryonic" Album Cover". Rolling Stone. 2009-08-13. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  2. ^ a b c "Flaming Lips Stretching Out For 'Mystics' Follow-Up". Billboard.com. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  3. ^ "MGMT, Karen O Guest on Flaming Lips LP". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  4. ^ "Hear the New Flaming Lips Song "See the Leaves"". Pitchfork. 2009-08-13. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  5. ^ "'Embryonic' First Listen on". The-fly.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  6. ^ "The Colbert Report | Comedy Central". Colbert Nation. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  7. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top 50 Albums of 2009". Pitchfork. 2009-12-17. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  8. ^ Phares, Heather (2009-10-13). "((( Embryonic > Overview )))". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  9. ^ Murray, Noel. "The Flaming Lips: Embryonic | Music | Review". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  10. ^ Alexis Petridis (2009-10-08). "The Flaming Lips: Embryonic | CD review | Music". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  11. ^ "The Flaming Lips - Album review: The Flaming Lips - 'Embryonic' - Album Reviews". Nme.Com. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  12. ^ "The Flaming Lips: Embryonic :: Music :: Reviews :: One Thirty BPM". onethirtybpm.com. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  13. ^ "Album Reviews: The Flaming Lips: Embryonic". Pitchfork. 2009-10-12. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  14. ^ Franco, Michael. "The Flaming Lips: Embryonic < PopMatters". Popmatters.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  15. ^ "The Flaming Lips, 'Embryonic' (Warner Bros.) | Spin Magazine Online". Spin.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  16. ^ Jon Dolan. "Embryonic by The Flaming Lips | Rolling Stone Music | Music Reviews". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  17. ^ Miller, Michael H. "The Flaming Lips - Embryonic | Music Review". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  18. ^ "Album: The Flaming Lips: Embryonic". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  19. ^ a b "Embryonic reviews at". Metacritic.com. 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  20. ^ "The Flaming Lips - Album review: The Flaming Lips - 'Embryonic' - Album Reviews". Nme.Com. Retrieved 2010-07-29. [dead link]
  21. ^ "The Flaming Lips: Embryonic :: Music :: Reviews :: Paste". Pastemagazine.com. 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  22. ^ "The Flaming Lips Restart Their Engine with Embryonic « The Record Review". Recordreview.wordpress.com. 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  23. ^ "The Flaming Lips 'See The Leaves' On David Letterman - Viral Videos". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  24. ^ "Embryonic Deluxe Limited Edition 2CD/DVD". The Flaming Lips. 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  25. ^ "Buble Stays On Top, 'New Moon' Grabs No. 2 On Billboard 200". Billboard. 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2009-10-21.