Published on February 16th, 2015 | by The Beige Baron0
Album Review: “The Terror” by The Flaming Lips
— Review by Joshenjammer
Never before has music been so well represented by its album artwork. The cover of The Terror depicts a figure sitting on the grass in a park, in a contemplative posture. However, the surrounding colors have been heavily manipulated, making the area towards which he is facing appear to be a large void. This void is filled with bright color, but it remains extremely stark.
The figure is completely isolated as he sits on the grass, staring into the blinding emptiness. This is the best approximation of what this album feels like as a whole: staring into a bleak void filled with blinding colors.
The album begins with Look, the Sun is Rising, the song title creating visuals befitting the track. But the sun in this song offers no warmth or comfort: it is a cold sunrise on a dying planet, marking the beginning of the end. The song’s drumbeat is urgent, propelling it through a soundscape of synthesizers. Unlike most of the band’s past records, there is no joyous explosion into sound at the end. Instead, the song fades into a strange interlude transitioning into the equally bleak Be Free, A Way.
This is yet another deviation from past Flaming Lips releases, one which characterizes the entire album. Whereas even their previous release Embryonic had a dark feel uncharacteristic to the band’s sound, it offered brief breaks in the clouds for some of the Lips’ trademark happiness to shine through. Not so with The Terror—while some of the songs are faster paced or even in a major key, everything has a feel of apocalyptic beauty.
This is the soundtrack to the death of a star—terrifying and destructive, yet effortlessly beautiful.