The Terror - The Flaming Lips
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 53 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 53
  2. Negative: 2 out of 53

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  1. Apr 16, 2013
    9
    The first time I heard this album, I thought to myself, "Yup, that's weird". After the second and third listen, I understand why the album is called "The Terror". It's a scary album. It's just so dark and depressing that you just love it that much more. There is no light at the end of the tunnel... only more darkness. My dad told me that one of the songs made him feel like the world was about to end. So, if you're into the happier, lighter side of The Flaming Lips (like in Yoshimi or even The Soft Bulletin), you may go into shock listening to this album. The highlights are: "The Terror", "You Are Alone", and "Turning Violent". Expand
  2. Aug 21, 2013
    4
    What. A disappointment. The Flaming Lips, prior to this record, made three back to back albums that I fell in love with and still listen to today. I understand the band and primarily Wayne Coyne are growing older, but I don't understand the complete shift in their sound, especially one this depressing and glum. How sad and terrified could Wayne Coyne be? This record is an awful acid trip and I guess me being in the minority did not find many values to enjoy in this album. Wayne sounds hlf dead and the band hardly put any effort in it. While their previous records sounded bombastic and very theatrical, The Terror sounds too restrained, something that seems great on paper but executed very sloppily.

    All In All, The Terror is The Flaming Lips' weakest release I've heard, but in a slight way shows their maturity clearly coming through. I just hope it's done well next time. C-
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  3. Feb 26, 2014
    10
    This is the first Flaming Lips album for me to listen to. So i don't have anything to compare it to. And judging this album on its own merits, i say that i loved it immensely.

    I love the atmospheric feel it has. Very few tracks in here (2 or 3) can be considered forgettable, all the rest is beautiful.

    If you love psychedelic music, this is highly recommended.
  4. Jun 26, 2013
    9
    This album is truly terrifying. I have been a fan of the Flaming Lips since the Soft Bulletin, and this record equals if not eclipses that album and Yoshimi. The Terror is completely different. There is not silly bleeps and blops of sound, Coyne does not tell the funny-sad stories like he did on the soft bulletin or yoshimi. this is a continuation of the sounds that came from Embryonic, but the album only contains 9 songs, therefore it is a much tighter album. I would say that this is a solitary, night time listening album. This album is entrancing and hypnotic, and Coyne sings with chant-like style throughout the album. The final two songs are perhaps the strongest of the record. Expand
  5. Oct 15, 2013
    7
    One thing I love about certain artists/bands is that they're never afraid of changing things up stylistically from album to album, even at the risk of alienating fans, and The Flaming Lips are an example of that. The Terror to me is an improvement in the focus department over Heady Fwends, since it's very much a unified cohesive piece, with nearly all tracks segueing into the next in some way. Nearly all the tracks accomplish the same goal; they're dark, atmospheric, spacious soundscapes with very loose structures & tons of reverb. But at the same time that pop sensibility comes in in a subtle way by providing some memorable vocal melodies that give individual tracks some staying power beyond just creating one unified full-album mood. The strongest track to me is “Try to Explain”, which perfectly combines that synth-washed atmosphere with a structure, melody & lyrics that are hooky & instantly catchy, but not in a way where the 2 mindsets clash. If anything they enhance each other in some weird way.

    Some other elements here & there make certain tracks stand out, like the synth part in opener “Look... The Sun Is Rising” that sounds straight out of a Kid A outtake, the constant hammer-on guitar riff & sinister “lust to succeed” vocal delivery in Phantogram collab “You Lust”, or the gradually building instrumentation in “Turning Violent” that, while repetitive, has a pretty satisfying climax. Also worth noting are the bonus tracks, “Sun Blows Up Today” & a cover of The Beatles' “All You Need Is Love”. The former (originally made for a Super Bowl commercial) is a fantastic exuberant fast-paced indie-rocker with fun upbeat lyrics & an awesome synth solo. Normally I'm not a fan of the idea of outtake bonus tracks, but listening to the rest of the album this song wouldn't have fit in at any point in the track list, so I'll make an exception. Same goes for the latter, in which the band injects the peace-loving classic with minimalist percussionless psychedelia in a way that stays true to the original while also making it their own.

    What I will say about the album negatively that holds it back from being an absolute masterpiece in that in my opinion it dips in quality in the middle, between the boring uninteresting “You Are Alone” & title track, and “You Lust” which, while generally well-written, didn't need to be 13 minutes, and would've been better off if they shaved it down to around 7 or 8 minutes, keeping that long continuous groove while also getting rid of the points where the additions are just mindless programming-noodling. And the lyrics, while never bad or cringe-worthy, for the most part don't have much of a message beyond very vague philosophical thoughts. Even Wayne himself said in a track-by-track, “I never thought about the lyrics very much. They're just some cosmic sh*t you think sounds cool against that sound or whatever.” There are a couple exceptions though, like “Turning Violent”, with a personal narrative whose vagueness adds to the song by giving it a haunting feel that lets you imagine what kind of horrific mental situation the narrator is in. Or closer “Always There in Our Hearts”, with the clearest message on the album, about learning to accept the good with the bad in life.

    While this album doesn't beat Bulletin or Yoshimi for me, it's up there for sure, and easily the most impressive album I've heard from them in terms of ambition. Even for someone like me who's more into catchy hooks than inaccessible experimental ambient pieces, I found a lot to enjoy in The Terror, even despite its less ear-grabbing moments. I can picture it being a gateway for some people into even more abstract stuff.

    Top 5 tracks: Try to Explain, Sun Blows Up Today, Turning Violent, Look... The Sun Is Rising, Always There In Our Hearts
    Score: 73/100
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  6. Jul 22, 2013
    10
    such a great record as we always used to from the great flaming lips..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................
  7. May 19, 2013
    9
    Wow. This is such a change for the Flaming Lips, each one of their albums are different than the next, but this one has the biggest change out of all of them. Some may think its a turn for the worst, but I think that this album is just nothing short of amazing. You would probably get bored having them put out an exact copy of Yoshimi every few years. The thing that is so amazing about the Lips is that they are so diverse, they can have one album be filled with happy catchy poppy tunes (about death by the way), and have the next one be like the Terror, filled with dark ambient music. Its just great to always be able to get something new and fresh from the Flaming Lips because they will never really put out the same two things twice. The one thing that I find somewhat annoying though, is the iTunes mastered version of this LP. I bought this album on the day it came out on iTunes, and what I get is all 9 songs, with the ends and beginnings chopped off, so you can be able to listen to the songs on "shuffle mode" on your iPod or iPhone. I want to be able to listen to the whole song all the way throught! Not get this like circumcised version of it. That just REALLY annoys me. But one good thing about it though, is that you get a 10th track. Which is just "The Terror", which is a 54 minute song of just the whole album in its entirety, not with the "Individual Shuffle-Ready Versions", you get all the songs in their entirety. And listening to this whole album all the way through on this one 54 minute "song", is just amazing. It's not just listening to an album, its an experience, and I compare listening to this album all the way through, to listening to Dark Side of the Moon all the way through. It's just such an amazing experience, you just keep going back and listening to it over and over again, and boom, you just have spent half your day listening to the Terror. And in reality, this album is very similar to Dark Side of the Moon, not musically, and it surely isn't getting the same sales as Dark Side of the Moon is, but The Terror, just like Dark Side of the Moon is to Pink Floyd, is The Flaming Lips' masterpiece. it's just such an amazing album, I just can't get over it. And the only reason I am giving it a 9/10 instead of a 10, is because of iTunes' circumcised version of the songs on this album, but other than that, this album is completely amazing. Easily their best LP since the Soft Bulletin or Yoshimi. Expand
  8. Apr 17, 2013
    6
    Definitely the Lips' darkest work, It's a good album but don't expect any foot tapping or melodically driven music. It's somber and atmospheric the whole way through.
  9. Apr 19, 2013
    8
    Despite having heard absolutely fantastic things about The Flaming Lips for years now, I’ve been pretty much a total dick and haven’t checked them out, or at least not until listening to The Terror. It took me a few listens to get into, but it was definitely worth it. This is deep and dark and actually pretty ingenious. IT’S A GROWER, MOTHER Seriously, listen to it at least a few times (Pro tip: Inebriation recommended for at least one listen through). Collapse
  10. Apr 29, 2013
    7
    "The Terror" isn't for new listeners of the Flaming Lips. Me, I've been of big fan of Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Embryonic, and the modern classic The Soft Bulletin, and I've listened to them long enough to get a good idea of the bands sound. They've moved from garage rock, to dream pop to psychedelic rock, to experimental, and "The Terror" is a new addition to the bands discography. It's much more dark, ambient and more electronic than the group's other releases. I wouldn't call myself an extremely dedicated Flaming Lips fan, but The Terror still provides all the thrills and chills of a neo-psychedelic record. It's just not for everyone. Expand
  11. Jan 9, 2014
    2
    The Terror is aptly named. This is pretty much an hour of background music, which might be the point. You can pop it in your car's CD player and forget about it.
  12. Feb 8, 2014
    10
    this album is for true fans of music...this is not for children, this is not for people seeking the next trending tune they might hear on the radio on the way to the grocery store. the flaming lips have been rocking out for twenty years, and they've gotten quite prolific at their instruments. this album is terrifying, but it is also beautiful if you appreciate composition. listen to it all the way through, and listen all the way through again as you try to piece yourself together again and try to face the day. life is deeper than sunshine and flowers, there is pain and sadness, and we must learn to face them. luckily we have The Terror to show us the way. Expand
  13. May 26, 2014
    10
    The Terror is so perfect! I can stop screaming about it to anyone who'll listen, and even then I don't think they'll give it a chance. You have to let it get in there. It takes a few listens, and probably some time away, but when you commit to understanding and appreciating this album, you will be so greatly rewarded. This album is so deep and intense. Everything that makes Dark Side Of The Moon is here and so much more. It's so deep and so intense, AAAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!!!! Expand
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. 60
    It's still awesome, of course, just don't expect to enjoy it. [May 2013, p.85]
  2. Jun 4, 2013
    60
    There’s nothing to dislike about their creeping dread, but it’s hard to engage with it.
  3. May 15, 2013
    80
    The Terror is simply the latest (and darkest) report from those reaches, one that generates holographic intensities of the dire straits this band has seen throughout its 30-year career.