The Terror - The Flaming Lips
The  Terror Image
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 49 Ratings

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  • Summary: Once again produced with Dave Fridmann, the latest release for the rock band led by Wayne Coyne is darker than previous works.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Apr 16, 2013
    91
    The Terror is the sound of The Flaming Lips going from a group experience to an internal monologue, the perfect record for any fan who has ever felt like the band could use two “Feeling Yourself Disintegrate”s for every “Race For The Prize.”
  2. Apr 16, 2013
    85
    It would almost be safe to say The Flaming Lips have hit closer to the classic record here than on the Dark Side cover album they released a few years ago.
  3. Mar 26, 2013
    80
    After it burrows its way under your skin, The Terror does genuinely feel like something of a dark masterpiece, the album you’ll stick on to discredit anyone who tries to claim The Flaming Lips are lacking in depth or darkness.
  4. Apr 15, 2013
    80
    There's always been a relentless optimism hidden behind the Flaming Lips' unique brand of pop experimentalism.... Which makes their understated 13th album, The Terror, an evocation of a bleak, post-apocalyptic future, such a striking contrast.
  5. Apr 16, 2013
    70
    It's a dark, repetitive, uncompromising record, full of challenges and threats. [No. 97, p.51]
  6. Apr 1, 2013
    67
    It's all fog machines and mirrors, with heavy synth riffs and deep motorik grooves that loop ad infinitum.
  7. Mar 26, 2013
    50
    The Terror is a record that feels high on concept, but short on songs. [Mar-Apr 2013, p.92]

See all 40 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Jul 22, 2013
    10
    such a great record as we always used to from the great flaming lips.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Expand
  2. 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
  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.
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  4. 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). 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. 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
  7. 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. Expand

See all 12 User Reviews