American Head Image
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 30 Ratings

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  • Summary: The 16th full-length studio release for the experimental rock band features a guest appearance from Kacey Musgraves
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Sep 11, 2020
    91
    American Head stands alongside The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots as one of the very best records The Flaming Lips have recorded and should be required listening for anyone who’s gone on their own quarantine-induced walk down memory lane in search of a way to survive this year.
  2. 85
    American Head is a rare concept album that actually coheres as a narrative, but can just as easily (but less rewardingly, perhaps) be enjoyed as simply a set of the band’s most potent and moving tunes since the early '00s.
  3. Sep 8, 2020
    80
    Though the current incarnation of the Flaming Lips has been together since 2014, and thus responsible for these various digressions, the band has undertaken a sonic overhaul here that matches the emotional, sentimental tenor of Coyne and Steven Drozd’s new compositions.
  4. Sep 25, 2020
    80
    American Head's individual tracks can be enjoyed separately, but the album is best enjoyed as a whole. Think of it as a meditation on family, friends, getting older, and the irony of feeling lost in the world the more one learns about it. It's a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.
  5. Sep 11, 2020
    77
    American Head handles this heavy subject matter with a light touch, framing its stories in a magic-realist sunset atmosphere that lends even its gravest songs an earthbound charm.
  6. Sep 11, 2020
    75
    The album has a slow chain drive narrative to it that feels as close to a recounting as anything the group has done. And there is a certain comfort in settling in for the album’s nearly hour-long journey to the before and the beyond.
  7. Sep 14, 2020
    40
    Coyne’s quivering voice still captures the frailty of the human spirit, and his band have made songs that will draw tears from frazzled audiences until the Earth slides into the sea. Yet too many of his death-obsessed drug lyrics are lamely predictable and uninvolving, and swaddling his vocals in effects until he sounds like Rob Brydon’s “man in a box” doesn’t help.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Sep 11, 2020
    10
    The Flaming Lips needed direction. Since 2009's Embryonic their albums have been marked by chaotic sounds and sonic digression. They've alwaysThe Flaming Lips needed direction. Since 2009's Embryonic their albums have been marked by chaotic sounds and sonic digression. They've always been an experimental group, but it's gotten the better of them for much of the last decade. On American Head, they've focused their approach to deliver their most consistent album since Yoshimi in 2002. Their usual themes (life, death, the universe) are here, but anchored by personal experience, which gives the songs a newfound resonance and weight. If this is the Lips reborn, their next chapter promises to be a great one! Expand
  2. Sep 3, 2021
    10
    Every song has unique value and will eventually be associated with your life at the time whenever you here them again. Their best albumEvery song has unique value and will eventually be associated with your life at the time whenever you here them again. Their best album overall by far. Expand
  3. Sep 11, 2020
    10
    Absolutely stunning. The ‘Lips creating a stellar record in line with The Soft Bulletin all the whole sounding sonically richer. One of theAbsolutely stunning. The ‘Lips creating a stellar record in line with The Soft Bulletin all the whole sounding sonically richer. One of the best records of the year. Expand
  4. Sep 11, 2020
    9
    it is a very good a im a mario i write a review for the new flaming lips a.
  5. Sep 11, 2020
    9
    Lyrically American Head is a return to form with the dreamy melancholy nostalgia that filled their earlier work. Instrumentally it feels likeLyrically American Head is a return to form with the dreamy melancholy nostalgia that filled their earlier work. Instrumentally it feels like a fresh new direction for the band with little influences from every previous album. Expand
  6. Feb 6, 2021
    9
    After a decade of dabbling in the wayward experimental, prodigal psycho-proggers, The Flaming Lips have returned home with the modern-dayAfter a decade of dabbling in the wayward experimental, prodigal psycho-proggers, The Flaming Lips have returned home with the modern-day jewel, American Head. After the garage-acid college radio days of the '80s and '90, the band created the triumphant triumvirate, The Soft Bulletin, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and At War with the Mystics - three of the finest albums any band has ever recorded in succession. They closed out the 2000s with the brilliant Embryonic, a supercharged experimental onslaught which would carve an even stranger path into the 2010s.

    Chalk it up to creative differences, ill-advised flights of fancy or indifference, but the 2010s were a decade that tried even the most ardent Flaming Lips fans. The terror of The Terror, the lethargy of Oczy Mlody, and the inanity of King's Mouth made most fans drift toward disinterest. The savvy stylings of the early 2020 collaboration with Deap Vally (see review here) gave fans a sign that a return to form was imminent. Now, with the real American Dream in complete chaos, the Lips provide their own, a sonic roadmap through the sadness, steering listeners across the landscape of loss with profundity and hope.

    Elegant and layered, the opening track "Will You Return/When You Come Down" is a piano and acoustic guitar-ladened masterwork. The initial refrain carries the doleful tune into an acoustic chord shift that drives the mood deeper. "Now, all your friends are dead. And their ghosts. Floating around your bed. Hear it said. Now all your friends are dead." In remembrance of all the death that fell before him over the years, Wayne Coyne laments the fact that he will not reunite with his fallen brethren in heaven or Valhalla. They are gone forever, and the weight of this realization crashes upon him in the song's crescendo. Underneath it all lies a cutting rhythm and gentleness reminiscent of Yoshimi and the Pink Robots.

    Thus lies the central theme of American Dream. It is a protocol on how to live one's life years after misspending one's youth. Do not fret, because a hopeful theme undercuts these songs. The pain of these remembrances is less sharp and even hopeful with those you love by your side. In an ocean of death, "You and me Selling Weed" and "My Religion is You" offer the illusion of salvation. On "Dinosaurs on the Mountain," Coyne brings to light the memory of traveling in his family's station wagon as a kid. Pretending the trees on the mountain are dinosaurs, he laments a time when one could simply imagine and create things in one's mind without repercussions of reality, which creeps in as adults.

    "Assassins of Youth" is as brilliant a Flaming Lips song that's been created in the last twenty years. A galloping pop jaunt through the tenets of rock and rhythm, there's a touch of Zeppelin and, to Coyne's admission, a touch of ABBA as well. "Mother, please Don't Be Sad" is another - a Bohemian Rhapsody-esque gem polished with soulful lyrics and other-worldly interludes.

    In American Head, the Flaming Lips have not quite come full circle as no journey of enlightenment ever truly ends at its source. Their journey is more like a spiral, and they've swooped by and tipped their caps to their former selves as they glide inward with a touching collection of songs ranking right up there with the best albums of 2020.
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  7. Sep 17, 2020
    7
    ‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎

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