Everybody and their Oklahoman cousin knows that the Flaming Lips go overboard on the holidays, particularly around Halloween when they’ve led the March of 1000 Skeletons, and around Christmas, where they’ve given Sufjan Stevens a run for his money in terms of commitment to traditional holiday values. But this year, the Lips are taking Valentine’s Day down with two staples of the holiday - loves songs and chocolate. The Lips have teamed up with Dude, Sweet Chocolate from Dallas to create an anatomically correct chocolate heart, within which is buried a USB holding a 70 minute mix of new and old Flaming Lips love songs. New tracks on the mix include the eerie “Love Is Mind Control”, featuring Stardeath and White Dwarfs, and a cover of Beatles classic “All You Need Is Love” featuring Edward Sharpe (Alex Ebert) and Magnetic Zero Jade Castrinos.
The Lips have never been short on quirky gimmicks, and this chocolate heart seems to be no exception. But listening to the Songs of Love mix, you remember how much love and joy the Flaming Lips do try to promote in their music. It’s a pretty dismal landscape out there in the world, with the uncertainties of life looming around every corner. The Lips have never shied away from this truth in the slightest. But with cosmically heavy tunes like “Do You Realize???”, “It Overtakes Me”, and “Silver Trembling Hands” maintaining a hopefulness amongst the darkness, they’ve helped making loving an unlovable world a lot easier.
If you aren’t a die-hard Lips fan, Songs of Love is a pretty approachable history lesson to the band. Songs go all the way back to Oh My Gawd cut “Can’t Exist” and make their way forward. They don’t even do it in order! It’s amazing to hear how the old and new Lips material still holds some aspect of continuity, despite the sincere noisiness of their early days and the pop majesty of The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. It’s a fun treat if you buy the chocolate, but I guarantee you can find it the mix floating around on Lips-endorsed fansites as well if you look hard enough. More than anything, it’s a great reminder that the Flaming Lips have written some great loves songs in their time - some of which you may have forgotten about, like the one below.
Buy your anatomically correct Flaming Lips chocolate heart over at Dwelling Spaces today (if they aren’t sold out), along with a lot of other freakishly awesome Flaming Lips niche junk you probably don’t need. The Flaming Lips will release their next LP The Terror on April 1 through Warner Brothers.