My Top 1000 Songs #105: Waitin' For A Superman

The Flaming Lips began their evolution from boisterous, guitar-driven, acid-drenched rock & roll to experimental, almost prog-like sophisticated studio productions on 1997's wonderful/insane 4-simultaneous-CD package Zaireeka. But they clinched it on the next one, 1999's outstanding The Soft Bulletin, the one that elevated the long-running act into true greatness. And while I adore the album from end to end, the stylistic shift is probably best captured on "Waitin' For A Superman." Its wide-eyed earnestness, soulful resignation, and melodic sweetness is a warm embrace, both a sonically rich studio presentation--spacious arena-filling bass drum and piano--and a deceptively simple musical love letter to humanity, Wayne Coyne's fragile vocals sounding genuinely vulnerable.

Like much of Bulletin, there's a blend of sadness and hope that's truly affecting (and this from a band that just a few years earlier was singing "Jesus Shootin' Heroin"!). "Tell everybody waitin' for Superman, that they should try to hold on the best they can. He hasn't dropped them, forgot them, or anything. It's just too heavy for Superman to lift."

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By the way, I am still constantly playing my home-brewed mash up of Soft Bulletin and Mercury Rev's contemporaneously-recorded Deserter's Songs; check it out here.