Albums to watch

American Head

The Flaming Lips

American Head

Album number sixteen from Wayne Coyne's Grammy-winning psych rockers includes a guest appearance from Kacey Musgraves

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Bella Union
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  1. 9.1 |   Consequence Of Sound

    For anyone who's gone on their own quarantine-induced walk down memory lane this year
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  2. 9.0 |   Uncut

    The whole of American Head finds Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd examining the nature of family, love, death and nostalgia with a sincerity and tenderness that's been missed. Print edition only

  3. 9.0 |   Spectrum Culture

    The Flaming Lips have been making music for 36 years and in all that time little equals the music of American Head
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  4. 8.5 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    Stately, sorrowful yet somehow also undeniably uplifting, 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
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  5. 8.0 |   The Independent

    Another twist for the Lips, but one that’s beautiful and evocative
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  6. 8.0 |   Mojo

    If we force ourselves inside American Head, we find it full of intimate details that eschew social distancing. Print edition only

  7. 8.0 |   Slant Magazine

    The album combines childlike whimsy with sober realizations of all the sadness in the world
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  8. 8.0 |   NME

    Frontman Wayne Coyne and his band of merry pranksters take a trip down memory lane, exploring tales of adolescence through their psych-smeared prism
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  9. 8.0 |   Evening Standard

    Psych rockers dabble in death and drugs on lush collection
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  10. 8.0 |   All Music

    Far from a rehash of the band's previous glories, American Head feels transformational; at once magical and down-to-earth, it's the album the Flaming Lips needed to make and fans needed to hear at this point in their career
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  11. 8.0 |   The FT

    The band’s 16th studio album is rich in real stories, nostalgia and acoustic detail
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  12. 8.0 |   American Songwriter

    There’s little about American Head that deviates from the Lips’ usual surreal sound. The overarched arrangements, replete with shimmering rhythms, soaring instrumentation, hushed harmonies and all sorts of cosmic noodling remain intact
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  13. 8.0 |   Sungenre

    American Head feels like the record equivalent of catching an offspring smoking a cigarette and making them smoke the whole box to appreciate the devastating effects of what was once so sweet a hit
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  14. 8.0 |   PopMatters

    The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget
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  15. 7.8 |   Beats Per Minute

    Does what its predecessors haven’t been able to do – it shows the Flaming Lips still know how to write thoughtful and sincere songs that also tap into the psychedelics their fans have come to expect
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  16. 7.7 |   Pitchfork

    At the top of their third decade, the Lips rekindle their past romance with Neil Young’s piano ballads, the Beatles’ psychedelic guitar tones, and Bowie’s stargazing anthems on a deeply personal album
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  17. 7.6 |   Sputnik Music (staff)

    It is definitely the work of a veteran act that learned how to evolve their sound and incorporate the past into it too. Luckily, they have reached another high point in their volatile career, continuing to move forward
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  18. 7.5 |   Under The Radar

    What American Head does particularly well is framing Coyne’s story in an ever so patient space odyssey
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  19. 7.0 |   Clash

    The bugged-out Oklahomans go searching for the heart of America but can’t help drifting into outer space
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  20. 7.0 |   musicOMH

    Whilst it’s not quite in the same league as many of The Flaming Lips’ albums – not just The Soft Bulletin – it has plenty of worthy moments that can blossom in time
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  21. 7.0 |   DIY

    It may not get your feet moving but it’ll tug at the heartstrings
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  22. 6.0 |   The Irish Times

    While American Head isn’t exactly a turkey, it furthers the argument that their otherworldly friends in Mercury Rev are simply better at doing this sort of thing
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  23. 6.0 |   Exclaim

    Featuring mostly piano or acoustic guitar ballads that are relatively unembellished, the album is a reminder of how influential classic rock staples like Neil Young, Pink Floyd and the Beatles have always been on Coyne's songwriting and vocal style
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  24. 5.8 |   Paste Magazine

    The psych-rock band flirts with country-inspired psychedelia on a muddled and disappointing 16th album
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  25. 5.0 |   Punk News

    American Head didn’t hit me in the heart or in the gut, but it did make me want to go back and listen to “She Don’t Use Jelly” again and, if nothing else, that’s a positive that comes from this experience
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  26. 4.0 |   The Observer

    The American art-rockers try to revisit commercial highs, but their cliches fail to convince
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