I’m sure most people have heard about The Flaming Lips’ monster six-hour track ‘I Found This Star On The Ground’ by now – but has anyone actually listened to it? Like, really listened to it? Probably not.
But that’s where I come in. I’ve volunteered to take one for the team and sit through the whole damn thing to find out if it’s actually worth all the fuss. You’re welcome. So, headphones? Check. Copious amounts of tea and stacks of custard creams? Check. Here goes…
‘I Found This Star On The Ground: Part One
00:00:05 – Oh Christ. What have I let myself in for here?
00:00:30 – Oddly enough, The Flaming Lips’ description of “The Velvet Underground meets Super Mario Brothers” actually seems to sum this up quite well.
00:02:15 – It’s becoming strangely, noisily hypnotic. So far, so good.
00:16:45 – That buzzing noise is annoying.
00:24:10 – And I mean really annoying.
00:42:30 – It’s getting slightly dull now. I probably wouldn’t bother with this part to be honest.
01:18:19 – I’m struggling to decide if this whole thing is experimental and avant-garde or just a bit crap…
‘I Found This Star On The Ground: Part Two
01:36:47 – Now some names are being read out, presumably those of the fans who forked out $100 each to have their names feature in the track.
01:42:25 – The mood completely shifts, as dreamy synth strings and reverb-drenched melodies take over from the skittish beat and driving bass.
01:49:40 – I’m enjoying this section a lot.
02:10:00 – Now the drums and freaky guitars are back, once again teetering on the border between avant-garde and downright shit. I’m starting to think that this is just one big joke…
02:26:30 – Someone’s screaming and talking gibberish now. It’s definitely a joke.
02:48:00 – More names. I’m going to go and look out of the window or something.
03:30:00 – I suppose I could just skip the next hour…
‘I Found This Star On The Ground: Part Three
03:40:00 – Probably shouldn’t I guess.
03:51:00 – Someone on Soundcloud comments that the wah-wah guitar sounds like it’s saying “Wank! Wank! Wank!” Just about says it all really.
04:15:35 – Ooh – sounds like something’s about to happen…
04:27:30 – Somehow everything has morphed from driving noise-kraut into something that’s more like a John Williams composition. I’m warming to it again.
04:32:52 – This is really good now – swelling modern-classical meets psychedelic drone-rock.
05:03:10 – But now it’s all deteriorated into sheer noise again.
05:19:05 – And here’s some more names. Sigh.
05:23:35 – Lethargic, down-tuned, doom-laden guitars fade in, sounding like Lou Reed at his most brooding and obtuse.
05:35:54 – The oppressive atmosphere is punctured by a slow-riffing, Captain Beefheart-esque jam.
05:55:00 – As it draws to a close, the track opens up with gorgeous string arrangements, with Coyne repeatedly declaring his love for, well, pretty much everybody really.
06:00:00 – Somehow Flaming Lips have managed to turn this track around in the last two hours, and it’s a really lovely way to end it.
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It’s undeniably impressive, but is this musical megalith really worth bothering with? Honestly, probably not. Although there are moments of brilliance scattered throughout the track (mostly within the last two hours), listening to any single piece of music for such a long period of time is enough to leave you curled up in the corner, silently weeping and muttering to yourself under your breath. So, unless you happen to be a diehard – and bored – Flaming Lips fan, it might be wise to give this one a miss.