Transmissions from the Satellite Heart by The Flaming Lips

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Transmissions from the Satellite Heart by The Flaming Lips
Transmissions from the Satellite Heart by The Flaming Lips

Album Released: 1993 (Chart)

Transmissions from the Satellite Heart ::: Artwork

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1.Turn It On4:39
2.Pilot Can At The Queer Of God4:17
3.Oh My Pregnant Head4:06
4.She Don't Use Jelly3:40
5.Chewin The Apple Of Your Eye3:51
7.Be My Head3:15
8.Moth In The Incubator4:13
9.Plastic Jesus2:19
10.When Yer Twenty Two3:34
11.Slow Nerve Action5:56


Thanks to the popularity of this album's ode to masturbation "She Don't Use Jelly", the Lips were pushed into minor stardom, even featuring as guests on er, Beverly Hills 90210. No, really. You think I'd make something like that up?

The production here is much less cluttered compared to the band's previous album, and there's some mostly catchy pop ditties, such as the two big smash hits "Turn It On" and "She Don't Use Jelly".

Only a couple of songs drag ... the one referred to as "Plastic Jesus" from Cool Hand Luke, but actually titled as a line of seven stars, and "Superhumans", which I can never remember.

The rest are pretty cool though. There's some noisy rock guitar noises in "Pilot Can at the Queer of God", and "Chewin on the Apple of Your Eye" is a pretty acoustic ditty. Guitarist Jonathan Donahue subsequently left the band, to form Mercury Rev.

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by Reviewer: Cole Reviews
7th March 2017

The Flaming Lips replace Jonathan Donahue with a guy who lasted just this and one other album. Well, Donahue only played on two albums as well - I don't know why his replacement left, perhaps he was pushed.

For my money, the guitar and the overall sound of Transmissions is just so less interesting than the previous album. But whilst the Lips have retreated as a band, it's not as simple as that, as Coyne continues to progress as a songwriter, that much is clear, but the sound of Transmissions leaves a little to be desired.

This may sound a strange thing to say in relation to The Flaming Lips, but this album doesn't offer a single surprise. Not one. It does offer a bunch of good songs, but no surprises. Take the thick sludge guitar effect of "She Don't Use Jelly" - that effect was being far better employed by UK bands at the time, the likes of Ride and Catherine Wheel. God, dozens of others, literally.

Transmissions is the sound of one man, Wayne Coyne, growing and growing and getting better and better, surrounded by a band who in a word, weren't. So it took me a while to write this review, due to thinking about what I was going to say - the album just doesn't interest me - it doesn't make me wanna stick it on again right after playing it already.

Still, Coyne is moving forwards. "Oh, My Pregnant Head" has some gorgeous melodies and sounds and feels; "Chewin' the Apple of Your Eye" is really getting there - the sound of Coyne - with some crackling sound effects and little else. No longer a garage or alternative post-punk band then, the sound of The Flaming Lips is becoming something else.

"Moth in the Incubator" is fantastic - one of the highlights of the set. But of the closing three songs, I only like one, the final track titled "Slow Nerve Action", thanks to its really heavy manipulated drum sound. Coyne sings a nice vocal melody on that too.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)
5th November 2017

Transmissions from the Satellite Heart is probably the best rock album of 1993, though of course I haven't heard them all, but as I sit here in my enormous closet looking at my thousands of CDs and LPs and cassettes and whatnot, I've most likely heard all of them at one time or another.

And for at least 5 minutes, The Flaming Lips were actually on MTV. The song that did the trick? Only the most Dr. Demento-worthy track they ever did, a pure novelty about dying your hair with fruit juice that now represents the band's 'brand identity' to most people (or most people around in 1994 anyway). How that song beat "Turn It On" or "Pilot Can at the Queer of God" or any of the other songs on this album is testament to how goofy the Lips (or radio programmers, or MTV) are.

Lots of idiot kids bought this record (though not as many as bought The Verve Pipe), but it apparently stuck with very few of them. But then let's remember that in 1993-4, the name of the game was grunge, and this album predates such Luddism with its crystalline blend of Beatles, shoegazer rock, and nursery rhymes.

The reason I rate this album so highly is the sheer density of ideas on display. These guys have abandoned the riff for a more composition-driven songwriting style based on passages and shifts, but thank goodness they still remember that they're guitar players first. And while Transmissions is the first moment when lovers of the last few albums will begin to see connections with the current band, the Lips are still enough of a rock band to encourage raucous headbanging as well as pensive consideration of what a pregnant head might look like.

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by Reviewer: Capt Bonanza (blogging at Capn Marvel's Bonanza [Defunct])
12th January 2018