http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/89660fbdcec9dcfb5bc6d0d90df334bc1a212456.jpg Transmissions From The Satellite Heart

The Flaming Lips

Transmissions From The Satellite Heart

Warner Bros.
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
October 28, 1993

The Flaming Lips have for eight years been making some of the wiggiest pop records this side of Julian Cope. At one time, it might have been easy to dismiss the Oklahoma City quartet as overly enamored of whimsy ("One Million Billionth of a Millisecond on a Sunday Morning") or excess (the 23-minute "Hell's Angel's Cracker Factory") or British acid rock.

But unlike the insular, in-jokey atmosphere of previous Lips releases, Transmissions From the Satellite Heart< doesn't make the listener work as hard to enjoy the journey. At the outset, guitarist Waye Coyne yelps, "When you ain't got no relation to all those other stations/Turn it on!/In your houses when ya wake up/Turn it on!"

The tender "Chew in the Apple of Your Eye" drifts in like a scratchy, dust-covered singer/songwriter record from the early '70s, complete with wan whistling and a cherub choir, as Coyne tries to make sense of a world that's just bottomed out. He's not pissed off so much as disoriented: "It's like at the circus/When you get lost in the crowd/You're happy but nervous." Sonic forget-me-nots abound. On the comedy of manners "She Don't Use Jelly," someone blows his nose. Voices out of "I Am the Walrus" peek between tubular bells on "Superhumans." "Pilot Can at the Queer of God" sticks a Vanity Fare keyboard riff beneath a barrage of static.

Throughout, distorted guitars do battle with Steven Drozd's enormous, John Bonham-like drumming. Best of all, the bubblegum melodies — "Turn It On," "She Don't Use Jelly," "Be My Head" — make even the most absurd imagery insidious: "You can be my head/For they've eaten this one."

With Transmissions From the Satellite Heart, the Flaming Lips join the ranks of rock & roll's most endearing eccentrics.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Money For Nothing”

    Dire Straits | 1984

    Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

    More Song Stories entries »