Sunday, February 8, 2009

CD Review: 200 Million Thousand

: 200 Million Thousand is not a departure from the Black Lip's characteristic "flower punk" style of Garage Rock. It's a mere expansion to horizons that we've rarely heard before or could have imagined from the Atlanta quartet. If an unfamiliar listener stumbled upon 200 Million Thousand, there is no doubt they would recollect memories of 1960's protopunk, garage, and surf rock. That listener probably wouldn't be able to tell you what band they were listening to, thanks to the Black Lips overtly unique sound. "Take My Heart" is straight garage, but it's somehow not comparable to anything else in the Black Lips repertoire. It surely draws, at the very least, influence from Iggy Pop and the Stooges. "Drugs" is hilarious with -- as is symptomatic of the Black Lips -- catchy lyrics. A surfy bass plays as Jared Swilley's voice is slightly unintelligible. "Starting Over," the first leak off of 200 Million Thousand, struck a chord with me personally early on and I endeavored to call it my favorite Black Lips song ever -- despite not having heard all of the CD. The chords have a hopeful optimism to them (if that's possible) and an off-beat synesthesia of simply "starting over." Venturing into the psychedelic side of things is "Let it Grow." If it's not obvious from the title what the song is about, Cole Alexander seems delighted to inform you in a scratchy tone what he particularly likes to watch. "Trapped in a Basement" lyrically resembles "Buried Alive," but in no way has a musical semblance to "Buried Alive." This is another psychedelic weird one, but is awesome in featuring a high pitched choir. "Short Fuse" was the second leak and drew nascent positive reception. The beat and lyrics are simply perfect! "I'll Be With You" is such a clone of "Dirty Hands" that I had to stop myself from singing "We'll be together..." Actually the Black Lips do include "we'll be together" but in a manner that is more country/southern rock than what's in the garage-y "Dirty Hands." "Big Black Baby Jesus of Today" conjures up images of the title character marching all over Earth in a domineering and Wild West approach. "Again and Again" is very danceable and if dipsetmuthafucker was still doing his thang on YouTube, he surely would have done his thang to this. "Old Man" is a more intense "Hippie Hippie Hoorah." It's seemingly a parody of cheesy early rock. It works for certain. "The Drop I Hold" is Alexander rapping. First, we hear an unidentified voice speaking of the Jonestown mass suicide. We then hear Alexander rapping before being joined by a Johnny Cash-esque bass-baritone. "Body Combat" sounds and talks like G.G Allin's "Don't Talk to Me," but of course the Black Lips one-up Allin in all regards. "Elijah" could easily have been a doo-wop hit; we are lucky for it to be released in our generation. "I Saw God" starts with the kid on LSD. It's a reflection of Alexander's past. Also included are a few bleeps (cover your right ear if the volume is high). Talk about an ethereal album closer. It's out of this world. The hidden track must be awesome live. The random screams are a plus. Overall, this is easily a candidate for album of the year. That should be no surprise considering the Black Lips are one of today's most prolific rock bands.

9.6 out of 10


  1. This and MPP are not going to be topped in '09... well it would take something really special!

    Nice review!


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