'Milk It A Little Longer For Me': Watching The Flaming Lips' Attempt To Make The Record Books

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Greg Campbell/Getty Images via Text100
When news broke that the Flaming Lips were going to play eight separate shows in 24 hours in an attempt to eclipse a Guinness World Record set by Jay-Z, the collective response was something along the lines of, "Well, of course they are."

The Lips have done so much bonkers shit up to this point in their long career—from releasing a live album on a USB drive encased in a bubblegum-flavored gummy fetus to the release of a 24-hour long song available for sale on a hard drive stuffed inside an actual human skull—that few things they do can really be seen as surprising.

But when I received a press release announcing the world record attempt and the fact that the whole thing was going to be livestreamed, I knew that this ridiculous and gimmicky thing deserved, nay begged for, a ridiculous, gimmicky response: I was going to watch the whole thing, livetweeting the whole way, and keeping notes on my thoughts and what was sure to be my mental collapse around hour 18.

What follows is culled from those notes and my tweets, and timestamped (in PT) for your entertainment and edification. You can surely find videos from the eight Lips shows and everything in between to, I guess, play along at home. I wouldn't recommend it, though. Even though it involved a band I generally admire, it was one hell of a slog.

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Radio Hits One: Will Grouplove And Walk The Moon Follow fun. And Gotye On The Crossover Path?

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Both fun.'s "We Are Young" and Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know." topped the Hot 100 and the Alternative Songs chart, and did so in quick succession. The success of both those songs after a number of years when songs from the Alternative Songs chart seemed to be almost completely absent from pop radio might portend a cultural sea change, or at least the instant impact of Billboard beginning to factor Spotify streams into its formula for calculating the Hot 100.

Will a third alt-rock crossover rise to No. 1 this year? Will fun. and/or Gotye score big follow-ups, or begin to accrue the "one-hit wonder" stigma? I don't doubt that both will enjoy a healthy afterglow from their respective smashes—fun.'s "Some Nights" has already climbed to No. 8 on Alternative Songs and No. 41 on the Hot 100. But the future reception of those singles is up in the air. Will they continue to dominate both pop and alternative radio, or will they settle in one format? Both acts had followings prior to these songs—internationally in Gotye's case, and in the American indie/emo underground in fun.'s case—but neither had any previous Alternative Songs hits to establish that chart as their home base.

Ever since becoming a significant force in mainstream music in the early '90s, so-called "alternative rock" has struggled with an identity crisis about what, exactly, it's an alternative to—especially after it began to compete commercially with hard rock and metal. But even at its peak as a sales force, alt-rock has always been a relatively minor presence on the pop singles charts—Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" hit No. 6 on the Hot 100, but that victory helped open the floodgates for the band and its contemporaries to dominate album charts and rock airwaves. Hot 100 success remained elusive.


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