Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Flaming Lips: With a Little Help From My Fwends [Warner Bros., 2014]
You don't have to hate Sgt. Pepper to think it couldn't do with a little ribbing, travesty, desecration. In fact, you could love it as much as I do and think that. As hilarious sobersides from multiple generations charge indignantly that the Lips and their various beards fail to "interpret" the songs, all three modes of deconstruction are in play on this grand hoot of a fore-to-aft remake. Highlights for me include a theme statement that gains meanings it never had from its attendant distortions, a creaky "When I'm Sixty-Four," Miley Cyrus so sweet on "Lucy in the Sky," and Julianna Barwick adding just what "She's Leaving Home" cries out for--a female voice. Only "Fixing a Hole" truly fizzles. As for "A Day in the Life," yeah--the original rocks. A-