"Spongebob & Patrick Confront The Psychic Wall Of Energy" by The Flaming Lips

November 08, 2005
Al Barger

This whimsical lament from the 2004 Sponge Bob movie soundtrack has really messed up my little world for several months now. I feel perhaps less than 100% masculine in confessing to being so affected by a song about Sponge Bob, but there it is.

The more I listen to it, the more every note of the arrangement just seems like some kind of freaky art-pop masterpiece. It just works beautifully on every level. The whole idea of Flaming Lips visiting Sponge Bob made intuitive sense when I heard of it. There's a certain fluid quality in their work that lends itself very well stylistically to creating an underwater daydream.

Most of all, this is as good a melody as this group has ever dreamed up.

Maybe we're just young and we won't know till we're old
Too young to free ourselves from this lonely fish bowl


Now I rate that a pretty fair lyric, but the melody that carries them words packs yearning like the Wichita Lineman or John Lennon yearning for those Strawberry Fields. And this verse really arrives, packing that simple but perfect acoustic rhythm guitar.

On top of which, all of the individual instruments and arrangement and production just work like magic. They got some really nice, simple effects from the synthesizers that created particularly nice exotic little bubbly underwater rhythms.

Indeed, framing it in terms of art-rock daydreams of childhood, the Flaming Lips here would just almost hold their own with "Strawberry Fields Forever" or "Penny Lane." I'll say "almost" cause I don't want to be talking out of my head, or taking these masterworks names in vain. I might would take this over "Yellow Submarine." Or maybe not. I don't know. I'm just saying that "Spongebob & Patrick Confront The Psychic Wall Of Energy" is really good.

I've been a part-time Flaming Lips fan at best, but this is a track so strong as to significantly ratchet up my whole interest in the group. "Spongebob & Patrick Confront The Psychic Wall Of Energy" is as good a new song as I've heard in a couple of years.


Spongebob & Patrick Confront The Psychic Wall Of Energy

You see I'm growing a mustache
And though I know, I must ask you,
Does it really make me look like a man?
Being a manager's a tough job
I hope you're picked, you'll be the best sponge boss they've had
Working like a dog at the Crusty Crab

Now wait a minute
I think we hit a wall
I think we hit a psychic wall

We're just young
And we won't know 'til we're old
We're too young
To free ourselves from this lonely fishbowl

Some kind of wall
Some kind of psychic wall
Some kind of wall
We can't get across

Come on
Let's find a way to be happy
Not like Plankton, he'll never be satisfied
Always complaining about his life
To his computer wife
You think he would've found by now
To be thought of as a king, you don't need a crown


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