Let it Flow! It is time we turn our attention to the next groovy little tune on Pop Trash, Lava Lamp. This song marks a departure in the way songs were credited, as this is noted as being produced by Simon’s company, SYN Productions as well as TV Mania – the production company owned by Nick and Warren. Previously, all production was credited to Duran Duran, plus any outside producers.
I can’t help calling it a foot-tapper. Lava Lamp has an easy sort of groove to it, and while it is genuinely right in the experimental sort of space where Medazzaland left off, I still nod my head and dance to it. I think that is where Pop Trash really differs from Medazzaland, at least for me – there’s a groove to this album that makes it far more approachable to those of us who grew up dancing to this band in the 1980s.
The music is still very layered, and still experiments with just how many sounds one can add to a record before it becomes a cacophony of noise. I like that Warren found a guitar line that adds to the song enough to keep it going – I can see and hear how without it, the song could have easily ended up out in the weeds, without any sort of direction. The background sounds, courtesy of Nick, add to the psychedelic sort of musical theme that began with Someone Else Not Me and continues here.
Then there are the lyrics. I never quite understood them. Themes of changes, and rather than fighting it, just going along with it resonate well with me, although the song could just as easily be a sexy song about yes – an actual lava lamp. This is not Le Bon poetic lyrics circa 1980s, as we know that for Pop Trash, it was Nick in the lyricist seat. The vocals are muted just enough to keep that 70s sort of psychedelic, metallic groove going, and with what I think must be sitar in the background keeps me thinking I’ve landed in the wrong decade, but with the right band. I can’t find anything glaringly wrong, but over the years it’s never been a song that I have necessarily insisted on playing, either. It merely exists. Even on Spotify, the song gets a fraction of the plays that other songs on the album get, and I have to wonder why.
This is one of those songs that the title gives a big hint about what it is going to be like. Lava lamps were invented in the 1960s and became popular, at least here in the States, in the late 1960s. That time period was one of hippies, counterculture, psychedelic everything and more. One might assume, then, that this song would try to capture some feeling of that time period. In some ways, it does and in other ways, I’m not so sure.
While lava lamps are not a modern day invention, this song definitely feels modern with the focus on experimentation, layered sound and more. One can tell that this song was not written and recorded decades ago. That being said, musically, it does create a kind of carefree, fun vibe that many might associate with that time period. In that sense, then, the song is a cross between the 1960s psychedelic vibe with modern day instrumentation and production. That fun vibe might result in getting people moving or having the song stuck in one’s head.
While the song might create a ear worm, to some extent, it does not completely work on that level as Simon’s vocals are very difficult to pick out. For me, I notice the chorus most of all and even that is limited. I have to think that the vocals were done in that way, intentionally. Maybe it is what Simon’s vocals would sound like if they were moving through the hot wax of a lava lamp! Do the vocals add to the vibe? Sure but I cannot say that they work for me. I don’t mind some vocals to be more obscure but this is pretty extreme. What about the lyrics? Do they make up for the vocals? They don’t work for me much, either. Is the you in the song the lava? A person? I’m okay without knowing that but still the lyrics feel weak and too obvious for me.
Overall, the song has a fun musical vibe but it falls a bit short when I think about the lyrics and vocals.