Listen to DO YOU REALIZE?? by The Flaming Lips.
Jason dropping in.
With Bill's solemn news providing a tributary theme this week, I wanted to select my song carefully.
In the end, I chose the first song that popped into my head when I originally signed-up to contribute to the blog. And I chose it because its the most life-affirming song I know - and the band also share Bill's Oklahoma heritage.
I first saw the Flaming Lips in '95 at the "Alternative Nation" festival in Sydney. It was a festival line-up that still looks good to this day. My memory of the Lips was of waiting for them to play their "Vaseline" song ("She Don't Use Jelly") that was ubiquitous on Australian radio on release a few years before. To me, they then disappeared....I figured they broke up.
So when their "Soft Bulletin" album started appearing in critics lists as one of the best albums of 1999 (NME made it their album of the year), I figured that it was a different band that had the same name. You know, like Nirvana. I bought the album but it never made it out of the plastic.
Then, in 2002, came their Masterpiece - "Yoshimi...". This time I bought (yes Tim, "bought") and listened.
That led to me seeing them another handful of times (Q magazine claimed in 2002 that they were one of the bands to see before you die). The show is a celebratory circus and its all because of their lead singer and talisman Wayne Coyne. If you don't know him, lets just say he's the sort of guy that features on many "if you could have any 5 people, ever, to a dinner party......" list. When this guy opens his arms, people crawl into his palms...
The Lips have more to them than Coyne, of course (check out the brilliant "Fearless Freaks" documentary) but this song is the embodiment of him:
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun don't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round
Stunningly beautiful and always - always - lifts me above the day-to-day; resets my perspective and makes me want to wrap my arms around a loved one - especially those no longer with us.
Photo: Musée d'Orsay, Paris. 2004. Taken by Jason Bryant.