Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Watching the DVD of Flaming Lips videos last night and rerealizing my ultimate respect for them. And not just for writing the truest modern-day fairy tale, "Christmas at the Zoo."

Wayne has been able, on their last two albums, do get away with something few can -- saying the simplest things about love and the meaning of life without sounding like a buffoon. I attempt this now and then; I try to express orally my spiritual vision of the world and my place in it, but I always get this lump in my throat. I imagine people around me as the postmodern descendant of the Greek theatrical chorus, ready to snatch their jaws of mockery at the first scent of something heartfelt.

In the same way stodgy white board members can't talk about gender or race, I think you have to be somehow fucked up, or at least wonderfully odd, to make sweeping statements about love and not sound like Michael Bolton. Watching "No Direction Home" I continually wanted to punch Joan Baez and others in the face for being so self-righteous; even though they meant it and wanted a better future, I didn't feel possessed the shaman charisma needed to preach to me about state of things.

Wayne garners my respect as the ultimate post-postmodern songwriter. Watching the "Waiting for Superman" video you start thinking they're mocking these very kind of straightforward emotional statements, but soon it dawns that they're not kidding, and Wayne is so off-kilter that my subconscious chorus has to sit still silenced.


Chris Jones said...

And on top of all that, they're Okies.

They've a new record coming in April. The first single, "The W.A.N.D.," is awfully good.

The magic of The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi is that both are really forays into mythopoeia: they attempt to assemble the evidence that life does not matter into a collection of snapshots that makes you feel like it really does. (Case in point: The Spiderbite Song.)

John said...

I can't think of anything in the world that makes me happier than the Flaming Lips. I really can't. From reading this, I know you're getting the same vibe as me.