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Monday 27 May 2024

Bank Holiday Monday Long Song

Nine minutes of wide eyed joy and wonder from the combined talents of The Flaming Lips and Scott Hardkiss should be more than enough of a way to celebrate not just a bank holiday but a week off work for me too. The Flaming Lips cemented their status as one of the early 21st century's best bands with the release of Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots in summer 2002, an album which if described to someone who'd never heard it (or of the band) would sound ridiculous...

It's an eleven song album, psychedelic, space pop which starts out with a world where a young girl Yoshimi is engaged in a life or death battle with some evil machines, giant pink robots. The story of Yoshimi and her fight is dealt with on the first four songs and then the album turns into a metaphysical/ philosophical record with the band taking electronics, hip hop drums and acoustic guitars to create some achingly beautiful, lush, experimental and incredibly memorable songs that deal with life and death, ruminations on beauty and mortality, physics, science fiction, emotion and suffering, ending with a soaring neo- classical piece called Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon (Pavonis Mons is a volcano on Mars). It is an album that can make you laugh and make you cry. 

See? That doesn't do it justice at all does it? Or capture what Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots actually sounds like or what it feels like. 

The Flaming Lips followed the album with several singles and EPs. In 2003 they released Fight Test, a seven track EP led by the title track and covers of Kylie's Can't Get You Out Of My Head, Beck's The Golden Age and Radiohead's Knives Out, a song for Jack White, another Lips song and this remix of Do You Realize?? by Scott Hardkiss.

Do You Realize?? (Scott Hardkiss Floating In Space Mix)

Scott Hardkiss stretches Do You Realize?? out for over nine minutes, the song's cosmic wonder underpinned by throbbing bass and rackety machine drums, piano, bells, heavenly choirs and Wayne Coyne's vocal front and centre. 

The lyrics are something else aren't they? Again, written down they could look trite or like the kind of positivity affirmations one sees on social media but Wayne's voice gives so much emotional heft and conviction that they feel like the truth being given courtesy of a kooky 21st century Moses.

'Do you realize? That you have the most beautiful face? 

Do you realize? We're floating in space

Do you realize? That happiness makes you cry

Do you realize? That everyone you know some day will die'

All these things are true. Happiness can make you cry, it happens all the time. Everyone you know some day will die, time is short, we're here for an instant. Whenever I look at photos of people from a century ago, those people and their lives, the stories you can see in their eyes, the battles they faced and the things they felt- I feel this and think of Wayne's line, all those people, they're all gone. 

Wayne doesn't just hit us with these four lines though, revealing the vastness of space and time, the bigger than us nature of the universe. He follows them with something to do about feeling infinitesimally tiny.

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes

Let them know you realize that time 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

These would be just more Instagram positivity quotes in the wrong hands but Wayne Coyne is the right pair of hands. Scott Hardkiss is too, allowing the remix to serve the song and ending with Wayne, as the song should, his isolated voice gasping and singing 'Do you realize?'.

I read an article last week that made me think of this song, an article with this headline- 'Euclid telescope spies rogue planets floating free in the Milky Way'. Apparently astronomers have discovered dozens of planets that have broken free from the gravitational hold of their suns and are floating freely, inside the Orion nebula, a giant cloud of dust and gas, 1500 light years away. The article says they are 'destined to drift through the galaxy unless they encounter a star that pulls them into orbit'. 

Do you realize? We're floating in space. 


Ernie Goggins said...

Enjoy your week off

George said...

Your link does not seem to work, but I've found the track (I think )on youtube

Swiss Adam said...

Link fixed now George