The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize?? Review
Now that they've surpassed the landmark of ten albums, The Flaming Lips seem to be pushing the boundaries of their own 'peak' level higher and higher. Many lesser bands will have settled for the success of the Lips' previous album The Soft Bulletin, which garnered rave reviews and even the coveted title of Uncut magazine's Album Of The Year award. However, the Lips don't appear to rest on their laurels, and have crafted out the ultimate twenty-first century concept album in Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots.
Do You Realize?? is the first single lifted from the Lips' new album, and as is the case for most classic albums the B-sides attached to the single are excellent stand-alone tracks that would complement most artists' repertoire in their own right. Do You Realize?? has been released across three formats, two CD versions with two unreleased tracks on each, and on DVD as a DVD-Single, with a further two unreleased tracks provided. As the first single culled from Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Do You Realize?? is a strange choice. It's an excellent track filled with uplifting drive but it is hardly the stand-out track of the album, and would certainly not be most people's choice as the flag-ship song. Whereas other notable candidates such as One More Robot and part one of the title track are likely to be released later in the album's initial life-cycle, Do You Realize?? is still a decent introduction to radio listeners of The Flaming Lips as a rejuvenated postmodern band of the new century.
This DVD-Single features the video for Do You Realize?? along with three audio tracks, backed with an artwork picture still. These three tracks are the single version of the audio mix of Do You Realize??, The Southern Oklahoma Cosmic Trigger Contest and Noodling Theme (Epic Sunset Mix #5). The latter two are tracks pulled from the short limited EP of the soundtrack to the independent documentary Okie Noodling.
Do You Realize?? - Video
Directed by Lips' frontman Wayne Coyne, the video to Do You Realize?? is mostly uninspired and plodding. Featuring Coyne donned with guitar and joined by giant-sized rabbits, the song is performed with Coyne and the rabbits singing whilst walking towards the camera, which in turn tracks backwards. A Christ-like stream bolts from the guitar, as if signifying a cosmic presence. The only variety in the video seems to be a group of young women jumping around Coyne and the rabbits in various states of undress, with any breasts on show digitally blurred. The video was produced on a cheap budget, but still lacks any type of innovation. It's nothing more than a twenty-first century version of Mull Of Kintyre. Presented in non-anamorphic widescreen with bars coloured orange.
Do You Realize?? - Audio
Simply the audio version of the single, backed with a still image of some artwork taken from the Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots design art.
The Southern Oklahoma Cosmic Trigger Contest
A B-side taken from the soundtrack to Okie Noodling, this is an enjoyably fusion of country acoustic rock and space-age psychedelic futurism pulled off in the way only the Lips know how. The track starts off dialogue orientated, presumably with extracts from the film, and segues nicely into a catchy lo-fi number. This is backed with a still image of some artwork taken from the Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots design art.
Okie Noodling Epic Sunset Mix No. 5
Another B-side that is taken from the Okie Noodling soundtrack, this is an instrumental track that is short in duration and nothing more than a filler or curiousity item. Still, at least two out of the three tracks used in Okie Noodling have been included on this DVD-Single, rendering it very collectable.
The video is presented in non-anamorphic widescreen and is very hazy, with high contrast levels and a slight amount of grain. The audio tracks are backed with still images, and the images themselves jitter with artefacts and edge enhancement which is slightly annoying. Still, for a cheap priced DVD-Single expectations are fairly low. Also, there are unfortunately no subtitled-lyrics option, which is surely a function every DVD music video should possess.
The tracks are all presented in linear PCM stereo and sound as good as you'd want them to, despite the volume levels being slightly low. It's a pity the title track hasn't been remixed into 5.1 to take full advantage of the DVD experience, but then that would have proved expensive and luxurious as opposed to being a necessity.
Menu: A static and silent menu featuring artwork unused from the album art.
Packaging: The DVD-Single is released in a CD-cardboard-digipak and features the lyrics Do You Realize?? on the inside cover.
How worthy Do You Realize?? is as a DVD-Single depends on how expensive it is in the shops. Priced at £1.99 on release week, some chains are selling it at nearly four to five pounds whilst others are maintaining the original price. Even so, as Flaming Lips singles go Do You Realize?? is a good if not spectacular track taken from Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots and the two B-sides are rare gems that will certainly prove a treat for fans.