The Upsetter: The Perils of Liking the Flaming Lips

[Editor's note: The Upsetter is a new weekly column exploring music news and pop history from a perspective that is both bewitched and bothered. Here, Andrew Stout will explode the old clichés of rock journalism to make room for some new ones.]

My wife, who three years into our marriage fell in love with another man, has a favorite band. And that band is the Flaming Lips.

Now, you might be tempted to make a few connections here and think I hate the Flaming Lips for non-musical reasons. And, yes, I admit this personal misfortune does mean the Okie band's enduring popularity haunts me with each new album and tour. Every public move they make reopens the same old wounds, and reminds me there will be a day when we'll have to tell the kids and her mother, now a widow, the bogus nature of our marriage. But, to be perfectly frank, I hated the Flaming Lips even before my wife went astray. I hated them when she would put them on the playlists she sent me and I hated them when we danced to “She Don't Use Jelly” at our wedding.

And I hate them still. I hate them because of how they parade a faux-weirdness that debases the imagination as it presumes to celebrate it. No matter how many times I stumble into the Flaming Lips' campy world of sci-fi-rock, I always exit feeling unlucky I didn't crash into planet Styx instead.

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