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Do you realize?

yoshimiWho says Okies are backwards? Today’s Entertainment Weekly reports:

“Wonderfully weird rockers the Flaming Lips have been given their home state’s ultimate seal of approval: The song ‘Do You Realize’ (from the band’s 2002 opus Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots) has been named Oklahoma’s Official State Rock Song. (Its main state song remains Rogers & Hammerstein’s musical-theater behemoth ‘Oklahoma’; there are also sanctioned picks for folk, children, and country-western songs.)” (Read more)

Now from my point of view it sounds like a pretty sensible choice – if you were to make a shortlist of songs that make me happy every time I hear them the bittersweet ‘Do You Realize’ would be right at the top – but an officially sanctioned state song? I know the Americans have a long history of using popular music in a political context, but it still doesn’t sound very rock and roll to me.

But it did make me wonder. If the Australian Parliaments were to start choosing state songs, what would they be? Paul Kelly’s ‘Adelaide’? The Go-Betweens ‘Cattle and Cane’ or ‘The Streets of Your Town’? ‘From St Kilda to Kings Cross’? ‘Flame Trees’? And what would the dead hand of official approval mean for songs so deeply ingrained in the Australian consciousness? Would it rob them of their magic? Or would nobody even notice?

Anyway, here’s the Flaming Lips on Letterman:

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lou Swinn #

    Hi James, I agree about ‘Do You Realise’ – it still makes me grin and go all gooey. I was lucky enough to see them in concert while they were out and it was an inspiring experience. Some songs have this heavy effect on me against my will – do you get that too? – like that New Radicals song ‘You get what you give’ which was used in so many ads and my head knows it’s cheesy but it bolsters my enthusiasm for life, regardless! I will probably spend the rest of the afternoon thinking of the Victorian state song! Thanks for your terrific blog. Lou

    March 4, 2009
    • What was it Noel Coward said about cheap music? But yes, that New Radicals song works on me too, as does ‘what a wonderful world’, the Strokes’ ‘You only live twice’, a bunch of Paul Simon songs and some old Springsteen and Stones. Christ I’m a dag.

      March 4, 2009
  2. Is the Strokes one ‘you missed the last train’ with the driving beat? had a child crazy about those people, I saw them out in the rain at the back of the Palais being kind to their fans once, in VELVET jackets.

    I think Paul Kelly has the whole country nearly covered.

    March 7, 2009
  3. No – the Strokes song I was thinking of is ‘You Only Live Once’, from First Impressions of Earth, though I’d probably lump the whole of Is This It in there with it as a source of uncomplicated joy.
    Rain isn’t good for velvet. I speak from experience.

    March 8, 2009
  4. Hi James – I heard about this contest a while back & forgot to check in for the outcome. We’ve picked Do You Realize? for our wedding in a few weeks’ time. In fact I would have like to make the whole thing like a Lips concert, but couldn’t think which of our aunts and uncles would don the rabbit costumes and dance on the sidelines.

    March 11, 2009
    • My problem would be keeping my family OUT of the giant rabbit costumes.

      March 11, 2009

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