The Flaming Lips - Space Oddity

We touched on the messiness of David Bowie the last time we shared a cover of the late-great-but-highly-problematic-artist’s work, so today we’ll just look at the wondrous bit of insanity that is The Flaming Lips cover/tribute, “Space Oddity.”

Setting aside for a moment the tremendously odd music video, the Lips offer up a pretty straightforward arrangement of “Space Oddity,” or at least straightforward by their standards. The main arrangements stay the same and Wayne Coyne’s vocals would be better described minimal than grandiose. They let the song and their electronica take on it speak for itself. It’s a beautiful and longing tribute to an artist who clearly had a profound impact on their work.

Now on to the video, which greatly contrasts scenes of joy and sorrow right next to each other. Feelings Bowie’s work, life, and death invoked in all of us when we were forced to confront that facts that he was actually human and actually mortal. The video includes two women dressed like nuns in a cemetery, a funeral/church service preformed by the Lips to an audience made up entirely of white balloons, and a laser light show. What more could you ask for in a music video?



And now here’s the original, which the 10 year old version of me still can’t believe isn’t named “Major Tom”:



This video comes on the heels of The Flaming Lips playing “Life On Mars?” at a pair of New York tribute concerts for Bowie. And while at times their entire career has felt like an ode to Mr. Bowie, I for one am holding out hope that they have a full cover album in the works.

About Calvin Paradise

Calvin Paradise manages to live a productive life despite a childhood of home schooling and suffering from what some doctors have called the worst case of Groucho Marx's Syndrome in recorded history.