Refutation of Todd / Profutation of Flaming Lips
I have an objection to Todd's dis of the Flaming Lips. "Lame 'orchestral' indie bands"? What does that even mean? How can anyone say a stupid thing about a band who is responsible for "The Big Old Bug is the New Baby Now"? It's about dogs who love a plastic bug so much that they won't chew it to bits. That's gold. Goddammit I am sick of generalized criticisms, especially when they're meaningless and baseless. I'm sick of "indie" and I'm sick of people wasting their breath on talking shit. At least if you're going to do that, you should put in a sentence or two about why you feel that way—because otherwise it just looks like you're saying something nasty about somebody's mother. My mother might wear combat boots, but I don't see any evidence that Todd could be aware of that fact.
Anyway, maybe I'm not urbane enough, but I think the Flaming Lips are cool. I like what they write about, I love the idea of Zaireeka. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" is one of the top 100 songs, IMO. Jesus; it's about a girl who fights robots with karate. It's fucking uplifting. Even if you don't like the music that much (in which case you'd have to be retarded—yes, that's right! I said it!!), it would still only be fair to give those guys props for writing lyrics that don't suck. I'm not talking about poetry—I'm saying they aren't about the same old crap. And omigod don't get me started on Monday morning quarterbackers. You write a song and fucking record it and let it be about something that isn't dumb, and actually do that for a fucking living, and then maybe I'll be less irritated when you say something assinine about your creative colleagues.
I think it's great that Todd wants to tell us about the Fiery Furnaces. I even would allow comparison. Shit, I'd be ok with criticism, even in the context of praise of another band, if it were couched in language that didn't annoy me. Is it not possible to praise something without trashing something else at the same time?
Whatever. I love it when people love stuff. I cannot ever get enough of honest enthusiasm, no matter what it's about. I could hear someone go on and on about plastic goddamn pipe fittings as long as he seriously had a passion for pipe fittings, and wasn't trying to either be cool or make me feel like a jerk for not being so in love with pipe fittings, myself. This is why I don't generally read reviews—and also why lots of people are angry about critics and criticism in general—because even when praise is legitimate and sincere, it's often riddled with land mines like why something else sucks in comparison with the beloved object, or why we (as the audience) are stupid for liking other stuff that's out of fashion, or derivative, or puerile.
I read Todd's rave about the Fiery Furnaces and was interested until I got to the part where I was insulted vicariously for liking the Flaming Lips. So now I'm mad at Todd, and also at you for putting it on the index page so I won't be the only one who's going to be made to feel small, even for a split second, for liking something.
And before you get smart with me about not taking things so hard—remember why we like art and music in the first place. Yeah, it's personal.
More of Kate's work can be seen here and here. and here.