“Do You Realize??” by The Flaming Lips
“Do You Realize??” is said to have been influenced by a handful of harrowing events in the lives of The Flaming Lips at the time. For instance, lead singer Wayne Coyne’s father passed away in the late-1990s. Moreover a friend of the band also unexpectedly died around the same time. And concurrently another band member, Steven Drozd, was in the process of trying to overcome a heroin addiction. Then on top of all that, Coyne, the primary writer of the lyrics, was already sort of an introspective artist. So all of these factors combined lead to him conceptualizing this song, which is very existential in nature.
Indeed the titular question is basically being posed to the general audience, and it is used in different contexts. But ultimately what it all seemingly leads back to is the notion of life being something that we have limited control over. And since we can’t control say the rising of the sun or the Earth spinning on its axis – these things which are essential to our very existence – then we might as well resolve ourselves to enjoying the life that we have been given, or something like that.
So in a lot of ways this track reads as if it is religious or in the very least philosophical in nature. And the thesis sentiment would be that not only is life precious but also finite. And accordingly it has become a favorite at funerals and other life events.
Facts about “Do You Realize??”
Warner Bros. Records released this track on 16 July 2002 as part of The Flaming Lips’ album titled “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”. And about a month later, it also came out as the lead single from that project.
“Do You Realize??” turned out to be The Flaming Lips’ most generally-accepted tune. For instance, with the band being from Oklahoma City, from 2009 to 2013 this track served as the Official Rock Song of Oklahoma. In doing so it marked one of the rare occurrences of a state’s official rock not actually featuring a mention of said state.
Moreover Rolling Stone placed it on their list of the 100 Best Songs of the 2000s. Also in terms of its chart showing, it broke the top 40 of both the UK Singles Chart and the Scottish.
The track has also had a strong pop-media showing, being featured on ads by big companies such as Hewlett-Packard, VH1, Land Rover and Mitsubishi. And a cover of the song by Frederick Lloyd was used on a trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight (2016) as well as a TV series called Penny Dreadful.
The Flaming Lips’ members Wayne Coyne, Michael Ivins and Steven Drozd wrote and produced “Do You Realize??”. They did so in conjunction with Dave Fridmann. The other producer of the track is Scott Booker. And Coyne also directed the song’s music video, doing so alongside Bradley Beesley.
There is another official music video to this track, known as the US version, which had Mark Pellington as its director.
On 25 January 2021 The Flaming Lips performed this song, along with other favorites from their catalog, as part of special concert. During said performance the audience, as well as the band themselves, were situated inside individualized plastic bubbles in adherence to coronavirus-prevention protocols.