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Did the Flaming Lips Just Delicately Skewer Venture Capitalism?

The Flaming Lips In Concert - Westbury, New YorkThe Flaming Lips In Concert - Westbury, New York
Wayne Coyne of The Flaming LipsMike Pont—Getty Images

An amusing diversion to kick off your Monday: The third track off the Flaming Lips’ recently released album Oczy Mlody wormed its way into my mind last week. In the title refrain, frontman Wayne Coyne croons, “There should be unicorns / The ones with the purple eyes / Not the green eyes.”

Transcribing the words does not do this sonic acid trip of a song justice. The piece sounds like a fairytale that’s been blasted into the cold depths of outer space; merely reading, you miss out on all its rainbow-subwoofered-extraterrestrial glory. Do give it a listen.

But if you’re anything like me, you may have detected within the psychedelic lyrics a veiled bit of social commentary aimed at the startup and venture capital economy. “Unicorns,” of course, sure sounds like a play on the nickname for $1 billion-plus private firms that have become de rigueur in techland. If that’s the case, the vocals seem to be wishing for a world in which fantastical (a.k.a. purple-eyed) unicorns hold sway, rather than their money-grubbing (aka green-eyed) business counterparts. Quite a dream.

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Perhaps my interpretation is nothing more than a harebrained fan theory, or maybe there is something deeper to the stanza. I wouldn’t put it past Coyne’s troupe, which, as the Guardian noted earlier this year, made its name “smuggling existential truths into euphoric pop songs.”

Alas, the Flaming Lips did not respond to a request for comment this weekend.