By Joseph Brannigan Lynch
Updated March 25, 2011 at 11:02 PM EDT
Credit: Rui M. Leal/PR Photos; Janet Mayer/PR Photos
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Not that the Flaming Lips need to explain their general weirdness to anyone, but the indie-psych stalwarts gave us pause with the title to their recently released song.

“Is David Bowie Dying?” is the first song on a very limited-release EP (only 1,000 copies) that is already available online, naturally. The tune — which is a collaboration with chillwave maestro Alan Palom of Neon Indian — is a neat little foray into eerie, atmospheric electronica that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Throbbing Gristle record or the second half of Bowie’s “Heroes.” You can listen to it here:

That connection to the British icon’s pioneering “Berlin period” might explain the song’s name, but it’s still a pretty unusual title — let’s hope they don’t have any inside info on Bowie’s health.

Honestly, it’s probably just one of those song titles that reference a celebrity for no real reason other than bringing to mind everything that figure represents in the public mind, like LCD Soundsystem’s “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” or Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (an especially relevant connection given its use in The Hunger, starring Bowie). But at least Bauhaus waited until Lugosi was dead to sing about it — it seems a little premature to sing about Bowie’s demise even in jest.

One might even consider it a callous song title, given that Bowie did undergo an emergency heart surgery in 2004 after a routine inspection discovered he had a blocked artery, which could have been fatal. Since then he’s mostly retired from music, occasionally popping up in odd guest vocal spots (Scarlett Johansson, TV on the Radio) and limited live concert appearances.

We reached out to the Bowie and Lips camps, but neither had any comment. What do you think — are we being too sensitive on behalf of the Thin White Duke? Maybe the Lips just named it on a lark. Or should they have thought longer and come up with a better song title? Or is it moot because we are all already dead?

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The Flaming Lips

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