She Don't Use Jelly

Album: Transmissions From The Satellite Heart (1993)
Charted: 55
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Songfacts®:

  • The song is known for its chorus, "She uses Vaseline," but it's better for legal and marketing purposes to keep brand names out of song titles, as some radio stations won't play them. Vaseline is a kind of petroleum jelly often used as a personal lubricant. Lead singer Wayne Coyne explained the line to Rolling Stone: "We used to do these silly experiments: You drink out of a glass of water, then you spit into the water and drink it. There would be this disconnect of, 'Christ, I'm swallowing my own spit!' So I took that a little bit further. A lot of times people will use Vaseline on their lips because they don't have lip balm, but the idea of putting it on food and eating it repels them."
  • This single was the Lips' only mainstream hit in the US. They had existed for 10 years as a post-punk/psychedelic band out of Oklahoma before releasing it. Since 1993, the Lips' albums The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots have received a great deal of critical acclaim, but have produced no hit singles in the States. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Nick - San Francisco, CA
  • Wayne Coyne told Uncut magazine June 2008 about this track: "When we recorded 'She Don't Use Jelly' we knew we were making something special. Whatever the absurdness of it, you could understand that I'm talking about toast and Vaseline, and it had some kind of innocent little sexual thing that ran through the whole song. That was kind of cool for us because up until then all of our songs were so asexual. I think we felt that there was this sort of the Guns N' Roses mentality to rock 'n' roll, and we were something different. We really had a lot of area to explore that didn't include a bunch of naked women- but here we felt like, 'Oh, what the f--k, let's go for it.'"
  • In the band's biography, Staring At Sound: The True Story of Oklahoma's Fabulous Flaming Lips by Jim DeRogatis, Wayne recalled how the song came together: "I just sat there and strummed those chords and sang a verse with that melody in exactly the amount of time it took to play it. We were at the beginning stages of Transmissions, and it was so rich with all this new stuff that we were able to do with my simple songwriting and Ronald [Jones, guitarist] and Steven [Drozd, drummer]'s crazy playing that I could see a good arrangement happening, even though it's really not that different from a million other songs I'd written."
  • Wayne also explained some of the quirky characters in the song: "I guess the guy who blows his nose was supposed to be about blow, the girl who dyes her hair orange is supposed to be some sort of take on the alternative movement, and the Vaseline that the girl puts on toast is really meant as some sexual thing. But I never heard about that sort of thing in Oklahoma. It's really not; it's really all pretty normal until the slight twist on things in the last line. One couplet in each of those verses and the whole thing goes to hell."
  • This gained traction on MTV a year after the album's release when the video was featured on Beavis and Butt-head.
  • The narrator says the girl who dies her hair orange reminds him of Cher. In 2002, Wayne sang a duet of Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe" with Beck for a fundraising concert. They changed the lyrics to "I Got You Beck"/"I Got You Wayne."
  • This was used on Friday Night Lights in the 2008 episode "Keeping Up Appearances."
  • Like the girl in the song, Wayne dyed his hair orange for the music video, which features the guys performing outside amid birthday balloons. Meanwhile, Wayne's then-wife Michelle is playing around in a bathtub with plates of eggs and toast.
  • The Flaming Lips played this during their appearance on Beverly Hills, 90210 in the 1995 episode "Love Hurts." In an interview with Yahoo! Music's Backspin, Wayne admitted it was an unlikely gig for the band but they decided it was a good opportunity to get their music out there to the show's massive fanbase. If the group had any doubts, they were confirmed during the day of filming. He explained: "We did kind of talk amongst ourselves like, 'It seems weird that the one episode that we're on is such a disaster that there's no way it will air.' It just didn't seem possible it could work! We saw them saying lines, and they would do them five or six times, and everybody at the end of the badly done - from our perception, anyway - takes, everybody'd kinda be like, 'Yeah, whatever.' There was no big, 'Yay.' No big celebration. It just kind of felt like yet another grueling day on the set. And we thought, 'That probably won't air, and nobody will see us.' And three weeks later, it's on TV and it looks wonderful! All the things we thought seemed like a disaster were just business as usual."

Comments: 6

  • Paige from Houston, TxI love how the verses target different dysfunctional individuals -- especially the girl who uses tangerines to dye her hair. :) GREAT song!
  • Greg from Maryville, MoBen Folds nails this song. I consider it an example where he cover is better than the original (sorry Oklahoma).
  • Mario from Paulsboro, Nji think this song is about anal sex in the back of a winnabaigo on a trip to the grand canyon in the summer of 69!!!
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesBen Folds Five covered this a B-side to their 1998 hit "Brick"
  • Alvin from Sioux Center, IaThere is amazing relation to 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' in the last verse.
  • Nick from Arlington Heights, IlThe Flaming Lips performed this song on an episode of 90210.
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