10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2007
After The Flaming Lips' exhilarating and resoundingly seminal 1999 release, 'The Soft Bulletin', I doubted whether they would ever reach such heady heights again. However, this album vanquished all those lingering doubts into oblivion!
Contrary to the misguided assertions offered by certain critics, this isn't simply a rehash of the highly successful 'Soft Bulletin' formula. Here, The Lips experiment more intently with synthesisers and drum machines. These help foster a staggering electronic soundscape, which evokes a mesmerising futuristic resonance. The music is as heartfelt and affecting as ever, with subjects such as loss, death and helplessness explored, but delightfully injected with the Lips' typical idiosyncrasies. The whole pink robots concept is utterly barmy, and a perfect example of the band's endearing ability to imbue ostensibly solemn subject matters with optimism and jocularity - whilst augmenting the music, not detracting from it.
To be honest, I could spend literally days waxing lyrical over the merits of each song on the album, but I'm sure my self-gratifying grandiloquence will probably send most readers into a coma, so, instead, I shall tender an uncomplicated précis: 'Yoshimi' is a work of genius. Please buy it immediately for a considerable dose of life-enhancement.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2007
It looks like the other reviewers have done a good job of giving this album the respect it deserves. I doubt I will be as succinct and lucid as some of them, but I felt I just had to add my tribute.
I have a long history with this record. It started back in 2002 when I went to Amsterdam with some friends and took this record with me. The whole group of us just fell in love with it instantly, and would happily sing along in our mashed up states. These songs are so beautiful that some of them make me physically ache when I listen to them - "In the Morning of the Magicians" particularly.
"Do You Realise" was partially responsible for me getting together with my girlfriend. It's now "our song". I dount many couples have a "song" as cool as ours.
Not long after my girlfriend and I got together, we ate some magic mushrooms and had a bad trip. I had a particularly bad one as I'd taken 6 and a half times more than the recommended dose. While flailing around in the depths of despair and insanity I was listening mostly to the Screaming Trees' "Dust", which I used to like; but perhaps not surprisingly I haven't listened to since. Anyway, as the effects of the mushrooms lessened, and I started to realise that I wasn't dead or insane, I put this album on. Not only did everything get better, with the room starting to glow reassuringly, but Wayne Coyne's lyrics seemed to explain to me everything that I'd been going through, and everything I was then experiencing. It was a beautiful moment, and it helped to make the whole experience both the most terrifying experience of my entire life, and the most enlightening and worthwhile.
Perhaps that sounds sad to you, but I assure you that I feel enriched because of it, and wouldn't change a thing.
I am listening to this record now. I'm at work. On Fridays I always bring a selection of CDs with me, and today I brought Yoshimi, and it is tapping into my emotions and psyche as potently as it did when it was new. I just never tire of this record.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2004
In the tradition of popular music, concept albums are generally poor and unsatisfying. Dire, even, with the exception of that rare few - Van Morrisons seminal 'Astral Weeks', David Bowies loosely connected glam rock fest 'Ziggy star dust' and Mike Skinner's 'A grand don't come for free' are a few gems in a mine of mud and rubbish. It was with a certain degree of trepidation then that I approached a concept album about a girl battling an army of pink robots from a band who I'd never heard a lot about before, and despite critical acclaim, upon first listen I was dissappointed.
The second listen was the same. And the third. But gradually the psychedelic, digital, orchestral indie-rock on display began to seep into my psyche and dig away at me, until the album had me hooked and stayed on constant rotation in my cd player for a number of weeks. Now I know that psychedelic, digital and orchestral indie-rock all sound contradictory, and they are. But 'Yoshimi battles...' blends the various styles and influences seamlessly into what initially may appear random and scattered arrangement, but will progressively unravel until it all makes perfect sense, much in the fashion of Captain Beefheart's classic 'Trout mask replica'.
The album opens to a harsh electronic voice reverberating before breaking into a summery introspective tune which initially sounds reminiscent of 'Father and son' before finding it's own shape. One more robot / sympathy 3000-21 is blessed with Coyne's soft centred vocals which bring a ludicrous concept to have some emotional effect as he sings 'one more robot wants to be something more than a machine' to a pacy drum snare and electronic sounds. The two namesake songs of the album spiral towards a frantic and chaotic electronic climax yet somehow retain a sense of melody amidst the confusion of Yoshimi's screams and laser shots. Later the listener is sonneted by the innocent charm of 'Do you realize' as Coyne softly sings plaintive but touching lyrics to a low tempo track.
Such a medley of styles and influences would normally provide a stumbling block for any artist or band, but apparently not with The Flaming Lips. Traces of artists ranging from Captain Beefheart to Kraftwerk to Blur are detectable within this album, yet for all their contrast they blend perfectly. Though the subject matter is ludicrous, the psychadelia of the record and the heartfelt vocals of Coyne combine to submerge the listener in the story and the music. Small touches such as a chorus of girls making karate chop noises in the back ground to the lyrics of 'Her name is Yoshimi, she's a black belt in karate' are a measure of the intracicy of the album, it's quirkiness, and it's charm. The production from the band, Dave Fridmann and Scott Booker is pin-point accurate throughout the album throughout, and the track-listing is perfect - the cd plays as if it were one song flowing through different phases, not a collection of songs - as any good concept album should. Infact the term 'good concept album' is not applicable here. It would be more appropriate for 'Yoshimi battles the pink robots' to inherit that rarest of terms 'great concept album' which has been passed down from The streets, David Bowie and Van Morrison. Fantastic stuff.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2006
Well wow! This album grabs you from the first listen.The opening track is worthy of any psychedlic fans attention and is reminiscent of Cat Stevens.The two part Yoshimi... is a brave attempt at threading a concept into the album and works well. The Lips' music has become better with time and this album sees them put new textures and sounds into their already quirky music. There are synthesizers washing in the background along with anime voices to capture the imagination and paint the story of Yoshimi. There are certain themes developed such as life,love,death and positivity throughout - particularly in the beautifully poignant Do You Realise. Overall the album ranks alongside any modern attempt at a concept album without being over-worked and laborious. If you like this lo-fi chilled yet uplifting tunes with a pop element then this is the album for you. Smoke a peace-pipe and enjoy ;)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2006
Yosimi Battles The Pink Robots, was the follow up to the bands 1999 release the majestic, awe inspiring "Soft Bulletin" which critics around the world drooled over, and to large excitement so did the record buying public, the record shifted a million copies, which for the flaming lips was a mega achievement, because I think if you were to add up the amount of copies their other albums sold, it would more than like be half of the amount of the soft bulletin.
With the success of the soft bulletin, the bands 11th album, the bands larger fan base, were expecting the band to come up with the goods for "Yosimi Battles The Pink Robots", how could the band follow up with arguably the best album of the 1990s?
Come back four years later, whit what is arguably the best album of this decade. This album is a album that deal with love, loss and death.
This is a record that should not work, it's a record that should be quite frankly awful, but due to the honesty of Wayne Conye, and his heartfelt lyrics, this, against the odds is one the most life affirming pieces of work that you are ever likely to hear.
Even in its most depressing moments tracks such as Do You Release??, Its Summer Time and all we have is now, they are ultimately positive songs, that are about enjoying the time you have on this planet
This is a bench mark in the history of recorded sound, that others will be trying to surpass for years and years to come.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
ere are, unfortunately, not many albums like "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots." I enjoyed "Soft Bulletin" when I found it at a store last year, but what really dragged me in was the peculiar title of "Yoshimi." It's a fun, sweet, sad, immensely fulfilling album.
The songs tend to have a slightly futuristic feel; first off is the catchy "Fight Test" ("I don't know where the sunbeams end/and the starlight begins/it's all a mystery"), the haunting "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21" about a robot developing emotions (don't cringe -- it's done wonderfully), the poignant time-travel song "All We Have is Now," the somewhat more forgettable "It's Summertime (Throbbing Orange Pallbearers" and "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell," and the fantastic, almost pleading "Are You a Hypnotist?".
But my favorite tracks may be "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots"; part one is a delightfully cheesy description of a karate girl who is battling the evil robots. ("Oh Yoshimi/they don't believe me/but you won't let/ those robots eat me!") The second part is a funny instrumental, the actual conflict itself, punctuated by Yoshimi's bloodcurdling shrieks and the sound of those destructive pink robots.
If you can't handle music that stretches the imagination, then this isn't your album. Some songs ("Do You Realize?") would fit easily into a different album. But many of them ("All We Have is Now," "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pts. 1 and 2," "One More Robot/Sympathy 300-21") have that slightly fantastical, science-fictiony feel. The music is fast and deftly-performed, with the surreal notes that the lyrics demand. The overall effect is fun, catchy, sweet and sometimes quie funny. (The only distracting element was the cheering and applause)
Most albums leave you unsatisfied, craving something indefinable, but "Yoshimi" didn't do that to me. When I finished the last track, I just hit "play" again and listened to the entire album a second time. Highly recommended, a pleasant quirky piece of work.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 June 2008
I was instantly captivated by the soaring vocals, lush harmonies and orchestrations, and sterling production of this their 11th album. On this album there are pop singles (the catchy yet wistful "Fight Test," the tongue-in-cheek title track), instrumentals (the aggressive "Part II" of the title track and the smooth & mellow, Grammy-winning "Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon") and even a prog rock number ("In the Morning of the Magicians") reminiscent of mid-1970's Yes.
The range of music on this record is astonishing. The pristine production values help the songs flow together and enhance the overall listening experience. Superficially a concept album about a Japanese girl who battles evil robots, "Yoshimi" is really a meditation about life and death, and the need for mortal humans to seize the moment. In many ways, it's a bookend to Radiohead's "OK Computer." Where Radiohead's brilliant work lamented the dehumanization of mankind and the rise of computers, "Yoshimi" glorifies the humanity in technology ("One more robot starts to feel...") and our ability to overcome machines of our making. The Flaming Lips have given us a profoundly beautiful and optimistic work of art, without forgetting to entertain us.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2008
I had been aware of The Flaming Lips for at least a year, but I only decided to buy one of their albums about three weeks ago. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots was the one that I chose. My initial reaction to the album was very positive, but it has continued to grow on me for the last three weeks.
The Flaming Lips are a weird but wonderful pop/rock band from America, who have constantly challenged themselves throughout their career, releasing many great albums, so I'm told. To describe this album's sound, I would say that it has a fairly poppy sound mixed with large amounts of psychadelia and space rock. I consider this album to be too experimental and complex to be called pure pop. The production is flawless and the band creates a wide sonic palette using synthesisers, electric and acoustic guitars, basslines, strings and drum machines. The effect is that the album sounds symphonic in an electronic way, the various electronic sounds lifting these heartfelt, endearing songs into space.
As soon as the opener Fight Test kicked in with its wonderful vocal melodies and acoustic guitar backed up by squelchy analog synths to create originality and a more psychadelic sound, I was blown away. The production made all of these beautifully crafted and layered sound very clear. However, the album then changed direction in the more subtle and almost ambient One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21, which uses ominous digital noise and relaxed piano chords to build a large amount of atmosphere, but also makes use of tempo changes for the song's optimistic chorus. This particular track has lyrics that ask the question, can robots learn to feel emotions? The album is packed with lyrical meanings, sung in an always heartfelt and whimsical way by singer Wayne Coyne. On a similar theme, there is the fairly daft but metaphorical tale of fighting evil machines in part 1 of the title track. This is an extremely catchy pop song with a chopped up acoustic guitar riff and bouncy drum machine. Part 2 of the Yoshimi suite is a noisy instrumental, meant to symnolise Yoshimi defeating the pink robots, as crazy sythesizer licks are placed alongside crashing drums and piercing shrieks.
After this, the album seems to shift gears lyrically, encouraging listeners to live life for the present and enjoy it while they can. This is most obvious in Do You Realize?? This is the album's biggest hit, which has a very grand symphonic sound and moving lyrics. However, I actually prefer the preceding song It's Summertime, the album's most beautiful and perhaps moving song, where Coyne sings, "Look outside, I know that you'll recognize it's summertime". This is perhaps telling us when we are depressed to realise that we are in fact living in our golden years (and yes, I do like Iron Maiden). In the Morning of the Magicians is a semi-epic with many beautiful sounds and a more complex song structure thrown in to make give the song a wistful, shifting feel, similar to its vocals and lyrics. There's also Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell, which has a great bassline, wonderful expansive synths, insectide rhythm and beautiful vocals. This then segues into the moody expansiveness of Are You a Hypnotist? This song has a very spacey feel and is another of my faves. All We Have Is Now is the album's weakest song, but it is by no means bad, and adds to the album's message of living life for the present. The closing instrumental, which won a grammy award, is incredible. The layering of sounds which both contrast and compliment each other make the perfect dreamy atmoshpere to end the album. In this track,and throughout the album, the bands ability to be so strange and creative but also accessible is astounding.
All in all, I am very glad I bought the album. The symphonic layering of electronic sounds, wonderful melodies, heartfelt vocals and lyrics and excellent songcraft make Yoshimi a truly brilliant and inventive album that no one should miss out on. Compare it to just about any pop on mtv today and you'll understand.
By the way, the album covers, both front and back are very cool.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2010
I purchased 'Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots' way back in 2002. I remeber rushing to my local (independent) record store on the morning of release (back in 2002 I had very little responsibilty and used to take my work holidays around great record releaes, sad I know) and finally getting my sweaty hands upon the follow-up to my favourite record of all time 'The Soft Bulletin' (beleive me, that is only slighty over-rating that beautiful peice of work). Anyway, I'll always remember the moment I placed the record into my player. The sweaty palms, the shortness of breath, the ceaseless pounding of my heart and the slight feeling of trepidation. I mean, seriously, how could this album possible live up to 1999's masterpeice.
'Yoshimi' is the only record ever which made me weep simultaniously for it's beauty and for it's faults. FAULTS!, I hear you scream. Yes, back in 2002 I thought Dave Fridman had killed my joy. The weird electronic sounds, the strange bleeps and the incessent noise, what had they done. They'd coated their beauty in static!!!!.
But I perservered with it anyway and now, a full eight years on, I see the majesty, the heartbreak, the wonder and the simple nature of 'Yosh' (by the end of this review I'll have shortened that to 'Y'). You see, I discovered that if you took away all the bleeps, the noise and the orchestra, and just had Wayne Coyne and an acoustic guitar, this album would still have more heart and beauty than a million Chris Martin's writing for a million years could ever muster. But if you added such strageness you also gained an extra 100 layers of beauty.
This, my friends, is the true beauty of 'Y'. It COULD be a simple folk record, it COULD be a simple pop release, it COULD be a freaky trip, but it is all of this and so much more. It IS majestic, it IS incredible, it IS faultless, and it IS timeless.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2002
How do you follow up The Soft Bulletin? Easy, you create a album based loosely around the concept of, well, a girl called Yoshimi battling pink robots and saving the world from destruction. Sounds mad? Yes, but it also sounds fantastic. And this is the Flaming Lips, who just don't have it in them to create songs about things that don't matter, they don't care about or aren't interesting or odd or challenging. So here they follow up The Soft Bulletin - science, mortality and loads of other things that probably went over my head - with this. The songs all hang together and tell a story, but it's not a nasty concept album. Because when you take away the concept, the songs should stand up on their own. On Yoshimi they do, regardless of the concept. A lot has been written about Do You Realize? - and quite rightly so, it's a joyous song about death that celebrates life. It's probably the single of the year, but it's debatable that it's the best song on the album. Brilliant from start to finish, Do You Realize? is just one of many, many highlights. Fans will have this already, so I really am preaching to the converted. Non-fans should love this, though. Yes, the song titles can scare people off - but one listen to this should melt even the flintiest of hearts. Constantly creative and challenging, it's also a wonderful album filled with great tunes. And, yes, she does save the planet - what else did you expect?