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on 26 October 2003
Beautiful, fantastic, playful, like nothing on Earth. I Love The Flaming Lips, these Oklohoman oddballs have entered my heart like an everlasting love kissing me with their crazy, space music contemplating love, death, boredom, war, loss, sadness, beauty and most other things like a Dark Side Of The Moon for the generation of the microscooter, Hello Kitty backpacks and grunge, but no jazzy progisms just beautiful chiming guitars, weird time changes, buzzing noise and the weirdly wonderful words of my king WAYNE COYNE! It would sound eccentric (which I am) to explain but if you like Welsh crazymen Super Furry Animals buy in faith but still nothing sounds like this. I saw them on the 24th October, it was the best 1hr 30mins of my life- like the coming of the year 2000 but you were intoxicated by the beautiful sound, all the Soft Bulletin's symphonic swells, piano bursts, great guitars frying space sound great. THIS LP IS LIFE CHANGING! Also Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots is similarly fantastic, this is a message beamed from a planet of geometric clouds, bees kissing and hymns for mathematicans and if you're smart you'll buy a rocket and blast off now.
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on 28 March 2003
A view common to most Flaming Lips fans is that The Soft Bulletin represents their crowning achievement, one which I'm afraid I don't share. I first bought their 'Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots' album and within a matter of days it was decided as the best album I'd ever heard. Yet after repeatedly reading that it wasn't as good as the album at hand I decided to buy it.
First things first, there were no surprizes in that this album is sheer brilliance on a disc. The opening track "race for the prize" questions the need for dedication and faith in science. It combines amazing musicality with brilliantly insightful vocal melodies and some of the best lyrics around. The rest of the album explores the possibility that Science and Life derived from the same uncontainable love that everybody feels at some point in their lives. The album also (with scientific logic in my view) explores the hows and whys of the creation and need for this love.
The production of the album can't be faulted either, Dave Friddmann doing a typically superb job, with every nuance of musical detail on the disc. And Wayne Coyne's voice is simply magnificent, highlighted on the track "a spoonful weighs a ton".
But (and there had to be one), for all that I can't help but question this belief that it isn't surpassed by Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. There's a sense of maturity in the latter that just isn't quite present on The Soft Bulletin. And something about the way the songs on Yoshimi flow into eachother makes the album as a whole more tangible and enjoyable, and makes it feel more complete in its interpretation. If you're new to the lips I'd definitely recomment you first buy the Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots album, if you like what you hear give this one a try.
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on 21 June 2000
The spirit of prog rock lives on with The Flaming Lips. From unwieldy titles ('Psychiatric Explorations of the Fetus with Needles' from 'Clouds Taste Metallic')to their four CD set, 'Zaireeka', which was intended to be played simultaneously on four stereos, their ideas have been grand or over-indulgent. Fortunately, 'The Soft Bulletin' lacks 20 minute guitar solos (in fact, guitars have a low key role) but it is a concept album of sorts.Ostensibly the songs are about science, maths and space but on another level it continues Wayne Coyne's focus on the big themes: life, love and death.
Coyne's voice could easily be dismissed as whining, nasal and irritating but it has a teetering-on-the-edge quality matched only by Daniel Johnston; it is significant that the two instrumentals ('The Observer' and 'Sleeping on the Roof') are the driest and least satisfying tracks on 'The Soft Bulletin'. While it lacks the continual full-blast pop dynamics of 'Clouds Taste Metallic', Dave Fridmann's organised production provides compensations. The break for a solitary guitar and restrained orchestral sounds in 'Suddenly Everything Has Changed' and the abrupt shift during 'The Spark That Bled' heighten the impact of these songs. In contrast, 'The Gash', with choral effects on the vocals and thundering piano, falls prey to bombast.
'Feeling Yourself Disintegrate' survives a marching rhythm to convey the title's emotional state. 'Race for the Prize', about scientists searching for a cure but with an emphasis on their ordinary human qualities, and 'Waitin' for a Superman' are amongst their most immediate pop songs. While The Flaming Lips have not discovered a cure for cancer or communicated with aliens, they are producing music beyond the aspirations of ordinary mortals.
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on 1 December 2006
Having read some of the bad reviews her, I thought I had to add a comment.

The Soft Bulletin, quite simply is a superb collection of songs and music. If it's not your 'cup of tea' then by all means say so, but that does not make it bad.

This album is absolutely full of emotion, and every song is honest. It's not 'bubblegum' it's genuine. I have heard peopl compare this to the Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds', and yes this is pushing a 3 piece to the limit, and often beyond. But thankfully the Flaming lips regard the album as the priority and not if you can play it live. Their live shows are amazing but the albums are even better!

This album is for me the closest I have found to perfection. I can listen to it over and over again. 'Feeling yourself disintergrate' is simply amazing, whilst 'The Gash' made the hairs on my neck stand on end.

Fully reccomended, but give it a few listens!
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on 13 March 2001
As a witness to their 2000 Glastonbury performance - complete with fake blood, hand puppets and video projections of the Teletubbies - I can pay testimony to how great the Flaming Lips are. But unlike many choreographed boy-band facsimiles, their live performance doesn't belie poor music. In fact, The Soft Bulletin is a psychedelic marvel, blending together the best bits of Captain Beefheart and the Beach Boys. It's an album that works on its own internal logic, as demonstrated on the epic opener Race For The Prize, which places two scientists' raison d'etres' as "theirs is to win, if it kills them". Other highlights include the tender Waitin' For A Superman, What Is The Light?, and the cosmic A Spoonful Weighs A Ton, a song only improved upon when heard in sync with Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, La-La and Po. Lead singer Wayne Coyne isn't the greatest vocalist in the world, but his high-pitched warble somehow works, just as the use of theramin and dinner gongs work in their live shows. Buy this album now: it'll take your mind to another dimension.
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on 24 May 2004
Before Cat Deeley and that blond girl that was on celebrity fame academy started to Confess to a love of Yoshimi Battles the Pink robots the Flaming lips were equaly fantastic, possibly more so. The Soft Bulletin sounds like it's from another planet, the band sound as if they're soundtracking a film concieved by an alien lifeform of incomprehensible intelegence manifesting itself as a buble of pure thought. No other band could make this album, even if they wrote a tune as good as Race for the prize or Waiting for Superman, They wouldn't know what to do with it. What lyrics do you put with songs like that? What do you want the drums to do? Thier normal human heads would explode.
The best thing about the Soft Bulletin is that it dosen't get lost in it's own wierdness and forget about making good songs. Feeling yourself disintegrate is one of the most beautiful songs ever written yet they still manage to make it one of the most original pieces of music you'll ever hear and the Gash is mindblowing but at the same time, very moving. (Don't ever pass up the oportunity to see them live By the way)The only possible fault with the album is that singles Race for the prize and waiting for Superman are on twice, I advise you to skip the first versions of each song if you only want to listen to them once at a time.
Other than that, buy it...twice and keep one copy to shove in old peoples faces when they say that everything's been done before. And if you need more Yoshimi Battles the pink Robots is just as good and a bit more radio friendly (By comparison)
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on 20 August 2006
What a great Kaliedoscope of sound this is! We expect this from these guys anyway but for me, this record really goes above and beyond the call of duty. With the Flaming Lips, I actually begin by more or less disliking each record; they are not the most instant of bands (unless you happen to be seeing them live in which case you will already be converted!) but persistence really pays of and, much like their friends Mercury Rev, they make albums with great longevity. This is an album you can make friends with!

If you are interested in listening to something a little further out into space than traditional guitar/bass/drums then give these guys a go: the quality of ideas here is most impressive. However, it is the bravery of emotion that will zero in on your heart and take it over. What a great album, what a GREAT band.
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on 22 June 2005
Let's all be honest with ourselves here, The Flaming Lips started off as quite a bad band. Their early material was average at best, but mostly bad. Then in the early 90s, they stepped up a gear and began releasing some great stuff. Yet none of their albums were astounding or worthy of 'classic' status...
...until they released The Soft Bulletin.
This is unlike anything you've ever heard before. Every track here is oozing with the 'lips creative juices with layers upon layers of zany noise all moulding together to create one euphoric soundscape. Wayne Coyne's singing might not be too great, but his lyrics are without a doubt some of the most original ever written. Unlike many of todays new artists, Coyne doesn't sing vaguely about depression or whatever BS, he goes in-depth and uses double-meanings in just around all of his songs.
The obvious highlight on this CD is the out of this world Race For The Prize, which upon hearing, I stop everything I'm doing and grasp my heart. Words cannot describe how touching this song is, listen and you will see.
There are plenty of other phenomenal tracks on this cd though, including the acoustic yet electronic Spark That Bled, the sombre Waitin' For A Superman which perfectly describes modern day living, and the abrasive Feeling Yourself Disintergrate. These tracks alone are worth the asking price, but everything else on here is gold too!
The Soft Bulletin is what you'd call a modern day classic. The songwriting here is on par with some of the stuff The Beatles were doing during the last half of their career. And even though this piece of art isn't perfect, I can't point out anything wrong with it. Listening to this album, for me, was a life-changing experience and I'm sure it will be for you too. Buy it. Buy it now.
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on 20 December 2015
I love this album. Why dont some people see how special it is? Its saying something beautiful and profound about existence. Its about living joyfully in the face of something blah blah blah!!! I dont know what im saying here!! All i know is this album speaks to me. Its funny deep and emotional. I love the flaming lips. Anyone who doesnt like the flaming lips is just plain boring!
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on 17 June 2002
I bought this after hearing it in a bookshop - the only time I've ever been compelled to ask the assistant what music he was playing in the shop!
Since then I've played it back to back so many times, I just can't get enough. The lyrical content is truly inspired - songs about a struggling superman, putting away the vegetables, and bugs splattering over your windscreen! And the melodic material is simply beautiful. The harmonies on "Buzzin'", "Waitin' for a superman" are fantastic.
There are also plenty of groove based songs, "What is the Light?" "The Spark That Bled" and "Buzzin'" standing out in particular. Coupled with jangly guitars (never overdone) and lush string and keyboard arrangements, this album should definitely be in your collection.
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