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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.
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on 16 June 2009
When it hits, like some other reviewers, I will add to all the stars I leave 'dormant' here, and mark this album as something special, but for now, I shall assemble my camp at the foot of the false idols. I have no problem with being proven wrong. I like it. Right now this is amazingly uninteresting and dull. I am so looking forward to showing myself up and this being a real winner. It's happened before. It might take ten years, but...
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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.
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on 15 August 2002
With all my favourite records there always seems to be a story that goes with it and that makes up a part of why I love the album so much. No exception here. On first listen I liked the tunes but was unimpressed overall, being reminded of the Soft Bulletin... just a different bunch of sounds. However, I took it with me and 3 mates to Amsterdam for a week. None of them had heard it before, and one had never heard of the Lips before, but at the end of the week everyone vowed to buy it... and now they have. This record is simply majestic. The qualm remains that I'm not overly impressed with the music as such, but that is rendered irrelevant by the lyrics and Wayne's beautifully evocative voice. Every time the man sings a line, it makes me want to cry at the beauty of it. Yes, some tunes sound oddly familiar, like Yoshimi part 1, but when I first heard the record I said "I think this might be one of those albums that, if you keep listening to it, the tunes will stick and you'll forget what it reminded you of in the first place". I was right.
Anyway, back to the story. Now, we weren't in the hotel room for all that long, save for 3 magnificent magic mushroom experiences but we must have listened to this record twice every day. Everytime the first song starts, everyone felt an urge to sing along (something I've not known since I was 16), and this continued every time Wayne starts to sing. I only have two minor complaints... Yoshimi part 2 is one song I always skip and I try to never skip tracks but this is horrible. Also, I'm not sure of the title, but one of the later tracks while not bad just seems unnecessary - what you might call an album filler, which is a shame when you consider the superb quality of the other songs. Nevertheless, this album is still amazing. Once again Wayne's lyrics, often musing on scientific topics while seeming to possess no real scientific knowledge grab the heart and squeeze it tight... one memorable line is where he says that instead of worrying about saying all your goodbyes to your loved ones, just let them know you realise that life moves fast and it's hard to make the good things last. I'll just mention the line that always makes me laugh too..."Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me, but you won't let those robots eat me". Fantastic.
That holiday in Amsterdam was the best consecutive 7 days of my life, and it's great to have a record so good, that will always remind me of it.
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on 16 July 2002
There are two principal reasons to treat this album with suspicion. First, its predecessor, "the Soft Bulletin" was a career best, both artistically and commercially, and received such ecstatic praise that the Lips might have been expected to follow the lead of their kindred spirits Mercury Rev and release an overblown follow up.
Secondly, "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" has itself been, if anything, more warmly received and one could be forgiven for thinging that it could never match the weight of expectation.
Well fear not. Listening to "Yoshimi" is an enriching, affirming and uplifting experience.
The Lips have produced a work of great stature and seriousness which belies the apparent flippancy of the song titles (tame compared with their back catalogue but still, on occasion, the best since Captain Beefheart.)
On first hearing "Yoshimi"'s subtleties and richness of texture flatter to deceive. There is nothing as revolutionary or arresting as, say, Beefheart's "Trout Mask Replica", Talking Heads' "Remain in Light", Massive Attack's "Blue Lines" or Tricky's "Maxinquaye".
The album is relatively conventional melodically. What justifies its claim for greatness is the tapestry of effects. Maudlin guitar lines, reminiscent of REM at times, are fleshed out with squelches and whirrs of electronica, trip hop percussion, triumphant bells, spiralling bass lines and much more.
To this end the album calls to mind Lambchop's "Is A Woman" but has a greater variance of tone and is achieved with just a trio of Wayne Coyne, Michael Ivins, Steven Droyd, and producer Dave Fridmann the last two of whom deserve especial credit for shaping the spectrum of sound.
Much has been made of the uplifting tone of the songs. This is inescapable but not absolute. Listening to single "Do You Realize" makes one realize that the Lips have achieved a rare fusion of pathos and celebration. The most awful insights into life give birth to wonder and optimism.
Anyone who prefers his or her musical communality in bombastic, simplistic measures should look to the journeymen Gallagher brothers instead.
As the penultimate song says "All we have is now." A new career best and safe bet for critics' album of the year, the Flaming Lips' time is now. Take them to your heart.
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on 11 July 2002
"Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" by the Flaming Lips is probably going to be among most of the respectable "album of the year 2002" lists by december. And it would be well deserved, for this album is utter insane genius. This album is a logical follow up to 1999's "The Soft Bulletin" and it takes the ideas they were bringing to live on that album and take them even further.
The opener, "Fight Test" is a beautiful, happy ballad, Flaming Lips-style, and you'll just smile as soon as you're into it, you feel good listening to it, a song has not moved in that way since I first heard "A Spoonful Weighs A Ton" from the Lips' last album. The two-part title song is also very noteworthy. The first part is a pop song and it transformes into a beautiful instrumental soup, served to perfection. I could talk about every single track on this album and praise them as much as I could, but I don't have the time to write a 5000-word review. And besides, who would ever read it? The album's sound is probably the phattest i've heard in years, this sounds like it was not made on earth. The Flaming Lips have done it again, made a totally brilliant album, which always puts a smile on your face! :)
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on 17 July 2002
The Flaming Lips after their last release "The Soft Bulletin" and with "Yoshimi" are a band that have now realised their creative peak. Along with "soulmates" Mercury Rev these two bands are producing the most beautiful music of their lengthy careers.
Yoshimi progresses to new dimensions of trance like melodica with the futuristic subject of the robot battles as on the title track.This is coupled with the inevitability of death contained on other numbers such as the anthem "Do you Realise??". Singer Wayne Coyne's voice has never sounded more fragile or lovely on such songs as "In the Morning of the Magicians". Multi instrumentalist Steve Drozd overlays each number with electronic soundscapes to give fresh and original feel to each number.
If your looking for a band that are genuinely original in this day and age check out the Flaming Lips. If you loved the Soft Bulletin this the natural progression.
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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.
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on 22 November 2002
The Flaming Lips hava album worth of off-the-cuff psychadelic rock, so the too-though-out argument surely can't stick. I for one wouldn't have objected to an album carrying on the beautiful computer landscape sounds of The Soft Bulletin, and the Lips deliver here. Yoshimi stands out as being a bit more conistent that The Soft Bulletin; Fight Test is a wonderful parody, if you can call it that, but I like this album because it IS well thought-out. Do You Realise is beautiful, and wonderfully mixed, like the whole album - 'In The Morning of The Magiciands' and 'Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell' are especially fantastic. This album is easily a contender for album of the year, and stands easily the equal of Bulletin, altthough for the moment I prefer this incarnation. OK, so they're carrying on a general theme, style or whatever, but they'r almost unique in pop today and albums of this quality and imagination are few and far between. 5 STARS.
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on 13 July 2002
The only concept album about death and the joy of life, incorporating a small Japanese girl's struggle against some evil robots that you'll ever need. Astonishingly - better than 1999's (equally essential) Soft Bulletin, mainly because Wayne Coyne's songwriting just gets better and better.
And 'In The Morning Of The Magicians' could well, in typical Amazon reviewer style, be the best song in the world ever.
Stop messing with fey navel-gazers like Mercury Rev and soak up something truly transcendental.
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