The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Cover Artwork)

The Flaming Lips

Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (2002)


I bought this album not really knowing what to expect. All I knew was that every major music critic loved it, and that they had a huge Internet fan following. I had no idea what their sound was like. Now, I admit, I didn't like it at first. I just didn't "get" it. I kept asking myself "this is what everyone's been talking about?" I thought it was just the same as Radiohead. (It's an acquired taste, for sure.)

But under all the apparent weirdness is one of the most creative, most innovative, most beautifully-crafted albums I've ever heard. This is pure ambition and pure fun. The Flaming Lips don't fall for any musical clichés, and can think up pretty much anything and make it sound "normal".

From opening to close, the CD is filled with addictive sounds and a crazy array of instruments. No two songs sound the same, and each one is completely memorable. "Fight Test" opens the disc up, and it's the best song to start things off. It's incredibly catchy and easy to take. Which is a good thing, when you consider what's to come. I also really enjoy the smooth pop of "In the Morning of the Magicians", "It's Summertime" (which, with its sweet whistles, and calm repetition, really "feels" like summer), the gangly "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell", "Are You a Hypnotist??" (a pleasantly gloomy tune), and every other song.

But my definite favorite highlights are "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots", parts one and two. Part one has wacky lyrics, infectious guitars and drums, and it's an all-around fun song. Part two is even more exciting. It's completely instrumental and represents the battle between Yoshimi and the pink robots. And it's down-right, great entertainment. My other favorite song is "Do You Realize??". Listen to that three times, and see what's going through your head. It's insanely original, more upbeat, and has wonderful lyrics.

To some people, this may just be obnoxious, nonsensical noise. But to me, the mind-boggling Flaming Lips deserve a lot of credit for trying something new. While I listen to this, I just forget everything else. It totally consumes me, and all I can think about is how talented these guys are. They slowly yet furiously pull you into their obscure, peculiar world filled with all sorts of wonderful harmonies, contagious melodies, and everything in between. It's powerfully original.

And that's punk to me.