Oct 27 2010

The Top 50 Albums of the 2000s – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Today I continue a series of posts dedicated to the best albums of the last decade, posting analysis of one album at a time.

49. The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

There’s plenty of works to choose from, and yes, there are die-hards who would claim several alternatives, but for many Flaming Lips fans, the “favorite album” answer is more or less split right down the middle between 1999’s masterpiece The Soft Bulletin and the 2002 follow-up Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. And while the former isn’t eligible for this list (check the release date, yo!), I still am partial to the latter, which was, at the prime age of 16, my first introduction to these Oklahoma City darlings.

I suppose you could say the two go hand in hand – Bulletin being the Rubber Soul to Yoshimi‘s Revolver.  But the comparison kind of ends there.  Because while the Liverpool lads went from Dylan-esque to full-on studio experimentation and reinvention, the Lips took the celestial sounds of their newfound popcraft to a more consistent level.  Sure, the experimentation is all here, the sonic whooshes and blips and beeps and crunchy electronic noises found on previous works, but here Wayne Coyne’s earnestness is at the forefront, and usually accompanied by a solid backing of beautiful sounds.

Take the acoustic foundation of the album’s highlights (of which there are many) – “Ego Tripping At the Gates of Hell,” “Do You Realize,” and the title track all have memorable strumming to provide a background for Coyne’s honest, revealing croon.  He takes the topics discussed previously to a deeper level, as heard on the classic aforementioned tearjerker “Do You Realize.”  Love, life, and the universe are all taken to task here with sentimental, trademark sonic flourishes to bask in while you ponder.

Upon its release, much like the Soft Bulletin, Yoshimi was compared to the latest effort from Radiohead.  Much of the comparison was the electronic experimentation used, and the stark differences in mood; one reviewer even described the album as music that Radiohead would make if “Thom Yorke believed in God.”  In retrospect, these comparisons seem apt for the time, but no more, because the brilliance that is Yoshimi, made by a band who had already been blowing minds for two decades, is in a league of its own.

The Flaming Lips – Fight Test

The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt.1

The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize?