Like The Soft Bulletin, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots could do with some decontextualizing.
Even a decade after its release, it seems this record is everywhere.
When I bought The Soft Bulletin at a record shop in Grand Rapids, the owner told me, “I’ve gotten so sick of Yoshimi. They play it in every bar in town every night.” VH1 used Do You Realize?? in station advertisements for YEARS.
The Flaming Lips just turned it into a musical, for crying out loud.
But strip away the overplay, the ambition, and the confetti cannons, and at the center of all of those layers, you will find a charmingly spaced out record that’s closest relative is Bowie’s Space Oddity.
Between the singles and DJed robot fights, you’ll find beautifully understated tracks like “One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21”, “In the Morning of the Magicians,” and “All We Have is Now,” all of them filled with lush synth strings, acoustic guitars, and bass lines McCartney wishes he could have thought up.
As for the singles themselves, forget the Cat Stevens lawsuit and the million times you’ve heard them, and they are all as good as anything the Lips have ever put out. There is not a bad moment this entire album. And as much crap as people want to give about making the populist choice, this is both my favorite Flaming Lips album and their best.