As an young man, I gravitated more to heavier music, in the vein of Slayer, Pantera, Cannibal Corpse, and the like. As I got older though, I discover all different types of sounds, and unless you want to remain stagnant and stuck in one spot, you have to give everything a chance. One of those early albums was the Flaming Lips’ “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.” Before this record they had been known more for “ She don’t use Jelly,” but by this point they had changed their sound in favor of a more experimental, dreamy, lush landscape. Before Pink Robots, they had proven themselves to be a band unique to themselves with albums like “ Clouds Taste Metallic,” “Zaireeka,” and the “ the Soft Bulletin,” among others. This is a band that is constantly producing results. Check out “ Race for the Prize” off of Bulletin, it’s one of the best alternative songs of the last thirty years.
The album opens with a type of reverb, almost like giant robots being called into action. I imagine a giant factory of Pink Robots being assembled, and finally, the day for war has come. Some of the lyrics suggest my theory, but when you’re dealing with this band, I find it better just to enjoy the overall chemistry of the song and just let it flow. Much in the same way Muse did back in the day, the band, composed of just three dudes from Oklahoma manage to craft a sound that sounds like it’s at least 2 more members. Wayne Coyne, the leader and head weirdo in this outfit, brilliantly weaves in and out of this first song. The overall album, while not a concept album, has the general feel of a proper concept album.
The whole album has this otherworldly feel to it. Especially on the second track “ One More Robot, Sympathy 3000 – 21.” I picture this happening on some very clean space ship floating through the galaxies, most likely after the destruction of our precious planet, either by Pink Robots or politicians ( Seriously, can’t you imagine the government sending out Pink Robots to control the masses?)
Anyway, the first song that’s pure sing along comes when the third song “ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part I” arrives, but it quickly enters part two amid explosions in the musical sense. It’s very upbeat, immediate, and quite terrifying. This album is fucking visual from start to finish, at least for me. The album is one of the best and most beautiful albums I’ve ever heard, and it’s genius still continues to build. This just isn’t the type of album you come across very often, and that should be celebrated. It’s even more of a feat that while this was going on, band member Steven Drozd was apparently in the slums of a matter Heroin addiction. This of course no one outside of the band's inner circle was even aware of.
One of the best songs of the entire album is without a doubt “ Are you a Hypnotist??” The drum beat, the texture of the background, and the amount of vocals all roll into one to create another mind blowing song. It’s not often that the second half of the album is better than the first, but this is an exception to that rule. If you listen to the track, it’s downtrodden sure, but the struggling vocals by Coyne and the epicness of the last minute of the song really drive the emotion home.
As a rule, you should always play the song “ It’s Summertime” during, you guessed it, the summer. It’s amazing to lay down in a field, and close your eyes. For a moment, all can be right. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to forget your problems and to think of all the beautiful wonders this world offers, even if it’s for a short time. This plays into the next song also. That song is “ Do You Realize?” Now, this song is equal parts hopeful and melancholy. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard in my life. I found myself playing this song a lot around the time my Grandmother left this world. It’s important to replace those sad,lonely feelings with one more joy filled. I highly doubt people who have died would want their loved ones to only think about how they were in the end. They’d rather you think about them how they were in their prime, not how everyone is near the end.
The album continues in this way of thought with “All We Have is Now.” It’s true. For a fruitful life you have to take everything in stride. Closing out the album is more of a free jam type song, and honestly it works wonders. This can be a heavy album to take in, topic wise, but if you open up your mind and are willing to go for the ride, it has bountiful rewards.
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Landon Murray is a music connooisseur who craves sounds of all shapes and textures. He's seen over 2000 bands and looks forward to welcoming you into his world of sound,
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