The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
Dec 8, 2022
(WARNING: Extremely cringe life stories ahead, if you want to hear about the album itself, there will be a line somewhere that'll mark where the true review starts.)

Well, this is it, then. If you're fairly familiar with me and my music taste, you can see I generally gravitate to metal. Sure, I dabble my toes into some other genres, but, as much as I hate to admit it, I'm a huge metalhead. Knowing that, my praise of this album seems somewhat jarring, especially when compared to my other choices of favorite albums. I mean, my favorite album is a Neo-Psychedelic Pop record from 2002, and my second favorite album is an Alternative Metal record from 2005. Again, odd, right? Well, I suppose I should explain how I found this album, and why that's even important.

Before late 2021, I was never really into music. Sure, Doom Eternal peaked my interest and made me fall in love with metal, and Will Wood had introduced me to music that wasn't relegated to soundtracks or fan-songs, but Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots was the first album I ever listened that truly made me want to explore the realm of music. I listened to this album when my uncle of all people turned on Fight Test. After listening to that song alone, I wanted more. I listened to the album in full sitting, and I loved all of it. Over the course of a couple of months, I kept listening to the album again, and again, and again.

Summer, 2022. My family had traveled to Egypt during the break, and a month or so before we left, I slowed down on listening to music. We had just arrived at the airport, and after getting everything settled, it was time to go find our place to stay. We had a mini-bus that would take us straight to the apartment we were supposed to stay at, but my uncle was also there with his own car. Of course, since I hadn't seen him in months, I decided to ride along with him. We talked for a long time, after all, it was a 3 hour drive. Afterwards, though, he decided to play Fight Test once more, the song that started my music journey in the first place. It felt heavenly listening to it again.

Another very important song on this album is Do You Realize?? This song was the first time I felt that music could talk to me, that it could teach me something. I live in a very secure and safe suburban county, and my family is stable, life is good. Do You Realize?? showed me that life was no joke, and soon after I heard that song, my great aunt died. May god rest her soul, and going to Egypt again and not seeing her there felt odd. Every time I stepped into the residence that used to be her home, it just felt so empty without her.

I know I'm jumping from topic to topic about my personal life, but this album is the single most important piece of entertainment I've consumed since I played Super Smash Bros for the Wii U or when I first watched Monsters Inc. I really felt my original review didn't do this album justice, and I'm here today to rectify that mistake.

The Review Begins . . . Now.

On my journey to review this album again, I actually did research. Yes, I did actual, real RESEARCH. I felt that, as much as I love the album, I felt I was missing something about its true meaning. So, I went digging, and found that this album is a saddening metaphor, and it wasn't what I expected. The meaning of the album is quite vague, especially after the 4th track, but the most popular belief is that Yoshimi, a young woman, is fighting cancer, and the Pink Robots personify cancer. The band members seem to have different storylines and interpretations of this, but the point that always stands is that most of the tracks are metaphors about love, loss, growing up, that sort of stuff. It may seem like somewhat of a generic message to tell, especially in an album of this nature, but it's presented in such a profound and interesting way that I can't help but adore it. I'll get deeper into the themes and lyrics of each song when I review them individually, but for now, I'll just say you should probably research it if you feel like it, there's a ton of interesting stories.

With no knowledge on the rest of The Flaming Lip's discography, I can't exactly tell you how this album is different or similar than the ones that came before it, but I'm just here to tell you about this album and this album only. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is a Psychedelic Pop record, and by nature, all the songs are dreamy, beautifully atmospheric experiences that carry you through the album. The production is one of the reasons this album works as well as it does. Every aspect about the way this album sounds is pitch perfect, there's this feeling of weightlessness that makes you feel like you're floating throughout the whole thing. The electronic elements of this album make me so happy inside, they feel completely organic whiles still having that out-there energy that makes it feel robotic. The instruments themselves are very well produced too, the acoustic guitars sound great, and the bass is wonderful too, it has this moody feel that really makes it stand out from the rest of the light instruments. The drums are great here too, and I especially like the snare sound, it's surprisingly ear catching and has this nice crunch to it that makes it audible amongst the sea of other things going on. Finally, the vocals are great, Wayne Coyne provides wonderful leading vocals, and the rest of the band has fantastic backing vocals that really add to the atmosphere the album builds. I could go much further and explain how all of these elements together have brilliant potential for those, "moments", but to get to that, we have to get to the tracks themselves.

Actually, before we get to that, I'd like to talk about the album cover, because there's so much to interpret there. It's a little abstract, but there are so many little details that I love. There are little things blooming from the robot and Yoshimi's heads, the robots legs have legs and arms, and there's the numbers 2 and 5 written on the walls. It's very interesting, and it's one of the most underrated aspects of the record.

Fight Test: As you would expect from the introduction to this review, I think very, VERY highly of this song, and I don't think I've ever done it the justice it deserves. So, I'll just keep it blunt: Fight Test is one of the single greatest songs ever made, bordering on THE greatest song ever made. It's a song that singlehandedly changed the way I perceive music as a whole, and I can't thank it enough for that. However, that doesn't necessarily explain why I adore the song as much as I do, so I suppose I should go more in depth. The lyrics in this song are everything to me. Sure, they may seem somewhat on the nose, but man, these really hit me in the feels.
"'Cause I'm a man, not a boy, and there are things you can't avoid, you have to face them, when you're not prepared to face them."
Again, it seems cliché and corny, but it's executed with such passion and emotion that it just works. Aside from that, the song is deceptively simple in the way it's played, but that simplicity is perfect for an opening track. One element I've always appreciated about this song is the sense of progression, the song starts out quietly, with the acoustic guitar being the thing that ties the track together. As the song goes on, however, the song just keeps adding layers, keyboards, backing vocals, and more electronic bits. It just feels so real, I truly adore this song with all of my heart.

One More Robot / Sympathy 3000-21: One More Robot is a fantastic continuation of the foundation Fight Test set up. While it retains some of the same elements the previous song did, it has more tonal changes and feels more matured, if that makes any sense. The lyrics in this one are really powerful, I wont go too in depth, but it tackles artificial emotion and other things of that sort, and they're pretty powerful. Despite that, though, the song progresses pretty slowly, clocking in at 5 minutes long, but the song is such a journey that it feels like 3. This song just has plenty of those moments that make people fall in love with music, such as the industrial, almost sinister sounding intro, to just the chorus as a whole. However, this song's ending is one of the single best moments in music history. It starts out like the intro, but then an acoustic guitar comes in and plays for a little while. After a moment, the bass comes in, and then the psychedelic elements hit you. It truly sounds heavenly, and its a feeling I can't describe using words. (That feeling is not being high I swear-)

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1: The first part of this album's title track is yet another masterfully crafted track, wow, I wonder why I like this album so much? Jokes aside, this song leans closer to Fight Test's formula, staying to the simple side and just trying to be as catchy and memorable as possible, and, well, it works really damn well. Despite the somewhat depressing notion of the lyrics being a metaphor for a young woman fighting cancer, the overall vibe of the song keeps it from being too depressing, and it makes it feel like she's winning. The chorus is bubbly feeling to it that's really enjoyable, and I really love the electronic sounds in this song too, they legitimately sound like a robot, and I think it adds a great amount of depth to the song. Yet again, this track goes in crunchy tier.

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 2: As much as I like this song, I will admit, it's probably one of the weaker songs on the albums. It's an energetic break from the rest of the tracks, and it's a completely instrumental song. I don't have very much to say, it's an entertaining ride nonetheless, though. The "vocals" are kind of deranged, especially Yoshimi's screams . . . Jesus.

In the Morning of the Magicians: The previous song perfectly transitions into this one, and whaddya know, it's another brilliantly crafted, masterpiece if a song. I feel like, even though I'm just 5 songs in, I'm running out of things to say. I will say, this song flows so well, it's like a stream of water, it honestly feels like a magician is hypnotizing me. I wont ignore this song's slightly more somber tone, it feels so much more mature then everything that came before it. I just interpret it as a man questioning love and what he's done with his life, of course there are so many ways to interpret the songs on this album, but that's where I feel it stands right now. The applause at the end feels so gratifying, despite it seeming kind of abstract and out of nowhere, kind of like the review of this song. There's so many little details that I couldn't possibly point out, so I think I'll just leave you with that.

Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell: Despite being a Psychedelic Pop record, and despite its usually cheery instrumentals, I've neglected to mention that this album gets pretty dark when it wants to. Sure, we've seen some fairly somber lyrics and slow instrumentals, but this song is the first of the album to really bring the darkness out, which is really exemplified by the guitar chord strum at different intervals in the song. It's tuned differently than any other instrument of the album, it legitimately sounds like what I would imagine a little piece of hell reaching out into the real world would sound like. It's a really cool way of showing that the album isn't afraid to get dark. The song itself is fantastic too, what a surprise. It starts out a lot more ambient then the other songs, but near the middle, it gets lightened up, and more and more instruments start to pile on to create this really cool feeling of progression that I mentioned in Fight Test.

Are You a Hypnotist??: Hot damn that sample of a dark choir they use in the intro is cool as hell. One thing I like about this song is that the main vocalist's voice is lower in this song. Usually, he keeps a cheery or somber feel in a lighter voice, but here he just lets out. The verses in this song are great, they're ambient in the way the first half of the last song was, and they're so good here. The chorus, though, the chorus is where we get to see the song shine. Although it's somewhat short for a chorus, the vocals are utterly addictive here, the somber lyric, "Waving your powers . . . Around." is just ear candy. The song's lyrics also touch on deception and lies, which is an odd but very cool topic to tackle in an album like this. This song also highlights the awesome backing vocals, they really help the tone of the darker tracks.

It's Summertime: I'll be honest, It's Summertime was one of the tracks off the album I was least familiar with, so I was basically going into this song with a fresh mind, and yeah, of course it's great. I love the acoustic guitars here, they really add to the atmosphere along with the atmospheric droning. The vocals are great here too, the vocalist seems held back, and he speaks in this slow, sludge-like mannerism that I think is really cool. Aside from that though, it's one of the weaker songs on the album, which really says a lot about this album's absolute perfection.

Do You Realize??: Do You Realize is one of the greatest pieces of entertainment ever created, and I think that sentence alone does the song dirty. The real main show of the song is the lyrics, which, while very simple, are gut-wrenching, both in their nature and in their execution. "Do you Realize?, That everyone, you know, someday, will die. And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know you realize that life goes fast, it's hard to make the good things last . . ." Like, no, I'm not crying, the sun just got in my eyes. It's such a magical track in every sense of the word, and my feeble explanations cannot do this song right. Every single thing about this song just clicks, I really have no more things I could say.

All We Have Is Now: Like It's Summertime, All We Have Is Now was a song that I was less familiar with, and it's a really good song, what did you expect? It has one of the most unique tones I've seen from this album, there's this keyboard that repeats, it just goes on, and on, and on. It awakens this feeling of nostalgia that I have a feeling isn't there. Another thing that elevates this song is some legitimately chilling backing vocals, they appear sometimes and say in their monotone voice stuff like, "We're not going to make it.", contrasting the lines the lead singer says. It's so wild and odd that I can't help but love it.

Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon (Utopia Planitia): The closer to this album is one of the oddest songs I've ever heard, and it's fantastic. The guitar tone from Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell makes a return here, and like the second part of the title track, it's completely instrumental. It feels like everything built upon in the previous songs is compiled into this surreal, dreamlike balloon ride. There's an instrument that sounds exactly like a trumpet, and while it's really jarring, it's also kind of awesome. The weirdness of this song reminds me of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard in a way. I love this song, but I will say, it's kind of an odd way to close the album, and hence the album closing, so does this review.

Thank you so much for reading this review, this took me at least 5 hours straight to even write, but I'm determined to find an album with even more content to talk about, so please recommend some to me. For now though, make sure you REALIZE, and have a fantastic day.

PhobixTheGuy's Tags
1 Comment
Beautiful review mate, will def give this album a listen when I get the chance.
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