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Alternative & Indie - Released May 13, 2002 | Warner Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
After the symphonic majesty of The Soft Bulletin, the Flaming Lips return with Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, a sublime fusion of Bulletin's newfound emotional directness, the old-school playfulness of Transmissions From the Satellite Heart, and, more importantly, exciting new expressions of the group's sentimental, experimental sound. While the album isn't as immediately impressive as the equally brilliant and unfocused Soft Bulletin, it's more consistent, using a palette of rounded, surprisingly emotive basslines; squelchy analog synths; and manicured acoustic guitars to craft songs like "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21," a sleekly melancholy tale of robots developing emotions, and "In the Morning of the Magicians," an aptly named electronic art rock epic that sounds like a collaboration between the Moody Blues and Wendy Carlos. Paradoxically, the Lips use simpler arrangements to create more diverse sounds on Yoshimi, spanning the lush, psychedelic reveries of "It's Summertime"; the instrumental "Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon"; the dubby "Are You a Hypnotist?"; and the barely organized chaos of "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 2," which defeats the evil metal ones with ferocious drums, buzzing synths, and the razor sharp howl of the Boredoms' Yoshimi. Few bands can craft life-affirming songs about potentially depressing subjects (the passage of time, fighting for what you care about, good vs. evil) as the Flaming Lips, and on Yoshimi, they're at the top of their game. "Do You Realize??" is the standout, so immediately gorgeous that it's obvious that it's the single. It's also the most obviously influenced by The Soft Bulletin, but it's even catchier and sadder, sweetening such unavoidable truths like "Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?" with chimes, clouds of strings, and angelic backing vocals. Yoshimi features some of the sharpest emotional peaks and valleys of any Lips album -- the superficially playful "Fight Test" is surprisingly bittersweet, while sad songs like "All We Have Is Now" and "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell" are leavened by witty lyrics and production tricks. Funny, beautiful, and moving, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots finds the Flaming Lips continuing to grow and challenge themselves in not-so-obvious ways after delivering their obvious masterpiece. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 15, 1995 | Warner Records

Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For
The same extraordinary madness that infected the best work of Brian Wilson rears its head on the shimmering and melodic Clouds Taste Metallic, a masterful collection which completes the Flaming Lips' odyssey into the pop stratosphere. The Pet Sounds comparisons are obvious -- two of the highlights are titled "This Here Giraffe" and "Christmas at the Zoo" -- yet not unfair; like Brian Wilson, Wayne Coyne has refined his unique vision into something both highly personal and powerfully universal. Similarly, while Coyne's lyrics remain as acid-damaged and inscrutable as ever, his densely constructed songs convey emotional complexities far beyond the scope of their head-case titles ("Psychiatric Explorations of the Fetus With Needles," "Guy Who Got a Headache and Accidentally Saves the World"); galvanized by equal parts newfound maturity and childlike wonderment, Clouds Taste Metallic is both the Flaming Lips' most intricate and most irresistible work. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 27, 2015 | Warner Records

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
Even though Clouds Taste Metallic is generally regarded as a great album, it's always been somewhat dwarfed by the more aspiring outings in the Flaming Lips' vast, confounding catalog. The album never had an iconic, instantly recognizable hit single on the level of "She Don't Use Jelly" or "Do You Realize??," nor was it as preposterously ambitious as Zaireeka (not to mention the group's later releases that experimented with the very idea of physical media formats), and it certainly didn't receive the overwhelming critical praise that the Lips' 1999 masterpiece The Soft Bulletin did. Clouds was the final Lips album to feature guitarist Ronald Jones, who had joined the band prior to their excellent major-label debut Hit to Death in the Future Head (1992), and it was the final recording to present the Flaming Lips as a guitar-driven band, before they began exploring more orchestral and experimental arrangements and incorporating electronic instruments. Of course, by no means was Clouds a standard rock album; as with any of their albums, they played around with conventional song structure and form. All of the songs on Clouds were three or four minutes long, but they didn't always have obvious hooks. Despite a few catchy numbers such as "This Here Giraffe" and "Christmas at the Zoo," it was hard to imagine any of the album's songs becoming radio staples. Nevertheless, the album was significant for heading toward the Brian Wilson-inspired melodies and arrangements that would be fully explored with their later albums, as well as lyrical themes commonly found in the group's later songs such as prevailing through hopelessness and facing the pressure of having to save the world. Clouds still holds up as an incredible batch of songs, adding up to far more than just a mere transitional album. Two decades after the album's release, the Lips revisited it with a deluxe three-CD (or five-LP) edition titled Heady Nuggs 20 Years After Clouds Taste Metallic: 1994-1997 (not to be confused with a 2011 vinyl box set called Heady Nuggs: The First 5 Warner Bros. Records 1992-2002). Much like the group's pair of 2002 releases on Restless Records that chronicled their early output, Heady Nuggs is loaded with material from other releases from the same time period, in addition to unreleased recordings. The most exciting inclusion is Providing Needles for Your Balloons, a fantastic 1994 EP intended as a stopgap release between Transmissions from the Satellite Heart and Clouds. The EP featured loose, casual recordings of Transmissions album cuts (including a gloriously blown-out version of "Slow Nerve Action," inexplicably recorded live on a Top 40 radio station), a nifty B-side called "Jets, Pt. 2 (My Two Days as an Ambulance Driver)," covers of Suicide's Alan Vega and a then barely known Bill Callahan, as well as a boombox-recorded grandiose piano ballad called "Put the Waterbug in the Policeman's Ear," which foreshadowed the group's later sound. Augmenting Providing Needles on this collection is The King Bug Laughs, a further collection of rarities focusing primarily on covers, which range in origin from Bowie, Bolan, and Lennon to less obvious influences such as Rolf Harris. Rounding out Heady Nuggs is Psychiatric Explorations of the Fetus with Needles, a previously unreleased live album recorded in Seattle in 1996. Typical of a Lips concert of any era, it's unhinged, messy, and noisy, with the group's mega-trippy songs drowning in explosive guitar effects. The set's title track (a cut from Clouds) is stretched out from its original three-minute length to seven, followed by a few minutes of fanatical applause while the audience anticipated an encore. © Paul Simpson /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 11, 2020 | Warner Records

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The Flaming Lips' catalog includes songs about pink robots invading the planet and drummer Steven Drozd's lie about a staph infection in his hand (it was heroin-related, not a spider bite). But the band may have topped their usual out-there factor with American Head, their 16th album. Written after the 2017 death of Tom Petty, it's a fantasy concept: imagined lost songs recorded by Petty and his early '70s band Mudcrutch, if they'd taken drugs supplied by Lips frontman Wayne Coyne's brother's drug-dealing friends. It also weaves in Coyne's own memories of his youth in Tulsa, OK. If you can suspend your disbelief—and if you're listening to a Flaming Lips record, that likely isn't a problem—it's a free-floating trip of spaced-out bliss. All that floatiness means it's not their catchiest (and this is a band capable of writing a killer hook). But it is lovely, laden with emotionally charged strings and Drozd's commanding percussion. "Will You Return When You Come Down" layers dreamy harmonies and lush piano with earthy guitar and Coyne's trademark wavering warble. "Flowers of Neptune 6" is a hazy celebration of acid experimentation. Admitted LSD fan Kacey Musgraves lends guest vocals to that track as well as "Watching the Light-bugs Glow"; low in the mix, she can be heard talking about one of her own trips. There are two truly epic moments. "Mother I've Taken LSD" is a Syd Barrett-esque ballad—majestic drums, sweeping strings—about Coyne's older brother telling their mom he'd taken acid, and how much this scared a young Coyne. "Mother Please Don't Be Sad" is about Coyne working as a fry cook at Long John Silver's and being held up at gunpoint—and imagining his mom getting the news that he'd died. And it is, against all odds, absolutely gorgeous. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 13, 2002 | Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 17, 1999 | Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 3, 2006 | Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 18, 1993 | Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 13, 2019 | Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 1, 2018 | Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 12, 2009 | Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 7, 2006 | Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 15, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 15, 1995 | Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 29, 2018 | Ryko - Rhino

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Deliciously strange and eccentric, the Flaming Lips are one of these bands from the 80s alternative rock scene that have survived remarkably well. Their psychedelic and quirky tendencies are as surprising as they are fascinating. With these madmen from Oklahoma, everything takes a different shape. A sort of mix between exaggerated distortions and sped-up headbanging, or even role-play in a world ruled by hallucinogenic mushrooms. That’s the kind of atmosphere these rock geniuses have maintained from 1983 to this day, and that caught the eye of label Rhino Records. For the first time, the entirety of the Flaming Lips recordings from 1986 to 1990 for the label Restless Records are being released in a remastered version (by Wayne Coyne, Michael Ivins and David Fridmann, the band’s long-time producer) and gathered on six albums under the title Seeing The Unseeable. A huge collection that includes four of their best albums: Hear It Is, Oh My Gawd, Telepathic Surgery and In a Priest Driven Ambulance. And as a bonus, an album filled with rare gems: The Mushroom Tapes. © Anna Coluthe/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released December 22, 2009 | Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 12, 2013 | Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 13, 2017 | Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 27, 2014 | Warner Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 17, 1999 | Warner Records

So where does a band go after releasing the most defiantly experimental record of its career? If you're the Flaming Lips, you keep rushing headlong into the unknown -- The Soft Bulletin, their follow-up to the four-disc gambit Zaireeka, is in many ways their most daring work yet, a plaintively emotional, lushly symphonic pop masterpiece eons removed from the mind-warping noise of their past efforts. Though more conventional in concept and scope than Zaireeka, The Soft Bulletin clearly reflects its predecessor's expansive sonic palette. Its multidimensional sound is positively celestial, a shape-shifting pastiche of blissful melodies, heavenly harmonies, and orchestral flourishes; but for all its headphone-friendly innovations, the music is still amazingly accessible, never sacrificing popcraft in the name of radical experimentation. (Its aims are so perversely commercial, in fact, that hit R&B remixer Peter Mokran tinkered with the cuts "Race for the Prize" and "Waitin' for a Superman" in the hopes of earning mainstream radio attention.) But what's most remarkable about The Soft Bulletin is its humanity -- these are Wayne Coyne's most personal and deeply felt songs, as well as the warmest and most giving. No longer hiding behind surreal vignettes about Jesus, zoo animals, and outer space, Coyne pours his heart and soul into each one of these tracks, poignantly exploring love, loss, and the fate of all mankind; highlights like "The Spiderbite Song" and "Feeling Yourself Disintegrate" are so nakedly emotional and transcendentally spiritual that it's impossible not to be moved by their beauty. There's no telling where the Lips will go from here, but it's almost beside the point -- not just the best album of 1999, The Soft Bulletin might be the best record of the entire decade. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo

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