TOP TRACK: “Do You Realize??”
The Flaming Lips had a lot to live up to after The Soft Bulletin, the 1999 breakthrough album that earned comparisons to the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and jetted Wayne Coyne and company to mainstream prominence. But if anyone works well under pressure, it’s clearly The Flaming Lips. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots built on their spacious, psychedelic sound, while staying accessible for new fans.
Artistically, The Flaming Lips sound more accessible on Yoshimi than they did on Bulletin. Experimentation in their earlier work was often messy and avant-garde – think the infamous four-disc splitting of Zaireeka or the noisy would-be concept album Telepathic Surgery. But experimentation on tracks like “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 2” is more polished, with Coyne dialing up the creativity just enough to sound original, but not enough to lose potential listeners.
This key move opened the doors for The Flaming Lips, who found commercial success shortly after Yoshimi’s 2002 release. To date, it remains one of the band’s greatest albums.
— Chris Parker