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small thought on: Flaming Lips - 'yoshimi' and 'soft bulletin'

Discussion in 'Music' started by NickSo, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    I recently got into the flaming lips a month or so ago... ive heard OF them, but never listened to them...

    I got a copy of Yoshimi battles the pink robots first which i enjoyed... After reading reviews, i went out and got The Soft Bulletin (which Pitchforkmedia.com, where i usually go for new music reviews, gave it 10.0, comparing it to DSOTM).

    Even after a bunch of listens, i don't see the greatness of The Soft Bulletin... Yoshimi, i felt, was just way better.

    What do you guys think? Am i missing something here?

    Also, whats the next Flaming Lips album you guys suggest i should check out?
     
  2. Chris Stainton

    Chris Stainton Second Unit

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    Nick,

    Although I think both are outstanding cd's, I too give Yoshimi a slight edge over Soft Bulletin. I would say Yoshimi is an A+ and Bulletin is an A.

    I would recommend Transmissions From The Satellite Heart next. It has a much more raw sound than the two newer ones but is a great album. If you like it then you should pick up Clouds Taste Metallic and In A Priest Driven Ambulance.
     
  3. Justin_P

    Justin_P Stunt Coordinator

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    I pretty much agree with Chris here - with a catch. Yoshimi was my first Lips album, too; I knew and loved the song Bad Days, which was featured on the Batman Forever soundtrack, but that was all I knew of their music. I liked the album right away, listened to it about twice, and then left it alone for months. Then one day (driving to a concert in Canada (R.E.M. followed the next day by Radiohead, followed the day after that with another Radiohead show, what a marathon!)) my friend suggested that I pop it into the CD player. It was like love at third listen. I got more and more into the album and listened to it pretty much non-stop for months. A couple years later, I finally got around to buying the Soft Bulletin, after reading the same glowing and funny review at Pitchforkmedia. At first, I didn't like it, but pretty soon, I started to recognize many of the things that I love so much about Yoshimi in The Soft Bulletin. I think The Soft Bulletin takes time to absorb more than listens, if that makes any sense. Ultimately, I slightly prefer Yoshimi, because I think that it's a more cohesive musical experience, with better flow and pacing. But I think that that's the primary thing that elevates it above the earlier album; the collection of songs presented by the band in The Soft Bulletin is, in my opinion, every bit as good.

    As for which album to try next, I would suggest you go where I did and pick up In A Priest Driven Ambulance, which I think was their last small label release. It's most commonly available as a two disc set entitled The Day They Shot A Hole In The Jesus Egg that includes demos, b-sides, and live cuts. Great stuff - especially the song Stand In Line, which is now one of my favorite Lips tunes. I'm still wrestling with Clouds Taste Metallic, Transmissions From The Satellite Heart, Hit To Death In The Future Head, and the other Flaming Lips stuff I've picked up recently. At first listen I've found the first few albums after they signed with Warner Bros. to be a little less musically adventurous.

    And don't be afraid to check out Zaireeka based on Pitchforkmedia's overwhelmingly negative review. It was based entirely on the reviewer's distaste for the unconventional delivery format, which most people that I know and reviews that I've read thought was clunky and weird, but brilliant (not unlike the band themselves). If you don't know anything about the album, the band released it as a four disc box set, each with a different, mostly complete mix of the same music on them. You're supposed to get some friends together with your boom boxes and sync up from two to four of the discs to create your own final mix of the album, dependent on speaker quality, minute speed variations in the players, and positioning. It's supposed to be an experience, and while I understand the Pitchfork reviewer's frustration, his rating had nothing to do with musical content. What little I've heard of the album is great, but I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail.

    This leads me to another (final, I promise) side note to this admittedly long-winded response (sorry, I love to talk about the Lips): the band's love of surround sound content. The only Lips album currently available in surround sound is Yoshimi, which for about $20 comes with the fantastic DVD-Audio disc as well as the original CD. If you have any interest, I strongly recommend you check out this release. It is very highly regarded on this forum, and rightly so. It's a great value, and even if you aren't fully DVD-Audio capable, the Dolby 5.1 track that's on the disc and the added video content are well worth your time. I still slightly prefer the original stereo mix for most listens, since that's what I loved first, but there's nothing quite like being surrounded by the one-two-three punch of Are You a Hypnotist, It's Summertime, and Do You Realize, my personal favorite stretch of the album. In addition to a new album, the band is also working on a 5.1 mix of The Soft Bulletin, which is exciting.

    Anyway, enjoy your journey into the strange world of The Flaming Lips. We're all mad here!

    Justin
     
  4. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Well i just bought Transmissions From The Satellite Heart... im liking it after a quick run through...
     

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