Monday, October 03, 2005

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Song list
1. Fight Test
2. One More Robot-Sympathy 3000-21
3. Yoshimi Battle the Pink Robots, Pt. 1
4. Yoshimi Battle the Pink Robots, Pt. 2
5. In the Morning of the Magicians
6. Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell
7. Are You a Hypnotist
8. It's Summertime
9. Do You Realize
10. All We Have Is Now
11. Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)

The Flaming Lips use a faux Japanese import CD insert for this album, in keeping with its theme of Japanese anime themed lyrics in its first half, which tells the story of Yoshimi, who must battle pink robots to save the world.

The music in this album is a haunting combo of screaming guitar work and (moog?) synthesizers, and many of the lyrics are startlingly weird (but patchy), making for a lovely combination overall. The 'Lips do an excellent job of telling a story which spans tracks 2-4, and on that front rival Pink Floyd (of the Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here era). Approaching Pavonis Mons is possibly the best one to sample purely for their abilities at orchestrating what could be a finale for a movie made on the subject of Yoshimi.

The album begins with Fight Test, which is mostly an unremarkable love song about how some guy stole the singer's girlfriend, but does make for a decent introduction to their musical style. The real pyrotechnics begin with the second track, One More Robot, with the refrain "One more robot learns to feel/Something more than a machine".

Tracks 3 and 4, which form parts 1 and 2 of 'Yoshimi Battle the Pink Robots' continue on the theme of robots, but now switch to evil robots, possibly pink (as seen on the album cover and as mentioned in the album title), which Yoshimi decides to fight. Track 3 is instrumental, depicting the invasion of the robots. The meat of the lyrics in track 4 describe how Yoshimi takes on the robots. Track 4 begins by introducing Yoshimi, who is "a black-belt in karate". Chorus "Cause she knows that it's demanding to defeat those evil machines/I know she can defeat them/Oh Yoshimi! They don't believe me/But you won't let those robots defeat/eat me" ("eat me" in the second repetition of the chorus). The loveliest lines: "Those evil natured robots/They're programmed to destroy us/She's gotta be strong to fight them/So she's taking lots of vitamins."

By track 5, the robots have presumably been defeated (or maybe have taken over the world) because the lyricist goes back to familiar themes of love, life, and death, continuing to make skilful use of synthesizers and continuing the musical (if not the lyrical) theme. Although the break in lyrical continuity is frustrating, the music itself makes up for it quite well.

This album grows on you with each listen, and is highly recommended -- forms an excellent antidote to mainstream rock.


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