Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is the tenth studio album by American rock band the Flaming Lips, released on July 16, 2002 by Warner Bros. Records. The album was well-received critically and commercially, helping the band break into the mainstream, and was adapted into a musical in 2012.[1]

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
A painting of the backside of a girl facing a pink robot
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 16, 2002 (2002-07-16)
RecordedJune 2000 – April 2002
StudioTarbox Road Studios, Cassadaga, New York
Genre
Length47:25
LabelWarner Bros.
Producer
The Flaming Lips chronology
The Soft Bulletin
(1999)
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
(2002)
At War with the Mystics
(2006)
Singles from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
  1. "Do You Realize??"
    Released: August 19, 2002
  2. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1"
    Released: March 2003
  3. "Fight Test"
    Released: April 22, 2003
  4. "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell"
    Released: November 18, 2003

Music and lyricsEdit

The lyrics of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots concern a diverse array of subject matter, mostly melancholy ponderings about love, mortality, artificial emotion, pacifism, and deception, while telling the story of Yoshimi's battle. The title character is inspired by Boredoms/OOIOO member Yoshimi P-We, following a comment in the Flaming Lips studio that her machine-sound abstract singing sounds like she is battling monsters—Coyne added 'pink'.[2] P-We also performs on the album. Some listeners consider Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots to be a concept album; however, the story is debated, as it is only directly apparent in the first four tracks. Despite the story-type title and science fiction themes, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne has made it clear that Yoshimi is not intended to be a concept album.[3]

The vocal melody of track one, "Fight Test", echoes Cat Stevens's "Father and Son". Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, is receiving royalties following a relatively uncontentious settlement. Coyne has claimed that he was unaware of the songs' similarities until producer Dave Fridmann pointed them out.[4] This claim, however, is contradicted by his statement to Rolling Stone magazine: "I know 'Father and Son' and I knew there would be a little bit of comparison. 'Fight Test' is not a reference necessarily to the ideas of 'Father and Son', but definitely a reference to the cadence, the melody, and chord progression. I think it's such a great arrangement of chords and melody".[5] The final track, "Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)", won a 2002 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. The Flaming Lips also won the same award for "The Wizard Turns On...", taken from At War with the Mystics, in 2006.[citation needed]

ReleaseEdit

Commercial performanceEdit

In recent years,[when?] Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots has proved itself to have a bigger commercial impact[specify] than the band's 1999 breakthrough album The Soft Bulletin, and became their first gold-certified release in April 2006.[6] As of 2009, it has sold 570,000 copies in United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[7]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic84/100[8]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [9]
Blender     [10]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[11]
The Guardian     [12]
NME9/10[13]
Pitchfork8.4/10[14]
Q     [15]
Rolling Stone     [16]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [17]
Uncut     [18]

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots received widespread acclaim from critics.[8] Calling the album "as strange as it is wonderful," Billboard nonetheless noted that "beneath the sunny, computer-generated atmospherics and the campy veneer of talk about gladiator-style clashes between man and machines with emotions, Yoshimi is actually a somber rumination on love and survival in an unfathomable world."[19] Tom Moon of Rolling Stone praised the album's "ambitious" production,[20] while Fortune magazine called it "a lush and haunting electronic symphony."[21] Uncut declared that "even by their standards, Yoshimi is astonishing."[18] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave the album a three-star honorable mention rating,[22] indicating "an enjoyable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well treasure".[23] Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots appeared in the best-albums-of-the-decade lists of several music publications, such as Rolling Stone (#27) and Uncut (#11), with Uncut also declaring it the greatest album released in the magazine's lifetime. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[24]

MusicalEdit

In 2007, it was announced that the album would be made into a Broadway musical by The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin and director Des McAnuff.[25][26] Frontman Wayne Coyne said of the plot:

There's the real world and then there's this fantastical world. This girl, the Yoshimi character, is dying of cancer. And these two guys are battling to come visit her in the hospital. And as one of the boyfriends envisions trying to save the girl, he enters this other dimension where Yoshimi is this Japanese warrior and the pink robots are an incarnation of her disease. It's almost like the disease has to win in order for her soul to survive. Or something like that.

Des McAnuff stated that Aaron Sorkin exited the project after it became clear the musical would be sung through.[27] The musical includes existing songs from the album, as well as two other Flaming Lips albums, The Soft Bulletin and At War with the Mystics.[28] The show received its world premiere at the Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse in November 2012, starring Kimiko Glenn as Yoshimi Yasukawa, Paul Nolan as Ben Nickel, Nik Walker as Booker, Pearl Sun as Mrs. Yasukawa, John Haggerty as Mr. Yasukawa and Tom Hewitt as Dr. Petersen.[citation needed]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by The Flaming Lips (Wayne Coyne, Steven Drozd, Michael Ivins) except where noted.

No.TitleLength
1."Fight Test" (The Flaming Lips, Dave Fridmann, Cat Stevens)4:14
2."One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21"4:59
3."Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1"4:45
4."Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 2"2:57
5."In the Morning of the Magicians"6:18
6."Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell"4:34
7."Are You a Hypnotist??"4:44
8."It's Summertime"4:20
9."Do You Realize??" (The Flaming Lips, Dave Fridmann)3:33
10."All We Have Is Now"3:53
11."Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)"3:09
Total length:47:25
Special edition surround sound DVD-Audio
No.TitleLength
1."Fight Test"4:12
2."One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21"5:01
3."Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1"4:48
4."Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 2"2:52
5."In the Morning of the Magicians"6:25
6."Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell"4:25
7."Are You a Hypnotist??"4:50
8."It's Summertime"5:45
9."Do You Realize??"3:32
10."All We Have Is Now"3:53
11."Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)"3:12
Bonus DVD audio tracks
No.TitleLength
1."Up Above the Daily Hum" 
2."Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1" (Japanese version) 
3."If I Go Mad (Funeral in My Head)" 
4."Do You Realize?? Floating in Space Remix" (Edit) 
5."Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1" (AOL sessions) 
6."Do You Realize??" (CD101 version) 
Bonus DVD video tracks
No.TitleLength
1."Do You Realize??" (Mark Pellington version) 
2."Do You Realize??" (Wayne Coyne * Bradley Beesley * George Salisbury version) 
3."Making of the Do You Realize??" (Video) 
4."Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1" 
5."Making of the Yoshimi Video" 
6."Fight Test" 
7."Phoebe Battles the Pink Robots" 
8."Christmas on Mars" (Movie trailer) 
9."Making of the Yoshimi DVD-A" 
10."Are You a Hypnotist??" (George's Photogenic Stimulation Theory #1134) 
DVD-ROM extras
No.TitleLength
1."Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1" (Animated episode) 
2."Fight Test" (Animated episode) 

PersonnelEdit

The Flaming Lips

Additional personnel

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Certified Gold". Market Wire. 2006. Archived from the original on 11 December 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  2. ^ Coyne, Wayne. BBC Radio 6. Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone. Broadcast on January 8th 2017
  3. ^ "Wayne Coyne on the album". Archived from the original on 2002-10-17.
  4. ^ "Lips Nailed For Cat Stevens Song Similarity". Billboard. June 27, 2003. Archived from the original on February 25, 2013. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  5. ^ "Fight Club". Rolling Stone. August 21, 2003.
  6. ^ "RIAA Gold and Platinum searchable database". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on March 31, 2013. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-16. Retrieved 2017-09-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b "Reviews for Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 6, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  9. ^ Phares, Heather. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots – The Flaming Lips". AllMusic. Archived from the original on June 2, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  10. ^ Petridis, Alexis (August 2002). "The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots". Blender (8): 114. Archived from the original on June 30, 2006. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  11. ^ Tyrangiel, Josh (July 19, 2002). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots". Entertainment Weekly: 74. Archived from the original on January 6, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  12. ^ Costa, Maddy (July 12, 2002). "Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on September 9, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  13. ^ Long, April (July 9, 2002). "Flaming Lips : Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots". NME. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  14. ^ Bryant, Will (July 15, 2002). "The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on April 20, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  15. ^ "The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots". Q (193): 127. August 2002.
  16. ^ Kot, Greg (July 25, 2002). "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 6, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  17. ^ Kot, Greg (2004). "The Flaming Lips". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 300. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  18. ^ a b "The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots". Uncut (63): 96. August 2002.
  19. ^ Garrity, Brian (July 20, 2002). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Music recording)". Billboard. p. 114 (29):18.
  20. ^ Moon, Tom (July 25, 2002). "RECORDINGS". Rolling Stone. p. (901):71.
  21. ^ Nashawaty, Chris (July 8, 2002). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Music recording)". Fortune. p. 146 (1):152.
  22. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: The Flaming Lips". RobertChristgau.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  23. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Key to Icons". RobertChristgau.com. Archived from the original on March 11, 2012. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  24. ^ Dimery, Robert, ed. (2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  25. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (April 14, 2007). "LIPS ON BROADWAY". Billboard. p. 119 (15):32.
  26. ^ Endelman, Michael (Mar 25, 2007). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots musical". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 11 June 2007. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  27. ^ Ng, David (Mar 14, 2012). "Flaming Lips musical to debut in late 2012, minus Aaron Sorkin". LA Times. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 11 Sep 2012.
  28. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (Apr 5, 2011). "The Flaming Lips Plan 'Yoshimi' Musical". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 28 October 2012. Retrieved 11 Sep 2012.