Music Monday: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 53/250TheFlamingLips-YoshimiBattlesThePinkRobotsTitle: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
Artist: The Flaming Lips
Year: 2002
Position: #196

By making this the next album on here I am breaking my own rule since an earlier album by The Flaming Lips  (the 1999 release The Soft Bulletin), but I found myself with a real craving for it during a flight to visit my partner’s family. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots is one of those albums I periodically find myself coming back to ever since my best friend at school introduced it to me.

It was probably the bizarre title that really convinced me to give this a proper go back when I was 12/13 and, when I think about it, this album was a huge deal to me. At this age I think the main people I was listening to was Steps, Alizeé, Lene Marlin and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. So needless to say, an album described as neo-psychedelia, space rock and dream pop capturing my imagination probably explains some of my later music choices.

The titular Yoshimi only appears in the opening four tracks of this album, the rest being more like a ‘regular’ album. This opening batch of tracks was the best concept set of songs I had come across for a very long time (with only Janelle Monae’s music now eclipsing it… which is curiously also about robots).

The first track (‘Fight Test’) would easily place within my own Top 100 favourite songs of all time, it even placed itself on the first mix tape I ever made my partner. Yes, I know there was the slight controversy about the resemblance with ‘Father and Son’ by Yusuf Islam, but this is one of those strangely uplifting songs that just makes you want to want to strike some sort of poses.

Talking of strangely uplifting, I have to point out ‘Do You Realize’. It plays as this really happy pop song but it has lyrics such as “do you realize/that  everyone you know/someday will die.” I mean, so much of this album is basically about love, loss and how to deal with these emotions. Even the titular track (‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part 1″) has a melancholy edge despite being about kicking serious robot ass.

It’s a strange album, but one of those since of the turn of the millennium that feels oddly essential. I am glad that on last year’s update of Acclaimed Albums that this shot up as many places as it did so it could enter the Top 250. I hope the climb continues.


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