Acclaimed Albums – The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 153/250Title: The Soft Bulletin
Artist: The Flaming Lips
Year: 1999
Position: #111

In all the years that I have been listening to Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots it never really  occurred to me to listen to their previous album. Sure, I tried listening to the excellent follow up (At War With the Mystics), but it wasn’t until a week ago that I turned on The Soft Bulletin at work whilst typing up some handover notes. It actually worked rather well.

Having not listened to Zaireeka, or any other of their older records, I cannot exactly comment on how The Soft Bulletin was a sharp change in direction that ended up being the making of The Flaming Lips. I mean, how a group can go from being mostly guitar-led alternative rock group to something neo-psychedelic and incredibly beautiful is beyond me. Speaks to the creativity of the band.

As a listen, it is hard find another overarching word to describe this album than ‘beautiful’. The arrangements are intricate, the vocals are heartfelt and everything about it just feels lush. I love the lilt in his voice as he sings as well, it’s somewhat unusual and helps to really sell the lyrics.

However, I cannot tell you what any of the songs are about – I just get so swept up in the sounds of the music and vocals that I find it hard to focus on what is being sun. In no way is that a criticism of the lyric writing ability, just my own inability to concentrate.

With The Soft Bulletin I really do have the agency to go back and get better acquainted with The Flaming Lips’ discography. I mean, this is the third album of theirs that I think is absolutely fantastic and there are eleven other albums of theirs for me to give a go to. At least now, thanks to Spotify, I won’t have to source 4 CD players in order to give Zaireeka a go.


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