10-4-13 OT: Her Name is Yoshimi

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
A painting of the backside of a girl facing a pink robot
Studio album by The Flaming Lips
Released July 16, 2002
Recorded Tarbox Road Studios, Cassadaga, New York, June 2000 – April 2002
Genre Neo-psychedelia, psychedelic pop,space rock, indietronica
Length 47:25
Label Warner Bros.
Producer The Flaming Lips, Dave Fridmann, Scott Booker
The Flaming Lips chronology
The Soft Bulletin
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
At War with the Mystics
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 EP"
    Released: April 22, 2003
  4. "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell EP"
    Released: November 2003

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is the tenth album by The Flaming Lips, released on July 16, 2002, in the United Kingdom and the following day in the United States. It is characterized by electronic-influenced, psychedelic-tinged alternative rock compositions. It has been certified Gold by the RIAA.[1]



Structure and release[edit]

The lyrics of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots concern a diverse array of subject matter, mostly deeply melancholy ponderings about love, mortality, artificial emotion, pacifism, and deception, while telling the story of Yoshimi's battle. The title character is believed to be an allusion to Boredoms/OOIOOmember Yoshimi P-We, who 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 of the album, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne has made it clear that the album is not intended to be a concept album.[2]

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. The band's frontman, Wayne Coyne, claims that he was unaware of the songs' similarities until producer Dave Fridmann pointed them out.[3] 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'.[4] The song was also the theme song for the short-livedMTV cartoon, 3 South. The song is also briefly played in the 2003 remake of Freaky Friday.

The album's lead single, "Do You Realize??", has been used in numerous commercials, including some for VH1 during 2004 and 2005.

The final track, "Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)", won a 2002 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. The Lips also won the same award for "The Wizard Turns On...", taken from At War with the Mystics, in 2006.

In addition to the single compact disc format, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots was also released as a special two-disc release in 2003. This version contains the regular album and a DVD containing various alternate takes, b-sides, music videos, video footage from the album recordings, and the trailerfor The Flaming Lips' film, Christmas on Mars. In addition to bonus content on the DVD, there is a 5.1 DVD-Audio version of the entire album included. There was also a limited edition translucent red LP version.

A secret message from the band is included on the original album on the inside of the right spine. It reads "You Have Found The Secret Message, Do You Have too Much Time on Your Hands? ...Let it Go". It also features Japanese script. This script reads "Happiness can make you cry" (a line taken from the song "Do You Realize??").

In recent years, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots has proved itself to have a bigger commercial impact than the band's 1999 breakthrough album, The Soft Bulletin, and became their first gold-certified release in April 2006.[5]

In 2003, British bastard pop DJ Eric Kleptone released a mashup album called Yoshimi Battles the Hip-Hop Robots which paired instrumentals from the album with rap samples and lyrics.

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[6]
Entertainment Weekly A−[7]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[8]
Mojo 4.5/5 stars[9]
NME 9/10 stars[10]
Pitchfork Media 8.4/10[11]
PopMatters (Favorable)[12]
Q Magazine 4/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[14]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars[15]
Stylus A[16]
Tiny Mix Tapes 4.5/5 stars[17]

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots received near-universal acclaim[18] and appeared in the best-albums-of-the-decade lists of many music magazines, such as Rolling Stone (#27) and Uncut (#11). Fortune magazine called the album "a lush and haunting electronic symphony."[19] Calling the album "as strange as it is wonderful," Billboard magazine explained, "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."[20]Giving the album four-out-of-five stars, Rolling Stone called the production "ambitious".[21] Uncut declared "even by their standards, Yoshimi is astonishing" before declaring it the greatest album released in the magazine's lifetime.

For the television show Friends, Flaming Lips re-wrote the song "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" into "Phoebe Battles The Pink Robots" to fit one of the show's main characters. The music video appears on Disc 4 of the 9th Season DVD.[dubiousdiscuss]


It was announced in March 2007 that the album would be made into a Broadway musical by The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin and director Des McAnuff.[22][23] 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.[24]

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.[25]

The show received its world premiere at the 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.

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