REVIEW: The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battle The Pink Robots 5.1
The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battle The Pink Robots 5.1 [Warner, 2003]
Three words? I wish... (sigh)
Okay, three TRUE things: this album rules, there's nothing bad on these discs, and Wayne Coyne is the best thing I can think of. Those being writ, I can't say you should go out and buy this. This is what you would buy:
Another copy of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. If you haven't bought/heard this album by now, you're not reading this. So, yeah, you get that, but it's not something new. Don't get me wrong, I love the album, (refer to the first TRUE thing,) but it is a year-and-a-half old.
Videos: The corresponding videos, the best of which is still "Do You Realize??" (though I can't decide whether the band's version is better than the polished one, hold on... it's heads, so the band's version is better). Also, the trailer for Christmas on Mars, the Flaming Lips feature-film extravaganza, is on here, still no one knows when it will come out, probably not 'til next year. Now, these are cool things, but not particularly rare, I already had most of this stuff from the internet before they were compiled here. The best thing I didn't have was the feature on the making of the re-mastered album itself. I watched it before experiencing the new 5.1 album, and it really got me excited for what I was going to hear. More on that later.
Extra Songs: Two new songs, the better of which is "If I Go Mad (Funeral in my Head)," it's like "Waiting for a Superman" but longer and, while not as great, certainly more epic. The rest are re-mixes and alternate versions, the solo piano/french horn version of "Yoshimi" standing out with its emotion and sparseness.
Animated cartoons: Called 'episodes' of "Yoshimi" and "Fight Test," but they didn't run on my Apple computer, so that's that.
5.1 Surround Sound Version of the Album: The main event. 5 speakers, an experience of sound space and three-dimensional awesomeness. Well, except for the awesomeness. I just didn't really feel what I think I was supposed to be feeling. What else can I say, it wasn't there. This is why the double-disc loses the majority of its marks. Accompanying the audio, however, are some lovely animated circles. Like visualizations on your computer, but actually in time with the music.
Liner Notes: Seriously, the best part of the set. And I know, that doesn't say much when that's the best, but as far as new material, things that excited me, it was the best. Wayne tells a story at the beginning about why he's doing this. It's when he writes things like, in reference to the 5-speaker technology "If someday someone figures out how to make music come out of a hundred speakers, I'll be standing there cheering it, and the evolution of ideas, on and on" that he makes me just, like, smile. And he writes about all the sound experiments performed, song by song, in the re-mix, which shows he's not just out to make holiday cash, Pitchfork, but really trying to do something that interests him.
So, unfortunately, I can't recommend you get this, I can photocopy the liner notes for you, but just know that The Flaming Lips are still trying, just like all of you, to be the best for their fans. Forever and ever, amen.