Sunday, June 10, 2012

This Music Moment- Flaming Lips (2002)

Recently, I was looking through a huge book of CDs that I bought when I had just begun listening to my own music in middle school, through high school and into my early 20s. It was full of random crap with a bunch of gems and all the while completely nostalgic. While I was flipping through it, random memories would pop up about these albums I was spending time to investigate deeply, and I spent a few hours trying to remember why the hell I had bought one album, or how much I missed and had forgotten about another. Very soon, I flipped to a page that had two Flaming Lips albums: 1999s The Soft Bulletin, and its follow-up, their 10th album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and I immediately remembered my first exposure to their contents.

My girlfriend, circa 2002, had bought me some concert tickets as a birthday present that summer of my senior year in high school. It sounded like a good show, though I was only somewhat familiar with the bands on the bill. There was some forgotten, neat opening band, The Flaming Lips, and Cake as the headliner. Sweet, I knew a couple of songs by Cake, but I was pretty apathetic about The Flaming Lips. I remembered that a friend in middle school had given me whatever album of theirs it was he was listening to, and it had their single at the time, She Don't Use Jelly. That track is just some silly pop in the style of grungy rock, and it was the only reference I could use to put a sound to the name. Basically, I was unprepared for the show that followed.

There was one thing in particular that blew me away about this show. I had recently seen Battle Royale with metaghost, and during the concert, the Lips had a huge movie screen behind them playing random video clips to go along with every song, and for a decent few they were playing scenes from Battle Royale to accompany their music. It was dark, violent film to go along with the mostly psychedelic electro pop music they were playing, but somehow it totally worked; the show was a complete visual and audio spectacle, with dudes in woodland creature costumes at the sides of the stage blowing up giant glitter filled balloons to pass into the audience, awesome crowd participation, and other high-profile hijinks. It was a seriously well done show, and it completely sold me on what these guys were doing.

Yoshimi and Soft Bulletin are pretty darned nice; they seemed to only play hits from both albums at the show, and it made for a wonderful concert. Link time: Race to the Prize is an awesome way to kick off Soft Bulletin; The Spark That Bled is a bit more moody and varied as the albums third track. Yoshimi is full of hits; Fight Test kicks things off proper; the title track rocks electro pop socks off, and its basically moot to mention that it also features the culturally-absorbed and now discarded Do You Realize, though it sure holds up well.

Track 2 is what I want to share though. I forgot just how awesome this song is (especially its bassline- yeah buddy) until I uploaded the albums to my computer and revisited it. It has a great blend of electronica, spaced out vocals and tight production. Not to mention that bass, again:

Awesome show; a big time Music Moment. One of those great carefree summertime memories brought back from revisiting old tunes.

yoshimi battles the pink robots

the soft bulletin

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