The Joup Friday Album: The Flaming Lips ‘ Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots’

220px-TheFlamingLips-YoshimiBattlesThePinkRobotsI’m afraid that if you thought you were potentially entering an article detached from a world that’s gone bananas over Star Wars you’re mistaken, I went to see it today. At the risk of coming across like a thrift-store Sith Lord, today’s been a razor blade ticker tape parade. Over the past few months, when our schedules would allow, a few friends and I have been working our way through the previous six films in anticipation of the new release. Before the screening commenced on ‘Jedi night’ last Saturday, one of my friends casually announced that as fate would have it, he had a hospital appointment scheduled after the screening of ‘The Force Awakens’ to discuss a long running chronic complaint he’s been suffering since his early twenties. The upshot of this conversation was that a recent setback and hospitalisation had not been countered as well as medical professionals had hoped, and that beyond that unsuccessful course of action was a disconcerting lack of a plan. My friend said he was just looking forward to seeing Star Wars.

The Flaming Lips led me by the hand into the 21st Century, my vision of the world seemingly astonishingly similar to theirs as I entered my 20s and the residual magic from my childhood gradually deserted me. Golden age Flaming Lips examined the hopelessness of our being renegade apes floating alone in space, and celebrated that fact spectacularly.

The Flaming Lips were earmarked as the soundtrack for my Musical Euthanasia Booth, telling me:

“…the Sun doesn’t go down, its just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.”

On the eve of the Century’s second decade, ‘Embryonic’ lead me into darker territories, but this time the hand wasn’t gleefully oversized, nor enveloped by a punching nun. While not examining overly dissimilar themes, it seemed the price of re-invention was the dissipation of the glitter.

Rather than the solace of ‘Do You Realize?’ we got ‘Watching the Planets’, which for me was a bare-faced disavowal of everything that made them great. In ‘Watching The Planets’ ‘The Sun’s gonna rise’ but ‘there ain’t no answer to find’.

While I don’t dislike that album, and don’t necessarily disagree with the cold accuracy of the statement contained in that last song per se, I had to walk away.

Despite it’s superficial Sci-Fi exterior, at the heart of ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ is the harsh reality of an entity inadvertently killing itself, those Pink Robots the things that facilitated life now going rogue, and it’s shining success is finding some wonder in the fact that these disparate constituents that somehow coalesced into your particular configuration ever assembled in order for everything before us to be experienced at all, which is a pretty important distinction to make and be mindful of every day that it continues to apply.

Before seeing the film today, my girlfriend asked me “Are you excited?”. I answered “I don’t have excitement in my life anymore, just anxiety that things won’t go right.” Then I went with my friend to watch the planets and robots. This album was overripe for revisit.

Next up, Katie.

Chester Whelks

Chester Whelks

Chester Whelks is a peripheral figure on the fringes of existence. Predominantly bothering the local music scene of his native Manchester, England, he has a very finely attuned Justice-button, and knows how to call a spade a ‘Multi-Purpose Murder/Concealment Device’.

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