Album: The Soft Bulletin (1999)
Hands down my favorite album by The Flaming Lips. Their ninth LP, it was released to wide critical acclaim, and a departure from their previous guitar-heavy experimental rock, into a more accessible sounding music with catchy melodies, electronic beats and synthesizers.
The cover artwork of the album is a modified version of a photograph taken by Lawrence Schiller for a 1966 Life magazine article on LSD.
The Soft Bulletin (1999) is arguably The Flaming Lips’ magnum opus, though Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002) is also in that conversation of which is their greatest LP.
Pitchfork Media ranked The Soft Bulletin 3rd on the Top 100 albums of the 1990s list, and awarded it a rare score of 10.0.
In 2006, The Soft Bulletin and its acclaimed follow-up Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots were added to the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
What is the light? – The Flaming Lips
(Love the piano and drum beat on this track. Could be the most mysterious lyrics on the album, the words are whatever you want them to mean. Perhaps about someone just completely floored by someone else’s aura. The light is love, beauty, or whatever X you are attracted to, and being drawn to the other person’s light.
Or could the song be not about a specific person, but that love is something emanating from all of us, and is drawing us all in and surrounding us. But is it merely a chemical thing, or something even grander?
Feeling Yourself Disintegrate – The Flaming Lips
(This song can bring a tear to my eye. Dealing with mortality, perhaps the lyric “feeling yourself disintegrate” is about all the love you can have for life, our time on earth is short, and love as much as you can, because it’s all temporary. Or perhaps about how you feel when someone you love leaves you, either in a break-up, or losing a relative. Losing a part of yourself because the other person has gone.
I’ve read songwriter/lead vocalist Wayne Coyne wrote it about his dad dying. In fact, the whole album can be listened to as coming to terms with the death of a loved-one)
Waitin’ For Superman – The Flaming Lips
(Possibly ‘Superman’ is a metaphor for all the figures that people expect to fix everything, politicans, doctors, parents, etc. But just because they don’t have the magic fix doesn’t mean they don’t care, so people have to hold on. Although there are people out there with superhuman love, their abilities, though possibly extraordinary, are still human, and it may not happen as perfectly as it does in the comics/cartoons/movies. Why can’t you fix everything, Obama?, says more about the public than the politician. Trying to help out but its just too much. Some things have to be left to the individual.
‘Superman’ could be a reference to God, people shouldn’t be totally inactive just waiting for a miracle to happen. They have to help themselves too.
You could also look at the song as a child thinking of there dad as being a superman and this time its just to heavy for superman to lift.
Wayne Coyne: “A sad, philosophical song, that I think gives you hope at the end”
(Iron & Wine included an acoustic cover of the song on the album “Around the Well” in 2009)
Sleeping On The Roof – The Flaming Lips
The Observer – The Flaming Lips
Race For The Prize (Mokran Remix) – The Flaming Lips
(About our struggles to make something of our lives, and the limitations that we face represented by the line “they’re just human, with wives and children.” Saying that the developers of a cure are not God.
There is a sizable amount of selfish motive in the title “race for the prize”, but we shouldn’t be racing against another, the human race should be pulling together, and as the lyric states, working as a team “side by side” .
Are you a fan of The Flaming Lips? Any thoughts on the music above?
Wayne Coyne interview