|1. Race For The Prize (Remix)|
|2. A Spoonful Weighs A Ton|
|3. The Spark That Bled|
|4. The Spiderbite Song|
|5. Buggin' (Remix)|
|6. What Is The Light?|
|7. The Observer|
|8. Waitin' For A Superman|
|9. Suddenly Everything Has Changed|
|10. The Gash|
|11. Feeling Yourself Disintegrate|
|12. Sleeping On The Roof|
|13. Race For The Prize|
|14. Waitin' For A Superman (Remix)|
The Soft Bulletin is absolutely colossal, a testament to their position as the vanguard of a movement that includes Spiritualized's Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, Mercury Rev's Deserter's Songs, and Olivia Tremor Control's Black Foliage. As with those albums, Bulletin shares a love of cosmic, vaguely psychedelic pop and a closet full of pet sounds. But the Flaming Lips only uses these as a launch pad for rocketing into ethereal sonic space. Although Bulletin steps back from Zaireeka's over-the-top indulgence, it manages to be symphonic, bombastic, outrageous, and damned catchy--while still oozing the band's unique weirdness. The sound is massive and complex; gongs, harps, grand piano, bells, pipe organ, strings, oboes, choral harmonies, and, strangely, very, very little guitar squall all merge into one wall--no, wall of sound doesn't do it justice. It's a cliff of sound, propelled by drummer Steven Drozd's tremendous pounding. On top of it all, Coyne's sweet but ravaged voice yields tender lyrics that tag a catalog of Lips stalwarts, such as insects, spirituality, and superheroes. One imagines Coyne in front of a full orchestra, urging them to keep up as he sings, "Ooh, those bugs / buzzing 'round..." on "Buggin." But the Lips orchestrated the entire album in their studio, sometimes manipulating more than 200 separate tracks to achieve Bulletin's vast symphonic excess. Each song is a rare gem. "A Spoonful Weighs a Ton" sounds like a collusion of Bach and Tricky. "The Spark That Bled" infuses a fey, Belle and Sebastian-esque ditty with Led Zeppelin-like funky swagger. "The Spiderbite Song" is a shotgun wedding between a tender piano ballad and the industrial noise of things falling apart. "The Gash" is just too singular to adequately describe.
It'll be interesting to hear what the Lips do next. If The Soft Bulletin is any indication at all, they can do anything they please. And we can't possibly imagine what it will sound like. --Tod Nelson
Okay I know I'm ridiculous, but really. If you're going to listen to Flaming Lips, you gotta think like that. Amazing album by an amazing trio.
So why is it their best? It's not the most ambitious, the most different, the most rocking or anything like that. Instead each track is a treasure in it's own way. The songs aren't very tied together but instead present a different sound with every new endeavor. From the happy go lucky love on "Buggin'" to the almost, dare I say, dance feel you get from the drums on "What is the Light." "Suddenly Everything Has Changed" presents a transformation of fast to slow over and over again. Even the two "remixes" present quite different sounds from the "unremixed" versions of the same songs. Rather than being "remixed" it seems to me the Lips just couldn't decide which version was better and decided to present them both. Each track is incredible in its own way. And while you could argue "Yoshimi" is a better album based on how the fact that each Lips album seems to be better than the next, "The Soft Bulletin" presents the Lips in a way that is familiar to all of their other works but still very different, and comes out, at least to me, as their best work to date.
<< My complaint with The Flaming Lips is identical to my complaint with, of all things, the Smashing Pumpkins:... Read more