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Soft Bulletin, the
|Price:||CDN$ 11.61 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|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 the most accessible album that psychedelic-noise-pop stalwarts The Flaming Lips have ever released. The album is different and new, courageous and accomplished, as unique as ever and yet more listenable than ever. Rhythmic, piano-laden, exploding with intelligence and sonic texture, The Soft Bulletin, the band's ninth album, continues the trio's adventure into other-worldly pop.
The Flaming Lips' particular and peculiar genius comes to full fruition on the stupendous The Soft Bulletin. Anyone who had the gumption to actually listen to Zaireeka, a song cycle that could only be heard by playing four CDs at the exact same time on different stereos, knows that head Lip Wayne Coyne and his Oklahoma City brethren had it in them. That album, along with the Lips' Parking Lot Experiments, offered proof that Coyne wasn't playing by the same rules as everyone else. He was growing up and away from the splenetic psychedelic freak-outs of earlier albums and emerging as a first-rate composer--perhaps the first alt-rock star to earn such status.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
It opens with a glorious Mellotron wave, which is deliberately just a little off, at the start of "Race For The Prize (Sacrifice Of The New Scientists)." "Two scientists were racing/For the good of all mankind/Both of them side by side/So determined," Wayne Coyne croons. With, of course, offbeat echoes and electronic wavers and whispers layered over the indierock melody.
Without sounding overpolished, the songs that follow seem very carefully structured and polished; not a single note is out of place. Coyne sings above smooth, flowing pop songs with a catchy edge. And what songs he sings -- about supermen, debilitating spider bites, buzzin' bugs, scientists trying to cure terminal diseases, and wounded mathematicians.
"Soft Bulletin" also touches on some more uplifting topics -- "What Is The Light" is a purely enchanting variation on the typical love song: "What is the light/That you have/Shining all around you?" And "A Spoonful Weighs A Ton" is a soaring number about how "they" saved the world with the power of love. "And though they were sad/They rescued everyone/They lifted up the sun..."
Not that "uplifting" means cheesy or sappy. The Flaming Lips seem to be completely in earnest. What's more, they add a space-acid flavor to their music which keeps it from ever getting too... well, ordinary. The best description I can come up with is: it's like a big inspirational show on another planet, complete with a celestial pop orchestra. There.Read more ›
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.
Conceptually the album is tight. They take on some real issues here. Stuff that anyone can relate to, the songs are about human nature, death, love, and eternal struggle. The album kicks off with "Race for the Prize", an upbeat number about two scientists making the ultimate sacrifice to come up with The Cure. It's slightly silly, and playful on the surface, but its ultimately about 2 guys willing to die to save some lives. There's many songs that dwell on this subject. The second song "A Spoonful Weighs a Ton" alternates between an extremely sweet orchestra section, and a deep funky bass section. "The Gash"(my personal favorite) is a real freak out, with incredibly layered vocals of all different pitches singing again about the eternal struggle that scientists have, and how you have to march on no matter what, all over an offbeat piano riff, with an orchestra and electronic whirring. This song represents the band the best, it is silly and incredibly eccentric but still charming and meaningful.
Other songs go into more about mortality such as "Suddenly Everything has Changed" about how during everyday events your mind drifts to morbid thoughts or on "Waitin' for a Superman" where singer and chief songwriter Wayne Coyne deals with the burden of his father's death.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is the Best quality pressing and sound of this amazing album to date. A must have for anyone's vinyl collection.Published on June 16 2014 by Greg
This CD is very well made. Really. It doesn't scratch very easily. I've put it to the test rubbing it on various surfaces with minimal damage. Read morePublished on April 29 2004 by Travis
Imagine if Neil Young, Syd Barrett, Jon Anderson, Brian Wilson, and Arthur Lee all collided. Well, I can't imagine that mess either, but if ever an album could possibly sound that... Read morePublished on April 11 2004 by sikarv
I have been somewhat of an on and off flaming lips fan, not being a huge fan of "transmissions" i had my doubts of purchasing any more music from the lips, but i gotta... Read morePublished on March 26 2004 by C. Kim
It's funny how the less intellegent reviewers vote this album as "over-rated" and "crap" with "terrible lyrics", and the more seasoned listeners say... Read morePublished on March 21 2004 by Ian
I was originally ready to submit the following review text:
<< My complaint with The Flaming Lips is identical to my complaint with, of all things, the Smashing... Read more
The greatest recording of the decade? Maybe EVER? It would be one thing if it was just the overzealous Amazon customers making such overblown testimonials to this record, but it's... Read morePublished on March 3 2004 by PiratePrentice
It blows my mind that Soft Bulletin could have been on the top of so many best cds of 1999 list. It's not great, in fact it's a stretch to call it good. I lean towards mediocre. Read morePublished on March 2 2004 by xanrastafari