Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

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Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
A painting of the backside of a girl facing a pink robot
Studio album by The Flaming Lips
Released July 16, 2002 (2002-07-16)
Recorded Tarbox Road Studios, Cassadaga, New York, June 2000 – April 2002
Genre Neo-psychedelia, space rock, dream pop
Length 47:25
Label Warner Bros.
Producer The Flaming Lips, Dave Fridmann, Scott Booker
The Flaming Lips chronology
The Soft Bulletin
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
At War with the Mystics
Singles from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
  1. "Do You Realize??"
    Released: August 19, 2002 (2002-08-19)
  2. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1"
    Released: March 2003 (2003-03)
  3. "Fight Test EP"
    Released: April 22, 2003 (2003-04-22)
  4. "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell EP"
    Released: November 18, 2003 (2003-11-18)

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is the tenth studio album by The Flaming Lips, released by Warner Bros. Records on July 16, 2002, in the United Kingdom and the following day in the United States. It is characterized by electronic-influenced, psychedelic-tinged indie rock compositions. It has been certified Gold by the RIAA.[1] Yoshimi was well-received critically and commercially, helping the band break into the mainstream. The album was adapted into a musical in 2012.

Structure and release[edit]

The lyrics of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots concern a diverse array of subject matter, mostly melancholy ponderings about love, mortality, artificial emotion, pacifism, and deception, while telling the story of Yoshimi's battle. The title character is believed to be an allusion to Boredoms/OOIOO member Yoshimi P-We, who also performs on the album. Some listeners consider Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots to be a concept album; however, the story is debated, as it is only directly apparent in the first four tracks. Despite the story-type title and science fiction themes of the album, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne has made it clear that the album is not intended to be a concept album.[2]

The vocal melody of track one, "Fight Test", echoes Cat Stevens's "Father and Son". Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, is receiving royalties following a relatively uncontentious settlement. The band's frontman, Wayne Coyne, claims that he was unaware of the songs' similarities until producer Dave Fridmann pointed them out.[3] This claim however is contradicted by his statement to Rolling Stone magazine: 'I know "Father and Son" and I knew there would be a little bit of comparison. "Fight Test" is not a reference necessarily to the ideas of "Father and Son", but definitely a reference to the cadence, the melody, and chord progression. I think it's such a great arrangement of chords and melody'.[4]

The final track, "Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)", won a 2002 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. The Flaming Lips also won the same award for "The Wizard Turns On...", taken from At War with the Mystics, in 2006.

In addition to the single Compact Disc format, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots was also released as a special two-disc release in 2003. This version contains the regular album and a DVD containing various alternate takes, b-sides, music videos, video footage from the album recordings, and the trailer for The Flaming Lips' film, Christmas on Mars. In addition to bonus content on the DVD, there is a 5.1 DVD-Audio version of the entire album included. There was also a limited edition translucent red LP version.

In recent years, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots has proved itself to have a bigger commercial impact than the band's 1999 breakthrough album, The Soft Bulletin, and became their first gold-certified release in April 2006.[5]

In 2003, British bastard pop DJ Eric Kleptone released a mashup album called Yoshimi Battles the Hip-Hop Robots which paired instrumentals from the album with rap samples and lyrics.

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 84/100[6]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[7]
Entertainment Weekly A−[8]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[9]
Mojo 4.5/5 stars[10]
NME 9/10 stars[11]
Pitchfork Media 8.4/10[12]
PopMatters (Favorable)[13]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[14]
Stylus A[15]
Tiny Mix Tapes 4.5/5 stars[16]

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots received near-universal acclaim and appeared in the best-albums-of-the-decade lists of many music magazines, such as Rolling Stone (#27) and Uncut (#11). Fortune magazine called the album "a lush and haunting electronic symphony."[17] Calling the album "as strange as it is wonderful," Billboard magazine explained, "Beneath the sunny, computer-generated atmospherics and the campy veneer of talk about gladiator-style clashes between man and machines with emotions, Yoshimi is actually a somber rumination on love and survival in an unfathomable world."[18] Giving the album a rare five-out-of-five stars, Rolling Stone called the production "ambitious".[19] Uncut declared "even by their standards, Yoshimi is astonishing" before declaring it the greatest album released in the magazine's lifetime.

For the television show Friends, Flaming Lips re-wrote the song "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" into "Phoebe Battles The Pink Robots" to fit one of the show's main characters. The music video appears on Disc 4 of the 9th Season DVD.[dubious ]


It was announced in March 2007 that the album would be made into a Broadway musical by The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin and director Des McAnuff.[20][21] Frontman Wayne Coyne said of the plot:

Des McAnuff stated that Aaron Sorkin exited the project after it became clear the musical would be sung through.[22]

The musical includes existing songs from the album, as well as two other Flaming Lips albums, The Soft Bulletin and At War with the Mystics.[23]

The show received its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in November 2012, starring Kimiko Glenn as Yoshimi Yasukawa, Paul Nolan as Ben Nickel, Nik Walker as Booker, Pearl Sun as Mrs. Yasukawa, John Haggerty as Mr. Yasukawa and Tom Hewitt as Dr. Petersen.

Tracks appearing in other media[edit]

The song "Do You Realize??" is played in the VICE documentary "Apocalypse, Man" part 6 starting at 15 minutes 13 seconds.

The song "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Pt.1)" is featured in the 2010 video game Rock Band 3 and in the 2014 video game Fantasia: Music Evolved.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by The Flaming Lips (Wayne Coyne, Steven Drozd, Michael Ivins) except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "Fight Test" (The Flaming Lips, Dave Fridmann, Cat Stevens) 4:14
2. "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21"   4:59
3. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1"   4:45
4. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 2"   2:57
5. "In the Morning of the Magicians"   6:18
6. "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell"   4:34
7. "Are You a Hypnotist??"   4:44
8. "It's Summertime"   4:20
9. "Do You Realize??" (The Flaming Lips, Dave Fridmann) 3:33
10. "All We Have Is Now"   3:53
11. "Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)"   3:09
Total length:
Special edition DVD-Audio
No. Title Length
1. "Fight Test"   4:12
2. "One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21"   5:01
3. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1"   4:48
4. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 2"   2:52
5. "In the Morning of the Magicians"   6:25
6. "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell"   4:25
7. "Are You a Hypnotist??"   4:50
8. "It's Summertime"   5:45
9. "Do You Realize??"   3:32
10. "All We Have Is Now"   3:53
11. "Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)"   3:12
Bonus DVD audio tracks
No. Title Length
1. "Up Above the Daily Hum"    
2. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1" (Japanese version)  
3. "If I Go Mad (Funeral in My Head)"    
4. "Do You Realize?? Floating in Space Remix" (Edit)  
5. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1" (AOL sessions)  
6. "Do You Realize??" (CD101 version)  
Bonus DVD video tracks
No. Title Length
1. "Do You Realize??" (Mark Pellington version)  
2. "Do You Realize??" (Wayne Coyne * Bradley Beesley * George Salisbury version)  
3. "Making of the Do You Realize??" (Video)  
4. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1"    
5. "Making of the Yoshimi Video"    
6. "Fight Test"    
7. "Phoebe Battles the Pink Robots"    
8. "Christmas on Mars" (Movie trailer)  
9. "Making of the Yoshimi DVD-A"    
10. "Are You a Hypnotist??" (George's Photogenic Stimulation Theory #1134)  
DVD-ROM extras
No. Title Length
1. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1" (Animated episode)  
2. "Fight Test" (Animated episode)  


The Flaming Lips
Additional personnel


  1. ^ "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Certified Gold". Market Wire. 2006. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Wayne Coyne on the album". [dead link]
  3. ^ "Lips Nailed For Cat Stevens Song Similarity". Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Fight Club". Rolling Stone. August 21, 2003. 
  5. ^ "RIAA Gold and Platinum searchable database". Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "Reviews for Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  8. ^ . Entertainment Weekly. 19 July 2002. p. 74.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Costa, Maddy (12 July 2002). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Review". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  10. ^ . Mojo. August 2002. p. 92.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Long, April (July 9, 2002). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Review". NME. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  12. ^ Bryant, Will (July 15, 2002). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  13. ^ Garrett, Jon (30 August 2002). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Review". PopMatters. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  14. ^ "The Flaming Lips Review". Rolling Stone. 2004. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  15. ^ Neyfakh, Leon (2003-09-01). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Review". Stylus. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  16. ^ "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Review". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  17. ^ Nashawaty, Chris (July 8, 2002). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Music recording)". Fortune. p. 146 (1):152. 
  18. ^ Garrity, Brian (July 20, 2002). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Music recording)". Billboard. p. 114 (29):18. 
  19. ^ Moon, Tom (July 25, 2002). "RECORDINGS". Rolling Stone. p. (901):71. 
  20. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (April 14, 2007). "LIPS ON BROADWAY". Billboard. p. 119 (15):32. 
  21. ^ Endelman, Michael (Mar 25, 2007). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots musical". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  22. ^ Ng, David (Mar 14, 2012). "Flaming Lips musical to debut in late 2012, minus Aaron Sorkin". LA Times. Retrieved 11 Sep 2012. 
  23. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (Apr 5, 2011). "The Flaming Lips Plan 'Yoshimi' Musical". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 11 Sep 2012.