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
ReleasedJuly 16, 2002 (2002-07-16)
RecordedJune 2000 – April 2002
StudioTarbox Road Studios, Cassadaga, New York
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerThe 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
  2. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1"
    Released: March 2003
  3. "Fight Test"
    Released: April 22, 2003
  4. "Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell"
    Released: November 18, 2003

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 States and the previous day in the United Kingdom. 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 inspired by Boredoms/OOIOO member Yoshimi P-We, following a comment in the Flaming Lips studio that her machine-sound abstract singing sounds like she is battling monsters—Coyne added 'pink'.[2] P-We 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.[3]

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.[4] 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'.[5]

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.

The front cover contains the Japanese text 「ザ・フレーミング・リップスは、あなたが人生と、このレコードをエンジョイしてくれることを願っています。」 The inside cover has the text 「君は一番美しい顔をしている。」

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.[6]

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.

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.

As a 2014 April Fool's gag, Funny or Die posted a fake trailer for Yoshimi: Fall of the Chosen starring members of The Flaming Lips. The short is laced with references from the album: "Evil Natured Robots Programed to Destroy Us" scrolls by during news footage, "Yoshimi! Don't let them eat me!" is heard in the dialogue, and there is a quick shot of Yoshimi taking her vitamins.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[8]
Blender4/5 stars[9]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[10]
The Guardian4/5 stars[11]
Q4/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[16]
Uncut5/5 stars[17]

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots received acclaim from music critics.[7] Calling the album "as strange as it is wonderful," Billboard nonetheless noted that "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] Tom Moon of Rolling Stone praised the album's "ambitious" production,[19] while Fortune magazine called it "a lush and haunting electronic symphony."[20] Uncut declared that "even by their standards, Yoshimi is astonishing."[17] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave the album a three-star honorable mention rating,[21] indicating "an enjoyable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well treasure".[22] Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots appeared in the best-albums-of-the-decade lists of several music publications, such as Rolling Stone (#27) and Uncut (#11), with Uncut also declaring it the greatest album released in the magazine's lifetime. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[23]

As of 2009 it has sold 570,000 copies in United States according to Nielsen SoundScan.[24]


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.[25][26] 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.[27]

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.[28]

The show received its world premiere at the Tony Award-winning 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.


Michael Buckley's short story Yoshimi and the Robot is inspired by the song.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

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

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:47:25


The Flaming Lips

Additional personnel


  1. ^ "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Certified Gold". Market Wire. 2006. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  2. ^ Coyne, Wayne. BBC Radio 6. Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone. Broadcast on January 8th 2017
  3. ^ "Wayne Coyne on the album". Archived from the original on 2002-10-17.
  4. ^ "Lips Nailed For Cat Stevens Song Similarity". Billboard. June 27, 2003. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  5. ^ "Fight Club". Rolling Stone. August 21, 2003.
  6. ^ "RIAA Gold and Platinum searchable database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Reviews for Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips". Metacritic. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  8. ^ Phares, Heather. "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots – The Flaming Lips". AllMusic. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  9. ^ Petridis, Alexis (August 2002). "The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots". Blender (8): 114. Archived from the original on June 30, 2006. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  10. ^ Tyrangiel, Josh (July 19, 2002). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots". Entertainment Weekly: 74. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  11. ^ Costa, Maddy (July 12, 2002). "Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots". The Guardian. London. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  12. ^ Long, April (July 9, 2002). "Flaming Lips : Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots". NME. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  13. ^ Bryant, Will (July 15, 2002). "The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  14. ^ "The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots". Q (193): 127. August 2002.
  15. ^ Kot, Greg (July 25, 2002). "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  16. ^ Cross, Charles R. (2004). "Flaming Lips". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 300. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  17. ^ a b "The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots". Uncut (63): 96. August 2002.
  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. ^ Nashawaty, Chris (July 8, 2002). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Music recording)". Fortune. p. 146 (1):152.
  21. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: The Flaming Lips". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  22. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Key to Icons". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  23. ^ Dimery, Robert, ed. (2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  24. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lips/flaming-lips-dial-down-the-whimsy-on-embryonic-idUSTRE58P07P20090926
  25. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (April 14, 2007). "LIPS ON BROADWAY". Billboard. p. 119 (15):32.
  26. ^ Endelman, Michael (Mar 25, 2007). "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots musical". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  27. ^ Ng, David (Mar 14, 2012). "Flaming Lips musical to debut in late 2012, minus Aaron Sorkin". LA Times. Retrieved 11 Sep 2012.
  28. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (Apr 5, 2011). "The Flaming Lips Plan 'Yoshimi' Musical". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 11 Sep 2012.