I know two different versions of The Flaming Lips. I know the Yoshimi version: a great band that makes what can only be described as awesome alien-pop. I also know the Embryonic version: a band that is past its prime, drowning in pretension and legions of fans who will eat up anything thrown at them. I was really glad to find out that The Soft Bulletin came from the former version of The Flaming Lips.
The Soft Bulletin is definitely the best album that I’ve heard by The Flaming Lips; probably because it sounds the least forced and most sincere. Wayne Coyne’s lyrics are delivered with a passion that can still be heard on Yoshimi, but that has completely faded today. Even in comparison to Yoshimi, though, The Soft Bulletin seems more genuine. There are no complete misses, while there are definitely a few on Yoshimi.
Ultimately, I think this album speaks so strongly to me because it stays engaging the entire time. There are no moments where I have to really try to appreciate the music, like on everything else that I’ve heard by them. While the album isn’t comprised of 11 straight-up pop songs, the entire record is accessible, and fun to listen to. Race for the Prize and Waitin’ for a Superman are standouts on the record, two undeniably fun, interesting rock songs.
It’s almost painful to know that a band has put together great albums like The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi, but can’t seem to do it anymore. Maybe they got tired of their sound, and wanted to mix it up. I don’t know what happened, but it hasn’t been working out. Oh well, albums like Bulletin aren’t going anywhere, no matter how many new “deep” “epic” “masterpieces” the Flaming Lips put out