It's great hearing a band you thought was something else become something even more than you originally thought. Especially when you write them off as a one trick pony. In my younger days, I was always a huge fan of "She Don't Use Jelly" by the Flaming Lips, but then they fell off the face of the earth on alt. rock radio never again to surface to my ears. Or so I thought. Then in 2002, during my first months of Wow Video, I stumbled upon this album among the many rows of records in Tunes and figured, hell wtf I have a new income, am out of High School and ready to be more daring with my musical tastes. Why not purchase this record? Good move, Tsikitas. It was totally worth whatever amount cds were going for back in the old days of 2002 and it became the soundtrack to a summer of indifference. I say indifference because the world was changing, my life was changing, my relationships with people were changing and I was totally indifferent to a lot of these changes. Something about this record helped me forget these things and in turn, became a record that really influenced my life in a big honkin' way.
The album itself is about such indifference to many themes. Mortality, pacifism, gender roles, battling the futility of this world. That were some of the thoughts crowding my mind at the time. I was moving on to a college where I knew just a handfull of people and out of my four year comfort zone of Camden Catholic. It was a great four years, but I had no idea what was in store for the next and possibly last four years of my life as a student. Tumult all around. The only thing that was stable at that point was my dead end job as a video store clerk. At least I got free movies out of it. My love of film grew at this point, so it was no surprise that a very cinematic album would be something I was deeply interested in. I listened to this at work all the time. It definitely was the album of the year and rivals Arcade Fire & Black Mountain as the most important records of the Oughts.
It also reminds me of Noringo. Strange, yes but this was the summer of Noringo. Our songwriting was the best and our many many trips to the KFC/Taco Bell were spent with our drummer donning a bike helmet in the trunk of our bassist's SUV and blasting all kinds of shit, this included. It was a summer of outdoor shows and rocking out with new friends. Beyond these moments, Yoshimi is nothing but a mere soundtrack and a musical moment of greatness.
The album really just flows well and reminded me of a lot of 70's psychedelia that I was into. I wasn't one to experiment with mind altering substances, I just let the music do the work. And Lord knows Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is one of those mood altering, mind numbingly ether albums. A friend once said "I want to be smoking the drugs These guys are on!" And I said "I want to smoke these guys!" A song that to this day is one of those bone chilling faves is "Are You a Hypnotist??" Something about this will remind me of that time forever. Maybe it's mythical sound. "Fight Test" and "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1" are the standouts that littered the radio waves of my radio show going into college. The heartfelt ballad "Do You Realize??" is just a perfect song. Nothing about it is imperfect. It's catchy, it has beautiful melodies to it and amazingly straight forward lyrics. "Ego Tripping At the Gates of Hell" is another one of those songs that will remind me of random moments of time frozen forever to the ethereal buzz and drone of the song. It reminds me of lazy nights sitting along the Jersey shore with the breeze in my hair and a good book underneath the hot, summer sun.
This album is one that I assume will be a favorite of my kids, if I ever have one. When they look up to you and your music catalog, this is the kind of album that will transcend time and pop genre. It's like breaking out your parents records and discovering what it was like to be growin up in the Oughts. It's a great time-capsule record and a definite stand-out among many of the records of the past 8 years. I feel like it's a necessity to own this album. It's at the same time complex as it is straight forward. It has some existential elements that are poignant. "All We Have is Now" is one of those moments. Live in the moment and revel in the past, but don't be worried for the future.
1. The Who - Tommy
2. Beck - Odelay
3. Television - Marquee Moon
4. Weezer - Pinkerton
5. Brian Eno - Before & After Science
6. Wilco - A Ghost is Born
7. The Beatles - Rubber Soul
8. Grand Funk Railroad - Closer to Home
9. Foo Fighters - The Colour & The Shape
10. Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection
11. Interpol - Turn On the Bright Lights
12. King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King
13. Jeff Buckley - Grace
14. Warren Zevon
15. Black Mountain - In The Future
16. XTC - Skylarking
17. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
18. Nick Drake - Pink Moon
19. Stone Temple Pilots - Purple
20. The Clash - London Calling
21. Arcade Fire - Funeral
22. The Velvet Underground and Nico
23. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Up next: Queen's Greatest Hits
Ok, That's kind of breaking the rules, but you'll hafta wait why this compilations has to be on this list.