1. This was the first Flaming Lips album I ever heard based on the greatness of the cover alone, and I was immediately sold. There are some days that I think that it might be even better than The Soft Bulletin, but that’s simply because the melodies are more direct here – the sonics aren’t nearly as immersive. (But at the very least, we don’t have two silly remixes to deal with here.)
2. That being said, a lot of the chord progressions are fairly standard (“Fight Test” famously plagiarizes a Cat Stevens song that I don’t care about), so the Lips’ dress it up with some production flourishes. They’ll have even fewer melodies next time, and they’ll try dressing that up with even more flourishes.
4. ”One More Robot/Sympathy 3000” and “All We Have Is Now” sound Radiohead-esque. This is not a negative thing.
5. It was a bad idea putting the longest song on the album, “In the Morning of the Magicians,” right after the opening block of four songs (“Fight Test” through to “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1” might be their best three-song stretch, capped off with a rousing instrumental), because it inadvertently divides the album in half. The song itself is mostly a listless acoustic number; the most exciting parts are the bass-y instrumental sections.
6. “Are You A Hypnotist??” is the most underrated track on the album; check out the counterpointing backing vocals in the last instance of the chorus that feel genuinely sad. Lovely drumroll action in that song too.
7. “Do You Realize??” is – as well as “Seven Nation Army” – a case where the band’s most ubiquitous song is obviously their best.
8. The pitch-shifted countdown (like someone high off a helium balloon) of “Do You Realize??” outdoes the countdown of “Race for the Prize” and every subsequent countdown that the Lips will ever use (and they’ll use a lot of them).
9. Best moment on the album: the glorious backing vocals at the 2:02 mark of “Do You Realize??” Second best moment on the album: Yoshimi’s interjection “Ha-Ho!” after “She’s a black-belt in karate” on “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1.”
10. Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon (Utopia Planitia)” is good, but not Grammy Award-winning good.