The Soft Bulletin - The Flaming Lips
The Soft Bulletin Image
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 21 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.4

Universal acclaim- based on 85 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Dave Fridmann-produced 'Soft Bulletin' is considered by many fans and critics to be the band's finest album, and found its way onto quite a few Best of 1999 lists.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. An impossibly multi-tracked masterwork of excess, abrasion, and indefinable beauty.
  2. A vertiginous rainbow swirl that crams so many ideas into so many tight spaces that each track is like a perfectly rendered Joseph Cornell box.
  3. 100
    This is one of those albums people are going to obsess over for many years to come.
  4. The Flaming Lips could've been forgiven for feeling usurped when their sister ship Mercury Rev steamed away with the garlands for Deserter's Songs last December, but in truth, both collectives are in competition with no-one but themselves and the gods.
  5. A very good slice of experimental pop.
  6. As if the Lips' perfect mix of pop and psychedelia wasn't enough, they write songs that are not only excellent but distinct as well.
  7. The Soft Bulletin echoes the oft-mimiced Smiley Smile by The Beach Boys, with its psychedelic wobbliness, songs-within-songs and airy termperament.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 44
  2. Negative: 0 out of 44
  1. Dec 7, 2010
    10
    Its absoloutley amazing, as much as i love clouds taste metallic and their other albums this.is.their.best. GO AND BUY IT, it will make you want explode because you cant contain how seriously amazng this album is.ONE of THE best albums of the 90's and 20 years. up there with pinkerton,check your head and loveless guys Expand
  2. Sep 7, 2010
    10
    Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots may have been a bit more out there and mabe even more creative, but the Soft Bulletin is by no means a lesser album. A beautiful record that just keeps getting better. Expand
  3. Sep 3, 2011
    10
    The perfect album, and by far the magnum opus of The Flaming Lips. The Soft Bulletin is a departure from The Flaming Lips' earlier work, which was mostly lo-fi noise rock. The Soft Bulletin's songs are generally slow and soft, and explore various themes, such as love and devotion (The Spiderbite Song, for instance, is as far as I can tell about one's platonic love for another). The lyrics are clever and meaningful, and not superficial at all. In fact, I would say the overarching theme of the album is love. All in all its a beautiful album, and a must-listen-to. Expand
  4. May 26, 2011
    10
    The Soft Bulletin is an example of an album where you just can't listen to one track off of it to truly appreciate. It's an album to be experienced in it's entirety; right from it's opening track (the majestic 'Race For The Prize") to it's closer ("Buggin'", the album's only love song). Sure, they all sound fantastic on their own, but it's just all the more amazing when everything's compressed together. If you can manage that (which, really, shouldn't be hard), you're in for a treat. Technically, it's an alternative rock album, but it feels like so much more. There's a lovable pop appeal that makes you love it the instant you hear it, along with an odd, experimental appeal as well that may turn it away from mainstream listeners, but ultimately, the two join together to create a truly wonderful style that will keep you astounded for days, maybe weeks, on end. More than anything, however, its how maximalist the music sounds that gives it such a jolt of grandiose energy. A seemingly infinite amount of instruments are in the mix-up, and thankfully, none of the tracks sounds the same. If the lyrics were as daring as the music, it would seem as if the band is taking itself too seriously and trying too hard, but the result is quite the opposite actually: Coyne keeps his lyrics simple and straightforward, which adds to the albums power. A masterpiece like this would've been almost to create perfectly, but the band somehow manage to create one of the decades most perfectly consistent records. Some of the highlights include the prog-styled epic "The Spark That Bled", the gorgeous "Waitin' For A Superman", and "Slow Motion", which includes the albums loveliest simile ("and I'm feeling like a float/In a Macy's Day Parade"). But they're all nothing compared to "Feeling Yourself Disintegrate", which manages to create a tune over Coyne making a studdering Bap, BapBapBab-like melody. By the time it goes away, you wont really notice, because you'd be too enthralled by the track to really notice even anything. In fact, it's pretty hard to notice anything the whole album; it's so damn hypnotic, you'll be shocked someone was crazy enough to make this album. But there was. And Bam, you've been mind-blown again. Damn, these guys are good at that. 10 out of 10. Expand
  5. Mar 20, 2013
    10
    At first, to me, this album was very monotonous and boring, and I had only liked Race For the Prize. Then I had watched the Pitchfork documentary on it, and it just worked for me afterwards. Maybe it was the effort they had put into it, or the creativity, something, something did it for me, now I am a fan of The Soft Bulletin. I might even go as far as saying it's one of my favorite albums. The best songs(s) is(are): Feeling Yourself Disintegrate, Race for the Prize, Spoonful Weighs a Ton. Expand
  6. Apr 21, 2013
    10
    Calling music 'psychedelic' presents loaded images involving gentlemen from the 1960's in paisley giving all manner of waffle on vinyl before, after, and during the taking of enormous quantities of high quality hallucinogenics. The very heart of this record is nothing to do with drugs, pills, and potions. It's a deeply human album, the vocals surrounded by a wealth of sounds that tie everything together. The gentle waves of Sleeping on the Roof, the simple instrumentation accompanying the plaintive Waitin' for a Superman, the wonderfully absurd The Gash, and then there's Race for the Prize, the best opening drum statement of any song bar Like A Rolling Stone.

    Despite being a contrary swine, this album will never leave my Top 10 and may well be my favourite album ever. A masterpiece of both songwriting and sonic invention.
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  7. Jul 17, 2011
    9
    Apart from having an overarching technical nous,the things that have propelled this album to legendary status among the cognicenti are it's warmth and compassion.This sounds very big, the polish does not detract from the songs, it would be hard to find too many better albums that were released back in 1999 ,a monumentally slack year in music. Expand

See all 44 User Reviews