Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Pts. 1 & 2

Album: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
Charted: 18
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Songfacts®:

  • Lead singer Wayne Coyne says the inspiration for the song came from a woman named Yoshimi who played with The Boredoms. He had a recording of her screaming that he thought sounded like a fight.
  • The Boredoms were a Japanese noise-rock group from the early '90s, with roots in the experiments of artists like Sonic Youth. They gained a small following and even played at the famous Lollapalooza festival, which showcased most major alternative rock acts of the day.
  • The screaming on Part 2 is actually the voice of Yoshimi. When producer Dave Fridmann heard the sounds, he told Wayne, "You know, it sounds like Yoshimi is either being killed by or having sex with the robot."

    That observation ended up shaping the entire album. Wayne told Red Bull Music Academy: "That's the way that the track was sounding, and then I think I said something like, 'Yeah, I think it would be a pink robot,' and all of us kind of went, 'It could be. That really could be a title of this record that we're making, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,' because we knew Yoshimi was a real person. It wasn't an abstract, made-up character, it's just a person, and we knew this idea of the pink robots was a very Flaming Lips thing, that it's a robot but it's pink and it's soft. It would have a lot of entities that the Flaming Lips would think are important but nobody else would. It spurred us into making the next three or four songs that we knew were intended to be on the record called Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots."
  • The band made sure to include Yoshimi's real name in the title so that the listener would picture "a crazy Japanese woman" and thought that would come across with the name.
  • On the album, these songs appear as two separate, back-to-back tracks.
  • A video of this song appears as a special feature on a DVD of the TV show Friends. Instead of "Yoshimi," they change the lyric to "Phoebe," who is a character on the show. The video intercuts scenes of the show with Lisa Kudrow (playing Phoebe). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    DR - Mexicali, Mexico
  • This was used in the 2008 movie Definitely, Maybe.
  • Steve Drozd, the band's drummer-turned-guitarist/keyboardist, told ultimate-guitar.com how he achieved the slide-sounding effect at the beginning of the song: "It's a pitch bender on a pedal. In the studio I'm using a DigiTech whammy pedal, but that's just a Boss GT8 and I'm running that through a delay so it's feeding back on itself. Nothing tricky at all. It could be a slide or something, but it's basically the same effect. I hit the whammy pedal so that it goes up high then comes back down."

Comments: 17

  • Mary Finelli from Mary Land, U.s.a. The song to me represents nonhuman animals pleading with animal rights activists to save them from humans who act like mindless robots in treating animals as food. It always brings me to tears.
  • Spring from Uk Isn't it entirely possible that it's influenced by both things? that the subject is based on an experience of someone with cancer, and the name was taken from a japanese female that they knew of. 'names have been changed to protect the innocent' kind of thing?

    people are insisting it can't be one because it is definitely the other. when you create something you pull in various different influences, references and inspirations.

    It seems very unlikely that this is literally about fighting robots - or you would make the song more chaotic and energetic. it's unlikely it's a metaphor for fighting against the system or negative people - it would be angrier. instead it's strangely wistful. it implies admiration for her fight - but a sadness in it's tone. the strange ending of the video seems to imply that just as it appears she beats it, it returns again when she has nothing left to fight with - as cancer can do.
  • Rj from Wayland, MiI think that Wayne didn't have a target for the metaphor, so it's about whatever you can point it to, much like any metaphor, quotation, idea, concept, etc. And it's an important thing to do. Don't just take it as it is given to you, but THINK and apply it to what matters to YOU.
  • Micheal from Noneofyourbusiness, BelarusThe pink robots refer to people who are out of touch with their emotions and behave selfishly. They are called 'pink' because they are human, and 'robots' because they act callously to their fellow man. Yoshimi represents love and compassion. To be defeated by the pink robots is to become one of them, to give up on love and your fellow man and behave like a robot. Hence the line from another song on the album, "one more robot learns to be something more than a machine." That line means, "one more person remembers how to be a person and not a mindless, selfish "pink robot."
  • Joe from San Diego, CaI saw this guy on the Daily Show last night who wrote this book Wired for War about the future use of robotics in U.S. warfare (already using over 35,000 droids in Iraq). One U.S. scientist was quoted as saying "Yeah, I may be designing something that enslaves and kills my grandchildren someday... but I can't help it, it's so cool!" He then talked about how, in Japanese culture, robotics is seen through a completely different spectrum. Where Americans have terminator and transformers (military killing machines targeting human beings), the Japanese have Astro Boy a young robotic protagonist with a baseball cap who protects and helps his human friends. I don't know what this song is about but last night i got really stoned and decided that THIS is what the song is about, Yoshimi is the endearing but ass kicking Japanese robot who protects us from the rise of the evil U.S. warbots. Cancer is BORING
  • Jake from Stillwater, OkWayne admitted in the behind-the-scenes footage for this music video that he means the lyrics "in a more metaphorical sense" than literal sense. However, he did not reveal what it was meant to be a metaphor for. Most likely he did not have a specific scenario in mind. He said in another interview that he often writes lyrics which he leaves to the listeners to attribute their own meanings to.
  • Robo from Gloucester, Englandlol sorry someone did comment that i didnt see it lol sorry
  • Robo from Gloucester, Englandi think the pink robots mite symbolise yoshimis (is its true) battle of cancer "i know she can beat them" "taking lots of vitamins" to beat pink robots sorry if im statin the obvious but nobodys commented so i thought i mite just throw it out there.
  • Doodness from Asdfasdf, ScFor The Ignorant Fool Who Thinks This Song Is About Robots May I Draw Your Attention To The Following Points.

    1. You're A One Dimensional Buffoon.
    2. This Is A CONCEPT Album, Each Song Having A Certain Meaning Not Necessarily Pertaining Just To Robots.
    3. Part One Of The Song Is An Introduction To The Woman Yoshimi, The Last Hope Of The Human Race Against The Robots.
    4. Part Two Of The Song Implies Her Death After Her Multiple Screams.

    Obviously You Have Not Taken The Time To Divulge Your Unworthy Being Into The Album.

    Next Time Before Posting Such An Bland Insult Take The Time To Actually Listen To The Song.

    Love,
    Charles.
  • Adam from Greenfield, Inreally hate this song... I love The Flaming Lips, but i just think that this is just too much... come on.. .and way too LONG when they are combined...

    And with the Cancer thing... No, this song is about Robots, just like it says... No double meanings..
  • Dave from London, EnglandIt's a great track, and a great album and their new album is fantastic too! and yeah! I agree with wendy get down with the sounds of Jody Wildgoose, also another Sheffield based artist I found only just yesterday, "Cohen and the shatners bassoon band", if you like the flaming lips check their stuff out!
  • Wendy from Sheffield, , EnglandThis song is on an episode of sex and the city, but cant remember which one. If you like these you should listen to Jody Wildgoose 'Lovely White Teeth.
  • Pete from Wheaton, MdI know nothing about this but it seems both could be true and the song could reference both the girl and Yoshimi.
  • Nick from San Francisco, Caactually, that's about half right. The Lips were in correspondence with a young japanese woman who was dying of cancer. Though Yoshimi isn't her, and the robots have nothing to do with this event, the band did write the song "It's Summertime" as a message of condolence to the woman's family.
  • Jason Lee from New York, Nythat story about the japanese girl with cancer is not true. yoshimi is yoshimi p-we, the drummer for the boredoms, who appears on the album
  • Ashley from Moncton, CanadaI've said many times that this a screwed up band, but they're an awful good screwed up band!
  • Steven from Berwick, EnglandA little butterfly whispered into my ear that aparantly while on 'The soft Bulletin' tour the Lips were apparantly recieving letters from a young girl from Japan who had cancer. The letters were getting more and more spaced out as time came and went until they stopped completely. The guys thought the worst and never heard from her again. So 'Yoshimi' is the little girl and 'The Pink Robots' are the cancer.
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