“So where does a band go after releasing the most defiantly experimental record of its career?” (Ankeny). “Their previous album, 1997’s Zaireeka, was a quadruple album of experimental sounds meant to be played on four separate stereo systems simultaneously” (Wikipedia).
“If you’re the Flaming Lips, you keep rushing headlong into the unknown – The Soft Bulletin…is in many ways their most daring work yet, a plaintively emotional, lushly symphonic pop masterpiece eons removed from the mind-warping noise of their past efforts” (Ankeny). “The album was considered to mark a change in course for the band, with more traditional catchy melodies and accessible-sounding music…and lyrics that were more serious and thoughtful in content” (Wikipedia). “Its aims are so perversely commercial, in fact, that hit R&B remixer Peter Mokran tinkered with the cuts Race for the Prize and Waitin’ for a Superman in the hopes of earning mainstream radio attention” (Ankeny).
“Though more conventional in concept and scope than Zaireeka, The Soft Bulletin clearly reflects its predecessor’s expansive sonic palette” (Ankeny). “The album was noted for its fusion of ordinary rock instruments, electronic beats and synthesizers” (Wikipedia). “Its multidimensional sound is positively celestial, a shape-shifting pastiche of blissful melodies, heavenly harmonies, and orchestral flourishes; but for all its headphone-friendly innovations, the music is still amazingly accessible, never sacrificing popcraft in the name of radical experimentation” (Ankeny). “Its large, layered, symphonic sound has also earned it a reputation as the Pet Sounds of the 1990s from a few critics” (Wikipedia).
“But what’s most remarkable about The Soft Bulletin is its humanity – these are Wayne Coyne’s most personal and deeply felt songs, as well as the warmest and most giving. No longer hiding behind surreal vignettes about Jesus, zoo animals, and outer space, Coyne pours his heart and soul into each one of these tracks, poignantly exploring love, loss, and the fate of all mankind; highlights like The Spiderbite Song and Feeling Yourself Disintegrate are so nakedly emotional and transcendently spiritual that it’s impossible not to be moved by their beauty” (Ankeny).
“Not just the best album of 1999, The Soft Bulletin might be the best record of the entire decade” (Ankeny).