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Released: May 17, 1999

Rating: 4.381 (average of 11 ratings)

Genre: alternative rock

Quotable: “might be the best record of the entire decade” – Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  1. Race for the Prize
  2. A Spoonful Weighs a Ton
  3. The Spark That Bled
  4. Slow Motion *
  5. The Spiderbite Song **
  6. Buggin’ ***
  7. What Is the Light?
  8. The Observer
  9. Waitin’ for a Superman
  10. Suddenly Everything Has Changed
  11. The Gash
  12. Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
  13. Sleeping on the Roof
  14. Race for the Prize [remix]
  15. Waitin’ for a Superman [remix]
* only on UK version
** only on US version
*** on the end of the UK version


sales in U.S. only 38,000
sales in U.K. only - estimated 60,000
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 98,000


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart --
peak on U.K. album chart 39

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Race for the Prize (6/26/99) #39 UK
  • Waitin’ for a Superman (11/20/99) #73 UK


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more.

The Soft Bulletin
Flaming Lips
“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).

Review Source(s):

Last updated March 29, 2008.