- The Flaming Lips: Michael Ivins (vocals, guitar, bass); Steven Drozd (vocals, guitar, drums); Wayne Coyne (vocals, guitar).
- Additional personnel: Scott Bennett (bass).
- Producers: The Flaming Lips, Dave Fridmann, Scott Booker.
- Recorded in Cassadaga, New York, New York between April 1997 and February 1999.
- With their multi-disc opus ZAIREEKA (four CDs meant to be played simultaneously on four different players), the Flaming Lips radically expanded the scope of their melancholy psychedelia, as pop tunes became modernist soundscapes, part-Pink Floyd, part-John Cage. Obviously, the experience greatly influenced the band's direction, because on THE SOFT BULLETIN the Lips again scrap the guitar-bass-drum rock standard, sculpting instead a huge hi-fi record akin to a post-modern PET SOUNDS with the vision of a humanist OK COMPUTER.
- Long-time producer and Mercury Rev studio savant Dave Fridmann helps with the completion of a Spectorian sonic canvas, full of epic gestures (glorious sweeping strings arrangements) and brilliant details (well-placed thematic samples). The music adds a context of grandeur to Coyne's lyrics of Zen and the cosmic joke. Songs like "Superman," "Feeling Yourself Disintegrate" and a half-dozen others, hint at the hopelessness of life's outcome while maintaining a sense of faith (a common Lips theme). THE SOFT BULLETIN raises such pre-millennial realist/fantasy notions in the midst of a 90s "Tomorrow Never Knows," and in the process setting a high bar for the last great rock-era records of the 20th century.
Spin (7/99, pp.126-7) - 9 (out of 10) - "...THE SOFT BULLETIN may be the most extraordinary rock record you'll hear all year....a symphonic work of fully realized cosmic pop, full of surging sweeping melodicism and expansive, heart tugging tunes..."
Entertainment Weekly (7/9/99, p.78) - "...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..." - Rating: A
Q (1/00, p.84) - Included in Q Magazine's "50 Best Albums of 1999."
CMJ (1/10/00, p.3) - Ranked #2 in CMJ's "Top 30 Editorial Picks [for 1999]."
CMJ (6/28/99, p.5) - "...may be the Lips' most challenging, yet still wonderfully exaggerated and far-reaching to date....The group's spaced-out moments, which came off as compelling little accidents in the past, are now more lucid, moody and colorful than ever..."
Melody Maker (5/15/99, p.36) - 4 stars (out of 5) - "...THE SOFT BULLETIN is a smart, snappy record full of great tunes..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.66) - Ranked #6 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "[U]plifting, orchestral swell and joyful psych experiments."
Mojo (Publisher) (1/00, p.31) - Ranked #6 in Mojo Magazine's "Best of 1999."
Mojo (Publisher) (7/99, p.97) - "...a stately parade of sound...Very curious, very gripping, very fine."
NME (Magazine) (5/8/99, p.38) - 9 out of 10 - "...a joyous, celestial celebration of sound. Rhythmic and piano-laden, it's heavenly in both its conception and execution..."