The Flaming Lips - Zaireeka (1997)

Here's the concept: four CDs to be played simultaneously, creating some sort of quadrophonic stereo sound by which you may smoke hash or perhaps stare at your lava lamp.

Here's the reality: Do I wanna buy three more CD players with which to enjoy Zaireeka or, say, eat?

Let me put it to you this way: I have one CD player, a boombox I bought off my ex-roommate for about $15. I got it so cheap because (a) it was old, and (b) the latch that holds the cover of the CD player shut broke in a freak accident. I keep the player shut with a couple of strips of duct tape so the disc will play. I change the tape once every three weeks or so, which isn't often enough. If I could afford a new player, I'd get one. In the meantime, I'm still three short.

And talk about not connecting with your fan base! Have you ever seen a Flaming Lips fan? They spend all their cash on inhalants and detox. They don't have the money for four CD players and, if they did, they'd spend it all on-- you guessed it-- inhalants and detox. And then retox. But not three more CD players.

I tried to make do by listening to each disc on its own, and while it sounded interesting, I was still only getting one- fourth of the whole picture at a time. When I mentally put it all together, I figured it should sound like an acid casualty who sits on a throne, even though he lives in a seedy motel and hands out quaaludes to the newspaper delivery boys. But I could be wrong. I'll never know because I don't have the proper amount of stereo equipment.

If Flaming Lips mastermind Wayne Coyne-- who, up until now, has been amazingly creative without heading off into ridiculousness-- decides to release a mix of all four CDs on one disc, I'm all for it. In the meantime, he may as well have put the freakin' thing on an eight track tape or 6,000 microcassettes that each have one note on them. All Zaireeka is good for now is a mention on "The $25,000 Pyramid."

Contestant #1: "Tofu burgers, Ishtar, pet rocks, Tandy computers, the Flaming Lips' Zaireeka--" 

Contestant #2: "Completely useless things no one should have bothered with!"


Pitchfork May 19, 1997