The Flaming Lips
Zaireeka


3.0
good

Review

by joshuatree USER (5 Reviews)
October 27th, 2007 | 83 replies | 12,445 views


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pointless, yet strangely good.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

If I had to make a list of the most pointless albums ever released, I would easily put the Flaming Lips' Zaireeka at the top of that list. The problem is, making a list like that would be ironically pointless.

Zaireeka consists of four discs, each with the same goddamn songs on each one. The discs are meant to be played simultaneously, which, if you don’t think about it too logically, may not be such a bad idea after all: the Flaming Lips allow the listener not only to control the order and volume of which to hear these songs, but they also allow the listener to mix the album as well. But once the haze clears and you put the LSD away, you realize that you’re going to need four ***ing stereos to hear the album the way Wayne Coyne and his supporting cast meant for the album to be heard. Do you know how much stereos cost? A ***ty one is, like, twenty dollars, and four of them equal eighty clams. My personal stereo costs three times that! To get good sound quality, you’re going to need to spend over five hundred dollars. All of the sudden, Zaireeka has become the most expensive album you’ve ever purchased.

But, the thing is, the songs really aren’t that bad. Zaireeka may be the Lips’ most experimental album, and not just in concept either. Everything is droning and features a lazy ambience, while maintaining the quirky melodic features normally found in a Flaming Lips album. Everything is warped and fragmented, and the songs seem much longer than their average five-and-a-half-minute running time. Uncomfortable sounds surround ambience, such as the screeching and ear-ripping screams that rip through the guitars and fragile vocals during “Riding to Work in the Year 2025”, which is apparently about a secret agent from the future (presumably 2025) and imagines his death being because of his status of the world's greatest secret agent. All the songs seem to have concepts, which only adds to the album's obnoxiousness. "Thirty-five Thousand Feet of Dispair" is about an airplane killing himself, and "A Machine in India" describes the insanity of the menstural cycle. Yeah, like we all want to know about that.

All the drone and the gloom does get predictably repetitive, and the instrumental and vocal work isn’t as top-notch here as on other classics such as The Soft Bulletin and In A Priest Driven Ambulance. Zaireeka isn’t very song-based though; the album was definitely made for the audience participation. The songs often feel disjointed and desolate, and that’s because they are: you’re only listening to one-fourth of the full experience.

This awkward experiment of an album manages to have some redeeming qualities. The songs are never the same, whether or not you have four stereos, since you’re not going to be able to start all four albums at the same exact time. Despite being four versions of the same damn song, they are all instrumentally different, with CDs one and three being guitar-based and straight-forward, while discs two and four are more experimental and drum-based than the others. It almost makes it seem as if you have four discs of completely different material, if the melody of the songs wasn’t the exact same on every one. Keep in mind, despite their differences, these songs are still meant to be played simultaneously. If you attempt to listen to all four of these albums one after another, you will quickly be bored out of your mind.

The Flaming Lips’ eighth album shows no mention of the genius that was about to follow; of the nearly perfect records before and after. Zaireeka is a purely experimental album, considered today by the Flaming Lips as a result of spontaneous creativity than a thought out, expertly crafted release. Despite this, Zaireeka’s pretentious concept still receives deserved attention, and, besides the ridiculous concept, features some worthwhile songs. But it’s still four pointless discs, all of which seem to be missing something, and the money needed to shell out for the box set and the stereos is better used to wipe your ass. Zaireeka probably would have faded into obscurity if released as one disc. But with its unique format, it lives on forever.


user ratings (143)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Brendan M. (4)
What could’ve been a kiss of death turns out to be an important stepping stone for the Flaming Lip...

Paul blart (5)
One of the most creative, yet ultimately pointless, albums of all time. Put in the effort, and "Zair...


Comments:Add a Comment 
roofi
October 27th 2007



959 Comments


Great review; this band is weird as hell.

Correction
October 27th 2007



188 Comments


Yeah, and this album may be the weirdest thing they've ever done.

Apocalyptic Raids
October 27th 2007



810 Comments


love this band but haven't heard this. I would probably struggle to round up 4 stereos. I've heard there are mixed down versions floating around on soulseek but I can't be bothered tracking them down.

Zebra
Moderator
October 28th 2007



2647 Comments


A Machine in India is worth rounding up four stereos, it's such an amazing song once you get everything hooked up correctly. I haven't listened to this in ages, but I remember it being a neat and warped experience.

MrKite
October 28th 2007



5020 Comments


I like the second paragraph a lot.

any14doomsday
November 3rd 2007



679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Big Ol' Bug Is The New Baby Now, is awesome.

John Galt
February 10th 2008



41 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

even though I have only listened to half the album so far using only three cd's, it seems that I am already satisfied in the $16 i spent on the CD. The songs are great and once you get the songs to play, its more like an experience than an album.

any14doomsday
April 29th 2008



679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It really is an awesome experience to listen to this album through 4 stereos, with the volume almost all the way up. March of the rotten vegetables is damn near frightening.

ilikemusicthatsucks
May 9th 2008



1063 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album isn't pointless at all. It's not for you if you aren't already into the Lips but once you are, you're going to love this. It's unlike any other musical experience you'll ever have, and no, you don't have to be high to enjoy it.

Big Baby Jesus
May 16th 2008



549 Comments


This album is a severe case of trying way too hard.

ilikemusicthatsucks
May 17th 2008



1063 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^/what every person says before they've actually tried it.

HailToTheThief
January 6th 2009



144 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I heard that the album was an experiment intended for other artists and producers to enjoy. I've only heard one song off here, it sounded pretty cool tho. My friend pay $18 for it at a used record shop and it was missing a cd ha

joshuatree
Emeritus
January 6th 2009



3743 Comments


zaireeeeeka

robin
Emeritus
May 26th 2009



4241 Comments


finally got it working.
will probably never do so again, but still. enjoyed it while it lasted. : )

Rodrigoarca
October 12th 2009



4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

interesting

Kashmir09
October 14th 2009



772 Comments


There's no way I'll be able to pull off the 4 stereo thing, how's the album on it's own?

Yotimi
October 14th 2009



6441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not really enjoyable, too sparse. There's gotta be a mixed version out there somewhere. Someone let me know if they know of one.

BrandNewBoognish
October 14th 2009



1021 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

http://rapidshare.com/files/94288184/ZMIXbyBMC.zip.html

Yotimi
October 14th 2009



6441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You da man. I'll have to check it at home.

Kashmir09
October 14th 2009



772 Comments


Boom, I must also check this out




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