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Magic Bulletin Theory

The Flaming Lips say no to a normal Zaireeka; prepare new album

When the Flaming Lips conceived Zaireeka, they were
brimming with innovation, but lacking in foresight. In order the
enjoy the album to its full sonic potential, listeners must employ
four — count ’em, four — CD players to play each of
Zaireeka‘s discs simultaneously. Obviously, the poor sap
with only one CD player — God forbid — can still enjoy
Zaireeka a CD at a time, but only relish a quarter of the
album’s wall of sound.

Friends of the Lips, like Ben Folds and others on the inside,
have bragged that they’ve procured a full mix of Zaireeka,
fueling speculation that the band might cave and offer a
user-friendly version of Zaireeka to the mass
audience.

Wrong.

“What I’ve tried to do is give [the listener] four orgasms at
one time,” Coyne says. “And what a lot of people want is to get the
four orgasms, but only feel a quarter of them — so it’s one
again.”

One is enough for a Viagra user, but it’s not good enough for
the Lips. “Some of the [four CDs] I don’t feel are really powerful
without the four CD element being there,” he adds. “I think
sometimes that the atmosphere it creates is better than the
creation itself. I don’t know if you take it out of that format it
would mean as much, so I don’t plan to [re-release
Zaireeka with a full mix].”

In the meantime, the group will continue to stage Parking Lot
(or Boombox) Experiments, where the Lips herd fans into small
arenas to play Zaireeka on four separate players so
listeners can revel in its intended sound. “As the night progresses
it goes from being as simple as pressing the play button to [using]
different levels and rhythms for each person [controlling the
boombox],” he says.

Those who can’t stomach paying to listen to a live mix of the
quad-album will be happy to know the Lips are preparing to release
a conventional single-disc album early next year with the working
title The Soft Bulletin. The album title is a play off
“the soft bullet in,” a line from one of the new songs, according
to Coyne. “If someone gave you the choice of getting shot in the
head with one of those new shielded bullets that will destroy
everything or getting shot in the head with a really soft one that
won’t hurt but do the same damage, I’ll take the soft one,” he
explains. “It’s just the crazy idea of soft bullets.”

Coyne says The Soft Bulletin will include “about twelve
or thirteen” songs that didn’t fit the mold of the quadraphonic

Zaireeka. “In a way, [when] we did [The Soft
Bulletin
], it felt like a retreat,” Coyne says, “like this is
not what were here to do … [But] knowing that [these songs]
failed, we could go back and put them on one CD like the rest of
the planet does.”

In This Article: The Flaming Lips

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