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Frank Zappa - Over-Nite Sensation CD (album) cover

OVER-NITE SENSATION

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.01 | 412 ratings

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stonebeard
4 stars Typing this up in biology class. Who needs an edumacation anyway!

Overnight Sensation is one of the heights of Zappa's 70s normal rock era. The humor here is mostly a success, and holds up so well even still because of the excellent tunes behind the lyrics, something that the following Apostrophe (') would misstep on (badly). Camarillio Brillo is one of my favorite Zappa songs, and it is probably his most normal song ever. It has just the catchiest chord progression repeated throughout the song, a great vocal melody, and a well-placed honkey-tonk piano rockout at the end. Once you hear it, you'll either be put off by how un-weird it is, or you'll totally dig it for what it is--a great rock song.

I Am the Slime reinvigorates Zappa's contempt for the media scrutinizers who always seem to find something offensive in popular music, backed with an appropriately "oozing" rock beat. Dirty Love begins the onslaught of "offensive" lyrics that would be trumped with the later Dinah Mo Hum (and from here on Zappa seems to try to outdo his "offensivity" with a song or five on subsequent albums). The rhythm is jaunty and you'll have a hard time forgetting it after the listen is over. (In fact, I'm writing this all down from memory, because why bother refreshing the album in your mind when you have most of it lovingly memorized anyway?). 50-50 is the fastest-paced song on the album, alternating the contained jam of the verses with the typically Zappaesque abrupt shifts in rhythm and vocal melody with the chorus. All good stuff so far.

Now, the only song on here I think is slightly sub-par is Zomby Woof, which really seems like nothing new compared to what the rest of the album brought, and seems a bit like a rehash of previous ideas. We're back on the right track with Dinah Mo Hum, such an incredibly offensive song at first about...pleasure...eventually becomes endearing with repeated listens. Montana closes out the album in a slow-groove rock sorta way, parodying country music and the movin'-out-West ethos, defiantly and humorously as always.

To conclude, yes this is probably Zappa's most mainstream album, even taking into account he got his only (minor) hit in the 80s with Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch. There is nothing on Overnight Sensation that could be described as weird in the Zappa context of the word. This is the peak of his straight-forward rock songwriting, however, and warrants a spot in even the fans of Zappa's earlier, experimental and jazz-rock albums.

stonebeard | 4/5 |

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