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Frank Zappa - The Mothers Of Invention: Absolutely Free CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.02 | 623 ratings

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5 stars The First Brilliant Zappa/Mothers Social Critique.

Zappa recorded this while in New York, and that city's influence is felt here. He delves into social commentary, and is more direct and sincere on this album (and 'We're Only In it'...) than on any of his 70s albums (until 'You Are What You Is', that is). Even more than on 'Freak Out', Zappa's (and the rest of the Mothers') quirky humour is in evidence here. It all begins with 'Plastic People', a track that simultaneously combines a social critique of a materialistic mainstream culture, of rock and roll (Louie Louie), and of conservative sexual norms, while being rapturously funny. Following this is "Duke of Prunes", a hilarious send-up of 50's love ballads (in which the word "cheese" is substituted for where 'love' would normally be found). "Call Any Vegetable" is Zappa's critique of 60s youth, including the counter-culture youth who turned to drugs instead of critical thought (and which would re-appear in different musical guise on "Just Another Band From LA"). Side 2 is wrapped within the "America drinks/ America drinks and goes home" theme, which again involves social critique of those (namely older adults now) who spend their time drinking instead of critically thinking about their lives. "Status Back Baby", "Uncle Bernies Farm" and "Suzie Creme Cheese" all relate to these social critiques (with the latter riffing again off Louie Louie/Plastic People). The longer finale "Brown Shoes Don't Make It", is still today one of Zappa's insightful and hardest hitting, and most difficult to listen to, social critiques, depicting a white collar office worker who, confined to his routine job day dreams not of his boring trophy wife but instead deviant and potentially illegal sexual acts (but then who goes home to his wife and drinks). Highly intellectual, yet also funny, and very catchy music. Brilliant! I give this album 9.1 out of 10 on my 10-point scale. Definitely 5 PA stars.

Walkscore | 5/5 |


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