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Frank Zappa - You Are What You Is CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.64 | 341 ratings

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4 stars Essential Zappa.

One of Zappa's most accomplished and high quality albums. While not the best period in Zappa's career, this album stands out for being very musical and containing very clever lyrics, here with a few strong political and social statements. Across the entire album, every song effortlessly segues into the next, creating one continuous musical experience. My favourite side of this four-sided vinyl album is the one with Society Pages/I'm A Beautiful Guy/Beauty Knows no Pain/Charlie's Enormous Mouth/Any Downers. This group of songs acts like one larger social statement, with the main points of each song becoming the starting point for the next one. In addition to containing some of Zappa's most biting and insightful lyrics (namely about the meaning and stupidity of vanity, peer pressure, and conformity), it also is one of Zappa's most musical medleys. Side 3 also contains a great cluster of tunes in The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing/Dumb All Over/Heavenly Bank Account, which involves some of Zappa's strongest social and political critique (in this case, of the televangelical-religion industry). The twinned closers (If Only She Woulda/Drafted Again) also provide some great lyrics and strong critiques (this time of US foreign policy). Very rarely has impeccable production, quality complex music, and social/political critique come together so well. The first side, while lighter and meant more for their humour, also has some tracks that are quite musical. Why not five stars? Well, like many Zappa albums, he had to include a few crass joke tunes which are less musical and break up the flow of the music. Some of these I can't even listen to, like "Goblin Girl" and "Mudd Club" (although harmless) and "Jumbo Go Away" (less harmless, very off-putting), which detract from the great music here. If he just had kept to the highest-quality songs, this would have been a five-star album, and really the highlights are some of the most essential Zappa. As it is, warts and all, I still give it 8.2 out of 10 on my 10 point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars.

Walkscore | 4/5 |


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