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Frank Zappa - Tinsel Town Rebellion CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.07 | 150 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
1 stars Underwhelming might be a fairly accurate word for this.

Tinseltown Rebellion and You Are What You Is are mostly parallel in my mind. Both are long and meandering and featuring a lot of average Zappa tunes. Truth be told, by this point, the commercial leanings of Zappa's late 70s work has overtaken the fluency of his music. Rather than writing tunes with the wild instrumentation and random interludes, we have a mostly vocal-oriented setup, which isn't horrible. However, twelve or thirteen similar songs of standard lyrics and mostly unremarkable music constitutes a pretty weak prog album, in my book.

This album is mostly a direct successor to Sheik Yerbouti, except it lacks that flavor and flair that seemed to dominate that album. Much of the lyrical content is devoted to satire and mockery. Tell Me You Love Me has some wonderful Doors vibes to it, and in fact is one of the more interesting tunes available here--more like something off Sheik Yerbouti. Easy Meat is the closest the album has to a full jam session, which is not a necessary Zappa trademark but one of his strongest suits, I think. Songs like Now You See It - Now You Don't also feature some jamming and soloing, but for the most part, they lack the usual energy that the man often delivers. On the whole, I must say, I find the guitar work uninspiring, despite the presence of five guitarists, one of whom is the venerable Steve Vai.

When it comes down to it, though, the music is rather stock and standard for the milder half of Frank's catalog, showcasing his ability to write fine melodies and awkward lyrics to go with them. If Sheik Yerbouti absolutely trips your triggers, this album would probably work for you. If you are a fan of early Zappa's complexities and depth, I would avoid this release. A bad place to start with Frank's music, but not a terrible release for serious fans.

LiquidEternity | 1/5 |


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