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Frank Zappa - Thing-Fish CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



2.39 | 191 ratings

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4 stars If you are on this site, you certainly like challenging music. Yet, some releases can be maybe a little bit 'too challenging'.

Zappa's 'Thing-Fish' is perhaps one of the best examples of this. You only have to go through the existing reviews and ratings of this album on this site to see just how non-consensual it is. On the one hand you have tried and true classics like 'Torture never stops' and 'You are what you is' ? on the other hand they are sang in what can only be called 'ebonics', masterfully incorporated by Ike Willis (Zappa's best singer in my opinion). You also have weird broadway-like story telling, in which the spectators become part of the show, in a downward spiral of weirdness and scathing social commentary. Having criticized in earlier albums the hippies and their phony-revolutionary mindset, Zappa now turns its sights to its direct consequences in the 80s, the yuppie greed and consumerism, gay culture and feminism, tying it all to government social engineering.

Too far fetched? Perhaps, but Zappa was never consensual, and never tried to appease anyone ? its political and social perspectives are, after all, as avant-garde as its music, and that certainly will not make everyone happy.

I think it's a terrific album, musically and lyrically, and in another dimension, a creative stage show that subverts the very expectations of what a broadway show should be. Regardless, it is undeniable that the musical and lyrical craziness perfectly mimic the craziness of the social situation Zappa was trying to portray.

It's not an album that will be an instant favourite. Zappa is perhaps my favourite artist, and still it took me a handful of times across a couple of years to fully comprehend it and appreciate it. If you are feeling adventurous, give it a try. But beware, not for the faint of heart. I will say that our fast-paced society is not conductive to appreciate this type of album ? it's simply something you have to pay attention from start to finish, otherwise it will not make sense. You need to sit down and just listen, without distractions, to immerse yourself in this odd masterpiece.

I give it 4 stars and not 5 only because it is not an instant classic, and I doubt anyone that came to like it did it at the first try (me included). Accessible is definitely not the word for it, but if we were looking for that, we wouldn't be prog fans anyway.

handwrist | 4/5 |


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