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Frank Zappa - The Mothers of Invention: One Size Fits All CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.30 | 1074 ratings

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5 stars As the years go by, a certain myth has held steady, especially maintained by the British music press, that there is only one good Frank Zappa album and that is Hot Rats. If you are a Zappa hound then you know this just isn't true. But you don't have to own all seventeen thousand albums sent from Frankland to realize that maybe, just maybe, there might be one or two other really great albums by FZ out there.

One Size Fits All is my personal contender for Zappa's best record. It's the one I come back to the most and the one I want to push into the hands of people who've never really given him a listen. It may not have that dada-anarchism fans of the 60s Mothers want, but there sure is a great deal of absurdist humor here, plus it lacks the potty-mouthed knob obsession that can mar some of the later 70s work. Some of the tracks here have that straight-ahead rock feel of Apostrophe (') and Zoot Allures, but the arrangements on One Size are more elaborate and there is a greater array of styles, moods and textures here. So if you want some squonking 70s guitar doing fine blues and boogies, it's here for you. But if you want a rich tapestry of complex time signatures and odd tonal shifts, well, that's here, too. In many ways, for me, this is the record where Zappa's classical compositional modes merge the best with his rock band orchestrations.

The stand out tracks are "Inca Roads" (an absolute prog masterpiece), "Sofa No. 1," "Sofa No. 2," "Florentine Pogen," "Andy," and for the best blending of lyrical weirdness and ornate composition, "Evelyn, a Modified Dog." And ultimately what makes these tracks really happen is that these whacked and beautiful songs are played by, for me (hands down, no question) Zappa's best band: Napoleon Murphy Brock, George Duke, Chester Thompson, Ruth Underwood and Tom Fowler. The Roxy/Helsinki group just soars and bucks as well as any band can.

On the back of the album is a picture of the sky with new constellations like Coma Bernice the vacuum cleaner, Rex Begonia the T. Rex, and Pixies the Whales. Under these stars and inside the tracks we get into sofas, dogs and Andy Devine. It's not a bad alternate universe to spend forty minutes or so.

Ich bin der Chrome Dinette, indeed. Arf, she said.

questionsneverknown | 5/5 |


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