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Frank Zappa - Apostrophe (') CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.03 | 636 ratings

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4 stars Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow!

This was my third venture into the work of Frank Zappa. I first bought Chunga's Revenge, and I was pretty disappointed to be honest. I enjoyed Hot Rats a lot, but I thought the only really great song was Peaches en Regalia, though the rest did eventually grow on me. Apostrophe (') was the first Frank Zappa album where I was immediately captivated. From the hilarious and entertaining lyrics to the excellent music that is held beneath them, I fell in love with this album.

Since acquiring this album, I've purchased many more Zappa albums, and I've concluded that Apostrophe (') is one of my favorites. It is really enjoyable from beginning to end. My only real complaint is that it only barely cracks the half-hour mark. I guess that's a good thing, though. If you're wishing that an album was longer, that obviously leads to the conclusion that the content present on the album is excellent.

I think this entire album is almost pure genius. The way this album is so lyrically entertaining, while still having virtuosic music shows what an excellent musician Frank Zappa is. Despite all of my praise, I don't quite consider this to be a 5 star album. I can't even reasonably say why, but I don't feel it's up to the level of my other 5 star ratings.


"Don't Eat The Yellow Snow"- The first song begins a suite that will continue into the next three songs. It opens with snow sound effects, but soon a funky riff enters. The drumming is excellent on this song especially. Ruth Underwood does an excellent job throughout this entire album. This song begins the hilarious story of the Eskimo boy named "Nanook".

"Nanook Rubs It"- This is when the story really begins. This song is absolutely hilarious, and I always laugh during some moments in this song. There's an evil fur trapper that is hitting Nanook's favorite baby seal with a lead-filled snowshoe. Nanook gets pretty angry and shoves dog pee in his eyes, and then the fur trapper shoves a "dog-doo snow cone" in Nanook's eyes, so they're both blind, though Nanook is only temporarily blind. Alright, you get the point! This is entertaining lyrically, and the music is pretty good. It's pretty standard blues rock with some typical Zappa trademarks.

"St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast"- This picks up the story where the previous song left off. They go to the parish of St. Alfonzo, overlooked by Father O'Blivion, who is a master pancake chef. The rest of the story in the next two songs goes on about this and introduces a horny leprechaun. It's total nonsense (that's absolutely hilarious), dealing with the leprechaun masturbating in pancake batter, etc. This song musically has excellent percussion, especially the use of the xylophone. The synth solo has an ELP sound to it, and the rest of the song is complex and unusual.

"Father O'Blivion"- This song is based completely on the story I mentioned above. I figured I'd mention the entire thing in my previous song description. This song is a fast paced rocker with excellent basslines. The ending is very solid. This is a great end to the suite.

"Cosmik Debris"- The fifth song very bluesy, with a jazz tinged chorus. The use of xylophone is excellent, and there are surely enough oddities to keep this song interesting. Musically, this reminds me a lot of "I'm The Slime" off of Overnite Sensation. This song is not nearly as lyrically entertaining as the previous suite, but the concept of fake psychics is still fun and entertaining. This is probably my least favorite song on the album.

"Excentrifugal Forz"- After a short but effective opening, the first vocal section comes in. This is the album's shortest song at just over one and a half minutes, so it mostly uses the same vocal melody with a few little guitar noodlings.

"Apostrophe"- This is the only instrumental song on this album, and it is excellent. The bass playing from Jack Bruce is excellent, and turns the instrument into a major part of the song. The guitar is played from Frank Zappa (of course) as well as Tony Duran. The arrangement is spectacular, as well as the musicianship. This is surely a highlight of the album.

"Uncle Remus"- This song has the most melody of any of the songs here. It opens up with some nice piano chords that lead the whole song. I like the background singers on this song especially. I really like the guitar solos present on this song. This reminds me a lot of something from Paul McCartney & Wings.

"Stinkfoot"- The closing song has another ridiculous story. Some guy couldn't get his shoes off for months, and got the imaginary disease of "stinkfoot". This is a blues-rocker with many prog and jazz tendencies. It has some avant leanings as well. It has some odd electric piano melodies, and sound effects add to the occasional avant sound as well. Overall, this is a fun song.


Apostrophe (') is a great album. This is the album that really got me interested in Frank Zappa. The musicianship is excellent, the lyrics can be hilarious, and it is one of the most consistent Zappa albums I've heard. I think the best part of this album is the "Nanook" suite, but the rest of the album is excellent as well. If you're looking for an introduction to Frank Zappa, Apostrophe (') is a great place to start.

4 stars.

J-Man | 4/5 |


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