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Frank Zappa - Them Or Us CD (album) cover

THEM OR US

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.22 | 135 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
2 stars This Zappa albums offers a lengthy collection of songs, most of which are uneven in quality and somewhat meandering, though the record's collective wit and energy almost make up for a lackluster show of songwriting and instrumental performance.

For the most part, Them Or Us alternates between silly satires of other musical genres (especially do-wap and soul), and the free-form instrumental madness Zappa is most known for. While this sounds good in writing, the result is a sort of gutless avant-pop that only occasionally gets the gusto to impress the listener with anything other than Steve Vai's guitar/sound effect solos. There simply isn't much here to grab hold of.

The collection of singers on this album does do wonders for its levity though, so while the songs themselves aren't especially great they can still be fun to listen to. There's a lot of wit to the delivery and lyrics in the satire pieces, and most of the isntrumentals contain a few gems to their performances-- especially when Them Or Us picks up the tempo and gets heavy. Sometimes catchy, sometimes toungue-in-cheek, and sometimes jamming, this album shows that Zappa still has the goods... we just have to slog through 3 or 4 songs of filler to get to the interesting parts.

So while it definitely won't convince anyone who's never heard a Zappa album to jump on board, fans of Frank will most likely warm to the style of this one in time. Would easily be a 3- star album with some thoughtful editing.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 2/5 |

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