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Frank Zappa - The Mothers Of Invention: We're Only In It For The Money CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.11 | 630 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Frank Zappa: We're Only in It for the Money [1968]

Rating: 9/10

We're Only in It for the Money is the greatest Mothers of Invention album and the crowning achievement of Zappa's early career. Everything Zappa had been aiming for on the first two Mothers albums is perfected here. Musically, WOiIftM is an unceasingly interesting avant-garde psychedelic cornucopia. Zappa's normally complex compositions are substituted with a more simplistic, musique-concrete style. Lyrically, this album manages to skewer every detail of 1960s culture, oftentimes in a humorous way, but sometimes in a caustically biting fashion. These elements are combined with Zappa's characteristic craziness, making WOiIftM a truly unique and memorable experience.

"Are You Hung Up?" is a brief sound collage that opens the album. "Who Needs the Peace Corps?" lambasts the hippie movement (perhaps the "phony hippie movement" would be a better description). This is mostly a psychedelic song, although the hilarious spoken word section is backed up by jazzy sax. "Concentration Moon" alternates between satirical flower-power music and more sound collages. The previously humorous tone of the album is brought down by "Mom & Dad", a somber song about police brutality and societal hypocrisy. Excellent bass and flute back up the poignant lyrics. "Telephone Conversation" is a short interlude consisting of, well, an excerpt from a phone conversation. "Bow Tie Daddy" is a thirty-second a-cappella piece. Despite its short length, this is one of my favorites here. "Harry, You're a Beast" shows piano playing taking a slightly larger role. Lyrically, "What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body?" is the strongest song here. Zappa's social criticism has rarely got better than this. "Absolutely Free" continues in the album's normal style, although with a more defined chorus. The same applies to "Flower Punk", another funny examination of the hippie lifestyle. "Hot Poop" is another short sound collage. "Nasal Retentive Calliope Music" sticks to the avant-grade minimalism throughout its duration. "Let's Make the Water Turn Black" is a fast-paced lyrically-driven song. "The Idiot Bastard Son" may be the most musically interesting piece on the album, with flute/piano passages backing up the vocals. "Lonely Little Girl" sharply contrasts minimalism with psychedelic quirkiness. "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance" is completely vocally-driven and is the one of the catchiest and most brilliant things Zappa wrote in the 60s. A reprise of "What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body?" leads into "Mother People", which contains some funky bass and wah guitar. "The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny" is a six-minute musique-concrete piece that ends the album.

This is a unique recording not only within the context of popular music, but within Zappa's catalogue as well. The psychedelic minimalism and vocally-driven segments present here were fully explored neither before nor after this album's release. This is a masterpiece of an album, not only due to this distinctive musical style but also because of the hysterical, subversive, and brilliant lyrical content. There are few other pieces of art that merge innovation and cultural commentary as well as We're Only in It for the Money does.

Anthony H. | 5/5 |


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