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Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage, Act I CD (album) cover

JOE'S GARAGE, ACT I

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.11 | 344 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Frank Zappa's stab at a concept album is strikingly crude and unusual when compared to his other works. It is very guitar oriented and features some of his best solos, it has his most straightforward and rough lyrics, and some of the weirdest dialogue/storylines that I've ever come across. Taking in the form of a 3 act Opera of sorts, Joe's Garage really is a telling of a youth who gets caught up in Rock and Roll and eventually loses everything he has. The Central Scrutinizer (voiced by Zappa) tells the tale of young Joe, from his humble days in the garage, to the final days at the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen. Featuring a plethora of guest musicians and vocalists, one cannot help but feel a bit overwhelmed at the virtuosity of this album. From Vinnie Colaiuta to Tommy Mars, all the Zappa elite are here and give top notch performances.

From the opening distorted voice of the Central Scrutinizer, to the arena rock-esque Why Does it Hurt When I Pee?, Frank really pulls out all the stops on this album. Act 1 is a magnificent effort that goes through all the classic Zappa forms, complicated time signatures, complex chords and progressions, operatic yet subtle vocals, and wicked and searing guitar solos. It almost seems too guitar oriented for Zappa. The highlights of the first Act are the single Catholic Girls, which has Zappa at his tackiest lyrically and a catchy riff, Joe's Garage, with great vocals and guitar play, and Why Does it Hurt When I Pee? for sheer bluntness and comedy.

Overall, Act 1 is a great opening to the Joe's Garage saga. More was to come in Acts II and III, but are they up to par with Act I? Act I itself is brilliant, and it really acts as a great prelude to Acts II and III. 5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 5/5 |

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