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Frank Zappa - Over-Nite Sensation CD (album) cover

OVER-NITE SENSATION

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.00 | 411 ratings

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Mr. Soot Gremlin
4 stars It's been said before, but it's probably true: this is the place to start if you've never got into Zappa before. Then again, I've been listening to his music since I was a baby, so I don't have the point of view of someone who is new to the Zappa universe. What I have realized is that this album, along with "Apostrophe (')" (another good starting place) seems to be a wonderful combination of everything Frank was good at. There are great compositions, superb musicians, guitar solos galore and of course the hilarious but raunchy lyrics that can either offend or amuse. Of course, it's a good idea to listen to Zappa with an open mind and hear what he has to say (and there's a lot- look at how many albums he's put out).

The album is short for a Zappa album, but the songs are all top-notch, if somewhat similar in structure. By this, I mean that they all have lyrics, verse and chorus, and a guitar solo. I think that even fans of the super-popular and idolized "guitar gods" like Vai or Satriani will enjoy hearing Zappa's solos on this album, which all pack a lot of energy. I believe the solo on "Montana" has been talked about more often and is considered one of his best, which I can't argue with. But around these stellar solos are songs that show how musically inspired Zappa could be. Frank said at one time that (paraphrasing here) the lyrics didn't matter as much as the music, and while I tend to agree with that, I am also often in a kind of awe at his ability to express himself lyrically. On a song like "Dinah-Moh Humm", many people will focus on the "dirty" lyrics and miss out on the real genius of the melodies and instrumental arrangements. But the lyrics are also what make the song so unique and fun to listen to. I suppose Frank can't help it if some people loathe the song, but I personally find it intriguing, funny, and an example of interesting storytelling with ingenious metaphors left and right.

There's also "I'm The Slime", which is able to make a very important statement about the media while at the same time showcasing Zappa's ability to make absolutely nasty noises with his guitar. "Camarillo Brillo" starts the album and is almost a pop song in its structure and catchiness, with lyrics that take a backseat to the music. "Dirty Love" might be even raunchier and offensive than "Dinah-Moh Humm", but with a sense of humor you can have a lot of fun listening to it. "Fifty-Fifty" and "Zomby Woof" are two songs sung by Ricky Lancelotti, whose screaming, crazed vocals make them truly wild songs. And of course, "Montana", which is one of Zappa's best known songs and closes the album with someone's daydream of growing a crop of dental floss and riding a Pygmy pony. Another example of Frank's storytelling and lyrical prowess.

I will give this album four stars, but know that I think this is probably THE ideal place to start if you are new to Zappa. I know everyone else has already said it, but I'll repeat the advice, because on this album Frank really showed what he could do best and made an album that would be perfect for any rock fan to own. Then again, it is definitely only the tip of the iceberg in terms of his work. The amount of diversity and excellence throughout the Zappa catalog is astounding, and in my opinion Over-Nite Sensation is one of the better, but not one of the best, that he has. So be sure to explore much more if you're interested.

Mr. Soot Gremlin | 4/5 |

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