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Frank Zappa - Meets The Mothers Of Prevention CD (album) cover

MEETS THE MOTHERS OF PREVENTION

Frank Zappa

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars Around the mid-80's, under the strong conservativeship of Ronald McReagan, political correctness became a word that was worth 10 000 points, and the backwards-minded administration wxas using this to gain free games at the Presidential Pinball rally. In stepped Frank to defend the freedom of speech.

The main point of this is Francesco fighting the censorship so he can still sell album like Joe's Garage to kids and the text are the usual Zappaesque madness. Of course the man couldn't help adding his own humour to the situation and the album he produced about this "mess" is not exactly his best. Too bad he was also fighting for idiot bands such as WASP ([%*!#] Like a Beast ) and Cop Killer.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#29722)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
grahampaaran@
4 stars The above tracklisting which i assume is the cd version is not the way to hear this album. If you get the two vinyl versions( European and American) then the tracks are in a different order and split up-thus you get what Frank was originally trying to communicate. Porn Wars is fantastic also-not since Lump Gravy did Frank attempt successfully to create this kind of sound collage-the message in the mess is strong as well-not just about protecting 80s metal bands but also freedom of speech and exposure of the hypocritical nonsense that the people who run and regulate "Civilised and Democratic" countries come out with. Had to say this as i like this album- the American version especially. Its hardly prog rock though

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#29725)
Posted Tuesday, May 04, 2004 | Review Permalink
Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars MOP is mainly based on Zappa's experience of the "famous" explicit lyrics sticker hearings, resulting in the censorship by not distributing the records. Funny sideeffect: Jazz from hell a 100% instrumental record was on this list. So the main dish on MOP is Porn Wars, a very funny(or not so funny, seeing the final decision) collage of the senator hearings, Zappas typical comments and lots of editing, synclavier stuff etc.We 're turning again makes fun of the old "hippie"bands still around and Yo cats does the same for Jazz musicians (Jazz is not dead it just smells funny). Alien Orifice and What's new are nice group instrumentals which have been integrated in the life material.The rest is synclavier stuff... Well I love Zappa, but I never quiet liked his synclavier stuff, not so much for the compositions but the cheesy sounds. L'Ensemble moderne recorded a record of Zappa music and the synclavier compositions sound much better played by "real" musicians.

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Send comments to Alucard (BETA) | Report this review (#29727)
Posted Friday, November 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Again, this album contains some funny & pleasant moments, as reveal the miscellaneous lead & backing vocals + the narrative vocals on "We're Turning Again". The percussion work is absolutely outstanding (fast & complex xylophone among others). Some tracks are rhythmic & elaborated, while others are complex, darker & more dissonant, always very structured, instrumental with sophisticated crystal clear Synclavier & keyboards parts, a bit like on the "Jazz from hell" album. Indeed the tracks have different styles: "Yo Cats" has a very particular retro pop style; "I Don't Even Care" is a visceral rhythmic rock song. Zappa has couples of excellent guitar solos here which are less monolithic. The only bad track is "H.R. 2911", where one can hear the Zappa's piggy sounds, like he used to do on the "Weasels ripped my flesh" album.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#39643)
Posted Saturday, July 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Not a very basic 80's effort from Zappa, just a tad different. From basic rhythmic rock to post-modern experimental avant-garde, this is most likely Zappa's most unusual album, at least in his 80's period considering that his other 80's releases are more rock oriented (with the exception of "Jazz From Hell" and his classical stuff). There are also synclavier parts (tracks 2-4 on the CD remaster) which are all good, though I enjoy his rock/jazz stuff a lot more. This one is not as rewarding either, but it also has it great moments too, though it lacks the usual Zappa "effort" to it, but "Porn Wars" is a really well-made track though incredibly bizarre.

Best described as a fan album only. People who like Zappa albums like "Jazz From Hell" and "Thing Fish" will like this one a lot since this one both have strong elements similar to those two. There are a few excellent jazz-rock instrumentals here, which again show Zappa's sense of complexity, and "Porn Wars" is one of the album's definite highlights. However, tracks such as "Yo Cats" and "We're Turning Again" never appealed too much for me, and the synclavier stuff are good but nothing truly fascinating. Really uneven album overall, and it struggles with the main focus at times, still the constant switching between the album's featured genres work strangely well, though it doesn't really help the album further musically.

My favorite tracks: "I Don't Even Care", "Alien Orifice", "What's New In Baltimore" and "Porn Wars". Collectors/Fans only, 2 stars (3 stars is my personal rating though.)

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#127062)
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I love this record. Only downside is the opening track I don't even care, which I really don't care. It's one of the worst songs in Zappa's catalog. From second track to the last one this very enjoyable record. It spans different sides of Zappa's work. Catchy rock songs like We're turning again, sleazy jazztunes like like Yo cats, great guitar solos on Alien Orifice and What's new in Baltimore and electronic music One man, one vote, Little beige sambo and Aerobics in bondage all are featured here. So this record is varied indeed. I don't know what other fans think, but I find Synclavier compositions on Frank Zappa meets the mothers of prevention quite easy to follow compared to many compositions on Civilization phaze 3. One man, one vote is actually relatively catchy. But the real masterpiece on this album is Porn Wars. It is simply Zappa at his experimental and innovative best. It is actually a taped PMRC hearing backed up electronic music and tape effects. Sometimes it is played fast forward and sometimes backwards and it even contains some dialogue from Lumpy gravy sessions. But it works magnificiently and actually makes sense and is even funny in some places. It certainly has alot of atmosphere.

I think this is a very underrated Zappa album with alot to offer. I find almost everything I love about Zappa here. Don't purchase this one first but, if you're a diehard fan you should eventually get this into your collection. It isn't as brilliant as Uncle meat, Burnt weeny sandwich or Yellow Shark but it is still one of my personal favourites.

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Send comments to PurpleCobra (BETA) | Report this review (#162114)
Posted Monday, February 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock/Fusion Team
3 stars Meets The Mothers Of Prevention proves to be an oddity in the Zappa catalouge, and knowing anything about Mr. Zappa you would know that that is quite a feat.

This album is spilt into synclavier tracks, actual instrument tracks with some sort of a poppish leaning, and instrumentals, with the emphasis on the synclavier (in both terms of quanity and quality). For that fact, I would give this album a boost in rating, being that I've always enjoyed his synclavier pieces, and that they provide some sort of reprieve from the poppier songs. Not to mention that using the synclavier would also increase the progressiveness of this record, being that this is surely different and boundary pushing, at least to some degree. However, that 80s sound does tend to creep into the picture a few times throughout, but its presence is limited and short lived (and for that I say thank God). Each synclavier track is an interesting view on the instrument in its own right, and shows that quite agreeable pieces can be coerced from the thing.

The quote unquote magnum opus of this CD is Porn Wars, which includes actual dialogue from the famous (or infamous) Senate hearings about censorship on music. The song is primarily synclavier based, but the conversations are interweaved quite well, including adding that typical Zappa humor along the way. To some degree this song is worth the price of admission along (espeically since this CD seems to be available for fairly cheap). But never fear, there is more to hear. Aside from the aforementioned Synclavier tracks, three tracks are of interest to me. What's New In Baltimore? is a fun instrumental with nice xylophone work that eventually morphs into a cool little guitar solo. Alien Orifice is similar albeit somewhat simplier. Of the three remaining tracks (I Don't Even Care, We're Turning Again, and Yo Cats), We're Turning Again provides the most amount of enjoyment IMO, though all three are fairly straight forward and are easily the low points of this disc.

All in all, this disc is a bit mixed. It has its highs (Porn Wars, One Man, One Vote, Little Beige Sambo, What's New In Baltimore?) and its lows (Yo Cats, I Don't Even Care). For me, the highs are stronger than the lows are weaker. However, one would have to be acustomed to the synclavier and Zappa's general avant-garde style to enjoy this disc to the fullest (though I would say Meets The Mothers Of Pervention would make a good introduction to Zappa's Synclavier work). Thus, this one is not for beginners. 3 stars for this one. Recommended to a degree.

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Send comments to Man With Hat (BETA) | Report this review (#198938)
Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I know that there wasn't direct cause-and-effect at play here, but I still can't help but be amused that this album immediately followed Thing Fish. Basically, between the last album and this one, Frank Zappa and a few others (including John Denver for some reason) were hauled in before Congress to answer charges that they were making music that constituted pornography, and should be regulated as such. In addition to providing the inspiration for this album's title, these hearings also provided the source material for the album's conceptual centerpiece, the 12-minute "Porn Wars." Basically, Zappa took the audio from the hearings and made a collage out of it. Sometimes it features a small number of vocal samples that are played repeatedly, sometimes it features Zappa actually fast-forwarding through large parts of the hearing, sometimes it features the return of Ike Willis as Thing Fish (with some quotes from that album), and it ends with a senator basically telling Zappa he's full of crap. It even, amusingly and infamously enough, features Al Gore saying on record that he's a big fan of Zappa's music. Anyway, it's definitely a track every Zappa fan should hear once, but I have no idea why somebody would want to listen to it again. I'd much prefer to listen to the actual hearing, honestly.

The rest basically makes up a prototypical mid-80's Zappa album (I should note that the original US version had seven tracks, while the CD release has ten). Four of the tracks continue Frank's experimentation with the Synclavier, and they're ok, though only the last one (the creepy "H.R. 2911") has as interesting an atmosphere as the best stuff on Perfect Stranger. If I had to pick, I'd probably say that "One Man, One Vote" amuses me the most; I can't help but think that if C-Span were ever to come up with theme music like on The People's Court (maybe to be played when Congress is voting on something), it would sound like this. A couple of other tracks ("Alien Orifice," "What's New in Baltimore?") are instrumentals on par with the best stuff from Utopia, with moody synths, well- placed xylophones (or whatever they are), effective guitar lines and all that.

The remaining three tracks are "regular" songs, and they're inconsistent. I'm quite fond of "We're Turning Again," with some interesting lyrics that look back with scorn on the late 60's, a great use of the Thing Fish voice in a mid-song monologue, and a decent (if underwritten) chorus. The opening "I Don't Even Care" has something resembling a solid groove, but it's not that great a groove, and I tend to feel like the song, at just four-and-a-half minutes, is overlong. And finally, "Yo Cats," some weird cross between Broadway and jazz, is just uninteresting from start to finish.

I really get the feeling, overall, that if Zappa hadn't had a ready-made premise for the album, even he'd have been hesitant to release most of these tracks at this point. A lot of the album is fully listenable, yes, but this would be just another obscure 80's Zappa album were it not for the Big Cultural Statement. Still, there's a good amount of moderately worthwhile material here, so while I'd probably get 30 or so Zappa albums before this one, I wouldn't avoid this forever.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#404612)
Posted Monday, February 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars Maybe it's the unimaginative cover that has always put me off of this release, but I never think of this as one of Frank Zappa's better albums. But then when I listen to it, it changes my mind. By the way, I have the original Ryko CD (and somewhere, a pre-release cassette), which doesn't include H.R. 2911, so my review will not include that track.

The album's main taget is the outrage Zappa felt (and rightly so) over the U.S. Senate making rock lyrics into one of those phony issues that was a "threat to America". That our government wasted so much time and money on this bulls#$% issue was a national embarrassment. Aside from the great warning label Zappa concocted, the album's focal point is the twelve minute collage, Porn Wars, which features Senatorial bozos, both Democrat and Republican, making complete fools of themselves, over some fine Synclavier tracks. While the piece may not stand up to frequent listens, it is still a wonder to listen to.

There are three pieces Zappa programmed on his Synclavier. I love Zappa's compositions, and I know he sometimes composed things that were just not possible for a human band to play, but as good as these are, they leave me a bit cold.

There are three vocal songs. I Don't Even Care, featuring Johnny "Guitar" Watson, is a bit too repetitious to be interesting, and is the weakest track in the album. We're Turning Again and Yo Cats, are both funny satirical songs, the first taking aim at the supposedly hip drug users, the second at studio musicians.

The two other instrumentals are both great tunes that Zappa's band frequently played on tour. Alien Orifice and What's New In Baltimore are the type of songs that made Frank's concerts so special.

It's a mixed bag, but a high quality mixed bag.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#422204)
Posted Friday, March 25, 2011 | Review Permalink

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