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Frank Zappa The Mothers of Invention: We're Only in It for the Money album cover
4.11 | 764 ratings | 66 reviews | 41% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Are You Hung Up? (1:24)
2. Who Needs the Peace Corps? (2:34)
3. Concentration Moon (2:22)
4. Mom & Dad (2:16)
5. Bow Tie Daddy (0:33)
6. Harry, You're a Beast (1:21)
7. What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body? (1:03)
8. Absolutley Free (3:24)
9. Flower Punk (3:03)
10. Hot Poop (0:23)
11. Nasal Retentive Calliope Music (2:02)
12. Let's Make the Water Turn Black (2:01)
13. The Idiot Bastard Son (3:18)
14. Lonely Little Girl (1:09)
15. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (1:32)
16. What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body? (reprise) (1:02)
17. Mother People (2:26)
18. The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny (6:25)

Total Time 38:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Zappa / lead vocals, guitar, piano, arranger & producer
- Ian Underwood / woodwind, piano
- Roy Estrada / bass, vocals
- Billy Mundi / drums, vocals
- Euclid James 'Motorhead' Sherwood / soprano & baritone saxophones
- Bunk Gardner / woodwind
- Jimmy Carl Black / drums, trumpet, vocals

- Sidney Sharp / orchestral conductor (8,17,18)
- Eric Clapton / voice

Releases information

Artwork: Cal Schenkel with Jerry Schatzberg (photo)

LP Verve Records ‎- V6-5045 (1968, US)

CD Rykodisc ‎- RCD 10503 (1995, US) New digital master of the original 1968 Verve master tape.

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FRANK ZAPPA The Mothers of Invention: We're Only in It for the Money ratings distribution

(764 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

FRANK ZAPPA The Mothers of Invention: We're Only in It for the Money reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars We're only in it for a rollercoaster of quality fun

Truly an Excellent addition to any prog rock collection - but not "prog" as we know it - a masterpiece of its own genre. So why do I not award the full 5 stars? Simply for that reason - it is NOT a masterpiece of Progressive Rock in the sense that "Court of the Crimson King" or "Foxtrot" are masters of the genre. A fine line, perhaps - but although this is progressive rock music without the capitalisation, it is the genre itself we are considering.

Now that you understand "prog" perfectly, onwards to a track-by-track analysis... No! Wait! What is the point, when we are considering a concept which contains many ideas rather than a simple collection of individual ideas - a work of art rather than a pop record;

There are stand out tracks, such as "Concentration Moon", "Flower Punk", "Lonely Little Girl", "Take Your Clothes off When You Dance" and "Mother People" - but that's not what this album is about; it is joined together as a complete concept should be, even if tenuously in places.

There is the satirical theme running through the album, from the cover which mocks "Sgt Pepper" (although that's the only thing about this album which does), to "Flower Punk", which directly mocks Hendrix's lyrics and attitude, while shying away from mocking his phenomenal talent - Zappa clearly had respect for other great musicians even if he did loathe what they stood for. In between, we find attacks on the hippie movement in general and the type of middle class Americans it attracted, who tended to be "weekend hippies" with dark private lives at odds with the ideals of the movement. It's not just these people, but also their families, corporations and the American Way that comes under Zappa's fire.

We also find a lot of musical experimentation - by playing with the popular styles of the day, Zappa embroiders them with his own personal style, humour and a super-rich production which gives this album a timeless feel musically. Use of electronics and reverse tapes (e.g. "Nasal Retentive Calliope Music") add a distinctly futuristic sound. I have always been particularly impressed by the sound of the bass on this album - and yes, it sounds like that on the original vinyl.

The burbling noises and spoken snippets range from the amusing to the downright irritating - some actually make me feel a little sick - but there's still no doubt that the overall collage that is "WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY" is a work of art by a genius. Buy it, and live in awe.

Review by belz
3 stars 2.9/5.0 Wow, yet another weird and even weirder album! At first I thought it was disappointing, but after some listenings I am beginning to appreciate it. This is hardly real prog music, but the rhythms are entertaining and I think the satire on this album (the sleeve itself is a Beatles parody) is much better than what have been done before.

From a musical point, however, this is far from been an essential album. It's good, but the interesting beats do not last long enough to be fully appreciated. Still, interesting to listen to! 2.9/5.0

Review by The Wizard
4 stars This is the ultimate bashing of all the phonies that America was dealing with at those turbulent times which were the sixties. Not only does Zappa bash the hippies, he bashes there parent's, the music industry and the squares also. He comes across as not denouncing the whole movement, but there lack of organization and not being strong enough to do something about the problems America faces.

The music on this album doesnt have many electric guitars. It's mostly Horns and Pianos that carry the melodies. It's also very experimental. Lost of psychedelic sound effects and sound collages show up here. At times it can be difficult to listen to, but it's still great stuff.

The strength of the album comes in the songwriting rather the instrumentation though. It's truly a hilarious album that never fails to entertain. It's psychotic, fun and deranged humor that carries important messages about society. An excellent addition to a prog collection, but not really a prog rock album.

Review by con safo
5 stars A brilliant and insane observation of the "culture" that evolved around the hippie lifestyle. This is in my opinion one of Zappa's finest albums, and one of his most outrageous and hilarious satirical peices. The album is made up 19 shorter tracks, so it goes without saying that it is an album that is meant to be listened to as a whole. The music on this album is all over the place, and does feature the "cut and paste" style of alot of Zappa's earlier work. This will surely be a difficult album to digest for the Zappa novice - definitely not a good place to start if you are interested in Zappa. But once you are ready - this is a real treat. Biting and intelligent (not to mention hilarious) commentary on the hippie movement, all backed by the very style of music the hippie movement so much enjoyed. An absolute masterpeice! - 5/5
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars It's not surprising that this record is very funny and that Frank uses a lot of satire. What surprised me was "who" he was making fun of in 1968. People like THE BEATLES, hippies, Woodstock and middle class America. Ok, middle class America I can see, but it just shows that no one is off limits from Zappa's parody. The front album cover of the band dressed up as women is one of the funniest pictures i've ever seen. And add to that the fact they are lampooning the "Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Heartsclub Band" album cover, well it's priceless.

"Who Needs The Peace Corps" is about fake hippies, and is so funny especially the line "I will love the police as they kick the sh$#t out of me". "Concentration Moon" is another hilarious song about middle class America and their attitude towards hippies. How they would love to send them all away on a bus and "smash every creep in the face with a rock".

"Mom And Dad" is a mellow, catchy tune that is almost prophetic about the violence against young people by authorities, as like what happened in Ohio. "Harry, Your A Beast" is very BEATLES sounding. "Flower Punk" is a mockery of Woodstock, and is so funny. "Let's Make The Water Turn Black" is a brilliant, well done song. Yeah, it's funny too."The Idiot Bastard Son" made me laugh right out loud at work when I was listening to this. Some nice guitar in "Lonely Little Girl" while "The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny" is experimental sounding and really quite good.

All in all this is about the lyrics more than the music, but it's just so well done. And especially when you consider the year and the people Zappa was making fun of.

Review by 1800iareyay
4 stars We're Only In It For the Money is the highlight of the Zappa with the Mothers of Invention. He would go on to write better albums after ditching the Mothers, but this still stands as his first triumph. This album is built upon the concept of satirizing the 60s. While Zappa aims a few hits at other artists (the cover mocks the Sgt. Pepper artwork, while "Flower Punk" attacks Hendrix based on his lyrics and rock-star attitude), he generally stops short of attacking the talent of the aforementioned bands, as Mark already said. Frank mocks the attitude of sonic exploration by using mainly electronics over conventional instruments. However, he does so in a way that makes the album musical, moreso than many LSD-fueled experimentations of contemporary bands.

Zappa's gift of humor pervades the album, particularly on songs like "Who Need the Peace Corps?," which tears apart the hippie culture. If you don't laugh when Frank mocks the hippie attitude when he says "I will love everyone, I will love the police as they kick the s**t out of me on the street," then you're dead inside. "Let's Make the Water Turn Black" is one of countless innuendo-filled tunes. When you listen to AC/DC, later-day Rolling Stones, and a host of other like minded bands, you have Frank to thank. I'll spare you a track by track review; suffice to say the album drips with some of the smartest lyrics of the decade. Really the only serious song is "Mom & Dad," which deals with a teen being shot by police. Think of it as Zappa's "Ohio." Every other song is filled with biting satire, and countless effects that make Sgt. Pepper's seem conventional by comparison.

As wonderful as this album is, it can't be listened to repeatedly; I have to give breaks in between listens. It's probably the most progressive album of the 60s, save perhaps In the Court of the Crimson King, and at least that fit melodies. Zappa fans should start with Apostrophe and Over-nite Sensation before braving this great but inacessible gem.

Grade: B+

Review by Flucktrot
2 stars Making fun of hippies never gets old!

First off, I have to say that I love this album. However, it's more like watching a witty sitcom, or maybe even watching a comedian who has the audience, rather than listening to an album. There's no virtuosic playing, few catchy melodies, and a whole lot of effects and bizarre vocals. Clever? Yes. Unique? Probably. Genius? Hardly.

One thing that the Mothers really have going for them is that they seem to realize that their melodies really aren't that interesting by themselves, and they make sure to constantly keep things moving by shifting to new ones and adding all sorts of weird sounds and voices. The basic content of hippie jokes amazingly hasn't changed much in the last forty years: make fun of love for everyone, free love, not showering or shaving, and playing simple music while pretending that you're changing the world in doing so. Fortunately, they do deviate from this primary goal, also poking fun at some of the squares of the time (The Idiot Bastard Son, Bow Tie Daddy). Of course some of the songs are absolutely worthless, such as the entire six minutes of sound effects that constitutes The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny, as well as Hot Poop (which I'm convinced was just an excuse to use that as a song title).

It's very difficult to compare this to traditional prog albums, as noted by other reviewers. Basically, you have some truly engaging, entertaining, and downright hilarious lyrics. On the other hand, by copying the style of the hippie songs they are making fun of, the basic music is not very good. In addition, the snarky lyrics can go a bit too far and get a bit stale. I hope they had fun making this album (and I'm sure they did), because I get the feeling the that Mothers feel that their work is a lot more profound than it really is. At any rate, this is definitely an album worth owning, but also not one to expect too much from.

Review by ghost_of_morphy
2 stars Wine ages gracefully. Cheese ages gracefully. We're Only In It For The Money, alas, does not, and for one simple reason.

Where's the music?

There's a lot of savage irony, some eclectic vocals, some truly weird studio sounds and some sing-along tunes on here. A lot of interesting stuff is on here that keeps you paying attention until the end of the album. But somehow, the memorable music was left out. What an omission!!! It's a great tribute to Zappa that his weirdness and his studio tricks can keep you engaged throughout an album without having to throw in any memorable music.

So time has gone by. The limits of studio wizardry have been exceeded time and again. Mockery of hippies and flower power have grown stale. The Mothers of Invention have long since broken up, and Uncle Frank is up in heaven now playing Bobby Brown and watching all the angels squirm. Time has not been kind to this record. Despite all of the genius in it's production, it still wants some memorable music.

I'll give it 2 stars. If you like Frank's weirdness, you'll definitely want to hear this. It's good. It's entertaining. But musically, it falls way short of what we'd have liked it to acheive.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is one of the best known Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention albums. It´s a favorite of mine in his discography and if you haven´t listened to Zappa before this is one of the albums you should start with. This is one of the most progressive yet accessible rock albums from the sixties that I have heard. Strange sounds and tape recordings of conversations spliced together mixed with pop/ rock songs with memorable and even beautiful melodies. This is topped of by some of the most provocative and clever lyrics written for a rock album ever. This is simply put one of my all time favorite albums. It´s fantastic! no less.

The lyrics are funny, provocative and clever as I mentioned above. A line like: What´s the Ugliest Part Of Your Body, some Say Your Nose, some Say Your Toes, But I think it´s Your Mind, sung in fifties style doo voop is just fantastic and the sexual explicit lyrics in Harry You´re a Beast are so hilarious and I can only say tuché to the american womanhood. There is a kind of backwards sounding vocal part which is just beautiful to the twisted mind ( I am one). It seems like censorship noise but I´m sure Zappa did this on purpose and to great effect I might add. The song starts with the vocal line: I´m gonna tell you the way it is, and I´m not gonna be kind or easy, your whole attitude sticks I say, and the Life you lead is completely empty. I´ll just let that stand there for a while. This was of course very provocative in 1968 as it is the american womanhood Zappa is talking about, but as bitingly sarcastic and provocative Zappa could be, he could be just as socially aware. Songs like Concentration Moon and Mom & Dad proves this fully. Thoughful and clever lyrics.

A lot of the lyrics are about what Zappa saw as fake hippy ideals, society´s expectations to young people and Zappa´s favorite subject hypocricy and bigotry.

The music is for the most part little pop/ rock songs with lots of twists, there are a few examples of the more noisy avant garde side of The Mothers Of Invention in Nasal Retentive Calliope Music and The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny but the rest of the album is in a more conventional format. All the songs seque together though and the album ends up being a kind of concept album. There are also strong classical influences on the album even though there are no classical music parts as such.

The incarnation of The Mothers of Invention who played on various parts of this album was perhaps the best lineup they ever had. Frank Zappa on Vocals and Guitar, Roy Estrada on Vocals ( The high pitched notes) and Bass, two drummers in Billy Mundi and Jimmy Carl Black. Jimmy Carl Black also adds vocals, but they are mostly spoken. Don Preston on keyboards and the classical trained Ian Underwood on winds and keyboards/ Piano, Euclid James `Motorhead` Sherwood on winds and finally Bunk Gardner on winds. All very talented musicians who could play almost anything.

The production is worth a whole review for itself as it is fantastic and innovative. Frank Zappa was not only an outstanding musician but also a brilliant producer.

It seems I can´t praise this album enough, but I´m sure you get the picture, without me going on about the many qualities this album have. All I want to say here in my conclusion is that this is a milestone album in prog rock and in Zappa´s discography and it deserves 5 stars more than any other album in prog archives.

Review by horsewithteeth11
5 stars Oddly enough, this was the first Zappa album I ever heard. For most people, starting with Zappa here would probably turn them off, or in some cases send them running into the streets screaming in terror. The issue with this album, as a reviewer said awhile ago, is that one must understand the inner workings of Zappa's mind before one can truly "get" this album. Even though this was the first Zappa album I ever heard, I actually wasn't turned off by the lyrics or psychedelic, eclectic music. The lyrics weren't an issue for me because I had been a (now former) long time Weird Al Yankovic fan, where strange lyrics are to be expected. Since there are 19 tracks, I won't bother going through each one, and even if I did, it wouldn't tell you all that much about the music. It's better to think of each song as a segment of the album as a whole. The humor fits quite well on this album actually, and even though it does seem over the top at times, it's countered by a few more serious sections. Overall this is an album that is hard to describe unless you've actually listened to it. However, I think this album is an absolute essential from one of the master producers and guitarists of progressive rock. If it isn't in your collection you'll want to get it eventually, but not until you've at least heard some other Zappa, particularly Hot Rats or another one of his masterpieces. Still though, I think this album is deserving of a 5 star rating because it's Zappa at one of his best moments.
Review by Warthur
5 stars The ultimate musical "a curse on all your houses", before Altamont, before the National Guard shooting students in Ohio, before the chaos at the 1968 Democratic convention and the victory of Richard Nixon, Zappa and the Mothers were there, right in the thick of the summer of love, exposing it for the sham that it is whilst refusing to let the establishment off the hook at the same time. Lyrically bang on target, the album expresses Zappa's anger as the momentum of the civil rights movement and all the movements for progressive social change that had built up in the earlier part of the decade is squandered by naive hippies espousing incoherent, vacuous philosophies and showing more interest in taking drugs and getting laid than genuinely changing the world. Along with Love's "Forever Changes" and *maybe* the work of the Doors, this ranks amongst the very first albums to suggest that the Age of Aquarius might, in fact, simply be a washout.

Musically speaking, it's a bit less schizophrenic than Absolutely Free, partially because of the unity of the concept. Between the tape effects and whisperings at the edge of the recording, some of which hide the inner thoughts of the hippy musicians the band are parodying, the music begins with a strident, almost militant tone with "who needs the peace corps", takes pot-shots at the establishment with "Bow-Tie Daddy" and "Mom and Dad", and as the 60s generation gets gradually consumed by Vietnam amidst the fairytale gadding about of "Let's Make the Water Turn Black" the music - like the movement it is criticising - breaks down and gives way to the incoherence musique concrete of The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny. This and "Absolutely Free" are the two major statements of the early Mothers of Invention; Zappa's later music would be more progressive, but the satire would never be quite as finely targeted.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars Frank Zappa's anti-Flower Power parody was one of those self-consciously wacky albums that was probably more fun to write and record that it was to play back afterward (at least after the first, hilarious exposure).

It was released in answer to what Zappa saw as the commercial mainstreaming of the counterculture after the Summer of Love (hence the cynical title). But talk about easy targets: picking on the hippies must have been like shooting stoned fish in a pastel-colored barrel. What exactly was the matter, Frank? Were the phony freaks getting more media attention than the genuine ones? It's 1968, there's rioting in the streets from Paris to Chicago, and you're satirizing the Flower Children? What happened to the legitimate outrage evident in the earlier Mother's song 'Trouble Every Day'?

All right, enough carping, easy enough to do with over forty years of hindsight. There is of course a lot more here than mere hippie-bashing. The album was unique in its day, both for its daring nonconformity (a rock 'n' roll record mocking rock 'n' roll's primary audience) and for the groundbreaking cut-and-paste composite production job.

The entire album flows together like an extended theatrical stage show, despite being broken up into discrete songs ranging from a breathless 23-seconds ('Hot Poop') to a brief 3+ minutes ('Idiot Bastard Son'). The exception is the free-form album closer, 'The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny' six minutes of carefully orchestrated noise and tape effects, revealing Zappa's deeply-rooted affection for post-romantic European classical avant- garde and musique concrète (notable the work of Edgar Varèse, a hero of Frank's since childhood).

Underneath all the munchkin vocals, corrupted doo-wop, ersatz psychedelia and silly track titles ('Nasal Retentive Calliope Music') is a not-so-subtle condemnation of the music industry, already marketing rebellion as a freeze-dried commodity in 1968. The album, then as now, plays like a wet slap in the face of cultural complacency and corporate brainwashing.

Coda: it's easy in retrospect to see Zappa's influence on such celebrated outsider music groups like FAUST and (in particular) the RESIDENTS. But Uncle Frank was there first.

Review by tarkus1980
5 stars This is very arguably Zappa's most famous album, and in my observation is very often the album that Zappa newbies are recommended to pick up first. This actually has quite a bit merit (though I'd probably have gotten You Are What You Is first if I could do it all over again); it has quite a few great, GREAT melodies, a bunch of neat sound effects that don't usually take total precedence over the music, and of course it has the concept and the accompanying lyrics. Yes, this is the infamous total bashing of "Flower Power" and hippies in general, the one with the band in drag and the inside cover containing an elaborate Sgt. Pepper's parody and all of that. The final nail in the coffin of the psychedelia of 1967, if you will (though by coming out in the second half of 1968, its impact wasn't as timely as it could have been).

Before I start commenting on the concept, just as every single review of this album is seemingly required to do at some point, there's something I want to comment on that I don't think I've ever seen discussed. Today, years after the release of this album, the fact that Zappa despised hippies is just taken for granted, and the reasons he gives for this are certainly very legitimate ones. I have to wonder, though; did hippies back in 1967 and 1968 have any reason to believe that an album like this was imminent from The Mothers of Invention? I can't help but think that the situation was quite the opposite; Zappa had put so much energy into ripping on "conventional" American culture in his first two albums that I would think that many hippies would have thought they'd found a common soulmate. After all, they were rebelling against their parents and elder authority figures (and the culture that had sprung up from them), the same people which Zappa thoroughly condemned in his own unique way. In a certain way, it could have been perceived that Zappa and Flower Power hippies were sort of "brothers in arms," united in their struggle against The Man.

And yet, there's this album, which I suspect was an even greater shock to the hippie community than we today consider it to have been. The question is then this: why would Zappa so thoroughly despise the people and ideologies he condemns on this album, when in theory they had several goals in common with him? The answer, I suspect, was largely tied in with the fact that hippies were making Zappa and his own fervent desire to bring down the establishment look bad by association. It's the same sort of reason why, even though I like a lot of prog rock, I despise reading messages from people insisting that music is supposed to be judged solely on how complex and intricate and difficult-to-play it is. When I'm trying to get people into art-rock and prog-rock, as I have attempted for much of my adult life, I have done so with the intended goal of showing fans of "normal" rock music that they can indeed fit art-rock and prog-rock into their already-existing pallettes, and that you don't have to become a snooty technique whore to enjoy these things. More than any other kind of comment, I get absolutely livid when I read comments of this type, because in those comments is an inadvertant and incidental, but nonetheless very real, attack on my credibility as an art-rock lover among others whom I am trying to convert.

And so it was with Zappa and hippies; he was really trying to effect a change in society as a whole, but while hippies were ostensibly trying to do the same thing, most of them were just a bunch of lazy poseur brats who were merely looking for an excuse to get high and get laid. Zappa had to make it as clear as he could that he did not consider these imposters as people on the same side as him; it was only true eccentrics like him, the "other people" that he refers to in the song "Mother People," that were the true revolutionaries, the ones who could actually pull off what it was he intended to accomplish.

Now that that little rant is over, I can get back to the album. The truth is, as much as I like it, I still don't feel like I like it as much I'm "supposed" to. As thorough an assault on hippies (and by extension, all phonies, poseurs and hangers-on) as it is, it kinda feels to me like the concept runs out of steam midway through. I'm still not sure of the purpose of the whispering control-room voice threatening to erase every Zappa album (as cool as it sounds), since it's kinda difficult for me to figure what some sort of commentary related to censorship has to do with the album concept. I'm also not a fan at all of the closing sound collage, "The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny;" I do think it's amusing that Frank would essentially stick a parody of taking music too seriously onto the end of the album (after asking around, I've found that at least the people I've asked think that the spiel Frank goes off about needing to read "In the Penal Colony" by Franz Kafka is totally tongue in cheek), but making it almost twice as long as anything else on the album was a bit much. I'm also not a particular fan of "Absolutely Free" (the second longest track on here), which aside from the lovely piano introduction is alarmingly dull to my ears (echoing voices saying "Flower power sucks!" notwithstanding), and "The Idiot Bastard Son" doesn't do much for me either.

Now, that might seem like a whole lot of complaining I've given for an album I'm giving a ***** grade, and to a large extent I agree; it's extremely tempting to go back to the beginning and change that ***** to a ****. On the other hand, there are a whole lot of parts to this album that I really love, and furthermore there's just some unexplainable power coming out of this album that I can't help but feel beholden to. It also doesn't hurt, for instance, that not only are there a whole lot of melody snippets strewn throughout this album that I find unbelievably great, but that a lot of the lyrics and spoken passages strike my ears as absurdly perfect even after hearing them a zillion times. Do you have any idea how much giddy joy I get from hearing Frank sing, "I'm completely stoned. I'm hippy and I'm trippy; I'm a gypsy on my own. I'll stay a week and get the crabs and take a bus back home. I'm really just a phony but forgive me 'cause I'm stoned?" Or hearing the spoken voice-over in the same song ("Who Needs the Peace Corps?") say the following?

"First I'll buy some beads, and then a leather band to go around my head; some feathers and bells and a book of Indian lore. I will ask the Chamber of Commerce how to get to Haight Street, and smoke an awful lot of dope. I will wander around barefoot. I will have a psychedelic gleam in my eye at all times. I will love everyone; I will love the police as they kick the [&*!#] out of me on the street. I will sleep ... I will, I will go to a house. That's, that's what I'll do; I will go to a house where there's a rock'n'roll band, 'cause the groups all live together, and I will join a rock'n'roll band. I will be their road manager, and I will stay there with them. And I will get the crabs, but I won't care."

Does it get ANY more perfect than that?

Let's see, after that, there's "Concentration Moon," which has 3 melody snippets that I can't regard as anything less than awesome: the "AMERICAN WAY" snippet, the "Don't cry, gotta go bye bye" bit, and of course the main "verse" melody ("Wish I was back in the valley with all of my friends ...'). There's the extremely moving "Mom and Dad," where in the span of 2:16 he puts much of the blame for the existence of the hippies that he hates squarely on the shoulders of emotionally negligent parents. As much as many like to go on about how America needs to get back to ways of the 1950's in order to save the moral structure of the country, it should not be ignored that it was in this time that the archetype of the emotionally distant father, who came home from work and just wanted to put his feet up, read his paper, eat his already-made dinner and only have a token amount of involvement in his children's lives, really etched its way into the American consciousness. This was the time when the Pleasantville style of life became the supposed ideal, and you know what? That was the time period and culture that created the conditions for the culture of the 60's to come into being, and was indeed the soil from which phony hippies sprung. This song hits on that observation better than any I've ever come across, and if you don't grit your teeth a bit at the lines, "Ever take a minute just to show a real emotion, in between the moisture cream and velvet facial lotion?" and "It's such a drag to have a plastic Mom and Dad," (an obvious nod to "Plastic People;" conceptual continuity strikes again!) then we're just not on the same wavelength.

Other major highlights include the hilarious "What's The Ugliest Part of Your Body" (which then breaks into Frank delivering his message in a straight-up metered superliminal fashion), the AMAZING "Hey Joe" parody "Flower Punk" (which ends with two entirely separate monologues done in the usual helium-Zappa phony hippy voice, one in each speaker, each of which are jaw-droppingly dead-on imitations of shallow hippiedom) and of course the gloriously catchy "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance." Yeah, it's only a minute and a half long, and I know it's to be taken as a mockery of hippy world peace anthems, but it's so much fun and so lighthearted in comparison to the rest of the album that I can't help but be happy when it comes on.

There's other good songs, and other great sound effects (the most notable of which is the quasi-"rewinding" of "Mother People" that takes place during the unfortunately-titled "Hot Poop"), but I don't really need to go over them at this point. The overall message I want to convey here is that, as (arguably) overhyped as the album might be, and as obnoxious as some of its passages might be, Money nonetheless exudes greatness, and has a feeling of being "essential" to any 60's rock collection that I don't think should be ignored. I wouldn't recommend it as a first Zappa purchase, but it definitely should be gotten early on.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
5 stars There are many reasons why this can be considered a masterpiece. First of all, the music itself is insane, typical Avant Prog I guess. But also, what really impressed me (and made me laugh) was the humor and the satire, elements that are typical of Frank Zappa's early albums, and some of his latter ones.

With his third album Zappa releases one of his finest albums, a great concept album that was at the time acclaimed by the hippie culture, even though he did make fun of them a lot. It is also considered one of the best concept albums ever, thanks to it's unique musicality and impressive subject, which focuses mainly on America's society at the time. Despite that, it still is a modern album, just as effective as it was in 1968.

A special guest was a surprising Eric Clapton, who did a few vocal parts.

Five stars, as I really enjoyed it, it truly is a masterpiece that everyone should listen to sooner or later.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Zappa's third album with The Mothers is another hodgepodge of 60's music styles that is more interesting for its lyrical content then for the music.

The songs are presented as a musical pastiche but are not offering music that actually rises above the limits of the respective genres they are meant to make fun of. I don't see the point of these parodies at all really, where they do a simple blues it's still a simple blues, if they mock a sticky crooner, they're still just playing a sticky crooner, nothing more. Regardless how daft the lyrics are meant to be, this music remains unremarkable, it's another Zappa album that will remain sealed for me forever, it's been like this for 20 years and I don't expect any change in the coming decades.

Uninteresting unless you're digging the lyrics and consequently can appreciate it as the work of art it was meant to be. When just considering the music, I can't see more then 2 stars. Zappa has made tons of albums that are better then this one. Anyway, I'm obviously missing out on whatever everybody else hears, but if I want absurd humour I'll pop a Monty Python episode into the DVD. I certainly won't play this album.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Frank mocks hippie youth and their parents

"What's the ugliest part of your body? I think it's your mind..."

The Mothers albums were huge indictments of society in the 1960s. One of the pleasant surprises hearing them again was realizing Zappa was not simply going to take the easy path and trash only "them." He was willing to point the lens back at the "us" side of the equation and call the liberal youth to task for some of their vanity and hypocrisies. This time out the music switched again from the previous albums by moving more forcefully into psych-parody, while the banter's venom level was sustained if redirected somewhat. The band had flown from New York to London for shows and finished up this album upon their return. If the work from this period sounds connected it was no accident, Zappa was always working on more than one project and he would intentionally cross pollinate them musically and thematically, so you again hear references to other work. This helps give the Mothers years an even more rewarding overall feel.

Here the musical theme is a hilarious send-up of psych-rock/pop with trippy sequences and looped tape effects, all very period, but I suspect being offered with disdain rather than the reverence of his peers to this style. Musically the short little melodic ditties are more like the first album than the second, which had expanded more instrumentally, but the first album felt late 50s/early 60s while this one feels Summer of Love, maniacally bastardized of course. Zappa didn't hate the counter-culture for the parts he considered authentic but he did hate the way the scene was just as malleable by vanity and comfort as the mainstream, and the way that youth were letting themselves be defined by other forces. He was scathing in his views on the drug culture and his general displeasure for the hippie scene is unleashed here in hilarious lyrics. In my favorite segment, the hilarious "Flower Punk," they completely mock the flower warrior on his way to San Fran to join a psych band, play bongos at the love-ins, and live with a band in the Haight. Similar criticism appears in "Who needs the Peace Corps" where the stoners are mentioned in the quest for hair and good drugs before returning home the next week, the inference being the "movement" for many was little more than partying and getting laid before returning to Mom and Dad's basement to avoid supporting one's self. Equal vitriol is of course served up for Mom and Dad, for being sexually repressed and unable to raise children who think for themselves. All of these points are valid to consider, although I'm not sure the Zappa lifestyle was necessarily a healthier template for the youth of America. As the Zappa bio points out, Frank was pretty good at being "too busy for the kids" himself.

"We're Only In It For The Money is a remarkable album and still holds up well. Despite its jolly snatches of surfing music, the tape clips, the speeded-up tape, the chipmunk voices and the parodies of the sensitive flower-power music, it is a profoundly serious album. Zappa's view is bleak and filled with foreboding. The lyrics are about lonely, unloved children, fascist trigger happy cops, materialistic parents who are too busy consuming to notice their children are sad. ---Barry Miles, Zappa-A Biography (That last part is ironic as Moon once had to give her father a note pleading for his attention because Frank was always busy with the business and writing.)

Miles and most reviewers are far more satisfied with this album overall than I am. While lyrically there are some vintage Zappa moments, the musical experience gets by more on quirk and parody than on the actual strength of the songs. To me they do feel more obvious and less thrilling than they should for such a highly rated work. I'm surprised so many feel that this is the place to begin with Zappa. I would say the debut album "Freak Out" remains the true classic among these early works.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Rarely do I give an album five stars that's as silly as this one is, but it truly deserves it.

Frank's answer to Sgt. Pepper was one large cynical hippie rant that any fan of music can't resist. I mean, as it turns out flower-power had no power. Or at least that's what Frank told me.

Anyways, what you get hear is a bunch of silly little psych-pop tunes interspersed with sound and noise experiments. The imprint it leaves on your mind is "Wow! I gotta hear that again" so you do, again and again and again. It's like a drug, I don't normally like stuff this comedic. But I get the feeling that somewhere in that vast mess of intentional idocracy there is some deeper meaning.

I'll go ahead and say it right now that this is the only silly album I will give five stars. Just the sheer variety it gives makes me do that. I think anyways.

Also, the ending hurts your head after awhile but after hearing it I couldn't help but think, "What a nutjob! Putting that on a record!" Then I remembered, that's how most prog is.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars We're Only In It For The Money is generally considered to be the apex of the Mothers' career and I can definitely stand by that opinion!

Just like the two previous releases, this is another album that mocks the state of society that existed at the time although on this occasion it's the whole psychedelic and flower power movement that gets under Zappa's crossfire. Remember that We're Only In It For The Money was released in the first quarter of 1968, right in the middle of the movements prosperity, which made it a daring statement indeed. The material is comprised of catchy jingle-like short tunes mixed with audio collages where the band depict some of their weirdest experiments yet!

I always considered the first three tracks to comprise a short trilogy where Are You Hung Up? introduces us to the audio collage-format that will be an important part of this record followed by the critique of Who Needs The Peace Corps? which then transitions into the mockery of Concentration Moon. These three songs basically sum up this album in a nutshell! The rest of the album follows that same blueprint with a few surprises added here and there.

I've heard that We're Only In It For The Money was originally conceived as a direct response to the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band for being labeled as the first concept album in the mainstream media. Supposedly, this upset Frank Zappa since Freak Out! was released almost a year prior to the Beatles' masterpiece and featured many similarities in the thematic outline of the material. This might explain why this album used a collage of famous people á la Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band as a payback of a sort!

The more I listen to this album the more strange similarities I find to other works of the time. For example; there is an interesting similarity between the sound of Flower Punk and Jimi Hendrix's version of Hey Joe. Is it suppose to be a parody of this rock classic or am I just listening into it too much? Who knows and, frankly, who cares when we have so much excellent material here well worth to create a movement of its own! Have it not been for the acquired taste conclusion with the 6+ minute audio collage suitably titled The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny, this would have been a jewel in my record collection. As it stands today it's very close to grabbing that final star, but I just can't be that generous. We're Only In It For The Money is nonetheless a highly recommended album to all fans of groundbreaking prog rock music!

***** star songs: Are You Hung Up? (1:24) Concentration Moon (2:22) Mom & Dad (2:16) Bow Tie Daddy (0:33) Harry, You're A Beast (1:21) What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (1:03) Let's Make The Water Turn Black (2:01) Lonely Little Girl (1:09) Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (1:32) Mother People (2:26)

**** star songs: Who Needs The Peace Corps? (2:34) Telephone Conversation (0:48) Absolutley Free (3:24) Flower Punk (3:03) Hot Poop (0:23) Nasal Retentive Calliope Music (2:02) The Idiot Bastard Son (3:18) What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (Reprise) (1:02) The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny (6:25)

Review by Prog Leviathan
5 stars If you're someone like me-- practically two generations removed from the '60's and only ever hearing of Zappa in the context of "weird"-- do yourself a favor and check out We're Only In It For The Money right now. Yes, it's very weird, but in an infectious way, and is an absolutley inimitable tour de force of satircal charm... so long as you can stand a few freak-outs.

The music itself is very anacronistic, moving briskly through an eclectic parody of what sounds like a collection of '60's greatest hits. The musicianship is subtle but excellent, especially given the countless twists and turns of the tempo and dynamics. The tone is playful and manic, assisted by lots of psychedelic sound effects and electronic distortion-- which sounds great in this digital production.

The real show however, is the sardonic wit and style of Zappa, whose indictment of culture at the time is genuinly entertaining. You won't find any display's of his guitar virtuosity, but rather be constantly tickled by his lyrics and manipulated lyrics.

A unique master stroke of deep-nonsense.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 5 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars The nonsensical humour has turned into nonsense.

The first two Mothers of Invention albums were filled with brash, biting humour at traditional American culturalisms that were funny, but the albums were great because the music underpinning the humour was either smartly experimental, cleverly sarcastic or cop outs to trends but thrown off. ABSOLUTELY FREE was a great album with some slight missteps, but I thought this album would pick up the momentum and I would find an everyday masterpiece. Instead, I'm wondering why the Mothers pasted that momentum in favour of hippie-bashing.

This is nothing more than taking easy jabs at the mainstream perception of hippies and thier impact on our culture. I'm fine with the satire, but the music suffers. It's all too bright and cheery compared to what the Mothers gave us earlier, especially getting used to the singers always being on key (I really miss the off-key singing). Even worse is that on tracks like ''Take Your Clothes Off...'' and ''Flower Punk'', the vocals are tampered with creating stupid Smurf-esque vocals in the process. The humour here makes me go ''Meh'' instead of making me laugh. What happened?

Truth be told, there are some things worth salvaging. ''Let's Make the Water Turn Black'' is still funny, but only if you're in teenage, adolescent or college years. Some of the shorter tracks have whimsy like ''Take Your Clothes Off...'', ''Bow Tie Daddy'' and ''Ugliest Part of Your Body''. ''Absolutely Free'' and ''Mother People'' make fine mini-epics with a portion of ''Mother People'' sounding like ''Fiddle About'' from the TOMMY album.

Any chance that I give IN IT FOR THE MONEY four stars is nullified when looking at the noise collage pieces. I have a distaste for most of them, and even if some are short, I'd rather skip tracks like ''Hot Poop'' and ''Are You Hung Up?''. The worst is the ''Megaphone'' closer that is seven minutes of that abstractness; this is just too much, and it's the worst closer of an album I can think of.

I feel so bummed, dude. Too much of IN IT FOR THE MONEY sound sterile and too polished compared to earlier works. It's still a fine album nevertheless.

Review by friso
4 stars The Mothers of Invention - We're Only in it for the Money (1968)

* my first Zappa review *

It's always nice when colleagues are willing to donate their vinyl record collection to a student like me. To find two vinyls of Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention in those old boxes full of dusty vinyls is like hitting the jack-pot. I hadn't heard many Frank Zappa music, only Weasels Ripped my Flesh once at my brothers.

The cover-artwork of this 'We're only in it for the Money' is an attempt to criticize the Beatles. The composition of all parts of the fold-out cover is exactly the same as that of 'Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts club Band'. Very strange...

This '68 record is truly progressive as in 'innovative'. The album is extremely psychedelic with avant-garde like noises and bizarre song-writing. The vocals are always strange and never serious. Still this has a very likable effect and it's damn catchy. Exploring the possibilities of strange vocals is a key-element of this album. The composition is very progressive and has many new harmonies, great experimental rhythms and many different sounds. The style of the music goes from bizarre Canterbury to silly pop, with strange lyrics being the only factor that remains throughout the record. That the Mothers would evoke what would later become the Canterbury-style prog was a surprise for me. Listening to this record, it is has become clear where bands like Soft Machine, early Pink Floyd, Supersister and The United States of America got their inspiration. These early albums of Frank Zappa and crew are clearly very important for other musicians to feel free and go out and explore.

Conclusion. Well, this is one of the strongest and most progressive albums of 1968. In fact, the only record I would rate higher is that of The Unites States of America. We're Only in it for the Money is a very likable record, but the great amount of strange noised (mainly on side two of the record) still disturbs me at times. The recording is good for it's year of release. I will go with the strong four-star rating. Recommend to fans of psychedelic rock, avant-garde and Canterbury styled prog. Furthermore, it is essential to understand the progressive genre.

Review by Anthony H.
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.

Review by VanVanVan
5 stars This is hands down my favorite Mothers album. An incredibly diverse mix of styles and flavors, "We're Only in it for the Money" combines weird, avant-pop sensibilities with lyrical brilliance and top notch musicianship to create one of the tightest, most interesting albums I've ever heard.

As I mentioned, there's an incredible variety of style in the music here, ranging from pretty standard pop to avant-garde noise and even a brief parody of the tin-pan-alley style on "Bow Tie Daddy." Often there are multiple styles in one song, which is especially impressive when you see that most of the songs are less than three minutes long. That said, nothing ever feels rushed or forced, and many of the songs flow together to make the album feel much "larger" than it actually is, if that makes any sense.

Lyrically the album is a bit more focused. As evidenced by the title and the cover, this is a scathing attack on the flower-power hippy culture. Even further than that, though, I think the album's theme can be summarized in a line: "What's the ugliest part of your body... I think it's your mind" from the song of the same name. Overall, though, the lyrics are very clever and lack the gross-out anatomical nature of some of his later lyrics.

The vocals, like the music, show a great range. From the almost purposefully annoying nasal vocals on "Who Needs the Peace Corps?" to the barbershop-quartet-esque chorus of "Concentration Moon" to the spoken word passages on various tracks (which work surprisingly well) the vocals are anything but dull.

Overall then, I think this album, more than any other, gives the best all around picture of what Frank Zappa was all about and I would recommend that anyone looking to get into his music pick this one up first.


Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Part comedy, part parody, all brilliant.

Even after over forty years, this album still shines. While many people focus on Zappa's skewering of the hippie movement, this album is much more than that. In fact, if you listen to the lyrics, he appears to be aiming at the hangers-on around the movement, and the corporate suits who turned it into a mass-marketing tool (just like they do with everything that gets popular). Also in Zappa's crosshairs are parents, politicians, and other miscreants. There is also an interlude where he just goes off on an odd story of some of his friends.

Verve records was not too happy with this album, and censored the sh*t out of it (Zappa left the label as soon as he could). Despite the censoring, the album is still a masterpiece of it's time. Zappa upped the experimentation in songs that otherwise sounded poppy, by throwing in odd time signatures and sound effects and snippets of what sounds like music meant for "Lumpy Gravy".

Maybe you need to have a certain mind set to really appreciate this album so far from the generation that it was aimed at, but it still should be in every prog fan's collection.

Review by Dobermensch
3 stars I always knew i was listening to the wrong Zappa albums. Boredom mixed with annoyance was my general opinion of just about all the albums I'd heard by him.

Fortunately I found this 39 years after it's original release and it has pleased me no end with it's oddball almost 'Nurse With Wound' cut ups.

There's that weird octave vocal shift that Bowie used on 'Bewlay Brothers' in '71 on some of the vocals which creates a surreal atmosphere. It's a short album which chops and changes very quickly in a disorientating way - almost like 'Trout Mask' by Beefheart. This is a more friendly listen than that album though.

There's a lot of pre-historic tape manipulation prevalent throughout which adds to the uniqueness of what was, basically, a commercial album at the time. Simplistic but crazy lyrics in the form of the 'Residents' make this a very entertaining listen indeed.

Apparently cut to ribbons by censors due to the language used, we're left with a non sweary but double entendre galore album that should please most folk who like the strangeness of Floyd's first album and early 'Residents'

Review by HolyMoly
5 stars A smartassy anti-Sgt Pepper album that disses both the hippies AND the straights! And celebrates people who..... save their snot on window panes?

Respondable Pardons:

Frank Zappa - vocals, guitar, keyboards, dictator

Roy Estrada - falsetto vocals, bass guitar

Ray Collins - vocals in spots, or maybe he left by this point

Motorhead Sherwood - all around cool guy who can sort of play sax too

Bunk Gardner - Kenny Rogers lookalike who can really play the sax too

Jimmy Carl Black - the self proclaimed "Indian of the Group", drums, vocal asides

Billy Mundi - Drums, looks like someone famous I can't place right now

who else... ah yes!

Arthur Dyer Tripp III - was he in the band yet? so hard to remember. Anyway, he's a drummer too. and plays mallet percussion.

Anyway, enough of this, and on to ---

Side One (in which Frank takes a shot at the "Frisco" hippie scene with deadly aim. LA really had it in for those guys, didn't they? As in "hey! we can be smellier and creepier than you!")

Are You Hung Up? - Sound effects, static buzzing, and a collage of voices, followed by a confession of conspiracy to erase all the tapes, followed by a brief acid rock guitar solo, a goofy yelp, and Jimmy Carl Black's benediction: "Hi there boys and girls, I'm Jimmy Carl Black and I'm the Indian of the group". And we're off!

Who Needs the Peace Corps? -- Absolutely hilarious expose' of the trendy bandwagon jumper type who moves to San Francisco to become a hippie.

Concentration Moon -- Dramatic account of concentration camps set up to round up freaks and hippies.

Mom and Dad -- A somber flip-side to "She's Leaving Home"... the ultimate failure of parents whose intolerance for deviance drive their kids to join the freaks, and ultimately get shot by the cops in a mixup between the law and the "counterculture".

Telephone Conversation -- just a little interlude, an actual phone conversation. no real purpose served, though Zappa fanatics will probably be able to write paragraphs about it. Wait, I'm a Zappa fanatic.

Bow Tie Daddy -- If the Sgt Pepper analogy holds up, then this is "When I'm 64". Old timey music, a tongue in cheek ode to a "straight", upstanding upper middle class man.

Harry, You're a Beast -- I think sex plays a part in this one. But it's also about the superficiality of feminine standards of appearance. Call it misogyny. No wonder people hate this guy.

What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body? -- hint: it's inside your skull.

Absolutely Free -- Just a mock flower-power song, this would be the "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" of the album. Quite pretty. The first word in this song is discorporate. It means to leave your body.

Flower Punk -- Speed metal!! well no, but getting ever closer. More trashing of the hippies. Poor peace loving sods.

Hot Poop -- a 20 second sound effects outro, included as an excuse to print the word "poop" on the album cover. . . Side Two: In which Frank introduces us to some people he actually LIKES.... and who make me a lot more worried than just some schlubb in a tie die shirt.

Nasal Retentive Calliope Music -- An ode to Edgard Varese maybe? Lots of electronic whooshes and tape edits, ending with some surf music for good measure. I think Eric Clapton's on this one, saying "God! It's God! I see God!".

Let's Make the Water Turn Black -- The story of Frank's friends Ronny and Kenny Williams. Certainly worthy of your time, especially if you're looking for ideas for how to use old mayonnaise jars.

The Idiot Bastard Son -- Not sure what this is about really, it's apparently pretty deep. Excellent melody though, good enough to have been adapted in jazz form by Jean-Luc Ponty, as well as Zappa's later fusion-tinged 70's bands.

Lonely Little Girl -- Just a quick little tune about a lonely little girl, with a slight reprise of "What's the Ugliest part of Your Body", some psychedelic effects, followed by the lovely and revealing:

Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance -- Frank's anthemic call for a world without boundaries, total freedom of expression, and loads of laundry littering the highway.

What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body (Reprise) -- Because we just needed to hear it again. It's your MIND!!!

Mother People -- As seen on the Monkees TV show while they destroy a car! Mike Nesmith dresses up like Zappa and vice versa. Funny as a foot!

The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny -- I guess this is the "Day in the Life" equivalent. Frighteningly apocalyptic closer that seems to stand apart from the rest of the album, in another class. But this isn't really a song -- it's a piece of 20th Century Music! Like Cage and Varese and all that. Frank tells us to be sure to read Kafka's "In the Penal Colony" before listening to this, but to this day I haven't complied with this order.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "We're Only In It For The Money" is a Zappa and the Mothers album dripping with cynical attitude poking fun of parental excess and adolescent stupidity. It openly has a stab at the police, the system and the yuppie jet set verses the hippy drug culture. On one listen it will amuse and the lyrics are certainly the most biting I have heard exposing the American way "smash every creep in the face with a rock, gotta go bye bye, pow pow pow." The songs are dark at least in thematic content but the tunes are quirky and whimsical. Even the album cover blatantly makes fun of the classic Beatles Sgt Pepper. There is no subtlety in either imagery or style. Zappa just lets rip on everything damning the world. The result is a mixed bag of strange hyper tense lyrics and compelling tunes.

The tracks are so short that if you do not like one you only have to wait about a minute for the next track. The special effects as always on a Mothers album are terrific. The phone call on Telephone Conversation is so similar to Pink Floyd's The Wall it is uncanny. Certainly this album was a major influence on concept albums. Zappa was doing things on vinyl that no other artist dared. "Freak Out" proved he could produce bizarre material and this follows up on this with a strong conceptual frame work. Songs like Bow Tie Daddy are throwaways for me as they are too stupid. I am not into the style either so this is a difficult listen as was "Freak Out!"

What´s the ugliest part of your body? is a fun track due to the 50s doo wop style, a Zappa-esqu touch plaguing his other albums. It is okay in small measure. The lyrics to follow are quite potent such as making fun of Christmas, "comet and cupid and donner and blitzen, escape from your logo" on Absolutely Free. The funky double bass heavy Flower Punk is particularly innovative lyrically, "throw out the crystal and join the psychedelic man, and a narrative voice spouting off about the evils of the music industry, "The kids today are so wonderful, I'm proud to be part of this gigantic mass deception".

Nasal retentive calliope music brings us back to the bizarre world of these acid heads, and perhaps is a bit too disconcerting for some listeners, as perturbing as a lot of darker prog these days. An avant-garde sound collage that is really a noise fest of creaking squeaks and ear splitting sonic vibrations. Let's Make the Water Turn Black is one of the more well known Zappa tracks featuring in some of the concerts. Some otherworldy sounds accompany the second side of the album introducing tracks and then the music jumps straight in like The Residents style, with no introductions and no endings. The songs blend together and hardly develop until the next weird effect. There is lots of jabbering and nonsense but it seems to work in a similar way to other Mothers albums. Finally we get to the hilarious Lonely Little Girl and Take your clothes off when you dance which is rather restrained for Zappa in terms of crudity, but has lots of nananana wah wah wah wah in the lyrics, but is a breezy piece that typifies the band's sound.

This is once again one of the products of the late sixties and is fun for a while but you may prefer the more serious Zappa on "Hot Rats" if you are here for the music because this one sacrifices music for insanity and subversive humour.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars 'We're Only In It For the Money' is definitely an interesting album, to say the least. The cover and title is a direct slam to The Beatles and their album 'Sgt. Pepper', who Zappa claimed was all done for the money, not the music. The album, however, is a statement to the condition of society at the time, police violence, the hippy movement (how everyone thought they could be a hippy because it was cool) and the music business. The album is full of music, noise collages and field recordings, sometimes a song is interrupted by whatever FZ wanted to put there. It is one of the most censored albums in rock history. It was also Zappa's way of saying that classical music was being held hostage by the old ladies that tell the concert halls and radio stations what classical music to play. So much to pack in 33 minutes and 19 tracks.

FZ always felt that the Mothers filled the gap between serious music and the mass public who were being denied access to good serious music. This is why his music was never 'normal' in the radio friendly sense. When someone listens to FZ (and especially this album) for the first time, they have certain expectations, that while it is known that FZ's music is complicated, that with his crazy and crass humor, they still expect it to be normal music, not Avant-prog or RIO. When the music doesn't reach that expectation, most people turn away from it. While it is true that there is a lot of humor in this album, it isn't always apparent laugh out loud humor as much as it is sarcasm and satire, with large doses of art rock mixed in. It is a rough album, not clean and polished. It is also pretty much a continuous suite more than it is a bunch of individual tracks. Keeping this in mind, it may make more sense when a person hears it for the first time.

The frustrating thing to Zappa, was that the music and it's purpose was misunderstood. People automatically thought that the Mothers were the ones that were only in it for the money, and they missed that it was all making fun of The Beatles, even though Frank wanted to make it obvious by copying the Sgt. Pepper cover. He was upset that people could not make the connection, that they never even looked at the similarities of the album covers, and that people just thought The Beatles were sent from heaven. He felt that they were plastic and commercial, but he knew that was an unpopular view among the public.

The album starts off with a field recording that Zappa was famous for making without telling anyone and then putting it on a record. The music starts on the 2nd track with 'Who Needs the Peace Corps?' which was meant to make fun of the hippy movement and not necessarily the Peace Corps. Why work for a government run organization built to help young adults make a difference in the world when you can just be lazy, join the Dead Heads and 'be a hippy'? Then comes another musical number (mostly) called 'Concentration Moon' about how San Francisco and it's citizens were being used for a government LSD experiment and also about police brutality and they feared the hippies. 'Mom & Dad' is one of the Mothers most heartfelt lyrical songs about how parents would ignore what was going on in their world with violence until they have to be told that their own child has died. 'Telephone Conversation' is an actual taped phone conversation which is tied into the song 'Bow Tie Daddy'

'Harry You're a Beast' is about the plastic society again, women specifically. This is one of the songs that got censored quite heavily, and there is a part that sounds like it is being played backwards. That is one of the censored sections of the song. 'What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body?' is a satirical take on a Steve Allen song written for children called from an album called 'How to Think'. 'Absolutely Free' starts off with a short routine involving Suzy Creamcheese (one of the Mother's recurring characters) and is another one of the songs that didn't get completely past the censors. 'Flower Punk' is a parody on the song 'Hey Joe' made popular by Jimi Hendrix, but the version they were basing it on was the version recorded by 'The Leaves'. It makes fun of the flower child movement. It turns into a sound collage during the last half with FZ saying different things through each speaker at a high speed, along with other people talking. 'Hot Poop' continues this collage with another backwards section that was censored. 'Nasal Retentive Calliope Music' continues with the sound collage, but this time with processed sounds and noises. The gizmo they used to make this collage was called an 'Apostolic Blurch Injector' (named by Zappa) that would take any source material put into it and mash it up into things that pretty much could not be understood. Some of the things put into this gizmo were police busts, censored sections, interviews with dope pushers trying to get FZ to use drugs and so on. Yes it's hard to listen to, but it's Zappa's way of experimenting.

This is followed by a song that was the creation of a theme that would be used by Zappa's band a lot and would become a very popular theme for Zappa fans. 'Let's Make the Water Turn Black' is that song, and this time you get the lyrics, which is based on actual events from Zappa's childhood, specifically certain disgusting habits by certain children he didn't care for much. I won't go into detail, but it's funny in a sick way. Quite a catchy melody though and one that's easy to recognize when Zappa's bands would be playing long improvisations. 'The Idiot Bastard's Son' is a continuation of this song and again, it didn't make it past the censors, so once again, we get it backwards. 'Lonely Little Girl' comes next followed by another familiar Zappa theme 'Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance' which was probably a parody possibly based on an old song. After that there is a reprise for 'What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body?' followed by 'Mother People', which would later become a sort of theme for The Mothers. Again, more censored nonsense here. 'The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny' wraps up the album with a 6+ minute sound collage featuring that strange gizmo again.

So, yes this album really has no commercial appeal whatsoever, so go into it knowing that, and you won't be disappointed by your preconceived notions of what Frank would call Teen Age Music. This is Avant-prog music, and like I said previously, it is rough. Zappa's music would become more polished as time went on, of course. But this was the style of music he was making at the time.

There is a lot going on in this album, and the things I have pointed out in this review only brushes the surface. You literally need some kind of listener's guide to read while listening to this, it would be impossible to cover it all in this review. However, it is an important album, made before Prog music was a thing, but it would help open doors to musical exploration and was also an important movement against commercialism of music. Personally, I don't like it as much as 'Freak Out!', but I do understand it's importance and hopefully this will help shed some light on the album. And there are plenty of internet sites that explore this album quite thoroughly, and I suggest finding one that will help you listen to this crazy album. Things will make a lot more sense, believe me.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars Despite England's stranglehold on rock music after the highbrow sophisticating effects of The Beatles, The Who, Pink Floyd, King Crimson and a million other worthy acts, the USA can proudly boast FRANK ZAPPA who together with THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION single-handedly outwitted pretty much every single artist tucked away under the rock music paradigm. Emerging from nowhere with the slap in the face 1966 debut "Freak Out!," these wild guys were always 50 steps ahead of the contemporary scene and transmogrified their disdain towards the shameless sheepish compliance to corporate demands into some of the highest intellectual stimulation where parody, experimental rock, psychedelia, doo-wop and music concrète performed unthinkable acts of defiance.

While The Beatles officially launched the art rock scene at least to the masses with its groundbreaking "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club" designed to appeal to the largest swath of the public as possible, ZAPPA and the boyz took a completely different direction by taking on the man with a never-ending stream of iconoclastic middle fingers to both establishment lackeys as well as drug-induced drop outs who naively relinquished their own powers for the sake of a pretty flower power party. The year 1968 also began ZAPPA's prolific release of multiple albums per year fueled by a project called "No Commercial Potential" which produced the albums "Uncle Meat," "Lumpy Gravy," "Cruising With Ruben & The Jets" and this third and best gem of 1968, WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY.

Originally released with the goofy drag show album cover with the yellow background, ZAPPA quickly realized that the album could be the ultimate spoof of The Beatles' 1967 art rock project and soon the original March 4, 1968 cover art would be attempted to be replaced by the more familiar "Sgt Pepper's" parody cover but it was rejected which only fueled ZAPPA's contempt for the music biz and the parody cover would have to live on as interior artwork for a while at least. Thematically WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY took shots at both right wing and left wing extremists who simply follow their respective cult leaders as opposed to stepping back and looking at the larger picture. The album excelled at lampooning the culture of shallow superficial phoniness as well as law enforcement harassment that prevented the band from performing on the West Coast which forced a relocation to New York.

To say WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY was a strange beast is an understatement. Even by today's standards some 50 years after its release, it STILL sounds as fresh and relevant as it was when it emerged. While THE MOTHERS had successfully forged their unique wackiness on the previous releases, WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY is where it all came together in a glistening glob of sheer genius where every aspect of the juxtaposing musical ideas gelled perfectly in the context of spitting in the face of a soulless culture run amok. This album flows perfectly from the freakily bizarre opening "Are You Hung Up?" and the following psychedelic rock satire "Who Needs The Peace Corps?" to the patter song "Let's Make the Water Turn Black," the doo-wop comedy act of "What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body?" all the way to the closing avant-garde mystique concrète fueled "The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny."

With eight members in THE MOTHERS proper along with ten other guest cast members, WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY comes off more as a sophisticated sonic mind trip than anything else and is part music, part comedy, part experimental noise and 100% irreverence. While this album was only one of three released in 1968, it is by far the best and only the beginning of the all-encompassing masterpieces that threw in a million disparate ideas and crafted some of the most sophisticated musical experiences within the context of rock music. When listening to the molten madness so perfectly executed on WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY, it's not that difficult to understand why FRANK ZAPPA is considered one of the greatest musical geniuses of the entire 20th century. I, for one, will not even begin to refute that because it's so very, very true.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Review #22: We're Only in it for the Money ABANDONED TO PERISH IN BACK OF A CAR, KENNY WILL STASH HIM AWAY IN A JAR! I must admit that when I listened to the album, I didn't understand what I was listening to, or why... heh. We're Only in it for the Money, Frank Zappa's fourth album (and ac ... (read more)

Report this review (#2673943) | Posted by Saimon | Wednesday, January 19, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review #138 (Considering this an album by THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION and not a FRANK ZAPPA album) "We're only in it for the money" was a very strange record (by its time) in which THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION went further in the fields of experimental music than they ever got before; coming and go ... (read more)

Report this review (#2634896) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Wednesday, November 17, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Are You hung up?" No, not too much on this album, unfortunately. We're Only In It For The Money was Zappa's satirical attack and put down of the so called 60's counter culture with hippies being the main target. Are You Hung Up is the album's first track where The Mothers perfo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1581588) | Posted by SteveG | Wednesday, June 22, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Incommensurable socio-cultural value. What an album! If music has the potential to revolutionize, this should be the best example. Satirical concept plus memorable music make this album a masterpiece. Sometimes artists focus too little in composing good lyrics. In this case this are not just good ly ... (read more)

Report this review (#1458169) | Posted by marcobrusa | Monday, August 31, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A full blown attack on our ears and minds. I don't think that there is any other way to describe this work of genius. From the moment it starts, till it's end less than 40 minutes later, this album doesn't slow its pace, downplay its satire or let us stray away from it. It was shocking in the 60 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1326411) | Posted by Thai Divone | Saturday, December 20, 2014 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Sorry Frank but is this considered to be good? The fourth Frank Zappa, or The Mothers of Invention record "We're only in it for the money" is a famous history. It was made a long time ago, in the year 1968 and seems to be made as an irony of the hippy movement. The music isn't so compicated b ... (read more)

Report this review (#1280746) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Sunday, September 21, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In my opinion, if you want to hear the essential early Mothers recording, this is it. This album has some really great moments on it, and the songs interact and weave together very nicely. Some of my favorite moments on the album are "Who Needs the Peace Corps?" and "Flower Punk", and I'm su ... (read more)

Report this review (#769301) | Posted by bb1319 | Monday, June 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

1 stars On the surface, it may seem that there is much for me to admire about this album. The musicianship is stellar, and many of the points made through the satire are ones I could agree with. Also, I have a high regard for Uncle Frank. Yet none of that means anything to me here. Truth of the matt ... (read more)

Report this review (#558113) | Posted by Progosopher | Thursday, October 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Like a review already said here, I can't stop listening to this album. Musically this is a masterpiece, no doubt! All the concepts of the songs are incredibly advanced for its time, an Zappa not only gets into rock and roll, but travels around jazz, classical, and modern electrical music, like t ... (read more)

Report this review (#509291) | Posted by Leo Milani | Friday, August 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It was this album that really introduced me to the legend that is Frank Zappa, and i really enjoyed it. This being the third album with The Mothers of Invention and is no doubt his most famous of this period, its just wierd that it so happens to be more of a parody of the more famous bands and alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#289165) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Sunday, July 4, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is my favourite Zappa album, despite Freak Out! being acclaimed as more important. I saw this album in shops when it was released, and must admit the cover deterred me from buying it, although I already had Chunga's Revenge which I loved. But in this country (New Zealand) the cover was not g ... (read more)

Report this review (#170271) | Posted by daddykool | Thursday, May 8, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Frank Zappa once again displays himself as a satiricus, making fun of the Flower Power and hippy movement in this wonderfull album. Psychedelic songs, with a typical hippy flavour. The lyrics often times are hilarious, the conceptual theme reminds me of albums like Sergeant Pepper (Beatles) Sell ... (read more)

Report this review (#163657) | Posted by tuxon | Monday, March 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars As my this is my first review here I was a bit suprised when the little GUIDELINES WARNING popped up after I confidently pressed the circle signifying a 5 star rating but this didn't deter me, mind you, because in my every estimation this is a true masterpiece. Once this album crawls under your ... (read more)

Report this review (#159937) | Posted by manofmystery | Sunday, January 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars While working in a record store about 10 years ago, I had been contemplating diving into the world of Frank Zappa on several occasions. However, the sheer vastness of his discography scared me away, as I was afraid to pick the wrong one to start with, and back off without giving FZ his proper chan ... (read more)

Report this review (#158605) | Posted by Arrakis | Monday, January 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Wow! What can we say to a record that touches the heights of perfection? Is this phase one to Lumpy Gravy, asks Zappa in the cover. How can that be? If we think about it, it is a record that, like is twin brother, tries to deal with the dialectics of commercialism. With the recording industry its ... (read more)

Report this review (#158486) | Posted by Megaphone of Destiny | Sunday, January 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Firstly is this prog ? Well yes I believe it is, but its roots are in American Doo-whop music rather than than rock and roll. It is also the work of a genius. A lot has already been said far to much in fact. So buy yourself a copy and listen because this remains one of the most important records ... (read more)

Report this review (#145093) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The shortest album by Mothers of invention, with most tracks beeing miniatures. The irony, mocking and critism is still there, of course. Are you hung up Weird and silly vocals with a bit of guitar in the outro. 0 stars Who needs the peace corps A melodic numberdominated by hypnotical drum ... (read more)

Report this review (#133067) | Posted by Peto | Tuesday, August 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars (Before I get started with my review, I must say that I started listening to Zappa about two months ago, and I've been trying to build a decent collection of his work. (I plan to collect all of his official releases.) I currently own 11 Zappa albums and this is my second Mothers album. After r ... (read more)

Report this review (#126621) | Posted by SuzyCreamcheese | Saturday, June 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Absolutely fantastic "contra-hippies-music" album. I can hear here echoes of Beatles music and many bands from 60-ties. And fantastic musicians: of course Frank, and Roy Estrada, Don Preston and all "boys". For me - the best album of Frank Zappa ... (read more)

Report this review (#117785) | Posted by kevlar | Tuesday, April 10, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This was one of the first albums by The Mothers that I discovered, and I am addicted to it. I can't stop listening to this album, I love it! Though coming short at only 40 minutes, the album displays The Mothers creative, weird, and quite funny style. The Album was a direct message about ... (read more)

Report this review (#96197) | Posted by mattmacneil | Sunday, October 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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