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Frank Zappa - The Mothers Of Invention: Freak Out! CD (album) cover

THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION: FREAK OUT!

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.93 | 631 ratings

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UltimaPrime
4 stars My first exposure to ZAPPA.

1966 was an important year for Rock Music. The BEATLES turned heads with Rubber Soul and Revolver, Brian Wilson engineered the Pop Music masterpiece Pet Sounds, , and in an entirely different zip code, the lunatic composer/guitarist known as the honorable Mr. Frank ZAPPA, with his group of freaks, The Mothers of Invention, blessed us with one of the most important albums in the development of Progressive Rock music: Freak Out!

From a superficial standpoint, this package is mainly a mixed bag of Blues, R&B, Rock, Doo-Wop, screaming, swearing, freaking out, production-that-will-either-make-you-do-naughty-things-or-just-make-your-head-go-pop, Suzy Creamch-erm...a variety, I guess. Many of these songs sport that signature, standard "60's sound," but with a twist. You're probably asking (in all capital letters), "WELL, SEAN, WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT THIS ZARPA MAN GUY THING?" Well, children, four things: Production, Musicianship, Lyrical content, and pure Imagination.

I dare anyone to find me a track released prior to 1966 that asks where the "Brain Police" are. I flipping dare you. While you're at it, find me a track with a seven-minute, psychedelic jam-fest that breaks off into a monologue about America being "wonderful" and how it apparently "really makes it." Finally, if you're going through all of that trouble, find me a track that openly mentions (and, in turn, glorifies) the idea of suicide to combat being unsatisfied with life (and a life that doesn't seem to be as bad as the lyrics make it sound). Yeah, uh-huh...nice try.

The musical aesthetics require multiple listens to really digest, for there's really a whole lot more going on here than meets the.ear. ZAPPA had, at his disposal, some of the best musicians around at the time, all being freakish virtuosos of their respective instruments, trained, to perfection, in just about every style that emerged before it. Even more listens will reveal the true complexity of how the songs are structured, some totally deviating from diatonic into atonal la-la land, which is especially evident in "Who Are the Brain Police?," "Help, I'm a Rock!," and "The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet," and arguably in just about every other song on the album. Finally, after even more repeated listens, along with plenty of some Stravinsky (HURR? Look it up.) music, you'll even discover some musical ideas that ZAPPA not-so-subtly borrowed. There's really a ridiculous amount of variety to be found on this album, so if you don't turn a deaf ear to everything but one style of music, you should find something of interest.

All in all, Freak Out! is a very...interesting...and secretly atonal package, revealing more and more of it's secrets after each listen of the silly, Anti-Pop lyrics about breaks-ups, rocks, stupid people, mother-loving, etc. This was one of the early beginnings of Progressive Rock music, be it of the genre or not, and it's only a fraction of the lunacy that Frank ZAPPA proliferated in following albums. I'm refraining from calling it a masterpiece, due to the variety and a number of absurdities that dance around on this one, but regardless, fans of 60's Rock and/or Pop music should give this gem a listen. Anyone who's craving a little insanity of acid-dropping proportions should buy/liberate this ASAP. As for fans of ZAPPA.you've heard it already, and if not...go die.

4/5

UltimaPrime | 4/5 |

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