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Frank Zappa - The Mothers Of Invention: Absolutely Free CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.02 | 626 ratings

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4 stars Absolutely Free was Zappa and the Mother's sophmore album and does seem to fall prey to the sophmore slump. A good litmus test for whether you'll enjoy Absolutely Free is to go back and listen to the last few songs off of Freak Out!. If those were too weird for you, then run away, right now, as Absolutely Free does some serious experimenting.

If they (whoever they is) made a baby book of Zappa's career this'd be with the page for his first really experimental album. While Freak Out! did that satire thing with pop-sounding songs with acerbic biting lyrics, Absolutely Free ditches that whole, pop-sounding gig, and instead opted for 2 suites of music, that weave Stravinsky in with the chap known as The Duke of Prunes while still sounding good doing it. Mind you the song The Duke of Prunes shows Zappa's talent of writing almost classical pieces in a rock atmosphere and is a great little piece. Absolutely Free also kicks off with Plastic People, with it's predictable (if you look at the title of the song) satire. Side 1 also has some decent improvish stuff (that the concept album of Freak Out! couldn't always hold).

The second suite is my favorite part of the album The M.O.I. American Pageant. Bookended by the America Drinks songs, it has a bar band atmosphere, which adds to the aesthetic of many of the songs. I also really like Uncle Bernie's Farm, which has Zappa pen some of his finer satire on the album. Fans of Freak Out! will also enjoy the reference to Suzy Creamcheese in Son of Suzy Creamcheese.

The king of this side is the infamous Brown Shoes Don't Make It. Regarded as one of the best Zappa and the Mother's works, it is a suite within a suite, that cycles through all the genres Zappa had at his disposal in seven and a half minutes. Genius in itself, and should be heard by any RIO/Avant fan. The title is itself, a parody of an affair where American President Lydon B Johnson wore a grey suit with *gasp* brown shoes (add whatever snarky, sarcasm your mind can conjure). Lyrically, it deals with Zappa's anti perfect american mentality, and then does some sort of quantum leap to an affair that someone (the president or something) has with a thirteen year old. Point is, I love it, best track off of the album.

Overall, I'm giving it a 4-star rating (though the album is probably a weaker 4 star). I didn't really dwell on the first side, which left me underwhelmed, especially seeing what the band was capable of on side 2. I do like how the album flows, but it just can't compare to the albums the band did on either side of it. It has some form of historical significance and is recommended for Zappa fans who've already had a decent base to their collection.

Fun stuff for an open mind.

cookieacquired | 4/5 |


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