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


Frank Zappa



3.93 | 631 ratings

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4 stars The debut album of The Mothers Of Invention was undoubtedly bold and revolutionary, being one of the first double albums in rock, along with applying more experimentation to the pop and blues rock music of the time, while also having moments of going completely off the rails with avant garde sensibilities. The importance of this album is definitely a big part of why it is so highly regarded, both by others and myself, but despite this, there are definitely some flaws within the album.

The album starts off with its first 3 sides containing the various conventions and cliches of music of the time, used in such a way to parody such music, often through the lyrics, sometimes biting satire about American society in songs such as Hungry Freaks Daddy and Trouble Every Day. Other songs contain more comedic lyrics, such as their take of the common trope of love songs in Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder. These consistently great lyrics provide great entertainment and definitely feel more like the focus of the album compared to some musical elements of it, as the majority of the tracks are very short and simple, albeit quite fun and catchy. An exception to the is definitely Who Are The Brain Police?. which feels much darker and more experimental, everything having an echoey quality to it, and the middle freak out being downright sinister. In terms of instrumentation, there's already a clear display of talent from Zappa, especially evident in the solo of Hungry Freaks Daddy, Motherly Love, Anyway The Wind Blows, and others.

Just as the album begins to feel like it should be coming to a close, Help I'm A Rock comes in and provides an incredibly sharp left turn, shifting from the fun of previous songs into pure strangeness. There is an almost complete lack of melody here, replaced with a bizarre bassline, the vocals being unconventional and lyrics nonsensical, truly a highly psychedelic song, and one of my favourites from the album. After this, there are no signs of slowing down at any point, with It Can't Happen Here being a completely acapella track with almost nothing to grab onto, with clashing melodies among the vocal harmonies. I personally find this song to be a fairly weak point on the album, as despite its 4 minute length, it still feels like it goes on far too long. Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet is a better song, utilising the same sort of atonality and avant garde tendencies as previous songs, but maintaining pace and building up effectively, with a wide range of noises provided by many sources, especially guitar and vocals, including regular screaming. Overall, I find this song to close off the album quite well, along with displaying a snippet of what would be to come in later albums.

Despite the importance of this album, I don't quite consider this a 5 star album on account of the simplicity of the first 3 quarters of the album causing it to drag somewhat by the time the more insane stuff comes on, and while these tracks are wonderful, It Can't Happen Here is definitely below the standard of the other tracks here, and Monster Magnet feels a bit too long. A lot of this is remedied by the excellent lyricism and instrumentation throughout, along with the fact that I do believe that this album should undoubtedly be listened to at least once due to its significance. While I wouldn't call this Zappa's best work, it's nonetheless very high quality.

Best songs: Hungry Freaks Daddy, Who Are The Brain Police?, GO Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder, Help I'm A Rock

Weakest songs: It Can't Happen Here

Verdict: A lovely parody of many cliches of the music of the time, complete with fun compositions, excellent lyrics, and a downright weird last set of 3 tracks. The significance of this album is enough for me to recommend that it be given at least one listen, despite the flaws present within.

Kempokid | 4/5 |


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