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Frank Zappa - The Mothers Of Invention: Over-Nite Sensation CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.02 | 605 ratings

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4 stars One thing I will say about Frank Zappa-the man never ceases to surprise me. The first album I heard of his, Yellow Shark, was strictly classical music. The next one I heard, We're Only In It For The Money, was a mix of cutting satire and cacophonous, tape-manipulated horror. And this one, Over-Nite Sensation, is...a straightforward hard-rock album with a dash of country. At this point I wouldn't be surprised if the next Zappa album I heard was nothing but overheard vocal clips of Frank trying to teach his cat to do a trick.

Still, this is a fine album, almost impossible not to like. A lot of the snottiness pervades his other "novelty" records is kind of a turn-off, but here it's either all completely good natured or utterly juvenile, and either way it's hard not to smile while you're listening to it. "Camarillo Brillo" sounds like the theme song to a hearty Western TV-adventure and would probably be played on classic rock radio to this day if it wasn't so lewd. "The Slime" is a bit obvious, but it's catchy as all get-out, and "Dirty Love" is a downright groove. On "Fifty-Fifty" Zappa overestimates the listener's patience a bit, but the guitar solo near the middle makes the sometimes overlong song worth it.

Side 2 is where Zappa goes into straight comedy. "Zombie Woof" is a song about a werewolf who lusts after college girls, which...trusts me, it works better than the description would imply. "Dinah Moe Humm" is more or less a porno song, but it's played with such lightness and good humor that the salaciousness almost slips you by if you aren't paying attention. Things end on a high note with "Montana", a country-rock-on-goofballs tale about a man who stakes out to Montana in order to farm dental floss.

Here's the thing: The album is funny, it's a lot of fun, and it knows when to shut up, by which I mean its 34 minutes isn't at all taxing on the listener. Maybe it isn't Frank Zappa's most "important" album, or his most avant-garde, but it's the only one of his I consistently come back to, and that's gotta count for something.

40footwolf | 4/5 |


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