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Frank Zappa Strictly Commercial album cover
3.24 | 60 ratings | 11 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Peaches En Regalia
2. Don't Eat The Yellow Snow
3. Dancin' Fool
4. San Ber'dino
5. Dirty Love
6. My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama
7. Cosmik Debris
8. Trouble Every Day
9. Disco Boy
10. Fine Girl
11. Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
12. Let's Make The Water Turn Black
13. I'm The Slime
14. Joe's Garage
15. Bobby Brown Goes Down
16. Montana (single version)
17. Valley Girl
18. Be In My Video
19. Muffin man

Line-up / Musicians

- Name / guitars
- Name / drums

Releases information

Rykodisc #RCD 40500

Thanks to for the addition
and to szabozoli for the last updates
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FRANK ZAPPA Strictly Commercial ratings distribution

(60 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FRANK ZAPPA Strictly Commercial reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Menswear
3 stars Gail Zappa and her daughter were in Quebec a few months ago to defend a single song. One tiny song. The Zappa clan striked hard. They won in court and how. They do know where their heritage is going. I don't talk about money, but music. With Frank, it's always about the music. Whatever he did, he applied himself. He shows a high level of quality every thing he touched. When I decided to plunge into Zappa, I got dizzy. So many albums, so many sidedishes...I honestly got confused. Strickly Commercial is, indeed, not- essential. But it gives you a neat sneak to a side of Frank. A more accessible side. But don't be fooled, it's no MOR. Read under 'perfectionist' in your dictionairy. You'll probably see a tiny picture of him (hope it's not the one where he's sitting on the can). All the easy listening classics are there. And he stole my heart. From 'Don't eat the yellow snow' to 'Let's make the water turn black' and 'Valley Girl', I could'nt stop laughing. Very weird sense of humor. But at last! My kind of humor. Zappa provokes, but I never got offended. Zappa does not provokes like heavy metal did (Deicide etc...) or pop (remember the single 'Barbie Girl'), but in a way I honestly never experienced before. It's really hard to describe, because you have to listen and read the crazy titles to fully understand the DELIGHTFUL WORLD HE CREATED. It's fantasy, but you suspect he bases himself on real people and events. Recommended for 'newcomers' like me who wants to get a good laugh and appreciate a somewhat musically thick record. It's progressive rock despite the fact that it looks like fish, but tastes like chicken...
Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
3 stars Frank Zappa was a guitar legend and under-estimated music writer. This collection really shows the dirversity of the man playing and carreer. Though it is good in that respect, the selection of songs is a bit slack. I would have like to see this collection as a two cd set, so that the songs chosen would be more complete. Take the album 'One size fits all'. A great album. The only song from that album on this collection is 'San Ber'dino'. A good song yes, but there are better on the album. Another reason for the extention is so that more of his styles could have been included. However, I still like the collection as it is, but i feel it could be better. A great starting point of his music, and probably the best collection/compliation of Zappa's out there.
Review by Chicapah
4 stars I've spoken to music fans who admitted to actually being SCARED of Uncle Frank! To those cowering folk I recommend this great sampler to ease into Zappa's wonderful world of musical colors. He presented to the world what we needed most. A sense of humor and satire in a universe that insists on taking itself much too seriously. This isn't perfect, however, and I could do without hearing the grating Valley Girl ever again but it's here because it did chart due to its timely novelty. But with the rest of the cd you get a good dose of Mr. Z in his brilliance. San Ber'dino, Dirty Love, Cosmik Debris, Montana, Be in my Video and Muffin Man are all smile creators in the midst of incredible musicianship. And Peaches En Regalia should be the national anthem. So, if you do not own any of his albums but have always wanted to peek through the keyhole and catch a glimpse of what's inside the mad scientist's workshop, this is just the ticket for you.
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is a good collection of Zappa "hits" spanning his entire career. A worthwhile purchase for novices or casual listeners who might be unfamiliar with the works of this master. But, in any decent prog catalogue which prefers original albums, this item is unneeded. Unless you are a completist, of course!
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I know when it comes to compilations 2 or 3 stars is usually the right rating, but there is something very special about hearing such a variety of excellent music that spans some 22 years. This may sound silly but I feel so proud listening to this record, this would be the perfect Zappa album to give to someone who you think might be swayed over to the dark side.

"Over-Nite Sensation" is dipped into the most here, but it opens with "Peaches En Regalia" from "Hot Rats". What an airy and beautiful instrumental to start off with. "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow" features that most feared of weapons the dog-doo snow cone. And then we get Frank making fun of the disco crowd in "Dancin' Fool" and "Disco Boy", and then it's those caught up in mystic ways who are mocked in "Cosmik Debris".

"Trouble Every Day" from his debut has those meaningful words that were inspired from race riots that were going on at the time. He shouts "I'm not black, but there's a whole lots of times I wish I wasn't white." "Sexual Harassment In The Workplace" is a great instrumental that I can listen to over and over again. "Montana" is one of my favs that starts off with that slowly sung line "I might be moving to Montana soon". Yeah he's going off to grow some dental floss. "Muffin Man" always makes me laugh when Frank starts laughing. Some great guitar follows.

So yeah this is an excellent addition to your prog collection, and it will also make you want to break out some of his albums you haven't heard in a while.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Strictly Commercial" is a compilation album by US experimental rock artist Frank Zappa. The album was released through Rykodisc in August 1995, 2 years after the death of Frank Zappa and it is the first posthumous best of Frank Zappa release out of many that would subsequently be released through Rykodisc.

The track selection concentrates on the most commercial and mainstream friendly tracks from Frank Zappa´s discography and there are none of his more experimental tracks featured on this compilation, which features material released between 1966 and 1988. There are several of classic Frank Zappa tracks featured on the album though and some of his most humourous as well like "Bobby Brown Goes Down". Oon the US version this particular track is not featured. It´s replaced by Tell Me You Love Me due to controversy over the explicit lyrics for "Bobby Brown Goes Down"). Other highlights include "Disco Boy", "Cosmik Debris", "Dirty Love", "Dancin´ Fool", "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow" and "Muffin man". The most "experimental/different" tracks here are the phenomenal instrumental jazz rock track "Peaches En Regalia" and "Sexual Harassment In The Workplace" which is ultimately a vehicle for a Frank Zappa guitar solo. The rest is more or less what you would expect from a best of compilation. There´re only a few tracks from the Mothers of Invention days in "Let's Make The Water Turn Black", "My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama" and "Trouble Every Day", but that´s only natural as that part of Frank Zappa´s huge discography was never that commercially successful.

So if you´re interested in Frank Zappa´s most accessible tracks and don´t initially want to purchase his full discography to find out where those tracks come from this compilation is an easy and overall pretty good starting point. If you´re already a fan there´s nothing new for you here and you can safely pass this one by. The tracklist is really strong and even though the idea of best of collections is usually hard to appreciate "Strictly Commercial" serves it´s purpose well by making a good entry point for the uninitiated before delving into the more inaccessible parts of Frank Zappa´s discography. A 4 star (80%) rating is therefore deserved.

Review by Andy Webb
3 stars Whoot for Greatest Hits!

Yet another Zappa album, but it's nothing new. Certainly Greatest Hits albums are great, especially for me, who got this album to get my feet wet with Zappa's dozens of studio albums. The album has 19 of Zappa's better tracks, each being odd and creative, different from each other, fun, and imaginative. Vocal tracks often have humorous stories and vocals. Instruments used are used in creative ways, perfectly adding to the music where it should be.

Each track seems to have a mind of it's own, weaving in and out of Zappa's styles, from jazz fusion to "pseudo-disco" to progressive rock and so many other sub genres that he explored. The album most definitely is a good compilation album, compiling his best track, his better tracks, and is good tracks. Each track can be compiled as such: Peaches in Regalia (best), Don't Eat the Yellow Snow (best), Dancin' Fool (better), San Berdino (better), Dirty Love (good), My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama (best), Cosmik Debris (good), Trouble Every Day (good), Disco Boy (good), Fine Girl (good), Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (better), Let's Make the Water Black (good), I'm the Slime (better), Joe's Garage (better), Tell Me You Love Me (better), Montana (better), Valley Girl (good), Be in My Video (good), Muffin Man (best).

ALBUM OVERALL: You can see that there isn't very many "best" tracks, because not many were put on the album. The album is good, but getting albums such as Freak Out, Joe's Garage, Apostrophe ('), or We're Only in It for the Money. All the songs are definitely good, but some aren't essential. 3 stars.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This was my second Zappa purchase back when it came out. Shortly after Frank died, I bought Hot Rats after reading an article about him in RollingStone magazine. That issue had Nirvana on the cover, and future issues had letters complaining that Zappa should have been on the cover instead. I agree. The mainstream press and audience generally ignored Frank his whole career. Presented here is some of his most mainstream songs. Only one being an actual hit.

Three of the songs are single edits. The original Mothers are represented by three songs. The version of this compilation here is the European one; it has a different cover to the American version and contains "Bobby Brown" instead of "Tell Me You Love Me". The instrumental "Sexual Harassment..." from Guitar is a strange choice. The only really essential songs here are "Peaches En Regalia", "My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama" and maybe "I'm The Slime".

This collection left me confused more than anything. After becoming acquainted with Zappa's discography, I can say that few of the songs here are among my favourites. This is a nice sampler I guess, but doesn't really give you a hint about how creative and important this man's music was. Zappa is one of those artists where you have to listen to whole albums to understand him. 2 stars.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This Franz Zappa compilation is not a "best of" collection. I suppose you could call it a "greatest hits" collection, as it does contain pretty much all of the songs that received moderate amounts of radio airplay. But those, like Peaches En Regalia, Don't Eat The Yellow Snow, Dirty Love and Valley Girl wouldn't comprise a full length CD. Radio programmers in Zappa's day just didn't have the guts to play much music of his caliber. Just imagine if Zappa were just flourishing now, with DJs and programmers having devolved down to spineless jellyfish, the difficulty in getting this music publicized. But I digress. How this album could best be descibed is a collection of Frank's more commercial, or accessable tunes.

There are hints of Zappa's amazing compositional skills. Zappa could not help but embellish most of his music with outrageous licks. But for the most part the songs stay relatively simplistic, the kind the mundane radio listener might be able to listen to without growing horns and going on a murderous rampage.

Be warned: Don't Eat The Yellow Snow and Montana are both castrated single edit versions. Otherwise, this set of radio friendly songs is good for initiating friends and family into the world of Zappa. Just be ready for thr time when Junior's grade school teacher asks you why he's singing songs about a poodle.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "Strictly Commercial. The Best of Frank Zappa" is a collection of some of Frank Zappa's popular music. The other album in this series is "Strictly Genteel" which gives an excellent collection of Frank's classical (and jazz) tracks from previously released albums. "Strictly Commercial" also takes songs from previous albums, most of which are the commercial, or popular side of Frank. All of the songs on this collection are quite radio friendly in that they are single versions that don't need to be censored, radio-friendly.

Unlike the "Strictly Genteel" collection though, this collection is not as cohesive. Since these tracks are more rock oriented, it is very apparent when you are listening to the "newer" tracks and "older" tracks. There is a very noticeable difference in the music styles, and this makes this collection sound choppy.

It's not a complete wash out, however. Most of the tracks have vocals and are humor oriented. Again, the humor is quite safe as the crude humor is left off of this collection. There are the great like "Peaches en Regalia", "Dancin' Fool", the guitar solo "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace", "Muffin Man" and so on. However, there are also the songs that aren't so great, and they are mostly the repetitive ones like "Disco Boy", "Fine Girl", "Joe's Garage" and "Valley Girl". A lot of the songs seem to lose their significance when taken out of their album settings.

The collection is decent enough I suppose, but there are better collections out there that have better selections on them, but, as is the problem with many collections based on popular music, you are going to get some good and some bad. The collection is not the best representation of Zappa's rock and roll and mixing all of these songs in something other than chronological order tends to make it suffer too. Anyway, unlike the sister album Strictly Genteel, this is only an OK collection.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This CD was my first proper introduction to Frank Zappa. The only FZ song I had been even remotely familiar with before hearing this album was Valley Girl (the one song on this album where the compilation title applies most aptly), due to receiving some radio air-time when I was young. (It was an ... (read more)

Report this review (#222056) | Posted by catfood03 | Saturday, June 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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