1) Are You Hung Up?
2) Who Needs The Peace Corps?
3) Concentration Moon
4) Mom & Dad
5) Telephone Conversation
6) Bow Tie Daddy
7) Harry, You're a Beast
8) What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?
9) Absolutely Free
10) Flower Punk
11) Hot Poop
12) Nasal Retentive Calliope Music
13) Let's Make The Water Turn Black
14) The Idiot Bastard Son
15) Lonely Little Girl
16) Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
17) What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?
18) Mother People
19) The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny
This may be the weirdest album I've ever listened to, and I love every minute of it. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were great at writing and performing, but I have a feeling this album will be a tougher sell than those of their contemporaries. Their work was always too weird for the mainstream.
Otherwise, they'd be legends, like the psychedelic acts they satirized with this disc. Zappa released two concept albums shortly before Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band came out. I can also hear the influence of this album on the Who and Pink Floyd.
"Are You Hung Up?" is a trippy sound collage, more of a sketch than a song, that leads into "Who Needs The Peace Corps?", a groovy 60s rock tune poking fun at the idealism of the hippies. Zappa and company alternate between speaking and singing, and each track continues the concept of the first two: giving those hippies what they're asking for. Structure-wise, this album is somewhat comparable to Dark Side of the Moon.
There's no one style to compare the work to, though. The Mothers experiment with folk in "Concentration Moon," music hall with "Bow Tie Daddy", and even doo-wop with "What's the Ugliest Part Of Your Body?" But the arrangements, production, and lyrics are like nothing before or since.
Perhaps Frank Zappa doesn't have the status of the other bands I've mentioned because he was just too weird for the scene. While those others were protesting war by having sex, doing drugs, and jamming, Zappa was making top-notch music with a cynical attitude towards it all. He may not be your cup of tea, but without him, classic rock wouldn't be the same.
***** out of five