Negative responses to Frank Zappa's music tend to overtly focus on a lyrical aspect considered puerile. To put it bluntly, dismissing these works as nothing more than fart jokes would be missing the point. The humor is where the lyrics come into play with the music assisting said lyrics. That's what makes the joke funny. And it's not even a new concept -- Mozart wrote a piece called "Lick My Ass". Another aspect of the humor is what inspired said joke. For example, opening this particular album is a song called "I Have Been In You". The film Baby Snakes
has this song intro'd with a commentary on Peter Frampton
's ridiculous "I'm In You" and the absurdity of said lyrics, the point being, the announcement of being inside a woman during intercourse is not
sexy. It's a total turn-off.
Then there's political and social commentaries -- like the anti-union sentiment in "Flakes" and mockery of women's liberation and misogynistic college boys in "Bobby Brown" (who starts off raping cheerleaders and ends up being fisted in gay bars). There's also expansive instrumental pieces, which include live improvisations, or studio experiments -- like "Rubber Shirt", where Zappa further develops his xenochrony technique by overdubbing live instrumentation onto a new studio recording developing, in this case, new interplay between a jazz bassline and drum solo, which seem to respond off each other despite being two completely unrelated recordings, with the bass solo coming from a completely different song.
Mostly, the album focuses on Zappa's rock-oriented live recordings, mostly out of financial necessity at the behest of exiting from Warner Bros. distribution and attempting to recoup the losses from his lawsuit towards the corporation due to contractual dispute. It's a leadway into less commercial releases, like a semi rock opera (Joe's Garage
), a series of albums focusing solely on guitar solos (Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar
), and planned box sets that didn't pan out (Warts 'N All
). Sheik Yerbouti
was also the beginning of Zappa's mail order business, and the prospect of bringing the profits directly to himself with little interference from third parties.
The humor of the album is fairly direct, with the title of the album itself digging at disco, which had reached its peak in hatedom (although, as Zappa notes in relation to the inspiration of his song "I Have Been In You", rock can sometimes suck as much as disco), as well as in one of his most well-known songs, "Dancin' Fool", which interconnects with "Jewish Princess", a song that inspired more ire than "Bobby Brown" or "Broken Hearts Are For Assholes". What is forgotten, however, that while stereotypes are not the norm, personas like the Jewish Princess do exist. Jewish Princesses are not unicorns. If you don't buy that, maybe you should stay with yo' mama. Ladies are assholes, too. If you possess one, you can be one.