Review Summary: With Frank Zappa down as being one of the hardest working musicians in history, a best of album is exactly what you need to get through his towering back catalogue.
Frank Zappa was a very unique musician in almost every aspect and he didn't stop working - ever! With a staggering total of 91 albums spread out over four decades, it's fair to say that Frank Zappa has a very intimidating discography. If you're new to this guy then the chances are you'll scramble your head just trying to figure out where to start.
As it happens, this, "The best of Frank Zappa", compilation CD is where I actually started and it definitely set me in the right direction.
Starting out in the 60's with "The Mothers Of Invention" and then moving on to do his solo career. Every album Zappa made was very different in sound and style, and simultaniously keeping in check and a head of everyone else in the era of which the album was made. (My personnal opinion is the 70's was the high point of Frank's career; using Psychedelic, Rock, Jazz and Blues and amalgamating it in such genius way that it still comes out fresh today.)
Now, I'm the first to admit, I don't normally like or gravitate toward a 'best of' album, I find them to normally be quick cash-in's that attempt to squeeze an extra couple of notes out of the consumer, and I don't find a great deal of relevance to them. However, with someone like Frank Zappa, I can't stress enough just how important this, or any of his other compilations, is. They are a great tool to opening a very large door.
This 2004 release has the perfect balance that showcases the technically stunning musicanship on offer with the obsure and humorous lyrics/vocal work which Frank loved to put on his music. It basically tells you if you're going to like the epic journey you could go on listening to all his albums.
The compilation contains his hit singles from a lot of his albums and gives you as many hits from as many albums as possible. Obviously, his more commerical albums such as "Apostrophe (')" and "Over-Nite Sensation" get most of the spotlight, due to the songs on them albums being a lot more accessible, but albums like "Zoot Allures" - which split opinion - gets the chance to shine too.
What I love about this CD is that I still listen to it today. I have most of his albums now, but I still come back to this every now-and-then. Every track on here has a well deserved place on it and there isn't a time where you go, "this song didn't really need to be on here". It's a really fun compilation to put on and have a laugh, and the balance is just right.
If you're looking to get into this genius' world, then look no further. This is one of the few best of albums that I say is essential for starting out.