Review Summary: When looking to "Freak Out!", look no further than "Freak Out!"...
What does it mean to “freak out”? Is it acting irrational under specific influences? Being unstable emotionally? Or is it to simply express your emotions? Those would be good definitions of “freaking out”, but one little album known by “Freak Out!” takes the cake when coming to freaking out.
Released in 1966 and considered one of the very first concept albums of all-time, “Freak Out!” by The Mothers of Invention is a jarring and undeniably unsettling debut. From the cover of the album, which doesn’t give much away, it seems as there isn’t much to “freak out” over. Starting off quite quirky, the album goes in a horrifying change of pace with “Who Are The Brain Police?” with the use of the kazoo. This would be one of the many freak-outs of “Freak Out!” Oddly, there are two doo-wop pieces with “Go Cry On Somebody Else’s Shoulder” and “How Could I Be Such a Fool?” on the album, but are calming considering how maniacally hectic “Freak Out!” is. Another interesting, but weird aspect of “Freak Out!” is the use of straightforward pop ditties such as “Anyway The Wind Blows” and “Motherly Love”. For most of the album, it seems as it’ll just consist of nice, straightforward rock pieces. That is until “Help, I’m a Rock”. Here, we are re-introduced into the concrete-like music of “Who Are The Brain Police?” From there on, it gets worse (or better) with “It Can’t Happen Here”. With this, is the climax of “Freak Out!” and with everyone chanting makes it seem as you’re on a drug trip. One notable part in the song is the introduction of Suzy Creamcheese, who’d be heard from and/or referenced to in future M.O.I and Zappa albums. The finale of the album, “The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet”, is unfortunately incomplete due to Verve’s denial to allow the Mothers to complete the suite. This song is the ultimate definition of freaking out, with there being tons of chanting, sped-up vocals, and changes in the timing of the music. One low point of the suite is that it just dies out, blatantly giving away that it wasn’t even completed.
In hindsight, “Freak Out!” fluctuates, but manages to keep the listener on the edge of their seat. Now that we’ve gone over “Freak Out!” we may be able to give an official definition for freaking out. It’s simple. This album is the definite definition of freaking out, and that is what makes this album special.