The Mothers of Invention
Freak Out!


4.5
superb

Review

by Pechorin USER (23 Reviews)
April 10th, 2006 | 23 replies | 18,147 views


Release Date: 1966 | Tracklist


3 of 3 thought this review was well written

There are some debut albums that truly stand out in music. My Generation and Murmur both set fire to different musical areas of their time. Freak Out! is another one of those classic debut albums, introducing the musical world to the mad scientist of rock, Frank Zappa. A true musical genius, Zappa made it okay to write weird rock music. With his distinctive writing style, guitar work, and sardonic wit, he was a rarity in rock music -- a true composer.

In only a few words, Freak Out! can be described as abstract pop. Much of the album is surprisingly accessible, yet there is still that touch of strangeness that makes it distinctly Zappa. He combines doo-wop, psychedelia, and straight-up rock and roll into an amazing musical statement. The style of the album is so strange and diverse, I feel it merits a TxT style review, so here it goes:

The very instant the album starts, you are treated to the anthemic Hungry Freaks, Daddy. It features great guitar work, vibraphone, and even kazoo in the background. Throw in some very strong social commentary and a great guitar solo, you have an album opener to remember. I Ain't Got No Heart is another exercise in Zappa's excellent composing skills. Similar to the opening track, it features slightly heavier drumming and a good horn section. It's not the anthem the opener, but still a great song, nontheless.

Who Are the Brain Police? is where we first see that this isn't your ordinary '60's rock album. Even forty years later, it still remains one of the creepiest songs I have ever heard. With its scary political lyrics, plodding instrumentation, and chaotic breaks, it is a scare song for the ages. But when it ends, we are treated to Zappa's satirical wit in the doo-wop parody Go Cry On Sombody Else's Shoulder. Featuring some of Zappa's funniest lyrics and hilarious vocal harmonies, it pokes fun at youth culture at the time, yet is still a musically competent piece.

Motherly Love is one of the most straightforward songs on the record, being straight rock. It highlights Zappa's guitar work and his love for weird instruments such as the kazoo. The subject matter is lewd, but it again uses Frank's sardonic humor as an effective social commentary tool. How Could I Be Such a Fool? is another song that mimics the sound of the fifties and sixties pop while making fun of it at the same time. not an album stand-out track, but still a good one to listen to.

Zappa obviously thought pop music at the time was silly and trivial, and Wowie Zowie fits his sentiments on popular music at the time to a tee. With nonsensical lyrics that openly mock the flower-power culture starting to emerge at the time and the overly happy-sounding instrumentation, he once again makes his social statement in the subtle, funny Zappa way. You Didn't Try to Call Me and Any Way the Wind Blows are more pieces mocking love songs and teenage love in general, though it they are definitely some of the more average (still worth listening, though) songs on the album.

I'm Not Satisfied delves into the more serious matter, with its subject matter about depression and suicide (wich, incidentally, is easy to miss if you don't pay attention to the lyrics). With good guitar and a horn section, it effectively passes its message in Frank's unique way. Next is one of my favorite songs, the silly You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here. With goofy lyrics, kazoo, and random interjections from a stereotypical doo-wop bass vocal, it's pretty hard not to like this song.

Up until this area, most of the album, while making social statements, remains fairly lighthearted and conventional. With Trouble Everyday, the tone changes. It's a straight-rocker that reminds me of some material on Apostrophe. Dealing with racial tensions at the time. It's probably the best guitar track on here, and it's often regarded as one of the best songs from this era of Zappa's career. We also start with the crazy songs in Help, I'm a Rock. With a strange riff, bizarre vocals, then the band members screaming "Help, I'm a Rock" and "Help I'm a Cop," However chaotic it seems, it still has that level of control that even the strangest Zappa songs have.

It Can't Happen Here is another one of those weird songs; it almost sounds like an out of tune barbershop quartet. After the strange vocal introduction, we're treated to some avant-garde piano work. Again, it first seems almost totally random, yet at the same time perfectly ordered. There is a seamless transition into the strangest song on the album, the 12 minute long The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet. With strange noises, random vocals, and a steady drum beat, it definitely sounds like nothing around in the day. It's hard to get through all twelve minutes, but it's worth it.

This was my second Zappa Album (My first being Apostrophe), and sadly, I only have those two. Thus, I am unable to easily compare it to his other material. However, many people say it isn't the best way to start out with his music. Anyhow, overall, it remains a great album. Yes, some parts remain dated, but it still is an excellent listen. If you want to hear some great musicianship melded with hilarious social commentary, I highly recommend this album. It does take some getting used to, especially for the stranger bits, but you will not be disappointed.

Final rating: 4.5/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Zebra
Moderator
April 10th 2006



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was going to review this, but you a great job. I agree with the statement about debut albums, Murmur is a perfect example of an awesome debut album.
Hungry Freaks Daddy and How Could I be Such a Fool are my favorites off of the album. I don't think I enjoy this album as much as others do, there are just to many tracks that I wind up skipping simply because they are to basic or I don't really enjoy the parody or humor. That being said this is a great album featuring many well done and hilarious tracks.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2006



16083 Comments


I like it all. Good review, great album.

Pechorin
April 10th 2006



160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks. I really wish that I had more Zappa stuff to compare it to and all, but, well, I don't. Over the summer when I get a job, though, I'll probably buy some more.

temporary
April 10th 2006



207 Comments


Great review, this is some of Zappa's finest work.

DanD
April 10th 2006



86 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A great Zappa album, although I loathe "It Can't Happen Here" and especially "The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet." A really bad way to end an otherwise spectacular album, in my opinion.

Pechorin
April 11th 2006



160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I do think Monster Magnet drags on a bit long. But I do like It Can't Happen Here. But the length of Monster Magnet was one of the small things wrong with the album that made it a 4.5 instead of a 5 in my eyes.

TheMisterBungle
September 1st 2006



861 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

man i really want some zappa
this looks like a great place to start

ToyDolls
January 18th 2007



22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My personal favorites off this album are You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here and Who Are the Brain Police?

gimmieindie
December 17th 2007



5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Frank Zappa rocks


TronaldDump
June 26th 2010



476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can listen to this album over and over and over and over and....

Never gets old.

10nF
February 21st 2012



36 Comments


Favorite alltime album, its genious. And hey, nice review.

rjk
June 3rd 2012



11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Listen to the vinyl, it sounds so much better than CD. You can find good vinyl rips on the web.

Ire
August 22nd 2012



41754 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yea

ViperAces
August 22nd 2012



12398 Comments


Frank Zappa and The Mothers? Were at the best place around.

peaks40
October 15th 2012



2749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

is it ''Frank zappa & the mothers of invention'' or just ''the mothers of invention''

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2013



4409 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I recently started digging this album again after years of ignoring it. I've been jamming "Go Cry" and "Monster Magnet" on repeat for days. Nice job covering the album, man. POS'd.

@Peaks
It's just 'The Mothers of Invention', but either way is fine really.

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

peaks40
April 12th 2013



2749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aw thanks man, I'm obsessed with names being proper lol

omnipanzer
April 12th 2013



21442 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review great album

POS sir

Digging: The Ettes - Shake the Dust

gfdhicool
July 7th 2013



96 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I got detention in school for playing Hungry Freaks,Daddy in class x)

mark7477
March 10th 2014



392 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'll gives this a fair rating of 3 it does have some good songs although a bit weird sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse LOL.The opening track hungry freaks daddy is probably my favorite but didn't care for some of the doo wop/greaser stuff and don't really know what to think about the whole suzy cream cheese concept it's possibly good for a few laughs I guess LOL.



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