The Mothers of Invention
Freak Out!


4.5
superb

Review

by Cyan isn't a shade of blue. USER (40 Reviews)
June 28th, 2016 | 47 replies


Release Date: 1966 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The beginning of a legacy: Zappa’s career turns 50.

With such an immense, eclectic, and influential discography as Frank Zappa’s it is only an understatement to say that he is one of America’s musical treasures. Progressive rock, blues rock, musique concrete, doo-wop, psychedelic, funk, jazz-fusion, classical, avant-garde synth music, disco, show tunes, country and even once hip hop have all been covered masterfully by Zappa and the various talented musicians whom he had worked among. Zappa had also been the head of various record labels including Straight Records (famous for launching the careers of Alice Cooper and Tim Buckley.) Along with his penchant for experimentation, Zappa had a keen ear for pop and even charted on the Hot 100 three times as well as enjoying a surprisingly high amount of success in Norway and Sweden with his #1 single “Bobby Brown.” Black Sabbath, George Clinton of Parliament/Funkadelic, Primus, Phish, John Frusciante of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Can, Pere Ubu, System of a Down, Devin Townsend, John Zorn, Brian Eno, and even Merzbow all claim that Zappa has been a primary influence of their work. Genesis P-Orridge, famous for starting the first Industrial act, even cited Zappa’s musique concrete experiments a huge influence on Throbbing Gristle’s music. Even Paul McCartney cited Freak Out! As a huge influence on Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Freak Out!, the second rock double album in music history, the Zappa album that started his career, turned 50 today and its legacy as an important part of the history of modern music has only begun.

Quote:
“Mr. America, walk on by your schools that do not teach. Mr. America, walk on by the minds that won't be reached. Mr. America, try to hide the emptiness that's you inside, but once you find that the way you lied, and all the corny tricks you tried, will not forestall the rising tide of hungry freaks daddy.”
This is the opening verse to Freak Out!, and it shows that even in the beginning, Zappa did not hold back with his preachy and relevant criticisms. It could easily even be argued that the lyrics to “Hungry Freaks Daddy” are still relevant in 2016. The lasting relevance of Zappa’s ideas really sticks long term. For instance the media coverage of race and anti-war riots detailed in blues folk track “Trouble Every Day” could easily be applied to today’s terrorism scares, mass shootings, and riots like Ferguson and Baltimore. We are sheltered from it as we sit at the edge of our seat waiting for the news to entertain us with violence. With lyrics like “And if another woman driver, gets machine-gunned from her seat, they'll send some joker with a brownie and you'll see it all complete” and “Hey, you know something people? I'm not black, but there's a whole lots a times I wish I could say I'm not white“ only begin to explain the intensity and insight these lyrics have on both the problems of the 1960s and everything that came after it. Another political hard hitter, “Who Are the Brain Police?” questions whether people really think for themselves, and is the first hint at the sporadic weirdness later to come on the album. In the context of 2016, these songs really raise the question: does the big picture of American society ever even change, or is it just the details that shift around?

The rest of the album takes on a less political tone and either spoofs on pop culture or just descends into madness. Almost half of the tracklist goof on the media portrayal of teen romance in the 1960s in a doo-wop style, with “Wowie Zowie” even name dropping The Beatles song “Love Me Do.” With the exception of the suicidal “I'm Not Satisfied,” most of these songs remain silly from start to finish and could be likened to being a bit shallow, but surely are all entertaining. As for the more crazy and experimental songs, which includes everything after “Trouble Everyday,” they mostly consist of nonsensical rambling and weird sound collages. The strange and dazed conversations between Frank Zappa and Suzy Creamcheese, the offbeat piano, the odd a capella sections, the screams of pain of “Help, I’m a rock,” the gibberish, the theremin, the various drum styles - it is safe to say that the last twenty minutes of this LP are a beautiful clusterfuck.

Freak Out! Has a duplicity about it, on one hand it is an album of silly doo-wop jokes, on another it’s an album of serious political blues, and yet, it is also an album of insane sound collages. Zappa was no stranger to fusing genres and Freak Out! was an important testament to this; an influential testament in fact. It makes me wonder what Sgt. Peppers would have sounded like if Paul McCartney had not listened to it before writing those songs. It makes me wonder how such an ambitious and influential artist as Zappa somehow flies under radar so often. With a career that now has ripened at the age of 50, and still retained its relevance in society, it is important that it continues to be preserved in American culture.

Album Highlights: "Hungry Freaks, Daddy", "Wowie Zowie", "Trouble Every Day", "Return of the Son of Monster Magnet"



Recent reviews by this author
Water From Your Eyes Everyone's CrushedDonovan Mellow Yellow
Pram HeliumGoat Oh Death
Lavender Country Lavender CountryMild High Club Skiptracing
user ratings (631)
4.2
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
ArsMoriendi
June 28th 2016


41157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I cannot believe this album is 50 years old.

ArsMoriendi
June 28th 2016


41157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oops, thanks, fixed.

Frippertronics
Emeritus
June 28th 2016


19536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"famous for launching the careers of Alice Cooper and Tim Buckley"



not to be nitpicky but AC didn't make it big until Straight was down under, and Buckley was and is essentially a cult artist that was hardly promoted on both Elektra and Straight.

ArsMoriendi
June 28th 2016


41157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fair enough...

Frippertronics
Emeritus
June 28th 2016


19536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cool review though



one final nitpick and you're good to go afaik



"the Zappa album that started his careerl,"

TVC15
June 28th 2016


11372 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

WHO NEEDS THE PEACE CORPS?!



Fuck me wrong album. I'm derp as fuck for not listening to this yet

YetAnotherBrick
June 28th 2016


6693 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You're probably wondering why I'm here, and SO AM I. SO AM I.



One of my favorite songs ever but the rest of this is pretty eh

ArsMoriendi
June 28th 2016


41157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Trouble Every Day >

ArsMoriendi
June 28th 2016


41157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh nice a ghost neg



Goob job not explaining why you didn't like my review!

TVC15
June 28th 2016


11372 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hol up. Imma try to see if I remember the password to my alt to give this an extra pos

iloveyouall
June 28th 2016


6312 Comments


do you try to be a low quality self-referential meme or does it just come naturally?

hal1ax
June 28th 2016


15777 Comments


seems like u have a couple groupies, ars

ArsMoriendi
June 28th 2016


41157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It was bound to happen eventually.

iloveyouall
June 28th 2016


6312 Comments


tfw your groupies are worse than herpes.

ArsMoriendi
June 28th 2016


41157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Sach: I mean you don't like me either so whatevs



Soooo can we just talk about how crazy it is why Zappa's debut is 50 years old now

TVC15
June 28th 2016


11372 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sach isn't black like he led everyone to believe so every ounce of his credibility has completely vanished



Also haven't come across that much bitterness since listening to Bob Dylan's song Like A Rolling Stone this morning sheesh

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2016


18338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, man. Pos.



I do enjoy me a bit of Freak Out!.

iloveyouall
June 28th 2016


6312 Comments


"Sach isn't black like he led everyone to believe so every ounce of his credibility has completely vanished"
holy shit LOL

ArsMoriendi
June 28th 2016


41157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sooooooo this album influenced Sgt. Peppers, pretty sweet right?

iloveyouall
June 28th 2016


6312 Comments


not a big fan of the beatles, but i guess being influential is cool, yeah.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy