Frank Zappa
Apostrophe


5.0
classic

Review

by Sean H. CONTRIBUTOR (108 Reviews)
April 23rd, 2017 | 22 replies


Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Frank Zappa takes the listener on a ride through a loosely conjoined collection of musical fever dreams.

Dreams are quite interesting, being that they are a nonsensical way for our minds to keep themselves busy during the hours of sleep that all humans need. These different dreams manifest themselves in different ways, as different experiences throughout the day can affect how scary or bizarre our dreams may be. Other elements, such as sounds around sleepers or different stages of sleep, can also affect what happens in these most strange and vibrant nightly events. Among all the different types of dreams, including lucid dreams and night terrors, fever dreams are the most interesting. It makes sense that, when you are sick and your mind is not on top of the ball, your dreams can tend to wander through vividly surreal landscapes that are ever so slightly linked together and even less linked to reality.

After listening to Frank Zappa's Apostrophe one could come across the thought of this being a musical fever dream and being the best example of that. After all, it's common knowledge that Zappa's experimental and progressive jazz rock has never been known to be normal, fitting in quite nicely with his contemporaries, such as Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. So, this comparison is one that makes quite a bit of sense if you know about Zappa's music. The album we are discussing feels as if it fits the description of fever dream quite well.

Most of this has to do with the album progression and how the lyrics fit into it. Throughout Apostrophe, the story progresses from the Arctic to eventually a discussion between someone with bad foot odor and their dog. Whereas this may sound like the tracks have a story that is incredibly disjointed, the various tales of humor have a certain loose way of transitioning from one bizarre happening to the next. The lyrics themselves resemble the uncomfortable hilarity that can be found in the weirdest parts in someone's imagination. The music progresses in a much more subtle way, where every musical portion sounds like the crazy path it's going along is the natural path.

On top of progressing well, this music is masterfully performed, with songs like the title track and Cosmik Debris being dense, groovy, and complex. Zappa and the many other performers he worked with showed their immense technical prowess, with the grooves being exactly on point and every song managing to be amazingly engaging. The guitar is usually front and center, with reoccurring solos that have pristine accuracy. Zappa's vocals are quite versatile in a way that one may not realize at first, as is the drums, which are fresh and crisp. The bass playing, as one may guess from a jazz rock album, is tight and provide an excellent foundation to build the rest of the song on. The prevalent usage of the keyboard also fits in very well, adding to the musical collage of jazzy and controlled chaos.

Once all of this comes together, it can be quite bizarre, yet it still is built on some amazing jazz that isn't afraid of putting itself out there to the world, letting all who enter its path either find out what Zappa's Apostrophe is all about, or miss out on a masterfully executed jazz rock album that is brimming with life, comedy, and engaging strangeness. If they don't want to give this a chance, it's their loss. They'll be missing out on one damn fine fever dream.



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user ratings (606)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
Kingadamx (4)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
April 23rd 2017


2635 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Stream this album:

https://open.spotify.com/album/3EbtMJsHbspjhN6Xd4plIu

This is my tenth review, so that's cool.

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polyrhythm
April 23rd 2017


2018 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Great review, album blows

Tunaboy45
April 23rd 2017


16734 Comments


ars where are you?

Digging: PUP - Morbid Stuff

polyrhythm
April 23rd 2017


2018 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Honestly probably listening to Ween, honestly :P

butcherboy
April 23rd 2017


9464 Comments


review is lovely.. but yea, album is shite..

BallsToTheWall
April 23rd 2017


49568 Comments


polyrhythm ate the yellow snow.

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polyrhythm
April 23rd 2017


2018 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

lemon sorbet, binch

AngryLittleAlchemist
April 23rd 2017


1999 Comments


I remember liking this : /

Poly that score hurts me

TVC15
April 23rd 2017


9931 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I remember when I had a 2.5 for this album. Good times

polyrhythm
April 23rd 2017


2018 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I pray that one day I might be half as wise as you, TVC

FadedSun
April 23rd 2017


1909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I talked with a guy in my local record shop about Zappa. I told him my only experience was with Apostrophe and what else he recommended I listen to. He groaned and said that's when Zappa started to go downhill. The hell?! Apostrophe is awesome.

polyrhythm
April 23rd 2017


2018 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I liked Hot Rats and Joe's Garage, the rest I've heard is insufferable

wham49
April 24th 2017


4577 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not one of my favorites, but a great album all the same, the 2's seem a little ridiculous, anythign Zappa starts at a 3

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sonictheplumber
April 24th 2017


10374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i also prefer guitar zappa to comedy zappa but even if youre a punk rock bitch or something check out sleep dirt

sonictheplumber
April 24th 2017


10374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this rules though musically

sonictheplumber
April 24th 2017


10374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dude fuck that record store guy lol nothin worse than someone who only digs early mothers.

GhandhiLion
April 24th 2017


4208 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ikr God forbid he have an opinion

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sonictheplumber
April 24th 2017


10374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's a forum kid

Zig
April 26th 2017


1718 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"...but I got the crystal ball!", just hilarious.



Essential Zappa stuff.

MrHarrison
November 5th 2017


394 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Excellent review. I only just picked this one up (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I know) and I'm really digging it. Unusually listenable for a Zappa rekkid. You hit the nail on the head with the stuff about this feeling like a succession of dreams. It kinda struck me as being more or less like a concept album without any real concept to speak of. (Maybe Frank subtly taking the piss out of all those wanky concept album they had going on in the 70s?) Anyway, hey, it's grrreat.



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