You will discover some debut albums that truly stand out in music. My Generation and Murmur both set fire to various musical areas of their time. Freak Out! is another one of those classic debut albums, presenting the musical world to the angry scientist of rock, Frank Zappa. A real musical genius, Zappa made it okay to write strange rock music. With his unique 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 called abstract pop. Much of the album is amazingly accessible, yet there is still that touch of strangeness which 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 begins, you are dealt with 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 be aware of. I Ain't Got No Heart is another training in Zappa's excellent composing expertise. Similar to the opening track, it features slightly heavier drumming and a good horn section. It's not the anthem the opener, but nevertheless a great song, nontheless.

Who Are the Brain Police? is where we first see that this isn't your normal '60's rock album. Even forty years later, it still remains one of the creepiest tunes I have ever heard. With its scary political lyrics, plodding instrumentation, and hazardous breaks, it is a scare song for the ages. However 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 good 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 strange instruments for example the kazoo. The subject matter is lewd, but it again uses Frank's sardonic humor as an efficient 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 ridiculous and insignificant, and Wowie Zowie fits his sentiments on popular music at the time to a tee. With ludicrous 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 public 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 adolescent love in general, though it they are certainly some of the more average (still worth listening, though) songs on the album.

I'm Not Satisfied delves into the a bit 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 part, 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 traditional. With Trouble Every day, the tone changes. It's a straight-rocker that reminds me of some material on Apostrophe. Dealing with racial concerns 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 age 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 appears, it still has that level of control that even the strangest Zappa tunes 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 odd vocal introduction, we're treated to some avant-garde piano perform. Again, it first seems almost totally random, yet at the same time completely obtained. 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 constant drum beat, it definitely sounds like absolutely nothing around in the day. It's hard to get through all twelve minutes, but it's worth it.


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