Probably the only album / piece of music I’ve referenced in this entire blog so far that was made / released before I was born.
Frank Zappa & The Mothers released “We’re Only In It For The Money in 1968 (March to be exact).
I first heard the album in 1987 when I was 17. Despite loathing the Beatles (this has dissipated with time) and generally anything pre 1977 (with the exception of The Stooges) – this album was – and still is – totally unique.
At a gathering / mini-party at a friends flat in 1987 very late at night / early morning someone put a cassette of “We’re Only In It For The Money” onto the stereo.
I thought “here we go – hippy shit” – I was wrong. The album is a veritable journey. Almost mind expanding in its qualities.
“Are You Hung Up?” kicks off the album. It’s a disorienting trip. You are whispered at. Does it make any sense? Intrigue.
The intro ambles into “Who Needs The Peace Corps?” The two opening songs are two opening questions. Veiled is a sardonic attack on the 60’s beatnik generation?
The track sounds as beatnik as you can imagine. The lyric is very hippy but it’s removed. The band are streets ahead of their peers.
With no gap track three “Concentration Moon” is more hippy / beatnik. It alters pace. Sped up vocal. It appeals. There’s an awful lot of gears to this track, a track that runs in at just over two minutes long. It really is genial songwriting.
“Mom And Dad” is a song about hippies being shot by cops. Widely touted as prophetic in relation to the Kent State Shooting 3 years later. Zappa was even blamed for the shootings by extremists. The track has a sombre vibe but it’s beautifully paced.
“Telephone Conversation” is just that. It’s an interlude of the kind 21 years later De La Soul would mimmick to an extent on “3 Feet High & Rising”.
“Bow Tie Daddy” is a 33 second ditty. Very quaint and adding to the albums short bursts of total genius.
“Harry You’re A Beast” after the preceding tracks seems epic at 1 minute and a half. Despite still being a very short track it twists and pushes boundaries. The track really swivels, a music box, speeding up, slowing down, lush backtracking. Ridiculously brilliant.
The brilliance the albums has showcased so far will lull any open minded listener. It really will.
This is about to be pushed way off the radar with a real moment of mastery.
“What’s The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?” Is so catchy it’s untrue. A psychedelic lullaby of pure brilliance. “I think it’s your mind”…
“Absolutely Free” captures the imagination like few pieces of music can. The intro is so unique. Piano, almost doom laden piano. Samples way before samples were widely used. You don’t even need a brain to love this track. It guide explains things you may not grasp. The track bridges and angles. Subtle jabs of lush bass. It briefly gallops. More jabby bass. At the end it wobbles all over the place – it’s joy to the ears. “Discorporate and come with me”…
This is only topped and raised higher by “Flower Punk”. Wah. Musically it’s almost taking the blatant piss out of “Hey Joe”. It sounds beatnik / hippy, but it’s ripping the genre apart all at the same time. “How lucky I am to be in the rock n roll industry”, sarcasm at it’s very pure best.
“Hot Poop” switches you back to the albums intro. Loops, backtracks. It’s the sound of glorious madness.
“Nasal Retentive Calliope Music” pre-empts Pink Floyd messing around on “Ummagumma” before almost forming into a proper track. A needle skating stops it dead.
“Let’s Make The Water Turn Black” has that speeded up vocal again. The track fools but is a solid piece despite the tomfoolery.
“The Idiot Bastard Son” has a lyric so far out that you just want to laugh and cry at its jibes. It has a great hook but is still taken and twisted at many, many right angles. How did they fit so may ideas into two and a half minute bursts?
“Lonely Little Girl” initially sinister, forms into one of those beatnik anthems that only this album can do. Starkly beautiful chorus, a kind of chorus you’ve heard before you hear it even for the first time. “La la la la la la la la la la la, diddle diddle dee, wah, wah, wah, wah WAH.
A welcome reprise of “What’s The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?”. Confirmed genius.
Bleeding into “Mother People”. Pacey. Slow. Twist upon twist. “Shut you’re fucking mouth about the length of my hair”. Question upon question. A small near classical break before reminding you of what you were originally listening too. It’s all over the place – It’s Fantastic.
The album closes with by far its longest track. “The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny” beeps at you. Beep Beep. Scratch Scratch. It sounds like you’re trying to get online via dial-up in 1968. Manic laughing. The album has taken you on one hell of a trip and will leave you in a state of near madness that is best remedied by flipping it back to side one and starting all over again.