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Freakout (1966) - Frank Zappa

Related: rock - concept album - American music - 1966 - Frank Zappa - experimental music

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Freak Out was [Rock] music's first true "concept album," Zappa's aural collage mashes together chunks of psychedelic guitars, outspoken political commentary, cultural satire, and avant-garde musical sensibilities, and then hides it all under cleverly crafted pop melodies. --Andrew Boscardin


"This is the voice of your conscience, baby..."

Freak Out! is the debut album of Frank Zappa and his group, the Mothers of Invention. Released in 1966, it was one of the first double album sets, showcasing Zappa's lyrical talents for demoralising American politics while also making fun of the prevailing counterculture in the latter part of the decade. With both broad and subtle strokes of humor, it paints a picture of an American public in thrall to the opiate of the media, shifting from one prefabricated empty craze to the next with frenzied mindlessness, under the grim supervision of a vague but all-powerful authoritarian intelligence. "Who Are the Brain Police?", asks Zappa. Underlying the whole album is Zappa's trademark tweaking of sexual and scatological taboos.

Freak Out! is an amalgamation of everything typically Zappa, from R&B, doo-wop and standard blues-influenced rock to orchestral arrangements to dissonant, bizarre inanities and avant-garde sound collages. The album features vocalist Ray Collins, along with initial guitar player Elliot Ingber, (who later joined Captain Beefheart's Magic Band), bass player Roy Estrada and drummer Jimmy Carl Black. All orchestrations are arranged by Zappa and featured heavily on many of the songs. Suzy Creamcheese, Zappa character, makes her debut with this release. As one of the first integrated albums, with all songs centered on a common theme, it heavily influenced The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freak_Out%21 [Jan 2006]

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