Cleveland Music Scene


There’s something about Frank by ClevelandBloggers
February 21, 2011, 7:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’d like to think that the only reason Frank Zappa isn’t the most popular rock musician on Earth is because he was just too smart for mainstream media. That or he made too many penis jokes to ever be a marketable artist.

The average music fan who hears about Zappa might dismiss him as being too weird. He is, but don’t let that scare you off from what could potentially be one of the most enjoyable listening experiences you’ll have all week. I’ve been a fan of Zappa since middle school, and my love for his lyrical cleverness and melodic genius has grown with every album I’ve hunted tirelessly for in stinky used record shops.

Zappa’s scathing criticism of conformity, politics and all things normal mask the extreme complexity of the melodies, harmonies and almost intimidating array of instruments he used throughout his music career. He was originally the frontman for anti-everything ‘60s group The Mothers of Invention, who released around 13 albums (including a soundtrack to their absolutely INSANE film 200 Motels and not including a slew of bootlegs), and later went on to have an embarrassingly prolific solo career right up to his untimely death from prostate cancer in 1993.

You’re probably asking yourself, why should I care about some weird dead white guy that this writer is using as an excuse to show off her ridiculously bad taste in music with? I don’t know, reader, I guess you should just listen to his stuff and find out for yourself.

Zappa’s nearest brush with commercial came occurred with the the 1982 single  “Valley Girl”, an especially hilarious song if you’re from or have ever been to L.A. The song basically consists of Frank singing in his trademark, chain-smoker baritone about a San Fernando chick with “a whole buncha nothing in there”, while his daughter Moon Unit (yep) improvises a spoken word piece in stereotypical, valley girl fashion. It’s certainly not his best song, but there’s a reason that it’s the only song you’ll hear by him on the radio.

I can’t provide a guided tour of Frank’s career, but I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed with what you’ll find once you start digging deeper into his discography. The immature hilarity of the classic “Why Does it Hurt When I Pee?”will make even the most skeptical listener giggle at the genuine anguish of the party involved.

I especially encourage you to check out Zappa if you are easily offended or just a prude in general. Zappa’s songs will never fail to piss you off, and you’ll always have something to rail against if you’re ever feeling exceptionally self-righteous.

Anyway, for those of you still reading this (all one of you), I can only say that the more Zappa fans there are in the world, the better. He is the only artist whose use of irony is meant to make a point, and his cleverness always seems effortless. I’ll listen to anything that makes me feel good, and Zappa never, ever fails to bring a smile to my face. Laugh at the world, laugh at yourself, but always be sure to laugh with Frank Zappa, never at him.

No catchphrase,

Sheetz

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