Day 142: Frank Zappa – Apostrophe (‘)

20 Jul

Nanook Rubs It

Weird music will almost always work well for me.  I love offbeat stuff.  Recently, I’ve found that I’ve been embracing the strange stuff more than I used to.  When you listen to a new record every single day, you attach yourself to the stuff that breaks the monotony, I guess.

And Frank Zappa is weird, man.  I mean that in the best way possible, because I really do love Apostrophe (‘).  Zappa has some stories to tell, and they’re some of the goofiest things I’ve ever heard.  It’s hard to go wrong with songs about not eating the yellow snow and crazy Eskimos named Nanook.

I think the most appealing thing about Apostrophe may actually be Zappa’s delivery.  Kooky lyrics don’t work if they aren’t matched up with the perfect voice, but Zappa was meant to say things like “At St. Alphonzo’s Pancake Breakfast / Where I stole the margarine / And wheedled on the Bingo cards / And blew up the latrine.”  His deep, smooth jazz voice works amazingly well.

As you know, I’m always a fan of short records.  Some people feel cheated when they get an album, and it’s only around half an hour—not me.  I believe that if the artist can get everything they need to done, then length is irrelevant.  Yeah, there’s a point where an LP becomes an EP, but I don’t think that is the case here.  Zappa gets everything wrapped up in 32 minutes on Apostrophe, and that’s good enough for me.  Honestly, I’m not sure if I could handle any more goofiness.

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3 Responses to “Day 142: Frank Zappa – Apostrophe (‘)”

  1. Jose Dinero July 21, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    Dear Mr. Swole Ear: I’m glad you like Mr. Zappa. Much of my misspent youth was misspent with him playing in the background. He was unique.

    However, there is a problem. You seem to be liking everything you listen to lately, and anyone who reads Swole Ear on a daily basis knows that you are at your best when you are hating on some lame indie wannabes or pop mainstream garbage. An angry Swole Ear is much funnier then a happy Swole Ear. Please find a few sucky records to review over the next few days (maybe some late Madonna, or a Miley Cyrus record or the Jonas Brothers, I don’t really care as long as you don’t like it). I miss my favorite hater.

  2. David Chops July 21, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    I am also a huge fan of this album. I must have listened to it about a zillion times between the ages of 12 and 14. The neat thing about Zappa is that, like a good Looney Tunes cartoon, it works on a number of levels. Sure the out-there lyrics and pseudo-suave vocal delivery jump out at you. However, in the future, you may become conscious that there is a surprisingly high level of musicianship going on here. Listen to how ridiculously complicated the riffs on St. Alphonso are (with the synth and marimba playing together, no less!). Zappa is a great guitar player and composer. He was also a fascist as a band leader, fining the (underpaid) musicians in his band if they blew a note or were out of time. He loved to write classical music but hated to work with orchestras because they insisted on following union rules. But many of the musicians loved to play with him because it was a challenge and the music was fun. There is plenty more to enjoy. If you liked this one, Overnight Sensations is pretty much a lock for you.

    Finally, my favorite song on the album (and favorite song about civil rights) is Uncle Remus. Genius.

  3. Ty Jones July 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    I agree with Mr. Chops. Zappa is an amazing composer. All albums from him are on a similar level of musicianship as this. My dad is who played Zappa for me when I was younger and I am VERY glad he did. You’ll have to try to find a clip of “Baby Snakes” (“Pink and wet / They make the best kind of pet”)

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