30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you must only own one Zappa album....
...you are missing the point!
As a self-confessed Zappa bore who owns every CD he ever released (and maybe a few more he didn't!) I find it hard to recommend just one album. "We're Only It For The Money", however, should be in any 60's rock fan's collection as representative of the era while mocking the culture that grew up around in it. Zappa once claimed he was...
Published on 28 May 2003 by G. Nunn
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Cover, Shame About The Music
Interesting for its historical value, but it is too much of its time and with (what I consider from Zappa) mediocre music, I doubt if you would listen to this more than a couple times.
Published 4 months ago by David R. Smith
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you must only own one Zappa album....,
...you are missing the point!
As a self-confessed Zappa bore who owns every CD he ever released (and maybe a few more he didn't!) I find it hard to recommend just one album. "We're Only It For The Money", however, should be in any 60's rock fan's collection as representative of the era while mocking the culture that grew up around in it. Zappa once claimed he was merely an anthropologist and on this album picks apart many of it's subjects.
The songs make fun of the hippy dream and in particular anyone who appeared to be hopping on the bandwagon (Flower Punk, Absolutely Free). Zappa also picks on the parents of flower children (Bow Tie Daddy, Mom & Dad) and the freaks and perverts who hung around them.
Despite his obvious cynicism Zappa wrote some of his best, and yes, even prettiest tunes for this album. A few numbers even reflect on the more serious social implications of the era. The final number, "The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny" is a sound collage that pre-dates Zappa's more serious work he produced later in life.
So if you must only have one Zappa album "We're Only In It For The Money" is a good choice, or a good place to start...
44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius,
By A Customer
This is it, kids: The ultimate stab at hippiedom, the flipside to SGT. PEPPER, the album that didn't leave a single pretense of the counterculture standing. Can it be mere coincidence that the '60s ended within a few years of this album's release?
From its Beatles parody cover design to the lyrical barbs on "Flower Punk" and "Who Needs the Peace Corps?," this was aptly described by Rolling Stone (who picked it as one of the top 100 albums from 1967-1987) as "perhaps the most mercilessly derisive raspberry ever flung at the rock scene by an actual participant therein." The finale, "The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny" still stands as one of the more audacious pieces of composition in the Zappa catalogue.
When WE'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY first appeared on CD in 1986, Zappa took the controversial step of technically spiffing up the music with new, digitally-recorded bass and drum tracks. Some fans responded with a resounding "Thanks, but no thanks." Here, the original Verve master has been restored.
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How many times does one have to buy this???!,
By the time I got into Zappa, c1979, the original vinyl of this album was hard to come by. When I finally tracked down a copy I found it to be a work of total, hysterical genius. How disappointed I was with the original release on CD which was mastered from "damaged" tapes, and horribly mutilated with re-recorded rhythm track and BVs. It was sacreligious! And it stayed gathering dust on the shelf. Last year I heard that this had be re-released and restored to its original sonic perfection. And boy has it ever! It is a true joy to hear it now on CD as it was meant to be. Stands up there as one of the great albums of the 60s and of Zappa's career (but hey, I'm biased).
If you only have the inferior version (often melded with Lumpy Gravy onto 1CD) you NEED to get this. Essential and total genius.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unpleasant premonitions of Uncle Frank,
You could enjoy this album simply as one of Zappa's many splendidly-crafted offerings and/or a clever pastiche/parody of Sergeant Pepper. It is certainly the latter in some ways; the cover itself is a superb take-off of the Pepper cover, and the music includes supposed hidden messages in backwards recordings, a "reprise" track towards the end, and nearly a minute's fade-out of the final chord.
However, there is much more to it. In little over half an hour, the album gives a pretty full picture of the progress of hippiedom:
-Thesis: the "grey despair of the ugly lives" of Middle Americans, and their teenage children's despair at having "a plastic Mom and Dad"
-Antithesis: the children reacting by becoming hippies, believing that they would be "absolutely free" and would be able to "take their clothes off when they danced" (two years before Woodstock). When Zappa, the arch-cynic, envisages "a time when everybody who is lonely will be free to sing and dance and love", it sounds as if he has for once succumbed to idealism.
-Synthesis: the rapid emergence of, on the one hand, plastic hippies, i.e. those who latched on to the movement as the latest fad ("my hair's looking good in the back"), and on the other a vicious Establishment backlash ("the cops have shot some girls and boys", three years before the Kent State University shootings)
[All quotes are from the album lyrics.]
Many of the notable albums of 1967 were produced by staring into the funhouse mirror of LSD, further distorted via a haze of marijuana. Zappa was, as always, straight (probably no accident that he chose "Straight" as the name of his record label). It is hard to imagine a better musical overview of the Summer of Love, either as a sharp reminder for those of us of a certain advanced age or as an introduction for the younger audience.
If you need further persuasion, think of how accurately Zappa targeted the "Valley Girl" stereotype - this album is just as cruelly accurate a picture of an earlier era.
In case anyone is any doubt, the instrumentation, arrangement and engineering is right up to the Zappa benchmark.
Lumpy gravy, anyone?
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its a timeless classic,
By A Customer
When I first heard this back in 1990 I just thought it was quite weird and comical. However - I couldnt stop going back for more - and I must say it is now up there in my personal favourites of all time :) The attitude, the lyrics, the melodies and the musicians are all spot on. Zappa takes a massive stab at the plastic ness of society, of capitalism, and consumerism and at hippies; and he does it all in such a darn clever way. I must add however that the original vinyl version of this knocks spots off the cd. Zappa has added some tracks, and sound effects, and taken off the song that Beefheart sang on 'Why dont ya do me right' which ROCKS !!!! So, its a shame he messed around with it coz in my oppinion it loses a bity of the original vibe. But still, this is an essential addition to any decent music collection, and simply has to be experienced and appreciated.
4.0 out of 5 stars Show me the money, but hold back on the gravy,
This review is from: We're Only In It for the Money/Lumpy Gravy (Audio CD)
This '2 fer' is a very mixed bag indeed; 'We're Only In It For The Money' is a satirical concept album which has the hippie subculture and The Beatles 'Sgt. Pepper' album firmly in its sights. For the most part, this is quite enjoyable stuff - admittedly, it does sound dated (the album was released in 1968) but, for all that, there are some marvellous bursts of wit and wisdom to be found in this collection of (mostly) short, psychedelic songs/soundbites. NOTE:- The above rating of 4 STARS applies solely to 'We're Only In It For The Money'
'Lumpy Gravy' (1967) is very definitely an acquired taste - this is extremely 'avant-garde' stuff combining elements of various genres of music (played by an orchestra under Zappa's direction) interspersed with random dialogue spouted by various hangers-on [the most irritating of these goes by the name of Louis Cuneo - a man with a laugh described as resembling that of a 'psychotic turkey']. Although I don't like this stuff very much myself, I accept that some Zappa fans will and so I shall leave them to enjoy their gravy.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I hate titles,
Frank Zappa is the master of crazy hilarious music and this, his third album, is in my opinion his most accomplished and musically developed. It is a parody of the `hippy' music of the sixties done in the exact style of the music it is parodying. This is something that Zappa manages to do effortlessly and with obviously successful results. Just look at my rating for it.
If you are new to Frank Zappa I would definitely recommend you start with this album. This was the first Zappa I ever heard and it got me totally hooked. Within two minutes of this album starting I was in hysterics. It really is that funny. It is also a good place to start because of the variety of music presented here. There are short and catchy pop tunes, intense and terrifying/hilarious instrumental pieces, tuneful and beautiful songs, while it is all done in Zappa's pre-seventies humor. Before he became a little too obsessed with sex and bodily functions.
Anyway, the songs. There are quite a few songs on show here but they are all pretty short so the album is just under forty minutes in length. What you get though, is enough. Trust me. Every single song on this album is perfect. Seriously, every single track. There isn't a single wasted song here. Zappa doesn't have to resort to filler when his genius so easily produces these nineteen mini masterpieces.
There is also a definite cohesion throughout the album with every song leading into the next one. This creates a unity that enforces the feeling of the album as almost one long song instead a bunch of little ones. Also, there are short clips of dialogue throughout and other snippets of weirdness that help to unify the album.
The tracks themselves, as previously mentioned, encompass a wide variety of styles and musical genres. Let's talk about some individual songs now.
`Concentration Moon' is a weird one that changes genre several times throughout the same song. It starts out with an almost beautiful chorus of sorts with very odd singing from everyone involved. It then changes rather quickly into a more fast paced song, again with some particularly odd singing, and some even odder lyrics. Very funny though. A favorite of mine.
The next track, `Mum and Dad' is an obviously beautiful song. Well, beautiful in Zappa's own weird way. The lyrics are quite sad though and it's far less upbeat than most of the other songs. It also has one of the best opening riffs ever in my opinion.
`What's the ugliest part of your body?' is a work of absolute genius. It is both funny as hell and musically wonderful at the same time. It is also another one that changes genre several times throughout. It goes from weird harmonizing to strange catchy pop and a one point to something I can't even describe.
`Absolutely Free' is definitely one of the defining moments of this album. It is also one of the few songs that is pretty coherent throughout. The lyrics hilariously take the piss out of the hippy lifestyle while the music is weird and also very hippy. Also, this song has some wonderful drumming in my opinion. And a wicked chorus.
`Lonely Little Girl' is another real highlight, but a short one at just over one minute. It opens with one of my favorite ever guitar riffs and has some truly beautiful lyrics and singing in.
`Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance' is another short track but a real classic Zappa song. It is super catchy and damn funny.
The last proper song on the album, before the weirdness that is `The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny', is `Mother People'. `Mother People' is a song that changes time signature and style so many times it is just plain ridicules. It may also be the best song on the album. It starts with a very fast and weird bit that is either the verse or the chorus. I have no idea. After this the song suddenly slows down dramatically and we are introduced to some very weird lyrics. It is though, undoubtedly beautiful and the music underneath it all is mesmerizing. This song also has a short section of lovely orchestral music at the end that seems to just appear. One second it is pop madness and then classical. The genius of Frank Zappa.
Anyway. I have gone on a bit, haven't I? Just goes to show you how much I love this album. It's a lot. Buy it right now. Buy it, buy it, buy it. I promise you that you'll love it. And if you don't, then... you should probably just kill yourself now because life ain't worth living.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best rock concept album ever,
This review is from: We're Only In It For The Money (Audio CD)
I am a huge Zappa fan and this has to be the best album i have ever heard due to the witty tone of Zappa's voice and perhaps the best song has to be "The idiot bastard son". Anybody wanting a fantastic album go and add this to your shopping basket NOW!!!!!.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Snippets & Substance,
This review is from: We're Only in It for the Money (Audio CD)
This classic album, a devastating satire of the 1960s hippie scene, is comprised of mostly short songs interspersed with even briefer linking snippets. One of the most memorable songs, Who Needs The Peace Corps? is all about San Francisco with acerbic observations on an aspiring hippie daydreaming about the big time in Height Street. Concentration Moon and Mom & Dad are more serious social commentary but Harry You're A Beast and What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? bring out the laughs again.
Absolutely Free is a tuneful ditty and Flower Punk with its nervous rhythm takes the listener into the head of an ambitious, highly materialistic flower child. The instrumental Nasal Retentive Calliope Music is pure found sound a la Edgar Varese, Let's Make The Water Turn Black sounds like a singalong folk tune and The Idiot Bastard Son is a mix of talking vocals, sound FX and snatches of chorus. There are gripping instrumental textures in the lyrically sharp Lonely Little Girl and Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance.
Then follows the reprise of What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body, the penultimate track Mother People with lovely snatches of melody, including what sounds like classical music sequences. The album concludes with the only long track (over 6 minutes), called The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny, another excursion into Varese territory with its SFX. Overall, despite the different styles of music and the many short tracks, the album is quite cohesive. At first listen it sounds messy but repeated play will soon enough reveal the magic.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars masterpiece,
There is not much more that can be added to what's already been said. This, the third of Zappa's early period trilogy, is arguably his most accomplished. It's an absolutely mezmerizing work of art in which any discerning music fan ought to never tire of. The album is a work of vision, wit, grace and technical proficiency. On the surface it sounds fragmented and disjointed, but in essence it is a cohesive and erudite work of beauty. This one, alongside 'Burnt Weeny Sandwich', are Zappa's supreme masterpieces.
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