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Understanding America

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Customer Reviews

Understanding America

To truly comprehend the impact Frank Zappa had on young minds in the 1960s, spend a few weeks listening to nothing but The Beach Boys, Jan & Dean and Leslie Gore. Then take in the atonal snottiness of "Hungry Freaks Daddy" or the dismissive "Brown Shoes Don't Make It." Wha?? Zappa and the Mothers of Invention told us that everything we accepted as true was b.s. He was right but it was tough to take in. Zappa's music and mission wasn't doper drop-out drivel. Quite the contrary. It was revolutionary. Break the old before the new is built. Now, with the Brain Police preparing to descend on America again with renewed strength, is the perfect time to let Zappa shake us out of our conventional complacency again. Give "Understanding America" a listen. If it results in even one Toby Keith CD getting ash canned, it'll be worth it.

Why? Frank would be ticked.

I can't understand the "release" of this album. All of this material is previously released on other magnificent albums. I can't believe the Zappa family trust would stoop to this kind of commercialism to exploit his already masterful and completely available music. Let me be clear I don't hate anything Frank did musically. I just hate the fact that someone (ostensibly his family) has released these tracks in this fashion.

FZ lives on!

While I came to FZ several years after he passed on, there's no denying the impact that his music has had. And now it's more relevant than ever. Whether he's blasting the religious right on "Broadway The Hard Way" or recording the psychedelic album that Paul McCartney once compared Sgt. Pepper to ("We're Only In It For The Money"), this retrospective covers it all. Most of us hardcore FZ fans already have most of the albums and tracks presented on this compilation but if you're new to his music, this is an excellent place to start. It covers all of his best albums - from Freak Out to We're Only In It For The Money to Overnite Sensation to Joe's Garage to Broadway the Hardway and everything in between. It's merely impossible to fit all of FZ's rich back catalog onto two discs but for the uninitiated this is where to start. Whether it's as a free speech advocate, or simply shredding on the guitar - FZ was more than just a few mere novelty songs. The impact of FZ's music on pop culture and our political landscape will live on - and in an election time - there's never been a better time to revisit FZ's music in all its' glory.


Born: December 21, 1940 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Composer, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Frank Zappa was a singular musical figure during a performing and recording career that lasted from the 1960s to the '90s. His disparate influences included doo wop music and avant-garde classical music; although he led groups that could be called rock & roll bands for much of his career, he used them to create a hybrid style that bordered on jazz and complicated, modern serious music, sometimes inducing orchestras to play along. As if his music were not...
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