Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

  • One Size Fits All [DiscReet, 1975] C+
  • We're Only in It for the Money [Rykodisc, 1995] A

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

One Size Fits All [DiscReet, 1975]
Zappa's music has gotten a little slicker rhythmically--which is what happens when you consort with jazz guys--but basically it's unchanged. And his satire has neither improved nor deteriorated--if his contempt would be beneath an overbright high school junior, there's also a brief lieder parody that I'd love to jam onto WQXR. What's changed is the tastes of his erstwhile lionizers--they've gotten bored with his repertoire of stylistic barbarities. Us smart people just got bored faster. C+

We're Only in It for the Money [Rykodisc, 1995]
Whatever his ultimate standing as social critic or present-day composer who refuses to die, Zappa was everything he claimed to be on this 19-cut, 40-minute sendup of the Summer of Love. No, it wasn't like this; most of the naive teens who lost-and-found themselves in the Haight were sweeter and smarter than the "phony hippies" he lacerates with such hopeless contempt. But that doesn't mean his cruelty isn't good for laughs. And not only is every wee tune--motive, as composers say--as well-crafted as a Coke commercial, they all mesh together into one of those musical wholes you've read about. With bohemia permanent and changed utterly, this early attack on its massification hasn't so much dated as found its context. Cheap sarcasm is forever. A