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Tag Archives: music

Frank Zappa: The Läther Years

This is an interesting transitional period. The last incarnation of the Mothers of Invention (profiled in my last post) had faded away, and Zappa had just fired his manager and entered a long legal battle with him, moving to Warner Brothers in the process. Zoot Allures (1976) was made largely solo, and is very straightforward […]

The Ring of the Nibelung, ranked act by act (Part 4 of 4)

Previously: ranks 6 through 4 3. Götterdämmerung, Act Two. Once we’ve finally gotten Act One out of the way, Götterdämmerung is awesome. Here we start with a superbly creepy Alberich/Hagen duet, then the music expands gloriously as the day breaks, Hagen’s super-powerful menacing hoi-hos summon, what’s this, an honest-to-goodness chorus, who intone the beautifully simple […]

The Ring of the Nibelung, ranked act by act (Part 3 of 4)

Previously: ranks 9 through 7 6. Siegfried, Act One. Probably the act for which my opinion most greatly exceeds the general consensus. Maybe people aren’t big fans because the hero, Siegfried himself, is kind of a fratboy asshole, and Mime is perceived as a nasty Jewish stereotype. Leaving aside the question of how intentional either […]

The Ring of the Nibelung, ranked act by act (Part 2 of 4)

Previously: ranks 13 through 10 9. Die Walküre, Act Two. I know, it’s the emotional center of the entire cycle. And I actually like Wotan’s monologue fine. But it’s just too long to enjoy (as you may have noticed, this is a recurring issue with me). By the time Wotan has dictated his instructions to […]

The Ring of the Nibelung, ranked act by act (Part 1 of 4)

I am a sucker for ranking things, especially artistic things. I know that it goes against everything art stands for, but as long as you don’t treat it as a search for objective truth, but rather as a tool to help collect your thoughts about a variety of works, it can be a lot of […]

Frank Zappa: The Prog Years

Well, that’s what I’m calling them, anyway, although it’s kind of fruitless to try to pin down the style of even one record here. This is the last group that Zappa called the Mothers (and the last group that he named after anything other than himself) and it shows; you get the feeling this is […]

Frank Zappa: The Big Band Years

First an update on my previous survey: after a couple more listens, I am really digging 200 Motels. It casts the widest net of any of the albums so far, ranging from very simple rock to atonal orchestral pieces (if you have any doubts that Zappa had real classical compositional chops, find The Frank Zappa […]

Frank Zappa: The Flo and Eddie Years

Continuing my chronological tour through Frank Zappa’s albums (I’m in no danger of stopping yet)… As I said last time, this group of albums is generally not regarded in very high esteem by Zappa fans. This incarnation of the band features the tandem vocals of Flo (who’s a guy, by the way) and Eddie, both […]

Frank Zappa: The Early Years

I promised a couple of weeks ago to investigate Frank Zappa. Being the completist I am, I started at the beginning, and holy crap. Freak Out! and Absolutely Free are both complete masterpieces, and everything else so far is at least super interesting. Here, very briefly, are my initial impressions of Zappa’s early oeuvre. Freak […]

Another Spewer: Frank Zappa

To recap, Spewers are artists who are incredibly prolific awesome at their best but with a nonexistent quality filter largely intuitive in approach, as far as I can tell even the best works are big messes (in a great way) rather than tightly constructed jewels apparently wide-ranging in genre but with enough tics that their […]