Frank Zappa & The Mothers / Freak Out! – All Four Sides Critiqued

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Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Frank Zappa

This commentary is from many years ago.

No Demo Disc by any stretch, this Hot Stamper beat the pants off of what appears to be a true first pressing that we just happened to have on hand. Most pressings of this double album are just awful, if you can even find one that’s clean enough to bother playing. Our copy here earned grades of A Plus on sides one, two and four, and a grade of A Double Plus on side three. No copy in our shootout earned a higher grade than A++, for the simple reason that we just can’t find enough clean original copies with which to do a definitive shootout.

This copy has an exceptional side two. If we could find copies with better sound we would love to offer them to you, but that does not seem to be in the cards for Freak Out. This is pretty much the best we can do, and it will be many years before we can do any better if we even can do any better.

Musical and enjoyable, yes, but Audiophile Quality Sound? Not so much.

Side One:

Tonally correct, but typically veiled and compressed.

Side Two:

A bit less veiled, dull on top though.

Side Three:

By far the best we played, with a wide and spacious soundstage. This side had a rich and sweet quality that was hard to beat. No side we heard in our shootout earned a higher grade. A++!

Side Four:

Cleaner midrange and vocals but lacking in bottom end so that the rockers don’t rock as much as they should.

Wikipedia’s Entry for Freak Out

Click on the link above to read it all. It includes this rather remarkable bit:

The album was a major influence on The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The album was honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999, ranked at number 243 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” in 2003, and featured in the 2006 book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The album was named as one of Classic Rock magazine’s “50 Albums That Built Prog Rock.”


Side One

Hungry Freaks, Daddy 
I Ain’t Got No Heart 
Who Are the Brain Police? 
Go Cry on Somebody Else’s Shoulder
Motherly Love 
How Could I Be Such a Fool?

Side Two

Wowie Zowie 
You Didn’t Try to Call Me
Any Way the Wind Blows 
I’m Not Satisfied 
You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here

Side Three

Trouble Every Day 
Help I’m a Rock

Side Four

It Can’t Happen Here 
The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet

AMG Review

One of the most ambitious debuts in rock history, Freak Out! was a seminal concept album that somehow foreshadowed both art rock and punk at the same time. Its four LP sides deconstruct rock conventions right and left, eventually pushing into territory inspired by avant-garde classical composers.