Francesco Zappa review by Frank Zappa

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  • Released: Nov 21, 1984
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (5 votes)
Frank Zappa: Francesco Zappa

Sound — 8
There are many faces of Frank Zappa. It seems like, if you were to reach into a bag full of his albums, each one you would pull out would be violently different from the next, and that's what has always drawn me into his music. He always keeps you guessing, and, just when you think he has done it all, he comes back strong with something you would have never thought existed. Although this album is hardly notorious and just a small, minute fraction of Zappa's extensive catalogue, 1984's "Francesco Zappa" will be the focus of my review. Now, before I analyze what Zappa did on this album, I would like to flashback to the 1700s. During this era, a composer named Francesco Zappa (no relation to Frank) composed music, primarily with cello. Although he pieced together countless works, none were ever released in an electronic format, be it an LP, CD, cassette, or what have you. All of his music was specifically located in the Mormon library. (Frank) Zappa then got a hold of his music and was immediately intrigued by it. It was this inspiration that led Zappa to release "Francesco Zappa", the album. This album is primarily of electronic upbringing. All the songs engineered here are former Francesco Zappa songs that Frank programmed through his synclavier synthesizer, a device that Frank heavily used in the 1980s. Frank took classic chamber music from 18th century Italy, and made an 80s progressive landmark.

Lyrics — 8
No lyrics were present on "Francesco Zappa" as it is an album in homage to the chamber composer of the same name. All song titles are originals as Francesco Zappa named them. And if I cannot rate them, then I guess it's only proper to give them a high rating.

Overall Impression — 8
Disclaimer: this album is not for close minded people, but, for people who are more or less intrigued by music and experimentation. Zappa was not trying to get respect and fans with this album. It was about composing amazingly different music for people to hear for generations to come. This album is stepping stone, for it marked Frank's transition into more electronically enhanced albums he produced in the latter half of the 1980s. Alone, this album does not speak a ton of volumes, but in the grand scheme of things, it becomes clear what this album meant to Frank's career and releases to come. For the serious Frank Zappa fan who is down for an interesting listen, then, by all means, pick up "Francesco Zappa." But for you prog fans who want to hear pretentious music with cheesy themes, then I advise you to stick to "The Wall." Nevertheless, Zappa has my praise with this wonderfully underrated release.

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