Sound — 10
Almost 40 years after the release of Zappa's first album, I myself started to appreciate the man, which, in my opinion, should have come way sooner because everything about his style appeals to and amazes me. 1979's Sheik Yerbouti is only a tiny piece of Zappa's legacy, which will be the focus of this review. This album, if there ever was one, was the climax of Frank's career. Sure, he always dared to be different, but Sheik Yerbouti, in essence was Frank untamed, saying what he wanted to say due to his departure from the Warner Bros label. The majority of the album is a parody of different musicians (as evident in the title), however, I will discuss that more thoroughly in the lyrics section. As far as the sound perspective goes, he is kicking on all cylinders, making the guitar sound easy. Like most Zappa works, there are some instumentals, such as the distorted garage rock piece, Rat Tomago and the bassy jazz number Rubber Shirt. He really effectively utilizes fusion on this album, which is his staple. The very last track on the album, Yo' Mama, has to be one of the highlights though. It is just 12 minutes of brilliance, accompanied by an alarming dose of Zappa chops to make it sweeter. There is not one style the man leaves out on Sheik Yerbouti and not a one song sounds remotely similiar, which makes the album remarkable, above others.
Lyrics — 9
Genius. Not many people before Zappa even thought of picking fun and other musicians or even satiring life, for that matter. He makes several digs at society on Sheik Yerbouti. One of these is "Flakes." This song caught me off guard at first because, if you listen to it, it sounds just like Bob Dylan, making fun of his vocals and his use of harmonica in song. Another example is "I Have Been In You", which could be compared to such songs such as Frampton's "I'm In You." The subject matter of the song is sex, if you weren't able to detect that. He also wrote an observational, yet intolerant ode to the average Jew with Jewish Princess, further reinforcing the amount of balls Zappa had. You can't get any more original with these lyrics. Weird Al should worship the ground that this man walked on.
Overall Impression — 10
The album, as a whole, is just captivating. Not many artists can completely change my perspective on music, and I think no others ever will except for Frank Zappa. This is the first album of his that I ever owned and it will always have more sentimental meaning that others. Zappa released over 70 albums throughout the bulk of his career in music, so picking a favorite could be impossible for the average Frank fan, including myself. However, I can assure you that Sheik Yerbouti is one that you can constantly go back to, even when you've tired out the old record player.