Weasels Ripped My Flesh review by Frank Zappa

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  • Released: Aug 10, 1970
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (11 votes)
Frank Zappa: Weasels Ripped My Flesh

Sound — 9
Chances are, if you're daring enough to learn about this record or read this review, you have a sufficient amount of knowledge on the late, yet amazing Frank Zappa. Anyways, 1970's release "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" is the sister of its predecessor, "Burnt Weenie Sandwich." Like the latter, Weasels captures live peformances that were previously unreleased shortly before the Mothers of Invention disbanded. For the most part, this album is almost excessively adventurous, riddled with frenetic jazz improvisations and classical-like dissonance. Weasels definitely throws you off in different directions. Perhaps one of the more obscure, yet powerful tracks is the opener: "Didja Get Any Onya?" This song baffles me, as it goes through a number of motifs, featuring a big band introduction, with some unconventional saxophone chops. Another notable of this song is the scat vocals of George Lowell. That song prepares you well, for the rest of the album is a relentless assault on music itself, but in a greatly astounding way. Odd timed rythyms, unexpected blasts of free jazz, and even each musician playing in a different time signatures all at the same time. "The Orange County Lumber Truck" is very strong on melody - something that many may be surprised to find here. A tasteful, Hendrix-like hard rock track with great guitar playing from Frank. There are some strong leads on that track as well. The album's title track is a three ring circus of cacaphonous and incoherent distortion, yet for some reason, I am addicted to this song as well. Overall, I enjoy the sound, but you can't really take any credibility from this section, because, chances are, you'll find something else about this record that you love. There is a ton going on and it's really, and I mean really, difficult to formulate an opinion or summary on this record's sound. It's powerful.

Lyrics — 8
As for lyrics, I'll be honest: I have no idea. Even the richest of deep thoughts can't decifer what exactly Frank truly meant in his writing and I think he would have preferred it that way. Also, being that this is somewhat of a compilation album, there aren't any real concepts to pick on as well because the lyrics are a mixed bag. You are, however, able to detect some slight cynicism where the lyrics are applicable. Vocally, Frank only has one vocal lead on the album in "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama." The rest of the album features appearances from the Mothers on vocals, and features some of Frank's most prevalent vocal experimentation.

Overall Impression — 9
Overall, this is definitely one of Zappa's most difficult albums. The more time passes on, the more as a musician I really come to appreciate how immensely gifted and talented a songwriter musician Frank Zappa was. Without pontificating or elaborating on each piece of music on this album, I will say that very few musicians and composers in rock have approached Zappa's technical and artistic skill in writing music for arguably a limited medium. If you like unusual music, with a few melodious pieces thrown in, you will find this album a rock epiphany. The cover alone warrants a hall of fame vote.

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