In 1968, the sixties were very slowly coming to a very slow halt. That's because it was 1968, as opposed to 1963, where the decade would have begun a few years earlier. And by a few, I mean three, not just some random number like, for example, if I said, "It will take a few minutes" while I try to put on my tight leather pants, and it really takes fifteen minutes.
Anyway, 1967, where San Fransisco became a holy shrine for those dubbed "hippies" by those living in surrounding areas such as Berkeley and Oakland. Actually, hippies were everywhere. I just looked at a map of California. Men had long hair. People questioned authority. Men had long hair. Psychedelic Rock bands such as The Beatles and Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead were topping the charts. Reviews for records still hesitated to start, and just droned on about the time. Men had long hair. People were experimenting with drugs. And, in case I didn't mention it earlier, men had long hair. And men had long hair.
Anyway, a paragraph started with the word "anyway", and the paragraph almost got to the point. The point is, Well.... It doesn't really matter. There were hippies in 1967. Avant-Rock genius Frank Zappa (who recorded the groundbreaking "Freak Out" album with his band The Mothers Of Invention two years before) saw a lot of folly in several of these hippies. I'm not sure if this album makes fun of that year's hit Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but I'm sure he didn't like that either. In fact, I'm not sure Zappa liked anything. So instead of sitting there, just letting those hippies do hippy things like being kind and questioning authority without them being insulted, he recorded We're Only In It For The Money.
LOOK AT ALL THE WRITING! MY GOD, IT'LL TAKE FOREVER TO READ!
The album's name comes from something that isn't an ancient Latin term for some kind of dark spirt or the name of the hit single on the record or the name of the band performing on the record, with or without a Roman numeral following it. It's just a statement that even bands like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane were being all "hippified" to put food on their table. Or that's what he intended it to mean. It could mean that the band's members had no money, so they made an album just to make money, or that "money" is a analogous term for "greed", and "we're" means people in general and blah blah blah blah blah blah, et cetra, but I think that's what Patrick Moraz would say if he titled anything he made "We're Only In It For The Money".
The album opens up with a song that is surely deserving of me saying that it opens up the album and is surely deserving of some credit for being the best something, but it's not, and I still like it. It's a sound collage which uses various phrases, with an emphasis on the phrase "Are You Hung Up", which is the name of the song. The song "Who Needs The Peace Corps?" is another example of something requiring me to say that it is another example of something such as being another example of Zappa's quirky songwriting style (which it is.) To give you an idea of what all the music is like on this album, all the music on this album parodies the clichés used in Psychedelic Rock. As for the quirky songwriting, well, it is saturated in quirk. And the song makes fun of hippies going to San Fransisco to get wigs and be phonies.
Next, is the next song, which proceeds the previous track, "Concentration Moon". It is also about hippies, but it makes fun of how they write their songs. I think there are references to police brutality in there, but I think it just makes fun of the momentary use of onomatopoeia to enhance the "trippiness" within songs.
"Mom & Dad" & "Telephone Conversation" I have lumped together because after reviewing the first few songs on an album it is required I lump together the fourth and fifth song, as stated by the secret charter of the super secret Secret Critic Associate of D.E.A.T.H. (Doing Evil Awesome Things from Hell)club, page 1, paragraph 1, lines 4 & 5. Anyway, these songs have no relation to each other. "Mom & Dad" is about police brutality and Telephone Conversation is a telephone conversation.
"Bow Tie Daddy" is the shining beacon of light that makes the whole album worth buying (SCADEATH Secret Charter, pg. 1, par. 1, lin. 6.) It is about child abuse and is as quirky and musically entertaining as all the other songs, but still.... It's track six.
Now it's time for me to just lump every other song together and say one thing about them (not different than with any other song, only I'm just lumping them all together.) "Harry, You're A Beast" I think is either about the revelation that a girl's boyfriend is a beast, or it's about teen sex, and it's a great song. "What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?" is satirical brilliance at it's most satirical.... and brilliant. The reprise (track 17) is even better because of the trippier ending.
Track 9 is called "Absolutely Free" and is about discorporation with things. The next song, "Flower Punk", is kind of a sequel to "Who Needs The Peace Corps?", but rather than insulting hippies, it insults people who like to go to "Frisco" (wherever that is) with a flower in their hand to join a Psychedelic Rock band, people with workshirts who like to play bongo drums whilst sitting in dirt, and people who like to have sex at dances, plus other people.
The linear notes to this album state that "Nasal Retentive Calliope Music" is "a series of songs about people with strange personal habits". It delivers what it promises. And the rest is just the rest, there are some moments.
THE HORRENDOUS AMOUNT OF TEXT! PLEASE DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!
Now for a non-sarcastic comment: After two listens, then I've decided that this album is one now of my favorites; even for sarcastic songs, they are written well. It's, I think unintentionally, a good heaphone album. There's plenty of harsh noise to please any audacious ears, and the music is as hypnotic and complex as "real" psychedelia. I'd reccomend it to anyone, like me, who is into the whole Avant-Rock/Psychedelia thing.
Overall Rating: 10 out of 10.
(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
In late 1967, Frank Zappa's answer to The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper, We're Only In It For The Money was an ambitious concept album in which Frank takes stabs at everything and everyone dissing everyone from the US Government, to Hippies, Beatniks whatever was an issue then he managed to put it to music.
The music on this album is more like an uncommercial pop album at times, then would shift into the band's usual psycho-babbling, tape looping, backwards and weird sound effects, which was typical of Frank during this period.
Most of the songs on "We're Are Only In For The Money" are usually best listened to in one complete sitting, and not out of context, as for the genius of the album will be missed. Although Frank and The Mothers would rock harder (Freak Out), and sing funnier songs (Absolutely Free), play trickier time signatures (Uncle Meat) or was just plain weird (Lumpy Gravy), but it is on We're In It For The Money where Frank's true vision and genius is realized.
No fan of true progressive music should ever be without this album.