FRANK ZAPPA — Joe's Grage Acts I, II & III (review)

FRANK ZAPPA — Joe's Grage Acts I, II & III album cover Boxset / Compilation · 1987 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
1.5/5 ·
Warthur
I'll stick my review of this here as opposed to under the individual album entries since really they all form one single piece. Joe's Garage is an epic narrative concept album by Zappa in which Zappa really doesn't show that much interest in maintaining a narrative but goes about shoehorning one in anyway in as irritating a way as possible.

Don't get me wrong - there's some fun material on here. True, Acts I and II continue Zappa's tedious pandering to the novelty rock crowd, though at least Catholic Girls and Why Does It Hurt When I Pee are catchy. And Act III has some nice guitar solos if empty classic rock guitar heroism is your thing. That's all fine. But the material is padded out by tedious, monotonous, and unspeakably dull narration by Zappa in his goofy Central Scrutinizer voice, which completely ruins the flow of the album and completely fails to disguise the fact that Zappa took a bunch of utterly unrelated songs and crammed them into something resembling a story.

And on top of that, even though there are good moments such as I have outlined, they're hardly of the standard of the material on Uncle Meat, We're Only In It For the Money, One Size Fits All or other classic Zappa creations. It's far from Zappa's worst concept album - that would have to be the horrendous Thing-Fish, with its shamelessly recycled material botched with mammy-isms and the horrible acting from the "cast" - but it's a long way from his best concept album, or his best novelty rock record, or his best fusion album, or his best guitar solo collection.

There are as many different reasons to listen to a Frank Zappa record as there are Frank Zappa fans, but they all have one thing in common: pick any type of enjoyment you might wish to derive from a Zappa album, and there'll be one that delivers it better and with less bullshit filler than Joe's Garage.
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