FRANK ZAPPA – ” Them Or Us ” Released October 18th, 1984

Posted: October 22, 2019 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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“Them Or Us” released in October 1984. This is official FZ Release Number 40. Featuring The Planet of My Dreams, and awesome title track instrumental!

Its opening and closing songs were not written by Zappa: “The Closer You Are”, one of those ’50s R&B tunes the man loved so much was written by Earl Lewis and Morgan Robinson and originally released by The Channels; and “Whippin’ Post”, originally performed by The Allman Brothers Band.

Crunchy guitars are found in “Ya Hozna” includes backward vocals taken from “Sofa No. 2” (from “One Size Fits All”, 1975), “Lonely Little Girl” (from We’re Only in It for the Money, 1968) and unreleased outtakes of “Valley Girl” (vocals by Moon Zappa). “Planet of My Dreams” (featuring Bob Harris on vocals) is a 1981 studio recording taken from the score of Zappa’s unrealized 1972 stage musical “Hunchentoot”, (the scenario of which was incidentally published in a book titled Them or Us released at the same time). “Be In My Video”, described as the best song on the album, pokes fun at the cliches in music videos, particularly David Bowie’s hit single “Let’s Dance”, and the MTV generation, still in its infancy stage at the time.

In between one finds the usual offensive lyrics — the cliché-ridden “In France,” the sexually explicit “Baby, Take Your Teeth Out.” “Stevie’s Spanking” (named after Steve Vai, playing guitar in it, too), arguably one of Zappa’s best straightforward rock songs from that period. “Sinister Footwear II” and “Marqueson’s Chicken” represent an ’80s update of complex instrumental pieces. (the scenario of which was incidentally published in a book titled Them or Us released at the same time).

As with other Zappa rock albums of this era, many of the tracks are sourced from live recordings. Later studio overdubs were liberally applied, although there is no mention of this on the album notes

Not only is Ya Hozna one of my favorite tracks on this album it might be among my all time favorite FZ tracks. To me it is the quintessential Zappa tune. This is one of my favorite Zappa albums . Sinister Footwear pt.2 has always been my favorite track, usually followed by Marqueson’s Chicken.

This is the first appearance of Steve Vai on album, having impressed Frank with his outstanding ability at transcribing all of the Shut Up N Play Yer Guitar albums for him, then further impressing him with his ability on guitar, leading to his description of stunt guitar player on a couple of Zappa’s albums. So lovers of guitar work will find plenty herein, the album having a copious amount of mighty lead work strewn throughout,

Very high energy. Interesting instrumental harmonies working around classic rock guitar viruosity. Amusing Zappa lyrics.

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