Frank Zappa - Understanding America (Released 2012)

CD 1     CD 2
Hungry Freaks, Daddy   I'm the Slime
Plastic People   Be in My Video
Mom & Dad   I Don't Even Care
It Can't Happen Here   Can't Afford No Shoes
Who Are the Brain Police?   Heavenly Bank Account
Who Needs the Peace Corps?   Cocaine Decisions
Brown Shoes Don't Make It   Dumb All Over
Concentration Moon   Promiscuous
Trouble Every Day   Thing-Fish Intro
You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here   The Central Scrutinizer
We're Turning Again   Porn Wars Deluxe
Road Ladies   Tinsel Town Rebellion
What Kind of Girl Do You Think We Are?   Tinsel Town Rebellion
Camarillo Brillo   Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk
Find Her Finer
Dinah-Moe Humm
200 Years Old
Total Time:    2 hours, 22 minutes, 17 seconds

This is another album that I probably don't have in the correct place in the "timeline" of my reviews, but it's close enough for government work. The only reason I own this one is for Porn Wars Deluxe, and I wasn't even enthusiatic enough about that song to buy the disc myself. I put it on my 2012 Christmas wish list and got it as a gift from my parents.

This two-disc collection's new mix of "Porn Wars" is over twice as long as the original on the Mothers of Prevention album, but it turns out the additional 13 minutes is mostly just longer clips of senators talking and excerpts from other Zappa songs, particularly early Mothers of Invention songs like Bow Tie Daddy. There's a bit of extended audio collage, looping and tape manipulation here and there, but overall "Porn Wars Deluxe" is really not worth the price of admission. Plus, since Frank was trying to make a statement, he cobbled together a lot of his social commentary tracks that don't necessarily make for great listening on a "best of" collection. For example the 10 minute or so stretch just before Porn Wars Deluxe is pretty forgettable.

To add insult to injury, the versions of many of the songs used are from the mid-80s when Zappa was tinkering with his old recordings, overdubbing the bass and drums, speeding up vocals, etc. If I understand things right, Frank put this compilation together during that period when he was remixing a lot of his albums for their initial release on CD, but then he decided not to release it. Probably a wise move. I doubt I'll be listening to this one too many more times.

Album Cover

Image of the Understanding America album cover