The Mothers of Invention - We're Only In It For The Money (1968)

Are You Hung Up? 1:24
Who Needs the Peace Corps? 2:34
Concentration Moon 2:22
Mom & Dad 2:16
Telephone Conversation 0:48
Bow Tie Daddy 0:33
Harry, You're a Beast 1:21
What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body? 1:03
Absolutely Free 3:24
Flower Punk 3:03
Hoot Poop 0:26
Nasal Retentive Calliope Music 2:02
Let's Make the Water Turn Black 2:01
The Idiot Bastard Son 3:18
Lonely Little Girl 1:09
Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance 1:32
What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body? (reprise) 1:02
Mother People 2:26
The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny 6:25
Total Time: 39 min, 9 sec

Of the original Mothers of Invention albums, this one seems to be the favorite of a majority of Zappa fans. From its cover art parodying the Beatle's Sgt. Pepper to its lyrics making fun of both the establishment and the hippies, this album left no target unscathed. Musically, it's a lot closer to standard rock than Lumpy Gravy, but still contains a heavy element of experimentation. The longest track on the disc (Chrome Plated Megaphone) ends the album in a flourish of avant guard noises and musique concrète that makes the Beatle's Revolution Number Nine sound downright amateurish. There are also a few spoken word recordings on tracks like Are You Hung Up? and Telephone Conversation.

The original CD release of this album was on a two-fer disc coupled with Lumpy Gravy. A good idea, but unfortunately Zappa felt that he had to "update" the album for a new generation. So all the drum and bass parts of this album were re-recorded by Frank's 80s musicians, and the album was released with these new parts. Plus, everything was speeded up a bit, presumably to make it fit on the two-fer disc. The changes stuck out like a sore thumb, and made the album sound "wrong" even to my ears (and I had never even heard the original vinyl). But, on the plus side, some of the lyrics that had been edited out of the original release were restored on the two-fer disc. But so many people complained about the new mix, that the album was finally reissued as a separate disc with the original mix (censorship back in place). Almost all fans agree that the new disc is the better of the two, but most hard core fans like to have both, because of the lyrical differences. The old two-fer is long out of print though, so if you're looking for it your best bet would be used CD stores.

As an interesting side note - I've noticed that Zappa has a lot of tracks with titles that end in a question mark. This album alone has four of them. This probably says something about Frank's nature, but I'll leave it as an exercise for the listener to work out exactly what.

Album Cover

Image of the We're Only In It For the Money album cover