AOTY 2023
The Mothers of Invention - Absolutely Free
Dec 23, 2020
Freak Out! was surprisingly more tame broadly speaking compared to Absolutely Free, which is saying a lot given that the album was still unquestionably adventurous and avant garde. Much of those strange and artistic statements were condensed to the end of the album, but on Absolutely Free The Mothers of Invention go all in with experimentation, almost entirely leaving the conceptual pop satire behind.

With more time to explore across the full record and less of a constraint due to an intentional concept, Zappa and company are permitted even more leniency in terms of invention; when given an inch, they take the world. There were certainly silly and absurdist moments on Freak Out!, but nothing even remotely close to the two minutes of chaos found on Call Any Vegetable, which is easily the strangest track outside of the sprawling seven-minute epic Brown Shoes Don't Make It, that is more structured than The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet from Freak Out! which means almost nothing at all.

The album also has a lot more moments of just allowing the instrumentation to explore in its own way. Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin is just a psychedelic garage jam track with woodwinds, guitar plucking, and I'm fairly confident tambourines. With an even biggest cast of characters for Zappa to demand around in his creative and calculated manner these kinds of long, jam style songs were far more possible. Majority wise the album is merely quick bursts of experimentalism, and a lot of mentions of vegetables, but when the song breathes instrumentally there is a lot of room to do so.

With a bit more adventure behind the instrumental side, even more absurdism behind the songwriting, and even deeper levels of complexity in trying to understand what exactly Zappa is trying to accomplish here, Absolutely Free seems like Zappa becoming that very thing. It isn't as though he wasn't already free to venture out wherever he felt like doing so, but after Freak Out! it seems obvious that he wasn't even close to the edge of deep end. If this is where Zappa is creatively this early, one could only imagine that he doesn't stop here. Not even close.

Favorite track: Call Any Vegetable

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More Reviews by MasterCrackfox
The Mothers of Invention - Uncle Meat
Dec 28, 2020
The Mothers of Invention - Freak Out!
Dec 23, 2020
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