Friday, February 22, 2008

113. FRANK ZAPPA: Plastic People

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.

Plastic People

LYRICS

Drum roll

Fellow Americans

The opening notes of "Louie Louie" are splotched unevenly across our sonic canvas -- the guitar is out of sync with the vocal

He's been sick

then the chords get tighter but with sharply focused dissonances added.

Plastic people

This rubato-soaked section is played in perfect sync, and we know that -- no matter how goofy things "seem" to be -- this is SERIOUS business!

I know it's hard to defend

Listen for smooth sax/guitar unisons...

And there's this guy from the CIA

...and meanderings

Fine little girl

Again the stopping and starting, so typical of the classical oratorio form

Now you're such a drag

Again some gorgeous noodling in sax/guitar with heavy tremolo

I hear the sound of marching feet

Interesting random-sounding accompaniment

Take the day

Urgency in the vocal delivery (quasi-Sprechstimme [see "Hungry Freaks, Daddy" from Freak Out!]) Equal to the forceful lyric

You're such a drag

Into 3/4. We've already discussed what a wonderful natural knack FZ had for composing in this meter. Does the beginning of this short 3/4 section remind you of other FZ compositions in three?

Me see a neon

Back to 4/4. After the verse, listen to how the music is layered -- first a sax, FZ's voice

Plastic people

Ray's rap, another voice in the background, some Spanish, vegetable discussion, Purple Prancing -- ending with

bee-bee-bee-bee-bip

Next track

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