Friday, February 22, 2008

135. FRANK ZAPPA: Harry, You're A Beast

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition.
Harry, You're A Beast


The first ten seconds of this composition were the first ten seconds of Frank Zappa's music that we ever heard, in 1968! We were at a friend's house, listening to Stockhausen and Dvorak when the guy's brother called us into his room -- hey, you've gotta hear this!

The "clean" piano arpeggios immediately grabbed our attention -- what kind of "pop" music was this? Put that needle back, again! We heard the unique harmonic intro -- vi/ii/IV/V/I in the Key of A -- and Ian's "classical" rubato treatment on the dominant chord, and we became hooked for life at that moment (tho we didn't know it yet!

The '85 remix destroyed this precious moment in our nostalgic memory banks (the arpeggios are far back in the mix -- Arthur is mixed way too loud. It is fortunate we have the restored version just for these four bars of music!

The '85 bass part here is horribly sore-thumb material, in our opinion.
You paint your head
These tight vocal harmonies are much more effective on the original. The '85 bass part is ponderous.
That's you American Womanhood
Snorks and celesta. The '85 remix's nice "breathing" ambiance works against this section. The snorks and celesta are right up front in the original -- the '85 remix sounds weak and pallid.
Madge I want your body
And another perfect example the 80's drum and bass sound being so out of place. The original 16th-notes are crisp and clear.
Segue to
Next track

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