A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Welcome to our series highlighting the music we have here at Thomas Ford Memorial Library. Each week of 2013 we will discuss one of our favorite songs from the collection. Classical or Country, Hip-Hop or Heavy Metal, we’ll be blogging for every taste.
If you’re making a great big playlist of favorites but don’t want to repeat individual artists, how do you pick just one Frank Zappa song? Digging through Zappa’s huge, diverse output to find a single standout track? It’s impossible. Never mind that one of Zappa’s best songs will utterly ruin a playlist, making anything that might follow it seem boring.
But for the sake of this blog I do have to pick just one. Left to my own devices I’d probably pick “Dirty Love,” yet I’m not sure I could manage a library appropriate blog post about a song so… well, dirty. “Zomby Woof” is an excellent compromise though, and has the added benefit of being a little more typical of Zappa. It’s got lots of twisty, technically challenging melodies. It’s got sudden shifts in rhythm and mood. It’s got bombastic singing from multiple voices (including Tina Turner & the Ikettes as the backing vocalists). It’s got a jaw-dropping guitar solo from Frank. Then there’s the sprawling, lurid, ridiculous lyrics:
I got a great big pointy fang
It is my zomby toof
My right foot’s bigger than my other one is
Like a regular zomby hoof…
Tellin’ you all the zomby troof
Here I’m is the Zomby Woof
Zappa is often spoken of as a great “composer” not “songwriter,” but I refuse to deny the gonzo genius of those lines just because they’re silly rather than insightful or moody. Maybe that’s really why other music never fits in alongside Zappa’s. Despite the fact that he composed, orchestrated, and arranged his music on the grandest of scales it never feels overly serious, and makes most other music that attempts greatness seem pretentious by comparison.
Review by Matthew