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Frank Zappa - Cheap Thrills CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



2.90 | 43 ratings

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3 stars "Cheap Thrills" is a compilation album by US experimental rock artist Frank Zappa. The album was released through Rykodisc in 1998 and is just one of many posthumous compilation albums released in the years after Zappaīs death. Call them cash-ins or whatever you want, but some of them are actually decent entries into Zappaīs vast discography (even though itīs like dipping your toes in the ocean). "Cheap Thrills" is one such case.

"Cheap Thrills" features 13 tracks and a total playing time of 49:51 minutes. Which in my world is way too short for a compilation. Especially with an artist like Frank Zappa, where there are so many tracks to chose from (the man did release 50+ studio albums in his career and a bunch of live albums too) . Add to that the fact that 2 of those 13 tracks are very short (about half a minute long) and "The Mudshark Interview", which as the title says, is an interview with no music. So what you get on "Cheap Thrills" is actually only 10 "regular" tracks.

With only a few tracks to tell the story of Frank Zappa itīs really no surprise that the emphasis is on the more easily accessible side of Frank Zappaīs discography. Most tracks on the album are live versions taken from the "You Canīt Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 1-6" series ("Catholic Girls", "Bobby Brown Goes Down", "Zomby Woof", "The Torture Never Stops", "Joe's Garage" and "My Guitar Wants To Kill your Mama"). The instrumental "We Are Not Alone" (which is about the only surprise inclusion on the album) is taken from "The Man From Utopia (1983)", "You Are What You Is" is here in the version from "Thing-Fish (1984)" with Ike Willis talking gibberish, "Cheap Thrills" is here in the rather awful reissue version with overdubbed drums by Chad Wackermann, and the live version of "Hot Plate Heaven At The Green Hotel" is taken directly from the CD version of "Broadway The Hard Way (1988)" (that particular track is not featured on the LP version).

So there are some great tunes on this album and I would like to specifically mention the hilarious live version of "Catholic Girls" and the great live version of "Zomby Woof" as some of the highlights on the compilation. If you are a fan you probably already have all the material though and for new listeners I would recommend starting with the "Strictly Commercial (1995)" compilation instead (itīs longer, features 19 tracks, and is overall a better alternative). Thereīs nothing wrong with the material on "Cheap Thrills" though and if you want a short introduction to how some of Frank Zappaīs most accessible tracks sound this is a good place to start (just keep in mind that thereīs much more to Zappa than the material on this compilation). A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

UMUR | 3/5 |


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